The Unbearable Lightness of Feminism
By Daniel Greenfield – BarbWire guest contributor
In Nigeria and Iraq, Muslim armies are selling women as slaves. Iran hanged a woman for fighting off a rapist. ISIS was more direct about it and beheaded a woman who resisted one of its fighters.
But we don’t have to travel to the Middle East to see real horrors. The sex grooming scandal in the UK involved the rape of thousands of girls. The rapists were Muslim men, so instead of talking about it, the UK’s feminists bought $75 shirts reading, “This is what a feminist looks like” which were actually being made by Third World women living sixteen to a room. This was what a feminist looked like and it wasn’t a pretty picture.
The same willful unseriousness saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a survivor of genital mutilation and an informed critic of Muslim misogyny, booted from Brandeis by self-proclaimed feminists. Meanwhile, the major feminist cause at the moment is Gamergate, a controversy over video games which can be traced back to a female game developer who slept with a video game reviewer. Professional feminists have spent more time and energy denouncing video games than the sale and rape of girls in Nigeria and Iraq.
That is what feminism looks like, and there is something seriously wrong with that.
Women Against Feminism touched a nerve because professional feminists know that few women want to identify as feminists. Polls have found that the majority of women view feminism negatively. Even among young women, the feminist label doesn’t come close to breaking the halfway mark.
Professional feminists respond to the negative feedback by claiming that feminism is simply equality. But if feminism were equality, women, and for that matter men, wouldn’t dislike it so much.
A feminist looks like a professional activist wearing a $75 t-shirt made by slave labor while proclaiming that she is a feminist. It isn’t fighting for the rights of women that makes her a feminist. It’s the pricey fashion statement of someone who toots their own horn while exploiting less fortunate women.
The professional feminist is not there to help women, but to promote the agenda of the institutional left. She will turn campus rape into a political cause while criticizing every rape prevention measure, from a rape drug detecting nail polish to self-defense for women, for not dealing with rape culture. Stopping rape doesn’t interest her. Exploiting the abuse of women to fight a culture war does.
Her concerns are limited to causes affecting upper class young women and the overall political organizational needs of the left. That’s why she will veer erratically from inflating college rape statistics to arguing for illegal alien amnesty, despite the high number of rapes committed by migrants.
But the women being raped generally won’t be found on an Ivy League campus.
And that’s also what a feminist looks like.
The institutional left can’t call out Islam for sexism, homophobia, and racism because it has already inducted it into its political coalition. And that’s why feminists can’t talk about the mass rape of young girls in the UK without stepping on a political landmine. Those courageous women who do talk about it, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Pamela Geller, represent the principles that feminists only claim to stand for.
It’s easy to take shots at gamers, but discussing the rise of honor killings, genital mutilation, and domestic abuse among Muslims migrating to the West is dangerous territory. That is why Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to be silenced so that she wouldn’t show up the professional feminists trying to pretend that their mass distractions of video games, subsidized birth control, or celebrating “sex workers” are real feminism.
Modern feminism is defined by talking non-stop about the things that don’t matter to avoid talking about the things that do. It long ago stopped being a movement and became a series of distractions. When feminists actually hit on a relevant issue they quickly scramble to avoid talking about it. That’s what happened with the viral Hollaback video of a woman walking around New York City and being harassed by minority men. The video quickly went from a hit to an embarrassment as feminists realized that they had unintentionally documented something that they could not talk about.
Feminism is filled with things that it can’t talk about. That’s why it long ago hit a dead end. It is too afraid of being politically incorrect to be relevant. It can’t advocate for women and so it frantically stirs up micro-controversies that are irrelevant to 99.99% of women. Its obsession with Gamergate as the biggest threat to women since the time that Miss USA suggested that women should take self-defense classes is another reminder of its inability to meaningfully address the problems facing women today.
Professional feminists don’t want to fight rape; they want to fight an intangible “rape culture.” They don’t want to help women. Instead, they want to exploit the problems facing women in order to advance their own agendas and careers. They are part of a movement cut off from ordinary people and rooted in academia. Few women want to identify as feminists, because feminism doesn’t identify with them.
Feminism can’t talk about the problems facing women because it is a prisoner of the left. It’s a fundraising gimmick, an election turnout gimmick and a way to sell pricey shirts.
The War on Women meme has jumped the shark. Senator Mark Udall was mocked, ridiculed, and written off by his own Democrats for his cynical abuse of the meme. An attempt by a congressional candidate to invoke it during a debate in New York was met with uproarious laughter.
The last election cycle had reduced feminism to subsidized birth control. This cycle wiped it off the map entirely. The next election cycle will bring us Hillary Clinton as the ultimate feminist candidate. Hillary built her career and won elections on the strength of her husband’s name. Polls show that she appeals to voters because they think her husband is part of the package deal.
If Hillary wins, the first female president will be a woman who got the job only because she refused to divorce her husband after he cheated on her because she hoped to exploit his political connections.
That, too, is what a feminist looks like.
Hillary Clinton laughing at her client’s rape of a 12-year-old girl from a working class family or Carol Costello chuckling over the assault on Bristol Palin reminds ordinary women what feminists really think of them.
Feminism no longer speaks to women. It has become a privileged sorority for actresses, politicians, media types, and academics who don’t actually like women—especially working class women.
The public face of feminism should be Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but instead it’s the neurotic privileged pettiness of Lena Dunham.
Feminism has become a lightweight movement heavy on pop culture and phony outrage and unbelievably light on content. It speaks all the time, but it no longer has anything to say.
Daniel Greenfield is a blogger and columnist born in Israel and living in New York City. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a contributing editor at Family Security Matters. His original biweekly column appears at Front Page Magazine and his blog articles regularly appear at Family Security Matters, the Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Act for America and Right Side News, as well as daily at the Canada Free Press and a number of other outlets. He has a column titled Western Front at Israel National News and his op-eds have also appeared in the New York Sun, the Jewish Press and at FOX Nation.
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