Georgetown Prof who called for “miserable deaths” of white men off the hook
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched a Title IX investigation against Georgetown University to formally determine if the school’s women-only programs violate Title IX. The OCR, however, has declined to look into the feminist professor whose tweet about Brett Kavanaugh triggered the investigation in the first place.
Title IX—a federal law that threatens to revoke funding for schools found guilty of discriminating “on the basis of sex”—was initially implemented in 1972 to fight for women’s equality in U.S. universities.
The New York Times endorsement of both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president has been lauded and critiqued, but no take is quite as inane and Lauren Duca’s. Writing for The Independent, Duca takes an essential tack linking womanhood with virtuosity, love, nurturing, and maternal values. These are what Duca believes we need in the highest office, and apparently qualities which are the purview of women at large.
Duca believes that women will bring “unconditional love” to the conference table. She thinks women have less greed and avarice, and that while “the divine feminine is beyond that binary, best understood as the force of nurturing,” gender is a social construct.
It’s surprising that both of these views can exist concurrently within one cohesive ethos. Gender isn’t real, apparently, because it’s made up by society to sell us prescribed notions for what men and women are, but femininity brings with it a form of divinity that is localized within women and those who believe they are women, even though womanhood isn’t really anything specific. Are we all clear? No?
Duca opines: “America, as it stands, is not even pretending to be a free country. We are living in an oligarchy structured by the hierarchy of the white, supremacist patriarchy, and this is where toxic masculinity has led us.”
How can a person of such privilege, who gets to write for fancy platforms, teach adjunct classes, and traipse around the world on tour for a book that doesn’t even sell any copies, claim that America is not a free country? How can a person who has benefited so greatly precisely because of her status as an identitarian grievance monger make the assertion that we live in a white supramacist oligarchy? Isn’t this all getting a little old?
Under the guise of elevating women, Duca puts them right back in their place. Probably she thinks she’s lifting women up by saying that they can achieve world peace and stop World War 3 before it’s begun in a way that men, with their penchant toward toxicity, haven’t been able to do. If men aren’t better suited to office on the basis of their sex, then neither are women. Sex isn’t a characteristic upon which votes should be based.
If a woman were elected on the basis of her sex, and she didn’t magically fix all the social ills with one SCOTUS nom and a few passes of her magical bill signing pen under the light of the full moon in the Rose Garden, how could the US ever justify electing another? Women are fallible, not magical. Y’know, just like other people.
Women are people, with aspirations, faults, wishes, wills, and a drive to succeed. To count them as anything other does their humanity a disservice. Duca writes: “I think it makes a difference if the person at the helm of this transformation is a woman, because of the lessons learned by anyone who has a female perspective on our crisis of toxic masculinity.”
But that doesn’t actually mean anything.
Duca, of course, has been a longtime culture warrior on the woke side—a true believer who has offered up hot take after hot take espousing the most incoherent of woke talking points like “Sean Spicer’s Emmys Cameo Wasn’t a Joke—It’s Dangerous,” or “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America.”
Duca then had her own turn in the barrel, when her entire NYU class revolted because she was not woke enough. Apparently she hasn’t learned the lessons that you can never be woke enough, and that the woke will devour themselves in the end.
The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) is no stranger to controversy, but it was still a bit of a surprise to have their New York event on Cancelled Women cancelled by the New York Public Library (NYPL). The event is going ahead, and if you’re in New York tonight you should come check it out, but you’ll have to reserve a ticket to find out where.
Women always find a way to get around barriers put in place to keep them out, and women who have been locked out in one way or another are more than capable of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and starting again.
In this case, the event, An Evening with Cancelled Women, was booked into a room at the New York Public Library. All was moving along as planned, until the night before the deposit was due, WoLF Board Chair Natasha Chart received an email from the NYPL saying that the booking was cancelled. No reason was given. And the irony, of course, is plain: an event about cancelled women was cancelled.
It will never cease to amaze me how threatened people are by women, getting together in libraries, to talk. Drag queens in full costume reading to and occasionally flashing children is fine, but women talking about their experiences? Absolutely not.
Libraries in Vancouver, Seattle, and Toronto have been protested for hosting talks by gender critical feminists, but those libraries have not caved to pressure the way the NYPL has. As a long-time lover of the NYPL, its beautiful research and reading rooms, its exhibits, history, massive archive, and dedication to scholarship, this was both hugely disappointing and surprising.
The root of all this is the continued divide in feminism over whether or not biological sex is a fantastical concept, or simply an unalterable aspect of reality. Transgender ideology has taken hold of our culture and it refuses to let go. But the truly crazy thing is that most people don’t actually believe that surgeries, hormone treatments, and wishing really hard can change your sex. Instead, people just say that they do in order to not hurt trans people’s feelings.
The women who will be featured at the event include Dominique Christina, Posie Parker, Meghan Murphy, Linda Bellos, Natasha Chart, and myself. All of these women are outspoken about their unwillingness to accept trans women as women, balk at the term cis, refuse to allow women’s spaces to be overrun with men, and reveal the truth about the butchering being done to children in the name of transgender lies.
They have been harassed and derided for these views before, and for the most part would rather not have to talk about it all the time. But so much of women’s experience is being erased under the guise of trans acceptance. Language about women and women’s bodies is being altered to include male-bodied persons—pregnant woman is now pregnant person, the word mother is now an identity and not a verb, even menstrual products are being rebranded to eliminate references to women. Women’s sports are inclusive of men who say they are women, leading to men winning women’s championship titles in cycling, track & field, and that’s just the beginning, as the IOC has opened the doors for trans women to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Women are expected to sit back and quietly take it, whatever is thrown at them, to acquiesce, to give in, and they are threatened when they don’t. These women have proven that they will not be silenced, and the more people that want them to shut up, the louder they will speak. Erasing and cancelling women may be the going trend, but we’re not going to accept it just because trans activists want us to.
2020 is here, but the idiocy of 2019 is lingering in the pages of everyone’s favourite think piece rag, The Guardian. The first truly horrific take comes courtesy of feminist columnist Moira Donegan who asks the questions: “What is the price that women pay in enduring sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence, for men’s good time? Is all this female suffering worth it to us for the male privilege to drink? Should men, really, be allowed to drink alcohol?
The answer, for Donegan, is of course, probably not.
Her defence of temperance goes back to the origins of the movement, which in the U.S. resulted in prohibition. This led to the creation of organized crime syndicates, incredible violence, cottage moonshine operations, a methodical black market that had deep roots in many communities, the prevalence of police bribery, and the rise of illicit, illegal clubs.
The Christian temperance movement aimed to bring men away from the sin of alcohol consumption, which had been a scourge in many communities. The Women’s Christian Temperance Movement was involved in advocacy for fair labour laws, prison reform, and obtaining women’s right to vote, as well as temperance. It was a valiant effort at social reforms toward equality. What Donegan is proposing is not a cohesive movement, but a prohibition one-off, where removing the liquor elixir will solve the problem of male violence against women.
She writes: “Rather than a regressive movement consumed with moralist disdain for alcohol use, many of its most ardent supporters wanted alcohol banned for a much more practical reason: women’s safety.” But no, they were Christian. The women who pushed for prohibition were doing it because they thought it was the right thing to do before God and everyone.
In fact, Donegan would do well to remember that until our recent wash in the toxic hormones of atheism, morality and religious belief were inextricably linked. There was no morality without religion. Many would say that this is still true, we’re just blind to it, that our society is much like Wile E. Coyote who has run off the cliff of morality and can’t yet see that there’s nothing holding us aloft, but without religious underpinnings of morality, we will plummet. Much like Donegan has. Morality is not something that can be constructed out of thin air.
Donegan actually blames liquor for male violence. However, as anyone who has lived with drunken male violence against women can tell you, liquor is a symptom, not a cause. Women who leave alcoholic men, children of alcoholic men and women, men who leave alcoholic women, can all tell you this. Alcohol may fuel the fire of rage, but the anger is there, simmering beneath the surface, all the time. Donegan’s trolly “let’s bring back temperance because drunk men are mean take” is wholly designed for clicks, not an attempt at useful discourse.
“Acknowledging this connection between alcohol and sexual violence is usually the province of moralizing misogynists, who use it as an excuse to chastise women not to drink. This was the tack taken by the contrarian writer Emily Yoffe, who in 2013 wrote in Slate of warning her college-age daughter not to drink lest men take advantage of her drunkenness to sexually assault her. But the fact remains that, although alcoholism and binge drinking are on the rise among women, they are still not nearly as prevalent among women as they are among men—nor are they linked to an attendant increase in violence by women. In short, it is by and large men, not women, who get violent when they are drunk.” Donegan writes
The Atlantic, Salon, HuffPo, Jezebel and The Daily Mail all wrote deeply angry missives about how Yoffe was off her rocker to suggest that girls should not drink just because they might get raped. The pushback against women protecting themselves by not losing their heads was that men are to blame for rape, not women, and that women shouldn’t have to adjust their behaviour just so they are not preyed upon by drunken predators. Now Donegan is basically saying that rape isn’t men’s fault; it’s alcohol’s fault. That pesky bastard alcohol, who comes from nowhere and plants seeds of rape in men’s heads.
She asks: “What if we took women’s safety as seriously as we took men’s pleasure? What would such a commitment obligate us to do?” In fact, this is what society used to do! They had super great ways of taking women’s safety as seriously as men’s pleasure, and as usual, women paid the price. There were curfews for women, women couldn’t sit at the same bars, women had separate entrances, chastity belts, chaperones, male escorts, restrictions on where they could be, who they could talk to, and when. Why? Because women’s safety was everyone’s concern, and it was everyone’s job to protect those of the weaker sex from all that could befall them.
What Donegan is really advocating for is less freedom. It’s a regressive gesture, an attempt to take safety culture to its logical end. In a sense, though, Donegan unwittingly does us all a favour. She reveals exactly how social justice maniacs think. Temperance and other anti-freedom measures are where all of this nonsense leads. Choosing to not drink may be the right choice for many men and women, but enforcement because “men are bad” is not the answer. Extreme safety requires extreme limitations on freedom, usually women’s freedom.
Hating on Hallmark has become an annual right of passage for progressive journalists, and Amanda Marcotte’s Salon piece “Hallmark movies are fascist propaganda” absolutely does not disappoint. Instead of taking the usual tack of calling it basic and boring, Marcotte deems it discriminatorily heteronormative, and authoritarian.
She writes: “Hallmark movies, with their emphasis on returning home and the pleasures of the small, domestic life, also send a not-at-all subtle signal of disdain for cosmopolitanism and curiosity about the larger world, which is exactly the sort of attitude that helps breed the kind of defensive white nationalism that we see growing in strength in the Donald Trump era.”
I haven’t actually seen a Hallmark movie. But these are an odd handful of things to conflate. It’s not authoritarian to want to live in small towns. It’s not white nationalist to be happy to leave urban life. And it’s not Trumpian to plant roots in a locality and find a home there. He doesn’t seem to be about that at all, in fact.
Hallmark movies are for that wacky, wild subculture that everyone loves to hate, white heteronormative women. It’s super popular these days to hate women who want to fall in love and raise families, and if they’re white, we heap on the vitriolic icing even thicker.
“The qualities that people cite when they defend Hallmark movies — comforting, formulaic, soothing—are all a result of the aggressively conformist impulse that drives them,” Marcotte writes. “And that impulse and fealty to the dominant culture stands in direct contrast to the values of diversity Hallmark facetiously claims to hold.”
But Hallmark is a cable channel making saccharine movies for a niche audience. The only thing that the recent kerfuffle over a lesbian wedding shows is that Hallmark is anxious not to piss anyone off. First, they ran ads for online wedding registry Zola, which featured a lesbian wedding, then when they got blowback, they pulled them, and when that engendered hate, they tried to put them back. Does Hallmark Channel have integrity? Maybe, maybe not, but really they just want people to watch their cute little movies, have a good cry, and hope for a better tomorrow.
That’s the message I got, and as I said, I haven’t even watched the films. Marcotte takes issue with the typical Hallmark leading lady, a career woman in the big city who only realizes true values and happiness when she heads back to her small town and establishes meaningful relationships. But the thing is, and this is coming from a career woman in the big city, relationships are the most important thing in life. Love really matters, and pretty much nothing else does. Marcotte’s idea that finding compassion, companionship, and camaraderie in a familiar place, is authoritarian, is demeaning. In fact, it’s anathema to real-world experience.
Career and success are great and whatever, but finding understanding in another person is better, and creating a life into which you can bring a new human is probably the best thing of all. Yeah, I said that. I even think it’s true. Lots of people do, even if it never seems to turn out right or be what you expected. These movies are fantasies, after all, just the kind where learning from past mistakes is possible, and happiness is more than a fleeting, fickle emotion.
In hating on Hallmark, Marcotte takes aim at The Federalist (where I am a Senior Contributor). “If you don’t believe me,” she writes, “listen to authoritarians themselves. At The Federalist, which is ground zero website for generating frankly fascist ‘culture war’ arguments, Hans Fiene argues that, ‘culturally speaking, Hallmark Christmas movies are noticeably Christian.” But what is her argument if not a frankly fascist one? She’s saying that the lifestyle represented in these Hallmark movies, fantastical and unrealistic though it may well be, is authoritarian simply because she’s not into it, and finds it problematic with regard to her view of identity politics. She doesn’t like the predictable storyline. But not everyone’s up for complex meta drama all the time. We don’t need to watch Requiem for a Dream just to feel like we’re in touch with the dingy reality of things. And no, I didn’t watch that movie either.
It’s okay for people to live in different ways than Marcotte wishes them to. Her evidence of fascism, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism, and she uses these terms interchangeably for purposes of degrading these films, is entirely symbolic. She claims that Hallmark movie harken back to Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s work, that Goebbels would have approved of them because they emphasize a certain, dominant concept of normalcy. She doesn’t define fascism, authoritarianism, or totalitarianism outside of 20th century symbols of them, and one wonders if she knows what the words mean. What is totalitarian is the Chinese government’s burning books that don’t align with the communist party line, and the crackdown on theaters by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“Running down this year’s schedule of Christmas movie offerings is like a trip into an uncanny valley of shiny-teethed, blow-dried heteronormative whiteness, with only a few token movies with characters of color. It’s like watching ‘The Stepford Wives,’ but scarier, since the evil plot to replace normal people with robots is never actually revealed. None of this should be a surprise, because Hallmark movies, as cloying and saccharine as they are, constitute the platonic ideal of fascist propaganda,” write Marcotte.
But what Marcotte forgets is that the heternormative concept of normalcy is not dominant anymore. Most televised offerings have plenty of alt lifestyle living characters, these heteronormative pumpkin spice latte storylines are pigeonholed onto a little cable network that is super easy to avoid. Plus there are heteronormative white people out there, and we shouldn’t judge people harshly just because of their identifiers. Straight, white people with boring taste in movies don’t deserve hate for it, and they’re not fascist for accepting who they are. And if they’re watching Hallmark, they’re paying for cable—haven’t they been punished enough?
Flimsy, guilty pleasure movies, that have an easily digestible story where the leading lady always gets her man, are just that. Many women and men would trade everything they have for that kind of real life storyline. Hallmark movies make going home again look easy, and we know it’s not, we know it’s excruciating, complicated and messy. It’s okay to wish for true love outside the complex confines of independent films, and to want to watch a narrative that you can fall asleep to and still not miss anything. There’s nothing inherently bad about being a white woman who wants to fall in love and raise a family and live in the same small town where she grew up. No one has to want it, but we can all aspire to love if we want to.