July 8 2014
Fighting Sexism in All the Safe Places
Quote of the Day:
“I was chosen as the sexist pig mainly because I was the most available target. The women saying, ‘Let’s have a revolution,’ were having a revolution, but the revolution was taking place in New York. They weren’t going down to Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and saying to the men down there, ‘Let’s free the women down here.’ They were freeing the women in New York who were already free. They were occupying powerful jobs in New York. They were a strong element in the publishing houses. So, in other words, it was a false revolution to a certain degree.”
Mailer’s terminology sounds antique today—the term “sexist pig” is redolent of a time gone by—and, if anybody ever deserved to be called a sexist pig, it was Norman Mailer. Yet, according to David Masciotra in today's must-read article over at The Federalist, Mailer, who did battle with the feminist movement, noticed two things about movement feminists: movement feminists are hopelessly provincial. They also like to pick easy battles. Why stand up for women from oppressive Middle Eastern backgrounds who could be murdered in an honor killing when you can face off with Harry Harvard, who is programmed to crumble to feminist wiles?
Here is Masciotra's summary of the status of contemporary feminism:
Mailer’s words, like much of his work, grows increasingly relevant as war-on-women fighters and the “rape culture” resisters indict, convict, and punish sexism where sexism no longer exists. The modern, American feminist is typically on scholarship at an elite Eastern coast university teaching her she is a victim of the patriarchal poltergeist (impossible to see, but everywhere in its presence and influence), or the one doing the teaching, or writing a column in a major newspaper, or running for office with the full endorsement of the Democratic Party.
Given that women now occupy a majority of seats in college classrooms, the majority of U.S. managerial positions, a growing amount of professional careers, and in all likelihood, the next Democratic nomination for President, it seems no one is questioning the power, intelligence, and courage of women, except the leaders of the American women’s movement, who insist women desperately need protection, and are in danger of crumbling at any second, from exposure to frathouse keggers, literature with misogynist terminology, and whistling construction workers.
Among the valiant warriors against sexism cited by Masciotra is Bailey Loverin, a female Berkeley undergraduate who is engaged in the meaningful task of getting “potentially traumatic material” in assigned reading designated with “trigger warnings,” lest the Berkeley feminists will encounter something very dangerous: literature.
Masciotra maintains that rape on campus is declining rather than increasing but that feminists have become more alarmed about rape in American universities, all the while ignoring the cultures around the world where rape is routine and, indeed, officially sanctioned. Masciotra recalls that Brandeis University won’t condemn clitorectomies and arranged marriages but hasn’t the courage to host Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an advocate of women’s rights in Islamic culture, as a speaker on campus. Nary a movement feminist spoke up when the university cancelled a speech by Hirsi Ali amid protest from radical Muslims.
The most appalling thing is the self-indulgence and shallowness of modern feminism as portrayed by Masciotra:
Nothing beyond first-person is relevant in contemporary language, because it does not lend itself to the expression of personalized outrage. If I am walking to my job where I earn a six-figure salary, and a moron makes a crude remark about my legs, that’s real sexism. If I am at a cocktail party, and an idiot takes a condescending tone of voice, that’s “mansplaining,” and that’s real sexism. Female genital mutilation? Honor killings? Life behind a burqa? Never happened to me.
I urge you to read the entire article. It says things about contemporary movement feminism that cry out to be said.