Of course, in these times, I have to explain why I believe feminism to be a symptom of cultural decadence. In fact, I attempted to clarify and pinpoint my usage in the last post by qualifying the species of feminism I had in mind as “overkill”. No decent human being is comfortable with women (or anyone else) being paid less for the same job or being passed over for the job just because of an irrelevant biological detail. I know the feeling. I was denied jobs on two separate occasions (as I was told confidentially by people on the search committees) because I was NOT a woman.
We don’t seem to have reached the stage where no prejudice operates in such circumstances, do we? Rather, we move ineffectively and hypocritically from one kind of prejudice to its opposite like a small ship caught in a fatal roll during a storm, its seams working looser all the while and taking in more water. We’re sinking because we can’t address any problem rationally, it appears—without bombastic ostentation advertising our moral superiority to the world for social and professional “brownie points”.
As a result, real people suffer real consequences. Some of these may be the “oppressor class” transformed into a new “victim class”. I would have said, if asked, that the most oppressed group on earth is the honest, who never catch any breaks and are forbidden by their rigid scruples from defending themselves in a worldly fashion. But no… now it seems that sincere, devout Christians (again, note the qualifiers: I understand all too well that not all professing Christians are friends of the truth) are another “privileged class”. On the chessboard of victimology, academic gripe-mongers have found yet another piece that they have outflanked.
What I would devote the rest of this short space to is precisely the winners of the sordid game. Once you’ve queened yourself three or four times over by reaching the “most victimized” extreme of the board—left-handed transgendered African-cum-Cherokee American with bad eyesight and a host of learning disabilities—what, exactly, have you won? More specifically, what prize do young women walk away with after being indoctrinated with feminist vitriol for four years in an English or Social Studies program? Released into a viciously, incorrigibly hostile world (as they suppose), what are they specially equipped to do?
I can answer that, because I have observed the behavior of college undergrads of this persuasion at close quarters for the past three years or so, since I’ve been teaching more upper-division classes. Frankly, I’ve chosen to retire a bit early partially because of what I’ve seen. I have blogged several times about the experience of being denounced in public as horribly insensitive because I once joked that a few chronically AWOL students must have committed suicide over the homework. The “offense sensors” are always turned up high and being trained on constant swivel in all directions. These young women perceive everything—every motion, every static position, every relic of the past, every proposal for the future—as a possible plot. They are the ultimate conspiracy theorists. Men have always been out to “get” their kind, and nothing can ever change male DNA. Like wolves that have been domesticated into dogs, men may be conditioned to love their leash and lick the hand that throws them a bone; but any sudden movement in the wrong direction may activate latent instincts in a snarl and a show of teeth.
Women are the little lambs who hold the leash. They may boast of having a lion’s heart… but deep down, they know too well what force is in their limbs, and they tremble. Every feminist rhodomontade about being able to punch out a man after a week in the gym is followed—often in the same breath—with outrage about being left so vulnerable to the brute cruelty of men: witness the #metoo movement. A membership at the gym wasn’t advanced as solving that problem, was it?
When faced with literary texts, these frenetic coeds scan it like a crime survivor reviewing photos to find her molester. Does a story have women in it? Then what role do they play? You see, one is being abused or demeaned here… and another over there. Are there no women at all in the story? What did we tell you? For these men, women don’t even exist! Is the story saturated with empowered women and sprinkled with submissive males—or salted with a rebellious brute or two needing to be taught his place? Then the focus is on the bad guy: how dare he rebel! Most men are just like him. How dare they be so brutal! Lock and load!
Only in the last couple of weeks has it occurred to me to connect this “misandry” (“hatred of masculinity”) with the suicide obsession. What are young women equipped to do after a half-decade’s worth of feminist brainwash? See a mortal threat in every pair of pants, see a cutthroat rival in every colleague who shaves, see a rigged game in every social or political institution in which males participate… see nothing but menace and snare in all directions. Like Capuana’s Marchese of Roccaverdina, who at last glimpses the ghost of the man he murdered in every shadow and in every dream, they are driven mad by saboteur specters that leave them neither when they wake nor when they sleep.
And a few of these pitiable lives end in suicide… a few, but far more than a college-free upbringing would have produced. This is the ideology that insists on making our world more “humane” in its peculiar fashion!