Originally published on September 26, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
by Jenn Q. Public & Lori Ziganto
1. Jessica Valenti’s Femisogynist Spirit: Rooting for and Rejoicing at Abortion for Convenience
While leftist “feminists” sneer condescendingly at the idea of post-abortion syndrome, it does exist. And if they actually cared about women, they’d admit that fact. But, see, they can’t. If they did, it would mean that they’d have to stop encouraging women to have abortions without disclosing the trauma that can occur to the woman. Many women who abort their babies suffer intense pain and immense guilt. Their entire lives.
It’s clear that they don’t care about the dead babies, but they also need to stop insisting that they are For Women ™ , when they are anything but. Jessica Valenti’s response to an ad campaign from AbortionChangesYou.com proved once again that leftist feminists, or Femisogynists, care only about an agenda and not one whit about actual women. The Abortion Changes You ads served to aid women. Femisogynists sought only to diminish that aid. Truth doesn’t fit with their meme. So, they defaced the ad, as pictured above. Jessica Valenti called the original abortionchangesyou.com ad “heinous.” But what did she say about the defaced one, promoting abortion for convenience? She called the vandal a “pro-choice hero” who “wasn’t having it” and then said:
Loves encouraging abortion for convenience. Loves encouraging abortion because a baby, a human life, doesn’t fit in with one’s super fun college plans. Loves denying the harm and the trauma that abortion causes to women. And rejoices at the thought of killing a baby who isn’t timely.
That, Jessica, is heinous.
In a follow-up response to my post, Valenti also said the following:
So yeah, I guess I would “rejoice” over women obtaining abortions when it’s convenient. (The inaccessibility of abortion for too many women makes actual rejoicing impossible.) Whether it’s for health, financial, and educational reasons – or simply not wanting to have a child yet – it would absolutely thrill me if women’s life decisions were respected, accepted and supported. But instead, we live in a world where a woman’s desire for something as basic as education is mocked as selfish. And we’re the ones who are “anti-woman”? I think not.
Or simply not wanting to have a child yet. Silly me. I thought that if you didn’t want to have a child, one would use birth control or, you know, not have sex. When does that choice come into play, Jessica? It seems to me that you are the “anti-choicer” because you don’t believe that a woman can possibly be smart enough to act responsibly and make choices all on her very own. By the way, I write while also home schooling my child. You see, not only can a Mother obtain an education herself, but she can educate others. That’s a concept lost on Femisogynists like Jessica Valenti.
2. Helen Benedict Terrorizes Women and Diminishes the Seriousness of Rape By Lying About Military Sexual Assault Statistics
In 1994, Christina Hoff Sommers told an interviewer about an interaction with a young woman at the University of Pennsylvania Women’s Center:
I think she thought I was one of the sisterhood. And she said, “Oh, I just suffered a mini-rape.” And I said, “What happened?” And she said, “A boy walked by me and said, `Nice legs’.” You know? And that — and this young woman considers this a form of rape!
This is the sort of fabricated and exaggerated victimhood that nourishes the feminist Left. Without frightening statistics and horrifying sob stories of oppression, their movement would cease to exist. After all, how could the Left justify further government intrusion into our lives without fantastic stories of poverty-stricken women who can’t access health care to treat the mental anguish of mini-rapes they suffer when they walk uphill both ways to escape the racist food deserts they call home?
Lefty whining about our embellishment to begin in 3 … 2 … 1 …
Some supposed feminists have based their entire careers on seeding academia and the mainstream media with ginned up scare-tistics that pave the way for new laws and policies that are harmful to women. Helen Benedict is among the worst. Her statistics on military sexual assault have been repeated hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in books, articles, and blog posts. Only problem is, she lied:
Consider these statistics published by Benedict in a recent Huffington Post piece:
Nearly a third of military women are raped, some 71 percent are sexually assaulted, and 90 percent are sexually harassed.
Benedict’s piece is entitled, “The Pentagon’s Annual Report on Sexual Assualt [sic] in the Military, or, How to Lie with Statistics,” and how to lie with statistics is exactly what she demonstrates.
The sexual assault figure is the most preposterous, and spelling assault wrong doesn’t get her off the hook. It is an outright lie that some 71 percent of military women are sexually assaulted.
The statistic comes from a study of PTSD sufferers published in Military Medicine in May 2004. The research sample was not, as Benedict would have you believe, culled from a general pool of female veterans or current servicewomen. Instead, participants were selected from “an eligible pool of 4,918 representatively sampled veterans seeking VA disability benefits for PTSD.”
Benedict shows a reckless disregard for the truth with her inflated data on military rape and sexual harassment. Over and over, she cherry-picks figures, misquotes sources, and tortures the numbers until they confess to her anti-war, anti-military agenda:
Do the reasons soldiers rape have anything to do with the nature of the wars we are waging today, particularly in Iraq?
Robert Jay Lifton, a professor of psychiatry who studies war crimes, theorizes that soldiers are particularly prone to commit atrocities in a war of brutal occupation, where the enemy is civilian resistance, the command sanctions torture, and the war is justified by distorted reasoning and obvious lies.
Thus, many American troops in Iraq have deliberately shot children, raped civilian women and teenagers, tortured prisoners of war, and abused their own comrades because they see no moral justification for the war, and are reduced to nothing but self-loathing, anger, fear and hatred.
Benedict’s dishonesty isn’t just harmless chicanery in the service of a feminist cause. Her lies are destructive to women and America. In addition to trivializing actual experiences of rape, smearing our troops, and undermining our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Benedict is dissuading women and girls from pursuing military service and terrorizing those who are currently serving. In the process, she isn’t just harming women, she’s damaging our country.
But, yeah, grrl power! Woo hoo! It’s a good thing the compassionate “feminist” Left is looking out for women.
3. Chappaquidick a “Fortunate Fall” for Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne Just A “Footnote” Who Would Have Felt Her Death “Worth It”
Leftists, despite all their sanctimonious, holier than thou grousing at the Right for its perceived “insensitivity,” have an odious disregard for any human life, besides their own, natch. Few things prove this more than the vile comments made about Mary Jo Kopechne upon the death of the “man” they so lionized: Ted Kennedy. Eleanor Clift weighed in, ideologically insane, as always. She said that she was “willing to measure the benefits that Kennedy brought to countless people through his politics, and give them proper weight on the scales of the man’s record.” Leaving a woman to drown? No big whoop, since it resulted in sweet, sweet lefty policy. Author Joyce Carol Oates called Chappaquiddick a “fortunate fall.” It was just a little “notorious behavior,” you see. No biggie, because Ted Kennedy then totally refashioned himself into a super cool Uber-Liberal. Isn’t that all that matters?
Melissa Lafsky’s article at the Huffington Post, entitled “The Footnote Speaks: What Would Mary Jo Kopechne Have Thought of Ted’s Career,” however, wins the prize for the most disgusting entry:
Not just a footnote, but a “controversial” footnote. There is no controversy, only facts. She was left to die. The man who left her to die did no jail time and instead lived the good life while doing great harm to this country for decades more.
We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don’t know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.
Yes, we do know. He was affected not at all. He had the audacity to serve in the senate for four decades. He stopped windmills from being built that would ruin his quality of life – his view from his luxury boat as he was flitting and sailing around the Nantucket sound. He buddied around with Chris Dodd, making “waitress sandwiches.” He enjoyed a “good laugh” over Chappaquiddick jokes. He spent his last days not making amends or in any way repenting, but rather he spent them conniving, trying to change the laws to suit his own purposes and ends.
Still, ignorance doesn’t preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn’t automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.
Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.
Nice snide little Palin reference with the aerial-wolf-hunting mention. So much for your feigned Rah-Rah Empowered Woman stuff. And, no Melissa, we can’t know what Mary Jo Kopechne would have thought about the life and career of Ted Kennedy. Why? Because he left her to die. Alone. In a sinking car. In the dark. For hours. She didn’t drown, you know. She suffocated; she was gasping her last breaths as the tiny air pocket left in the car was used up.
While Senator Kennedy chatted with buddies. And slept. Likely peacefully.
So, no. We don’t think she’d think it was “worth it.” We don’t believe her family and loved ones would either. We do not think it was “worth it”; to the contrary. And the value, or rather the lack thereof, that YOU and many on the Left place on human life that is in any way inconvenient to you or to your narratives is disgusting.
4. Alice Walker Disowns Her Daughter For Embracing the Anti-Feminist Act of Motherhood
Author Alice Walker spends her days cavorting with Code Pink, demonizing Israel, and caricaturing the people of Africa. Important work, to be sure, but awfully time consuming. If she wanted to live out her dream of becoming an anti-Zionist activist, she had to cut corners somewhere, and disowning her daughter seemed like a good start.
Alice severed ties with her daughter Rebecca in 2004 after learning that her 30-something daughter had committed the most heinous of anti-feminist acts: procreation. On purpose!
I was at one of her homes, sitting, and told her my news and that I’d never been happier. She went very quiet. All she could say was that she was shocked. Then, she asked if I could check on her garden.
After a exchanging a series of emails, Alice wrote to Rebecca to say that their relationship had been “inconsequential for years” and that she was no longer interested in being a mother to her daughter. She later cut Rebecca out of her will.
As Rebecca has since revealed, Alice’s lip service to choice, opportunity, and freedom for women doesn’t allow room for her own daughter to choose motherhood. Unsurprising from a woman whose greatest act of motherly concern was arranging an abortion for Rebecca when she became pregnant at 14. Being a mom might be okay for unenlightened non-Westerners, but damn it, she raised her daughter to abhor motherhood just like she did:
“I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother – thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman,” she revealed to British newspaper Daily Mail.
“My mom taught me that children enslave women,” she continued. “I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.”
Rebecca shares the painful experience of discovering her mother’s disdain for being a parent:
“I was 16 when I found a now-famous poem she wrote comparing me to various calamities that struck and impeded the lives of other women writers,” Walker noted.
According to Rebecca, Alice spoke of how “Virginia Woolf was mentally ill and the Brontes died prematurely,” then calling her a “delightful distraction, but a calamity nevertheless.” It was something that she said was “a huge shock and very upsetting.”
Alice Walker built her career on striking blows against The Patriarchy ™ on behalf of oppressed women around the world. But even if her feminist credentials weren’t sullied by idealization of Islam, Israel hatred, and lies about the liberating powers of abortion, Alice’s shelf-life as a “feminist” expired when she rejected her own daughter’s choice to embrace motherhood.
Note: The above portion of this post about Alice Walker and her daughter was written based on publicly available articles, none of which provide reaction from Alice Walker because she has declined to comment on the issue.
5. Worshipping At The Shrine of Multi-Culturalism And Feigned Tolerance Are More Important Than Women Themselves
Actual misogyny perpetrated against Muslim women gets a pass from Femisogynists because George Bush. Also, racism. This line of alleged thought was on gross display this past year, several times in a few month span alone.
One of the most egregious was Amanda Marcotte, once head blogger for John “Two Americas and Two Broads” Edwards, and her defense of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ attempt to embrace genital mutilation. The AAP, like the UN, started referring to female genital mutilation as merely “cutting” because mutilation sounds icky and may be offensive and insensitive to other cultures. They then went one further and said a “little nick” is a nice compromise. No big whoop! Sacrifice girls and allow a misogynistic practice to occur, all in the name of appeasement. I don’t think the girls who are barbarically maimed feel very appeased, do you?
According to Marcotte, this can be explained away because American cultural practices are icky:
And it’s not like Western culture is so free of blatantly misogynist traditions, either. Part of me wishes that we had a two minute nicking at the doctor instead of the entire painfully misogynist wedding tradition that persists in the name of tradition.
Oh, just a little two minute nicking, says Marcotte. It’s not like it’s as awful as getting married and sharing your life with a loving partner! We can maybe see where Marcotte is coming from, personally. As self-loathing as she is, she must feel that marriage is a horrid punishment—for the man.
Marcotte again apologized for misogyny when excusing an Iranian cleric’s claim that earthquakes are caused by “immodestly dressed” women (you know, women who dare to actually show their face or an ankle). The ever inane Amanda Marcotte claimed that we are worse for insisting that an embryo is a life.
But we have plenty of woman-hating religious claims in our culture that are taken seriously. Take for instance, the claim that an embryo is a fully formed human being with rights, and so women’s bodies have to be routinely commandeered against their will in order to gestate them. That’s a religious claim, as much as anti-choicers pretend otherwise. It’s based in the idea that godsaidit—god said it’s a person, so sorry, women!
Yes, Amanda. Being against infanticide is exactly the same as raping and torturing women for speaking. There was one thing on which Marcotte remained silent, as did most Femisogynists. The fact that the UN gave Iran a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women. Yes. IRAN. The State Department had this to say:
“We’re not going to stand up and cheer,” the official said. “By the same token, that is less onerous than the Human Rights Council because women in Iran, relative to other countries in the region, actually have greater rights.”
Oh, well, as long as you don’t cheer. It’s not like it’s human rights and all. It’s just pesky women! All who remained silent on this, including the Obama Administration, in effect condoned the appointment of Iran to the Commission on the Status of Women. As a way of “tolerance” and appeasement. See, pointing out true evil doesn’t fit the “progressive” meme. Instead, subjugation and misogyny must be invented out of whole cloth regarding things like marriage, but the very real—and often deadly—subjugation of women under Islamic law must be tolerated and ignored. The hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance have reached epic levels.
6. The Burqa is Sexy and Other Celebrations of the Islamic Veil
Earlier this year NewsReal Blog debuted the Naomi Wolf Award, also known as The Howler, to recognize “the failure of feminist commentators to identify Muslim veils, particularly the burqa and the niqab, as powerful symbols of extremist ideology and instruments of subjugation.” Naomi Wolf, of course, is among the worst offenders when it comes to justifying the entombment of women in these dehumanizing fabric crypts.
After a delightful jaunt through a Moroccan bazaar in a headscarf she wore by choice, Wolf wrote, “I felt a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.” Never mind the medical problems related to burqa-induced vitamin D deficiency. Disregard the fact that in parts of the world, the alternative to donning the veil is death. Naomi Wolf had a gay ol’ time obscuring her femininity from the nasty male gaze, so the veil should be celebrated!
Jamie Glasov took Wolf to task for her abandonment of persecuted Muslim women, and Phyllis Chesler skewered her for the ridiculous suggestion that “shrouds are sexy,” and the ultimate feminist choice. Wolf’s predictable response was to demand apologies from those stupid-head meany-pants anti-jihad bloggers, because naturally she’s the persecuted one.
With the French burqa ban making headlines this year, the feminist Left made far too many journeys into the land of cultural relativism and moral equivalence to recount. Among the most absurd was when Jill Filipovic twisted the burqa into a “freedom of choice” issue, treating it as a mere article of clothing equivalent to a modest “flowery dress.”
Summary: I think it’s silly, an affront to basic freedoms, and ultimately more damaging to the women it claims to protect. Now France is at it again, trying to ban the wearing in public of any item of clothing that covers your face. The law is clearly targeted at French Muslims and Muslim immigrants.
I understand that many people perceive the burqa, or any full-body covering, as a symbol of female submission. Heck, I perceive the stereotypical conservative Christian floor-length denim or flowery dress the same way, so I get it.
Way to strike a blow against the patriarchy, ladies.
7. Maureen Dowd Excuses Sharia Law In Order to Mock Catholicism
In an April 10th op-ed piece for the New York Times, Maureen Dowd finally lost that last tenuous grip she had on her sanity. In the article, she attempted to equate the suffering of women living under radical Islamic law in Saudi Arabia with being a Catholic woman. In America. No, really:
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?
I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.
I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.
I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.
I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.
Since thinking appears to be rather hard for you, Maureen, I will spell it out for you with bullet points for easy reference. Here is just a partial list of things that women cannot do in Saudi Arabia, under Sharia law:
- They cannot drive cars
- They cannot get too many jobs
- They cannot wear their own selection of fashions (forced to war body covering abayas)
- They aren’t allowed to speak in public
- They have no right to vote
- They are not welcome in government
- They have no freedom of movement
- They have their genitals mutilated as young girls
- They are beaten by husbands routinely and have no legal recourse to stop it
- They are beaten on the streets by “religion police” if they seem to be violating Sharia “laws”
- They have little recourse to prosecute attackers for raping them
- They cannot travel abroad without permission
- They cannot join the clergy
Of course she is partially basing her alleged arguments on the oh-so-tiresome “reproductive rights” card. Under Sharia law, that isn’t a problem, Maureen! Just lop it off and get a clitoridectomy! And, in Saudi Arabia, if you get pregnant out of wedlock or by rape, you can simply be stoned to death. Problem solved! Perhaps Maureen should step out of her ivory tower and speak with a woman who knows about true oppression and subjugation. Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ms. Ali, the author of Infidel, had to flee the Netherlands under threats of death by radical Islamists. The reason? She spoke. She spoke about the atrocities committed against women under fanatical Islamic faith. She spoke out against the physical mutilation of women by radical Muslims. She renounced the faith. For that, she lived in constant fear for her life.
You, Maureen, are always allowed to speak freely (sans burqa, no less), even if what you spout is utter nonsense. As is every other woman in this country, Catholic or otherwise.
The same can’t be said for women under Sharia law. Ever.
8. Bonnie Erbe: Michelle Malkin Invited the Playboy Rape Fantasy
Playboy writer Guy Cimbalo’s roster of women he wanted to hate f*** was online for less than a day before it was pulled. At the top of his serial rape fantasy list was Michelle Malkin, described as a “‘highly f***able Filipina’ and purveyor of ‘frothing idiocy’ Her hate f*** rating? ‘Worse than f***ing Eva Braun.’” He even imagined that Malkin was somehow asking for it:
Malkin’s “tight body and get-off-my-lawn stare just scream, ‘Do me!’”
Hoping that some among the feminist Left would condemn the article’s misogyny, Smart Girl Politics director Teri Christoph contacted syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe:
Knowing that Bonnie Erbe, a blogger at USNews, was a passionate defender of liberal women (such as Nancy Pelosi), I wrote to her in the hope that she would use her pulpit to rally to the defense of her right-leaning sisters. Instead of refuting the noxious ruminations of Cimbalo, Ms. Erbe piled on with more of her own.
Erbe called the article disgusting, sexist, and in Malkin’s case, well-deserved:
I also want to note that at least one woman on the list is so venom-spewing, she unfortunately invites venom to be shot back at her: Michelle Malkin. Her posts and her “routine” are so venomous and predictable, in fact, I stopped paying attention to her years ago.
Michelle Malkin invites sexual degradation because of her viper-like tongue? This is feminism?
No. In fact, Bonnie Erbe is exactly the sort of woman she once contemptuously described like this:
Anti-women women have existed since time immemorial. Another way of putting it is, women have been smart enough for decades to make their living by telling other women to stay home …
Hateful harpies like Bonnie Erbe can spend all day trying to get Michelle Malkin to stay home. Not. Gonna. Happen.
9. Gloria Steinem Decides Pro-Life Women Don’t Count and Can’t Be Feminists
As if we’d want to be “feminists” anyway. Regardless, this shows the utter disregard for women that Steinem Stepford Feminists actually have. They don’t actually care about women; they care only about their pro-abortion agenda. That has always been the case, but the emergence of conservative women to the forefront recently has made them particularly unbearable, as they strive to, in every repugnant way possible, diminish said women. This is just the latest from one of them, Miss Gloria Steinem, who unfortunately resurfaced from whatever Birkenstock-clad, soy latte drinking ivory tower she was hiding in to have an interview with the equally asinine Katie Couric:
You can’t be a feminist if you oppose abortion. Can’t be one. That’s crimethink! Sorry, Steinem Stepford Feminists, but we don’t care if you don’t consider us a part of your cultish club. You see, we have minds of our own. And, unlike you, we respect women and don’t think that they are too stupid to handle life on their own without Big Daddy Government hand holding. Nor do we think that women are perpetual victims who must be saved from things like “inconvenient” motherhood. That is what the entire modern day Faux Feminist ‘movement’ is about: those punishing babies.
Just ask Amanda Marcotte, who said:
If there’s ever a conflict between the baby-making functions and a woman’s hopes, dreams, responsibilities, or well-being, the former will always win with anti-choicers.
There’s the difference right there. We believe there is no conflict. A baby does not crush a woman’s hopes, dreams or well-being. Motherhood enhances your life in ways that can’t even fully be described. A woman can have it all, and should. As women who respect and support other women, because Pro-Life is Pro-Woman, this is what we “can’t be real feminists” women do. We unhinged nutty nuts help women, instead of urging them to abort. We help them truly have it all, education, career and motherhood via personal responsibility. We trust and have faith that they can do so, unlike Femisogynists who don’t believe women can actually do much of anything at all without constant grievance mongering.
This is a blessing in disguise, however. Leftist feminists continue to walk in Stepford Feminist lock-step, constantly extolling their delusional wonders of abortion, while the rest of the population now looks on in horror. And not just due to their hairstyles and their creepily smug faces, although that is part of it. We see through the lies.
You are already irrelevant, Feminists. But do you know who will never be irrelevant?
10. The Hypocritical Dehumanization of Conservative Women
The Left salivates over opportunities to dehumanize conservative women. It’s easy (and completely gross) to imagine Keith Olbermann sloshing around in his beloved bathtub each night, eyes glued to Michelle Malkin’s image as he relives the time he called her “a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.”
But while “feminists” often excuse Bathtub Boy’s misogyny and find numerous justifications to continue watching his nightly hate fest, they don’t publicly embrace him as one of the sisterhood. But they might as well if they’re going to embrace his hateful misogyny.
In her important column of the stages of “conservative female abuse,” Michelle Malkin lists dehumanization as the fourth and final stage:
Conservative women aren’t real women according to the liberal feminist establishment’s definition. Remember when Gloria Steinem called Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a “female impersonator?” Or when curdled NOW leader Patricia Ireland instructed Democrats to vote only for “authentic” female political candidates? Or when Al Gore’s fashion consultant Naomi Wolf described the foreign-policy analysis of Jeane Kirkpatrick as being “uninflected by the experiences of the female body?”
Sarah Palin has been the target of many of these attacks. Wendy Doniger wrote in the Washington Post that Palin’s “greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.” And Cintra Wilson began a Salon piece by saying that “Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman.”
As explained when Keith Olbermann used his “mashed up bag of meat with lipstick” attack on Michelle Malkin:
Attacks like these are designed to dehumanize the target by casting her out of her very gender, rendering her less than woman, indistinguishable from a “bag of meat” were it not for the facade of womanhood she paints on with her lipstick each morning. Makeup is deemed the only thing that sets her apart from an inanimate sack of undifferentiated flesh.
It’s one thing when the Left attempts to exclude conservative women from feminism — that’s a ridiculous political tactic, hateful but not misogynist per se — but it’s another when leftists try to exclude us from our gender. No matter how hard Femisogynists wish otherwise, conservative Christians, gun totin’ hockey moms, and smart ass conservative blogger chicks still qualify as women.
(Originally posted at David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog)
Originally published on September 17, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
The inane self-congratulatory feel-goodery of pop feminism is captured perfectly in an old Onion headline: “Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does.” To the feminist Left, the obvious corollary is that everything that doesn’t empower a woman is oppressive, chauvinistic, and of course, sexist. And that’s exactly the ideological vampire being embraced by Christine O’Donnell supporters this week.
Jeri Thompson leads the pack of those seduced by the politics of manufactured victimhood with her excoriation of Karl Rove, Sen. John Cornyn, and Delaware’s “blue-blooded patriarchies.” It’s not the timing of Rove’s criticisms she finds troubling; it isn’t that Cornyn and the NRSC arrived late to GOP Unity Hour lip syncing the words to “Kumbaya.” It’s that they offered their strategic assessment of a female candidate’s political baggage and electability:
Funny, I don’t recall hearing similar talk from the likes of Mssrs. Rove and Cornyn after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Joe Miller won in Alaska, or Rand Paul won in Kentucky. In fact, despite similar sliming by the state party apparatus before Paul’s victory Rove was downright supportive of him, saying on Fox News that Rand Paul could win the general election, just as he could win the primary. And this was after the state party did its darnedest to tear Paul apart and to make him look like an incompetent kook, in many ways similar to what the Republican political class has been doing to O’Donnell.
The difference here is that once the primary was over, the political elites in Washington stood by their men. Why won’t they do it for the woman?
Where is the evidence that gender played a role in Beltway criticism of Christine O’Donnell? I like and respect Jeri Thompson, but twisting concerns about O’Donnell’s electability into some sort of political wilding by neanderthal good ol’ boys is out there. We can disagree about whether a candidate is “flawed,” “irresponsible,” or “kooky,” but those terms simply aren’t dog whistles designed to bring out the woman-haters.
This smacks of an ill-conceived attempt to duplicate the ferocious mama grizzly support Sarah Palin garnered when her surrogates pointed out sexist attacks. Cry sexism, rinse, repeat, right? Er, no. Most Palin boosters didn’t unfairly tar her critics with identity politics-based smears. They defended her from specific, verifiable, and brutal cases of weaponized misogyny.
Thompson’s column is short on examples of sexism, long on baseless attacks, and devoid of any explanation for why sexist Karl Rove poured millions into Sharron Angle’s campaign. Mary Katharine Ham calls this approach “pulling a Meggie Mac“:
Criticism of O’Donnell from conservatives was not akin to the treatment Palin got and deploying the same type of attack on longtime conservative allies as one would on the New York Times or Nancy Pelosi is not productive. It’s the Meghan McCain strategy for winning friends and influencing people. We hate it when she paints conservatives and Republicans with a broad brush, reinforces our adversaries’ stereotypes of us, marshals little proof in defense of either, and then asks us to merrily join hands with her as she fights for our cause. Why are we pulling a Meggie Mac on each other?
Sadly, the unseemly Meggie Mac strategy of yelling “sexist hater!!!” at anyone who disagrees makes for a convenient political bludgeon, one Thompson uses throughout her column:
While they may not be intending to be sexist, the message, the attitude and whining sure make many in the GOP look eerily like the elites we are trying so hard to usurp. The sexism issues aside, it’s time for the Washington GOP establishment to man up and stop sulking over losing — no, getting walloped — by a woman they continue to insist is unqualified despite the fact that she has a pretty big win under her belt under pretty difficult circumstances.
Leaving aside the absurdity of going after so-called sexism with a gender-based barb (“man up”), what Thompson is doing is setting it up so that “the Beltway Boys” are no longer free to weigh in on women’s qualifications. By taking her arguments directly from the leftist victimhood arsenal, she’s unintentionally depriving Christine O’Donnell and other women of the chance to compete as equals. At the same time, these unfounded accusations diminish the seriousness of actual sexism, the kind that often slithered out of the scuzziest recesses of the feminist blogosphere during the 2008 presidential campaign. Matt Lewis calls Thompson’s approach “patently unconservative“:
Conservatives are rugged individuals who pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Crying sexism certainly isn’t conservative, especially when the criticism is fair. Sadly, it appears some “conservative” ladies have learned from the left that if you cry discrimination, you can change the subject, and undermine even legitimate questions and concerns.
It’s fine for Jeri Thompson to use her platform to ensure female candidates receive equal treatment, but agitating for special treatment is just the sort of identity politics pitfall that ought to send conservatives screaming in the opposite direction. When we start to see a pair of X chromosomes as the functional equivalent of a Get Out of Jail Free card in politics, all we’re doing is mimicking the worst the Left has to offer.
Radical feminist Andrea Dworkin once said that “feminism is hated because women are hated.” No, what people hate about feminism is the steady stream of fabricated outrage, holier-than-thou finger wagging, and the stomach-turning hypocrisy. Conservative women have every right to don the feminist mantle, but let’s make sure it’s free from the stench of faux victimhood, grievance mongering, and ginned up oppression.
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