I know what you’re thinking. How can a feminist not unconditionally support #MeToo, arguably one of the most significant manifestations of the late 18th, early 19th-century feminist movement? Before you jump to numerous conclusions about how privileged I am or what direction my moral compass is pointing in, consider that there are many women, even victims of rape, who have qualms about #MeToo. And with good reason.
The first time I heard about the #MeToo movement was when actress Alyssa Milano came out with allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. My timeline exploded with one key phrase common to all posts: “#MeToo…” CBS News reported that the hashtag was tweeted nearly one million times in only 48 hours. About 4.7 million Facebook users globally posted over 12 million posts, comments, and reactions in less than 24 hours. At first glance, I thought, “Brilliant! Women are banding together to call out the toxic and perverted degenerates who have hurt them.” This was inspiring.
In what seemed like a matter of just minutes, more and more women began speaking out. Behind every woman who publicly made an accusation of sexual assault, an accusation that should never be taken lightly, there was an accused man. A filmmaker here. A Congressman there. Producers, coaches, actors, athletes, network analysts, chefs, political figures, businessmen, conductors, journalists, average Joes, you name it. All of these men…sexual predators? While it’s certainly true that there are disgusting and abhorrent men like Harvey Weinstein who have assaulted multiple women, there must be many more than just a small handful of men accused of sexual assault by the millions of women who came out as victims. Behind every single #MeToo post in the world, there is supposedly a morally corrupt, perverted, and sick sexual predator who caused immense pain and trauma.
It occurred to me that, if this is true, previous generations must have done something fundamentally wrong in raising the men of today. All of these men have somehow been conditioned to sexually assault as a product of upbringing, culture, and/or education. #MeToo’s contention is that close to 18 million women have been sexually assaulted since 1998. This then must mean that slightly fewer, considering some men assault multiple women, than nearly 18 million men are criminals. This just doesn’t make sense! That number is too high to be plausible. When I think about the 1 in 5 statistic that I heard so often before starting college three years ago, I also think about all the men I’ve encountered on Duke’s campus. How many of them are sexual predators? I believe that very, very few actually are. #MeToo, and the modern-day feminist movement in general, has turned into a man-hating frenzy, instilling fear in men lest they exhibit any behavior towards a woman that can potentially be called “sexual assault.”
I recently read a New York Times article reporting that Mia Merrill, a feminist and former art history student, began an online petition to take down a 1938 painting by the artist Balthus from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art because it depicted a young girl in a “sexually suggestive pose,” which apparently constituted sexual assault. The petition had thousands of signatures. This ridiculous story reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend over dinner during winter break last year. We were talking about the image of modern-day feminism and she recounted her experience of what she directly called “sexual assault,” which went something like this:
“Last week, I was assaulted. I was sitting in a cafe and a man I had never seen before came up to me and told me I had really beautiful eyes. He continued to stare at me for about a minute before he left, and I felt very uncomfortable.”
What these two stories have in common is that they are heavily misleading. The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “sexual activities that occur without the explicit consent of the recipient, such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.” To say that experiences like that of Ms. Merill or my friend constitute sexual assault and have just as much gravitas as any other experience of sexual assault is offensive to real victims. The #MeToo movement’s conflation of someone being catcalled on the street and Annabella Sciorra being violently raped by Harvey Weinstein is highly problematic. In failing to make an essential distinction between nuanced sexual experiences, the movement is undermining itself by giving so much attention to radicals who claim that sexual assault can mean anything from a nonconsensual touch on the arm (or bad sex) to forced penetration.
While it may seem as if such outrageous stories are rare, they’re actually more prevalent than we think. Their ubiquity makes sense. Why? Because it is highly, highly improbable that so many men, all the men who #MeToo blames, are sick enough to actually commit an atrocity like sexual assault. It makes no sense for all of these men to bear even the slightest resemblance to a monster like Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics physician and child molester who sexually abused more than 150 women and was recently sentenced to 40-175 years. My contention is that women are prescribing a very loose definition to sexual assault and this “anything goes” mentality is hurting legitimate victims. Just like the story about the boy who cried wolf, there are only so many times women can cry assault before people stop listening. They not only stop listening, but they also begin to question the legitimacy of certain complaints that are, in fact, very valid.
As a traditional feminist, I believe women should be strong. They should certainly fight for their rights, but not demand special privileges to compensate for the years of oppression women endured when they didn’t have the right to vote or when marital rape was legal. As a feminist, I want feminism to be taken seriously. But assigning victimhood to an entire gender is not feminism; it’s a bad idea. It’s a reason to not be taken seriously. Calling millions of men sexual predators and condemning masculinity as a propeller of sexual assault is not feminism; it’s just making women look weak. Marching around calling people names and wearing pussy hats is not feminism; it’s failing to realize that we are undermining the struggles of actual victims.
No one is arguing that sexual assault shouldn’t be talked about. It has been and to this day remains an extremely important issue, objectively. But let’s not forget how blessed we are to be women living in America. We live in a country where today, everyone is equal before the law. Our ancestors have fought tirelessly so that women can have access to countless opportunities and enjoy the same privileges as men. Our ancestors have fought courageously so that a young girl growing up in society today knows that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Women comprise 60% of students on college campuses nationwide and win more than 80% of custody battles. Meanwhile, in Africa, Asia, and South America, over 30 million girls will never have the opportunity to attend even a single day of school. It is objectively true that American women as a collective are of the most privileged in the world.
The only way the #MeToo movement can become a better movement is if feminists are more-open minded to criticism. Yes, the stories are personal and incredibly important, but that’s exactly why we should be striving to create a movement that serves those stories justice and doesn’t blow everything out of proportion. We need to take off our rose-colored glasses and recognize that #MeToo is not flawless just because it deals with an important cause. It needs to be better. Much better.
Does that mean trying to work with our President, despite disagreeing with him, instead of constantly labeling him as a misogynist and refusing to even consider anything he says or does? Does that mean listening to conservative women and realizing that they, too, believe it or not, have very important things to say? Does that mean taking a step back from being so self-absorbed in our “daily struggles as women in the United States” and paying more attention to women in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe, recognizing that our privilege puts us in a position to make their lives better? Does that mean hesitating before making an incredibly strong accusation like sexual assault? Does that mean being loud, strong, and resolute, but also open-minded, grounded, and rational? I think yes.
News flash! Women’s Lives Now More Than Bearable
This is a contentious time for feminism. In the age of #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the Weinstein effect, just a few of the many products of the fourth-wave feminist movement, women are continuing to push forward a certain narrative about men and the Western culture’s effect on women in general. It seems as if the conversation surrounding women and gender equality has seeped into virtually every realm of life: politics, culture, religion, and even medicine and technology. Fourth-wave feminists are expressing their distrust in men in many ways…celebrities are calling out sexual predators in front of public audiences, politicians are using sexual assault as a political tool, and students are marching and demonstrating. Corporations, eager to jump on the “let’s make a political statement” bandwagon, are even using sexual assault as a marketing tool, spouting controversial messages about toxic masculinity and the like. A prime example is the recent Gillette ad, which garnered more than 19 million views on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Many women are also writing about feminism. One example of this is an article, written last year in celebration of International Women’s Day, that has been circulating on social media for the past few months. The article, entitled “100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable” and authored by Dani Beckett, has been shared more than 300,000 times since its publication in March 2018. While we would not exactly call it “viral,” it is no secret that the article’s contents are becoming increasingly normalized, currently believed by a meaningful number of female millenials. Beckett’s article was published in Broadly, a subset of Vice Media, a digital media and broadcasting company that launched Vice, the Canadian-American print magazine that gave rise to Broadly. Broadly, a heavily leftist channel catering to women and designed to “provide a space for us to understand, express, and navigate our identities as we define who we are and where we’re headed next,” has quite a solid readership.
After I kept encountering the article on Facebook for several months, I figured it was probably worth a read, but before reading it, I could not help but linger on the title. How to make women’s lives more…bearable? Bearable means tolerable, able to be endured, not even touching the realm of pleasurable or happy. The title implies that women in this country are struggling so much that someone desperately needs to make their lives “more bearable.” In a country where the vast majority of workplace fatalities befall men, the chief victims of non-fatal violence are men, men make up three quarters of all murder victims, women are outperforming men at all levels of education (they even outnumber men at most medical schools), women win custody battles, and women legally win half the earnings and belongings in a household, apparently women’s lives are not yet bearable enough. I was confused, but intrigued, and proceeded to make my way down the long list of male-targeted demands, some of which are too good not to highlight.
The article is written in an incredibly patronizing tone, as if men in America need to be taught that forcing sex upon a woman is probably not a good idea, as if they apparently grew up in a society that conditioned them to rape. The first item on Beckett’s list is, “Before explaining something to a woman, ask yourself if she might already understand. She may know more about it than you do.” Well, is that not general logical advice for anyone? I know the point is to call men out for supposedly always trying to explain things to a woman, but if you are versed in the basic tenets of communication, then it must be the case that you know not to prematurely lecture someone on a topic you suspect they are already well-versed in, regardless of their gender. And let us suppose this is not the case and you have a habit of being didactical when not needed. Well, then this advice should certainly go for everyone, not just men. The point is, gender has nothing to do with it. There is no evidence that men are somehow more likely than women to try to explain something to women, simply because they are women, before considering whether those women might actually understand the topic. Fourth-wave feminists are pushing the narrative that men inherently feel entitled and better than women, so they feel it necessary to always explain things to a woman without thinking if she might already understand. It is a dangerous and baseless narrative to push forward. While it was certainly true fifty years ago when male professors would not even call on their female students in lecture, today, men DO listen to women, whether they like it or not. By virtue of the professional empowerment of women, which has become normalized in Western society, men listen to women explain things to them every single day. Consider this: women now hold 49% of total faculty positions in American colleges and universities. Women lecture, and men listen.
Beckett then states, “Related: Never, ever try to explain feminism to a woman.” Well, what if she’s wrong? Beckett would tell you, “Trust women. When they teach you something, do not feel the need to go and check for yourself. And especially do not Google it in front of them.” So, if she’s wrong, it doesn’t matter. No one cares about facts anyway. Women are so privileged that they now also have the right to be wrong and to lie without getting called out. This is an important reminder of “Believe all women,” the Left’s mantra during the infamous Kavanaugh controversy. If you feel the need to check something JUST because the person who explained it to you is a woman, then maybe you need to treat your misogyny and perhaps Beckett’s list is actually for you. But we live in a society where women are leaders in every sphere – politics, business, medicine, science, the law. At this point, men get it. The need to overpower women, of which remnants will perhaps always exist, has largely dissipated through the years as evidenced by the fact that women now control 60% of the wealth in the United States, for example. If men are such misogynists, why are they collectively not fighting tooth and nail to tear down successful women? Certainly some are, but it’s virtually impossible to prove patriarchy-enforcing men outnumber matriarchy-enforcing women. Instead of acknowledging that, fourth-wave feminists are resorting to feelings, as opposed to facts, to craft their man-hating narrative. What’s more, they are lowering their standards for women.
Clearly, men and women are different, no matter what radical feminists want you to believe. But even though they are different, every society is founded upon a standard set of basic principles and values that every human, regardless of identity, should be obligated to follow in order to preserve civility. Lying does not all of a sudden become okay for a woman if it’s not okay for a man because women should not get special privileges. That is why Dani Beckett is also mistaken in suggesting “Be kind to women in customer service positions. Tip them extra.” Because they are a woman? This sentiment points directly to the pinnacle of feminists’ hypocrisy. Feminists want women to be treated equally, which naturally entails holding them to the same standards as men. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, if you don’t do your job well, then you should not be tipped extra. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, your customers should be nice to you if you do your job well because that’s the right thing to do.
Next on Beckett’s list is a whole compilation of demands centered around how to describe women. She states, “Examine your language when talking about women. Get rid of ‘irrational, dramatic, bossy, and badgering immediately.” This implies that women cannot be any of these things, which they most certainly can. Or perhaps it implies that they can be some or all of these things but they should not be called out for it, which once again, means that according to Beckett, we should hold women to a lower standard. Let’s be clear, women should not get free passes just because they are women and their ancestors have suffered through years of misogyny and oppression. If feminists want true equality, then they should not be cutting women slack and lowering their standards for women out of pity. Women are perfectly capable of meeting those standards. Pushing forward women’s rights legislation should not be done out of a need to prop up identity politics. Women deserve equal rights not because they are women, but because they are humans.
If that was not enough, Beckett certainly has more! “Never comment on a woman’s body,” she says. When describing women positively, men should say she is “talented,” “clever” or “funny,” but not “gorgeous” “sweet” or “cute.” Men also cannot call her unique, and “unlike other girls” because all girls are awesome. Long gone are the days when it was flattering for a woman to be told she has a nice physical appearance. And long gone are the days when men were allowed to make their physical attraction, the very basis of biological reproduction, known to women. I am assuming Beckett wants men to assign more value to women than their physical appearance, which is understandable, but assigning more value to personality and assigning some value to physical appearance are not mutually exclusive acts. A 2017 study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that most women are likely to choose physical attractiveness over personality and intelligence in potential partners. For a group of people who supposedly hate double standards, fourth-wave feminists sure do love double standards.
And now we arrive at the scariest portion of Beckett’s list: the postgenderism demands. Beckett states, “If you read stories to a child, swap the genders. Cast women in parts written for men. We know how to rule kingdoms, go to war, be, not be, and wait for Godot.” Right, and that is exactly why the parts of Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Daenerys Targaryen, Mulan, and many, many more have been written. To show that women can indeed rule kingdoms, go to war, and do pretty much anything. Fourth-wave feminists are called “fourth-wave” because they are not the first. The women of the past have already proven that women are powerful and can rule kingdoms. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel by going to extreme measures (i.e. swapping genders) to show something that everyone, barring exceptions, already knows. Perhaps, then, the point of swapping genders is not so much to normalize powerful, masculine women. It is, in fact, to get rid of gender roles altogether. My prediction is that postgenderism will pave the way for fifth-wave feminism.
So why is one article like this one so important? It’s maybe just the opinion of one woman. Except it’s not. Between 70 and 80 percent of college women currently identify as feminists. The contents of Beckett’s article are at least somewhat representative of the mentality of young women in America today, even if some shy away from the label “feminist.” I fear that this association we have started to develop between feminism and fourth-wave values, some of which are exemplified in this article, will only become stronger until, eventually, first and second-wave feminists are shut out entirely. Women who are pro-life are shut out entirely. Women who want other women to be held accountable are shunned and considered anti-feminist. Criticizing obesity, pointing to false allegations of sexual assault, challenging the misconceptions surrounding the pay gap, holding conservative views about female sexuality, and acknowledging core differences between men and women will become wholly incompatible with any definition of feminism. Women should be encouraged to be strong, not feed their victimization complexes. Women should be encouraged to listen to other women, even if they disagree. Fourth-wave feminist indoctrination should not be something we stand for if we want to actually help gender equality.
Mr. President, nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is expected to tender her resignation from the Supreme Court tomorrow, according to my sources.
There was a moment, in the early afternoon on July 9. 2017, when conservatives contemplated the delightful possibility that they might witness the best possible version of President Trump — the man with the will (and flair for the dramatic) that would allow him to be bolder than the average Republican president. The best version of Trump would have nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Would another Republican have the guts to put forward a nominee who would so clearly inflame the culture wars? Would another Republican president shatter the GOP nominee mold by selecting a mother of seven kids, an outspoken Christian and a graduate from a “normal” non-Ivy League law school? The base-motivating, electrifying pick was right there, in the palm of his hand.
Then, he went establishment. He chose a man that any Republican president would have nominated. He made the best safe choice he could: Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Make no mistake, there is a lot for conservatives to like about Kavanaugh. He dissented from the D.C. Circuit’s opinion upholding the District’s ban on semiautomatic rifles. He has written powerfully in opposition to the excesses of the administrative state and in favor of the proper separation of powers. He has been solid on free speech and religious liberty. He pushed through bogus allegations of sexual misconduct by a lying deranged woman: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — and Trump stood by him in a moment of crisis.
In many ways, Kavanaugh is the elitists’ elitist. He is a double Yale graduate — from both Yale University and Yale Law School — he clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and he’s well known as a “feeder judge” for Supreme Court clerks. Before he was nominated to the federal bench, he worked for solicitor general Kenneth W. Starr during the George H.W. Bush administration, worked for Starr during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations, and worked for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006.
There is arguably no better-credentialed nominee in all of conservative America, and a small army of his former law clerks have been busy writing — publicly and privately — in defense of their former boss, assuring conservatives that he will be the court’s next intellectual giant.
Kavanaugh is the Ben Shapiro of conservative pundits.
Yet the Kavanaugh pick has been greeted with an ever-so-slight sigh of disappointment. Yes, there are the critiques of his record. In Seven-Sky v. Holder, he dissented from the majority opinion upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, but he did so by holding that the suit was barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, in a ruling that bolstered the Obama administration’s ultimately successful claim that the Obamacare penalty was truly a tax.
In Priests for Life v. Department of Health and Human Services, Kavanaugh wrongly held that the government had a “compelling interest” in “facilitating access to contraceptives” for employees of the specific religious plaintiffs in the case. That conclusion wasn’t required by Supreme Court precedent, and it cheapened the very concept of a “compelling governmental interest.” After all, religious employers have broad latitude to limit their employees’ conduct, and the government has little legal authority to meddle in the organization’s religious mission.
But, truth be told, Kavanaugh’s record isn’t the main reason for the flash of conservative regret. Give a judge a paper trail long enough, and he’ll decide cases that ignite controversy. No, the reason for the regret runs a bit deeper. Especially for America’s Christian conservatives, a potential Barrett nomination represented a chance for an important cultural moment — an opportunity for the best of young professional Christians to face the worst of progressive antireligion bias and prevail on the largest possible stage.
If “the dogma” could “live loudly” within her, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) famously told Barrett, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, at her confirmation hearing two years ago, and she could ascend to the Supreme Court, then she would quite possibly become the conservative folk-hero equivalent of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s not just that Barrett is qualified; she is. It’s that conservative Christians see her as qualified and a person they felt like they know. In many ways, her life story was their life story. They, too, belonged to communities of believers like People of Praise. They, too, went to schools like the University of Notre Dame.
Trump had — right in front of him — the judge who could be populist and principled; the person who could galvanize the base and be an originalist judicial bedrock for the next 30 years.
Now, in what is bound to be another crucial moment in American history, Trump has another chance: Mr. President, nominate Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Virtue Signaling: Mollie Tibbetts Mother Adopting ‘Immigrant’ With Connections To Daughter’s Murderer “Sick Stunt”
It was announced that Mollie Tibbett’s Mother, the girl who was missing from Iowa which ensued nationwide coverage and rewards and was apparently found dead at the hand of an illegal immigrant, has adopted an immigrant with connections to her daughters murderer.
The mainstream media swooned her actions, many commentators generally said it showed compassion, that it showed she’s better than the ‘political rhetoric’ and to some this is totally normal and a benefit.
However to others this is nothing but a show of virtue signaling political rhetoric, masked as a good-will action and is a sick stunt to gain political attention and simply make a political point, especially morally correct point.
Many are shocked and thinking that when someone’s daughter was killed by somebody whose physical self was illegal in this Country by existing laws that aren’t being enforced and goes ahead and houses someone whose connected within the 2nd degree, almost directly, to the illegal immigration that was causation for the direct cause of harm on a close family member, a direct blood relative, her offspring.
This should be no surprise however as the father also made surprisingly derogatory remarks bashing the people of Iowa by comparing them to Mexicans as people who have “better food”.