Regular readers remember Witchwind, the radical feminist that commenters have nicknamed “Windy.” She’s a wacky man-hating disciple of Mary Daly and Dee Graham, and inspired worldwide laughter with her anti-intercourse rant: “PIV is always rape, OK?”
Last week, Witchwind made an announcement:
After a succession of intense and mind-blowing discussions with friends, recent events and several weeks of trying to get to the bottom of why I find radical lesbianism so misogynist, I’ve just experienced a major shift or breakthrough in my feminism. One thing led to another, and I realise that the essential problem i’m trying to talk about is much larger than radical lesbianism, and relates to separatist communitarianism as a liberation strategy — the idea we should form a small, elitist community separate from women as much as from men, rather than focus on our potential to bond with all women and on all women’s potential to wake up to our reality. . . .
I do have the impression of having having found a missing link which now helps me to see the whole picture with much more clarity and depth. Therefore my focus will no longer be on radical lesbianism and identity politics as such, but on the wider phenomenon of separatist communitarianism, whether it be radical lesbian, lesbian feminist, radical feminist, “intersectionalist”, etc.
When our bonding with women is based on the exclusion of other women, then we aren’t really bonding with women but erecting a fictitious shield of “us” vs “them” to protect ourselves from persecution (a threat in which we include women), but which prevents the spreading of feminism to other women by preventing our contact and bonding with such women. . . .
If that makes sense to you, seek psychiatric help immediately.
You can read the entire 2,500-word excursion into lunatic gibberish, but it doesn’t become any more coherent. Insofar as it is “about” anything, it is about Windy trying to find an anti-male ideology that, while understanding female heterosexuality as women’s brainwashed cooperation with their own oppression, does not have the effect of blaming/shaming women for their heterosexuality.
Having spent the past six months plowing through the radical feminist syllabus (“Fun With #RadFem: ‘You Magnificent Lesbians — I Read Your Books!’“), I could imagine an effective manifesto/agenda for their movement, and might even be worried about their potential for success — if they weren’t so hopelessly bats*** crazy.
This has been an impediment to feminism for decades: It is a movement organized around the grievances of neurotic misfits, and has attracted to its banner every type of kook, weirdo and nutjob imaginable.
In this sense, a mentally ill Women’s Studies professor is simply following in the insane footsteps of Women’s Liberation pioneer Shulamith Firestone, who suffered a nervous breakdown after publishing the 1970 feminist classic The Dialectic of Sex and eventually died alone as a 67-year-old schizophrenic.
Majoring in Crazy Studies
One of the reasons that radical feminism is so influential on university campuses, but generally disdained outside academia, is that the campus environment is a consequence-free unreality. Tenured professors can (and do) preach all manner of impractical nonsense and, on campuses that are home to thousands or tens of thousands of impressionable young women, it is fairly easy for the tenured radicals to attract scores or hundreds of misfit followers.
For example, there are nearly 30,000 women enrolled at Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. How many of those students are majoring or minoring in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, or pursuing graduate degrees in that department? Suppose that the WGSS department enrolls just 2% — one in 50 — of women at OSU. That’s almost 600 students, a drop in the bucket relative to the total enrollment, but still a substantial force, if they can be organized and deployed as activist “shock troops” in protests, etc.
Anyone who questioned the legitimacy of Women’s Studies as an academic discipline would be shouted down as a misogynistic Neanderthal, and so this department is protected from outside criticism by a sort of force-field of political correctness. Within that protective cocoon, fanatical ideologues are permitted to promulgate the most astonishing radical nonsense. Consider, for example, the freshman-level course “Gender, Sex and Power” (WGSST 1110), which is the prerequisite to all other courses in Ohio State’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department. A recent section of WGSST 1110, taught by Varsha Chitnis (a graduate student pursuing her Ph.D.) included in the course syllabus Andrea Smith’s article “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”:
Heteropatriarchy is the building block of US empire. In fact, it is the building block of the nation-state form of governance. . . .
As I have argued elsewhere, in order to colonize peoples whose societies are not based on social hierarchy, colonizers must first naturalize hierarchy through instituting patriarchy. In turn, patriarchy rests on a gender binary system in which only two genders exist, one dominating the other. . . . Just as the patriarchs rule the family, the elites of the nation-state rule their citizens. Any liberation struggle that does not challenge heteronormativity cannot substantially challenge colonialism or white supremacy.
From there, Smith goes on to complain about “the family being conceived of in capitalist and heteropatriarchal terms,” so that rhetoric about protecting the family leads to “increased homophobia.” Smith argues for challenging “the concept of the family itself,” in order to “reconstitute alternative ways of living together.” In case you were wondering about Andrea Smith, she is on the faculty of the University of California-Riverside, having received a Ph.D. from the infamous “History of Consciousness” program at UC-Santa Cruz (“The Worst School in America”). So, through the content of this Women’s Studies course, the crackpot radicalism of a fringe figure (Smith was denied tenure at the University of Michigan) is imported from California to Ohio, at taxpayer expense.
Lest any reader think that I have cherry-picked an isolated and anomalous example, let’s look at the syllabus for another recent section of WGSST 1110, this one taught by graduate student Sonnet Gabbard, who awards 15% her course grade for students’ “Transgressive Digital Art Project,” whatever that means. Among the assigned readings is “Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism” by lesbian activist Suzanne Pharr, and “Desire for the Future: Radical Hope in Passion and Pleasure,” by Amber Hollinbaugh, who is (I’m not kidding) Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice.
Paying the Radical Tax
Keep in mind that we are discussing the freshman level introductory c0urse, taught to 17- and 18-year-olds, and required — a mandatory prerequisite — for any Ohio State student who wishes to major or minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Examine the syllabus for any section of this OSU course, and you will find it crammed with the writings of radical lesbians, inspiring any outside observer to wonder if any heterosexual woman has ever gotten a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies degree from OSU.
Yet within the force-field of political correctness that surrounds this academic cocoon, there is no one who finds this radicalism unusual. The lesbian inmates are running the feminist asylum, and the fact that taxpayers are footing the bill for all this is something that apparently no one at OSU — nor anyone in the Ohio state legislature — can be bothered to notice. So it is nearly everywhere. When the Women’s Studies program at a state university in South Carolina was abolished after hosting a conference that featured the performance of a one-woman play called “How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days of Less,” everyone was shocked because this had never happened anywhere else before.
In case anyone wondered why Ohio State University was singled out for scrutiny, the answer is: My choice was entirely random. Pick any major university, look up their Women’s Studies program and look up the syllabus for the introductory course, and compare your findings. This kind of radicalism is ubiquitous in Women’s Studies curricula, and it is no surprise that the most popular anthology of feminist writings — Feminist Frontiers, widely used as a standard textbook — is edited by radical lesbians.
Inside their taxpayer-funded campus sinecures, then, Women’s Studies professors are handsomely rewarded for promoting an ideology that strikes most people as fringe extremism. Yet the supply of Women’s Studies majors vastly exceeds the demand and, outside the elite circle of tenured professors and celebrity feminist authors, those who have spent their collegiate careers soaking up “gender theory” nonsense find themselves marginally employable, even as they are confronted with a reality harshly at odds with the worldview into which they were propagandized as undergraduates.
From this clash between academic theory and the reality of ordinary life emerges the ranting lunacy of radicals like Witchwind. What kind of jobs can these intellectual cripples find outside academia, if they can’t find some non-profit “activist” group to hire them? One imagines such women, disheveled and ill-groomed, standing at intersections and holding up crudely lettered cardboard signs:
“Gender Studies Major: Will Criticize Patriarchy for Food”
The saddest part is that this miserable man-hating madness is funded by taxpayers who have no idea what is being taught inside the Crazy Factories of the Feminist-Industrial Complex.
If the heteronormative patriarchy were as all-powerful as feminists claim, then surely there would Republican legislators calling attention to how tax dollars are being used to subsidize this nonsense at state universities across the country. There would be hearings to investigate this and committee reports to expose the truth: What is cost and what are the benefits of Women’s Studies programs? For example, what is the annual cost to Texas taxpayers of The Center for Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin? What is being taught in this program, and what kind of careers are pursued by alumni of the program? I’d be willing to bet the average Texan doesn’t have the slightest clue what’s going on in Austin.
When we see occasional eruptions of madness — not just insane pronouncements by bloggers, but radical feminists unleashing anarchy in state capitols — there is no need to wonder where this craziness originates: It is acquired in the classroom, where it is taught by academic kooks who would be locked up in insane asylum if they weren’t tenured university faculty members.
First published at TheOtherMcCain.com
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.