Category Archive 'Feminism'
26 Feb 2015

Camille Paglia Interviewed

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CamillePaglia1

Really intelligent leftists, like Camille Paglia, have an alarming tendency to talk exactly like conservatives.

In your view, what’s wrong with American feminism today, and what can it do to improve?

After the great victory won by my insurgent, pro-sex, pro-fashion wing of feminism in the 1990s, American and British feminism has amazingly collapsed backward again into whining, narcissistic victimology. As in the hoary old days of Gloria Steinem and her Stalinist cohorts, we are endlessly subjected to the hackneyed scenario of history as a toxic wasteland of vicious male oppression and gruesome female suffering. College campuses are hysterically portrayed as rape extravaganzas where women are helpless fluffs with no control over their own choices and behavior. I am an equal opportunity feminist: that is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women’s advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women, which I reject as demeaning and infantilizing. My principal demand (as I have been repeating for nearly 25 years) is for colleges to confine themselves to education and to cease their tyrannical surveillance of students’ social lives. If a real crime is committed, it must be reported to the police. College officials and committees have neither the expertise nor the legal right to be conducting investigations into he said/she said campus dating fiascos. Too many of today’s young feminists seem to want hovering, paternalistic authority figures to protect and soothe them, an attitude I regard as servile, reactionary and glaringly bourgeois. The world can never be made totally safe for anyone, male or female: there will always be sociopaths and psychotics impervious to social controls. I call my system “street-smart feminism”: there is no substitute for wary vigilance and personal responsibility.

Briefly put, what is post-structuralism and what is your opinion of it?

Post-structuralism is a system of literary and social analysis that flared up and vanished in France in the 1960s but that became anachronistically entrenched in British and American academe from the 1970s on. Based on the outmoded linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and promoted by the idolized Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault, it absurdly asserts that we experience or process reality only through language and that, because language is inherently unstable, nothing can be known. By undermining meaning, history and personal will, post-structuralism has done incalculable damage to education and contemporary thought. It is a laborious, circuitously self-referential gimmick that always ends up with the same monotonous result. I spent six months writing a long attack on academic post-structuralism for the classics journal Arion in 1991, “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf” (reprinted in my first essay collection, Sex, Art, and American Culture). Post-structuralism has destroyed two generations of graduate students, who were forced to mouth its ugly jargon and empty platitudes for their foolish faculty elders. And the end result is that humanities departments everywhere, having abandoned their proper mission of defending and celebrating art, have become humiliatingly marginalized in both reputation and impact.

25 Dec 2014

Some People Hate Christmas

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LathamHunter
Latham Hunter

Latham Hunter (No, she’s not kidding) hates Christmas because Christmas is all about the patriarchy.

Pity the poor mother who wants to enjoy the holiday season and pass along the delight and warmth of various yuletide traditions but who doesn’t particularly want to put the Christ back in Christmas, as it were, or reinforce the notion that men are the foundation of the most important things in the world, like school vacations and presents.

It’s impossible to “do” Christmas without running into one patriarchal construct after another. Aside from singing the praises of a man who rules over everything (there really are the most gorgeous choral renditions out there), even the secular Christmas songs are ubiquitous in their praise of male characters: “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and of course, Santa Claus. Santa Claus, a white male who, by the way, gets all the credit for labour overwhelmingly done by women (I’m picturing my friend Kathleen, for example, describing her Plan A and Plan B for getting Minecraft Lego in her hands by Christmas Eve, hoping like hell that one plan works out, wondering if she should instigate a Plan C).

The holiday feminist challenge extends to every Christmas category. Sure, I have fond memories of watching movies of the season with my brother and my mother but now? Now I realize that Maria from “The Sound of Music” finds her true calling as a nurturing caregiver and ends up responsible for a man’s emotional rehabilitation.

Similarly, “White Christmas” resolves with the Hanes sisters teaching Bob and Phil that what they need is the love of a good woman to be happy — enough already with the emptiness of workaholism and playing the field! On its own, this might not be so problematic, but when you run into the same thing in myriad other classics, you wonder if it’s possible for kids to grow up NOT believing that girls should be men’s emotional handmaidens.

Read the whole thing (and laugh).

From Glenn Reynolds via Clarice Feldman.

25 Feb 2014

Isn’t That What the Party Was For?

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Let me get this straight… Ivygate reports that two Yale students complained of being “sexually assaulted” while attending a BDSM Party. What did they think those riding crops were for?

Last week, Yale students received two university-wide Clery Act emails informing them that two Yale students were victims of “sexual assault by an acquaintance, who is also a Yale student” at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on February 8th. February 8th was the night of the annual “Dom” party thrown by the Women in Power Society (WIPS), a secret society, which was held in the SigEp house.

The “Dom” party is an infamous, no-cellphones-allowed event. From what we hear, people dress up in BDSM gear and porn is projected on the walls as hot freshmen guys pass around drinks. Interestingly, it’s also generalized as one of the safer party SigEp hosts: there is a closed guest list with doors closing at 11 pm and everyone (besides those hot freshmen boys) is over 21-years-old.

For two assaults to happen on a night that typically gets by without major public notice is surprising–but only considering its history of safety. Dom is a party full of porn, S&M, and lots of alcohol, after all.

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The Oldest College Daily adds this:

Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins reported the two statements in separate emails to the University community on Feb. 19 and Feb. 21. The messages stated that the alleged assaults occurred at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, and the second email corrected the first by reporting that they were both said to have taken place on Feb. 8.

“I write to let [the University community] know that the Yale Police received an anonymous report today that a second Yale student was the victim of a sexual assault by an acquaintance, who is also a Yale student,” Higgins said in the Feb. 21 email.

On Feb. 22, President of the Yale Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter Andrew Goble ’15 issued a statement saying the fraternity allowed another student group to lease a room in its house for a private event on Feb. 8. The statement said the event was open to guests of that organization, which remained unnamed.

“The members of Yale’s SigEp chapter were shocked and saddened to hear allegations that sexual assault may have occurred in our facility on an evening when the chapter had leased event space to another campus organization,” Goble said in the statement. “At this time, SigEp does not believe that the allegations are against members of their chapter.” …

On the same night of Feb. 8, a private party in connection with the Women in Power Society (WIPS) senior society, took place at the SigEp fraternity house. Nine students interviewed said that party had a “dominatrix” theme. Several attendees declined to provide additional details about the annual party.

The WIPS said in a statement to the News, “We are not commenting out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved in this situation.”

A student who attended the party and spoke on the condition of anonymity said the WIPS’ mission is to promote female empowerment.

Oops! Somebody evidently got a bit too empowered.

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24 Jan 2013

Liberal Social Engineering and the US Military

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Leon Panetta

Former Defense Deputy Undersecretary Jed Babbin takes aim at Leon Panetta’s cowardly and disgraceful decision to put women into combat roles.

Panetta’s action will probably complete the destruction of the warrior culture on which the success of our military depends. That culture, developed over the past two thousand years or so, is not uniquely American but our brand of it is. Our warriors take pride in what they do because they do it for America and because they do it better than anyone else. Thus, one of the most important parts of that culture is the objective standards someone has to meet to qualify to join the combat arms.

Every Marine in a rifle platoon, every pilot in a squadron, every special operator has had to meet the standards set for all the others. At least they did until the services began to cave under political pressure to enable women to join combat units. …

Eleven years ago I wrote about the danger of “gender neutralizing” the objective tests for entry into combat arms. That article reported on a British Ministry of Defence study authored by Brigadier Seymour Monroe. In that study, Monroe reported that when the British were trying to fit women into combat roles, they “gender neutralized” — i.e., lowered — their standards so that women who couldn’t qualify under the men’s standards did so under their own.

Who can doubt that the Obama Pentagon will do exactly the same? Why should the men accept anyone — woman or man — who can’t make the same grade they did? They shouldn’t, and they won’t. It will destroy unit cohesion and pride.

That is the principal objection to what the Obama Pentagon is up to. And it will have two effects, both of which are a threat to our national security.

First, by pushing standards down to enable women to qualify, Obama’s Pentagon will reduce the units’ ability to fight. Our guys — and I use the term with malice aforethought — win because they’re better trained and more capable than the enemy. Whenever you reduce the qualifications, you reduce the level of capability and the unit’s ability to win. To lower standards is to increase the risk of defeat.

Second, whether or not standards are relaxed, allowing women into combat arms will break the spirit of many of our warriors whether they be ground pounders, airmen, or sailors.

Our guys do what they do — and do it so well — in part because they’re guys who are members of the most exclusive club in the world: the warriors, the real 1%’ers. Their club’s membership has been 100% men since before Thermopylae. These men understand that they are different — mentally and physically — from women and want to stay that way. They have wives and girlfriends at home. They don’t have them as fellow warriors who they train and fight alongside.

To put women among them would force them to break with their ancient customs, traditions, and beliefs. In short, it would fundamentally change what they are and how they function in combat. The price will be paid in resignations, in declining re-enlistments, and in lives and battles lost.

There’s one more aspect to this, which is the strain Panetta’s act will put on military families. When he decided to allow women to serve on submarines, a lot of Navy wives were really angry. They know their men, and they know that our elite submarine force would become a fleet of submersible Love Boats, and, in too many instances, they have.

What higher price will more military families pay when women are allowed into the rest of the combat arms, serving in remote places in tough conditions with the men beside them?

Panetta’s decision has to be stopped by House Republicans. They can do it if they bar the use of any authorized or appropriated funds for DoD to implement the Panetta policy, a provision that should be in every bill they pass until it becomes law. If they don’t, we should throw the lot of them out.

06 Jan 2013

“Don’t Listen to St. Paul!”

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04 Dec 2012

Ladies Playing Alphorns

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Alphorn playing used to be a male tradition, but today the ladies of the Werdenfelser Alphornblaeserinnen perform on the lengthy instruments touring across Southern Bavaria. NBC news.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

01 Nov 2012

The Feminist Version

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08 Sep 2012

Sandra Fluke and the Democrat Convention

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Mark Steyn puts Sandra Fluke’s speech to the DNC into perspective, identifying exactly which plimsoll mark Fluke represents as civilization sinks beneath the liberal waves. He also rather amusingly compares her to Lola Montez.

Sandra Fluke… completed her education a few weeks ago – at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light BS in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum – first job, first paycheck.

So this is America’s best and brightest – or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” – and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that Obamacare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars. Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. …

Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators – as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal adviser Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale. I hasten to add I’m not saying Miss Fluke is King Barack’s courtesan. For one thing, it’s a striking feature of the Age of Perfected Liberalism that modern liberals talk about sex 24/7 while simultaneously giving off the persistent whiff that the whole thing’s a bit of a chore. Hence, the need for government subsidy. And, in fairness to Miss Montez, she used sex to argue for liberalized government, whereas Miss Fluke uses liberalism to argue for sexualized government.

But those distinctions aside, like Miss Fluke, Miss Montez briefly wielded an influence entirely disproportionate to her talents. Like Miss Fluke, she was a passionate liberal activist who sought to diminish what she regarded as the malign influence of the Catholic Church. Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack.

29 Aug 2012

Establishment Media Responds to “Sex and God at Yale”

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If Nathan Harden is not working as a symbolist poet, he really needs a haircut.

My wife Karen was wondering what kind of critical reception Nathan Harden’s Sex and God at Yale was receiving.

Well, Gawker responded first, unleashing its most fearsome attack-pansy Hamilton Nolan to sneer and condescend all over it.

If you don’t have a book contract right this minute, you should very ashamed. Consider: Nathan Harden…, a 2009 graduate of Yale, not only got a book contract, but has already written and published his book, and that book is about how bad it is that kids are into sex things at Yale—a topic that a professional book publishing house presumably considered sufficiently interesting to pay Nathan Harden U.S. currency, to write it. …

Yale has a Sex Week where they have panels that discuss SEX and SEX THINGS with COLLEGE STUDENTS. And… seems like a good topic for an outraged book by a young man, right? Sure, sure. But wait—there’s more:

    Harden’s other examples of an institution run amok (an acting class run by a yoga fascist, a Spanish language class in which the professor shows a film with a lesbian sex scene) are revealing but not revealing enough to make one feel that an obsession with sex has turned Yale into a “great institution in decline – an institution of tremendous power and influence that is no longer aware of why it exists or for what purpose,” as Harden claims.

Not just sex discussion panels, but yoga and even very mildly racy films? Thank God someone has published this, in a book. The above paragraph is from a NYT book review, btw. Was your book reviewed in the NYT? No? Hmm.

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The New York Times Hanna Rosin pegs Hardin as a rube and a naif, while simultaneously indicating that his book-length indignation is really just a cynical careerist pose.

The conservative movement loves an innocent. Better yet if he has attended an Ivy League college and witnessed the debauchery of the elites firsthand. For this particular position, Nathan Harden, the author of “Sex and God at Yale,” possesses impeccable credentials. He was home-schooled, was already married when he got to college and had worshiped the institution so blindly that he was bound to be disappointed. …

Harden finds himself much in the same situation as Brad Majors at Dr. Frank N. Furter’s convention in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”; that is, a choirboy type faced with a cast of characters he had not at this point in his squeaky-clean life imagined existed. He sits in on a lecture called “Babeland’s Lip Tricks,” given by a burlesque performer named Darlinda, who leads the students in chanting unprintable words, and then demonstrates with great care and enthusiasm her whole foreplay array of lip, tongue and hand techniques. The fact that Yale lends its name and its classrooms to such a display is too much for Harden to stomach. He sits in the back where a couple of pervy professors are lurking, and watches his dreams die. …

Drinking the Ivy League poison is, of course, a great conservative tradition, a way for Young Turks to show they could be accepted into the elite even as they choose to set themselves apart.

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Newsweek’s Daily Beast (a sort of anti-conservative punditocratic gay bar and home of Andrew Sullivan and David Frum) rustled up a couple of recent grad sophisters to pooh-pooh the significance of Sex Week at Yale (Harden’s central theme).

It doesn’t matter, you see, that the Yale Administration throws open its major lecture halls to sex toy demonstrations, bondage displays, and career talks by pornographers and porn stars. No undergraduates are actually in attendance. Everyone is at class.

Yale students go to class.

You wouldn’t get that impression reading the article by our classmate Nathan Harden. His is a Yale of “sex-toy pageants, porn-star lectures, sadomasochism seminars, and fellatio demonstrations.” Those things did happen, during Sex Week at Yale: a 10-day event held biennially that most students don’t really attend because they have other stuff to do. Like go to class.

And, besides, if anyone were actually there and attending these particular events, it would be an educational exercise in deconstructing their significance. Porn is a major part of every Yale student’s life, and like everything else in the universe, porn must be talked about and studied.

In 2012, however, most Yale students have watched approximately a billion hours of porn by the time they matriculate, from hentai (anime porn) to scat (poopy porn) to crying (porn where people cry). And because porn, we agree with Harden, “isn’t just fantasy, it’s a powerful force shaping our culture,” it needs to be unpacked, just like King Lear, the Illiad (sic), and Moby-Dick.

Sex (in every shape and form) is dignified and legitimated as a topic of interest and study on the basis of its political relevance to the struggle of a major victim group for liberation.

For feminists in particular, sex can’t be a private affair. And indeed, for women throughout history, sex never has been (see Anne Boleyn and her inability to give Henry VIII a son).

That’s because sex is the site of most of the struggles that women face as women: rape, sexual harassment, reproductive rights, the pressure to be impossibly skinny (so people will have sex with you), the pressure not to be too aggressive or loud or ambitious (so people will have sex with you), the pressure not to have too much sex so you’re not a slut, the fact that so many women never have good sex at all (college women have orgasms half as often as men on repeat hookups). …

Public discussions of sexual culture don’t turn people sexist. They make them less sexist. And Yale gives lots of controversial issues a public airing, and controversial people a podium. …

This year, a group of Yale students organized a “True Love Week” to run alongside “Sex Week,” with events like “The Person as Gift,” “Chastity and Human Goods,” and a traditional date night. …

A “Sex Week” and a “True Love Week” vying for classroom space, and students talking and writing and caring about it—that’s a perfect expression of what Yale’s mission is today.

14 Apr 2012

Best Tweet This Week

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Hat tip to Vanderleun.

16 Mar 2012

Free Contraception as Appeal to Group Identity Politics

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When Sandra Fluke Becomes President.

Donald Sensing observes that the great paid-for-contraceptives brouhaha is intended by democrats to persuade silly women to vote on the basis of group politics.

In the Democrat mind, sex without sex’s consequences are the only thing that women should think about when they approach a voting booth. Finney and Thompson, et. al., actually think that unless the government makes sure that women’s sex lives are unencumbered, then a woman simply cannot manage her job, housing or children. Sex rules all else.

The Democrat party truly cannot comprehend a woman going to vote who is more concerned about the dent in her paycheck caused by $5-per-gallon gasoline than finding free condoms, or who worries about the future impoverishment of her children and grandchildren because of Obama’s borrow and spend binges more than she worries about buying the Pill, or whose most pressing concern is not sexual liberty, but a college-graduate son or daughter who has moved back to live with mom because s/he can’t find a job and therefore can’t make student loan payments and rent at the same time.

Not in the Dems’ world view is a woman who pays her mortgage every month but who know that her home’s market value is less than the mortgage principal remaining, and stupidly thinks that this is more important to her future (and thus her voting) than getting morning-after pills. There is no room in Democrat gender-identity politics for a woman who has been married to one man for 35 years and so never thinks about getting free contraceptives or an abortion (that is, what Dems say is “basic health care”) but who is intensely concerned with her elderly parents’ net worth falling as inflation rises.

No, these women simply do not authentically exist in the Democrat universe. Such women simply have not heard the full message that there should be nothing more important to a woman than sex, sex, sex.

To the Democrat party, women are simply sex objects, though with political and statist rather than fleshly purposes. But objects is all they are. That’s the real message that countless women get very well and strongly reject.

14 Sep 2011

Are Men Finished?

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50ftWoman

The big brains at Slate discuss “The End of Men,” the topic of an impending debate to be held at NYU on September 20th, featuring Hanna Rosin. Slate never even tells us who (or what) will be debating the negative on September 20th.

Hanna Rosin’s 2010 Atlantic cover story, “The End of Men,” was one of the most talked-about magazine articles in recent years. “Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind,” wrote Rosin, an award-winning journalist for Slate and the Atlantic. “But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed.” …

Why are men finished, exactly? Rosin says they’ve failed to adapt to a modern, postindustrial economy that demands a more traditionally—and stereotypically—feminine skill set (read: communication skills, social intelligence, empathy, consensus-building, and flexibility). Statistics show they’re rapidly falling behind their female counterparts at school, work, and home. For every two men who receive a college degree, three women will. Of the 15 fastest-growing professions during the next decade, women dominate all but two. Meanwhile, men are even languishing in movies and on television: They’re portrayed as deadbeats and morons alongside their sardonic and successful female co-stars. …

Rosin: The question I always have to respond to is, ‘[if women are taking over] why are there so many more men in power?’ If you look at Hollywood, or you look at the Fortune 500 list, or you look at politics, there’s a disproportionate number of men in the higher positions of power.

Slate: Why is that, then?

Rosin: Men have been at this for 40,000 years. Women have been rising for something like 30 or 40 years. So of course women haven’t occupied every single [high-powered] position. How would that be possible? The rise of women is barely a generation old. But if you look at everything else, like the median, the big bulge in the middle, it’s just unbelievable what has happened: Women are more than 50 percent of the workforce, and they’re more than 50 percent of managers. It’s just extraordinary that that’s happened in basically one generation. It seems like whatever it is that this economy is demanding, whatever special ingredients, women just have them more than men do.

This is the kind of analysis that is actually taken seriously by the scientific, intellectual American elite that is so much better qualified to make all the decisions for the rest of America.

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