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L.A. Got Billions For “Homeless Initiative”; Where Did The Money Go?

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(Via The Daily Wire)

Just before 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 6, flames raced up the hills adjacent to Los Angeles’ 405 freeway, shutting down one of the nation’s largest traffic arteries, destroying and damaging 18 homes, and scorching 422 acres.

Americans were awed by the fire-and-brimstone videos that morning commuters posted on social media. Angelenos were stunned by the smoke clouds pouring into the skies above their city.

Six days later, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced that the blaze was sparked by an illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment next to the 405, in the ritzy neighborhood of Bel-Air.

The revelation brought increased attention to what city and county officials acknowledge is a homelessness crisis, and what Mayor Eric Garcetti called the “moral issue of our time” in his April 2017 State of the City address.

The figures are grim: According to the official Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, done every January by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), in 2017, on any given night, there were 57,794 people experiencing homelessness, 42,828 of whom, 74%, were unsheltered.

That total number was 23% higher than 2016’s count, which itself saw a 6% jump from 2015. In those two years, the percentage of the total homeless population unsheltered on any given night was 74% and 70%, respectively.

Unsheltered, as in sleeping in tents, on sidewalks, beneath highway overpasses, and anywhere else that may provide some respite from the elements. Even in Los Angeles, nighttime temperatures routinely drop into the 40s and 50s.

As the nation’s second largest city, and one with a pleasant climate, it’s no surprise that L.A. has the second largest homeless population, behind New York City. Or that L.A. has a higher percentage of unsheltered people who are homeless than nearly any other city in the country.

But three-quarters?

In New York, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on any given night that January, 96% of the city’s 70,685 homeless were sheltered.

Why the stark difference?

The answer is simple: As much money as L.A. spends on homelessness, policymakers have no intention of providing enough homeless shelters to put a roof over homeless people’s heads. That means it has no mechanism to increase capacity when homelessness spikes, as it has in recent years in large part due to skyrocketing rents and a low vacancy rate.

A Los Angeles Times review of federal data found that while the nation’s 402 “homeless service areas” have about three beds for every four homeless people, L.A. has only one for every four, one of the nation’s lowest ratios.

Neither the city nor county builds or operates shelters, with few exceptions. Instead, private charities raise funds to operate shelters, and contractors bid for a shrinking pie of local and federal funds.

But the cost of running publicly-funded shelters has steadily increased, due in part to the county’s requirement that they provide more services than just shelter, including case management and rapid transition into permanent housing.

Peter Lynn, LAHSA’s executive director, told the paper that there were zero bidders last year for the agency’s shelter funds.

The result? In 2017 LAHSA counted 16,600 shelter beds. But removing beds that are only available seasonally, ones not available for drop-ins, and the cash payments for motels and rent that are counted as beds, there are only about 5,000 “on a moment’s notice, year-round” shelter beds available for over 57,000 homeless people. And while the latter figure keeps growing, the former keeps shrinking. There are fewer and fewer beds available for more and more homeless people.


This has caused not only a crisis for the homeless, but for the city as a whole.

Homeless encampments and tent cities have spread beyond their usual location in Skid Row, an area of downtown that Angelenos and their government have long accepted as a homeless neighborhood.

A shocking video posted online last month showed footage of Skid Row on Christmas Day captured by a car’s dash cam. As the Daily Mail described it, “Rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets. Tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night. Dozens of directionless residents congregating by the roadside and wandering into the road.”

But a drive through neighborhoods like Westlake, Hollywood, or Venice will also reveal areas — sometimes spanning entire city blocks — of shopping carts packed with clothing, rows of tents, and other makeshift shelters. Homeowners, business owners, and pedestrians in L.A. are left to deal with the various forms of disorder that inevitably follow.

A ‘FEMA-LIKE’ CRISIS

Conditions at homeless encampments have become so unsanitary that the city has installed toilets, handwashing facilities, and mobile showers at some sites. In September, county officials even declared an outbreak of Hepatitis A, a liver disease contracted through close person-to-person contact or in places contaminated with feces.

LAHSA’s 2017 homeless count showed that from the year prior, the number of tents and makeshift shelters jumped from 4,797 to 5,858 on any given night, a 22% increase. A Los Angeles Times report from June 2017 said L.A. public works crews have cleaned “16,500 homeless encampments since 2015, removing more than 3,000 tons of trash,” part of a $14 million cleanup effort.

A $14 million cleanup effort not designed to move homeless people into shelters or remove encampments, but to remove trash from the streets. Trash including litter, feces, drug paraphernalia, and weapons. Some cleanup sites are so hazardous that biowaste personnel spray the area with disinfectant.

After the crews disappear, the encampments often reappear in the same spot or set up shop nearby.

Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, told me Los Angeles should view its homeless problem as a “FEMA-like, Red-Cross-like crisis” that the city needs to address by providing more emergency shelters.

The Union Rescue Mission, located in Skid Row, is Los Angeles’s oldest, and one of the country’s largest rescue missions. It provides emergency services like shelter and meals, health clinics, therapy, job training, and Christian ministry.

They house over 900 men, women, and children every night, and serve over 3,000 meals every day. Their mode of operation is to help someone change their life, then help them hold down a job, then help them find a permanent place to live.

Right outside the mission’s entrance is a small tent-city, with homeless encampments lining the sidewalks for several blocks and homeless people wandering the streets. It’s a tragic sight to behold, just blocks from the downtown financial district, L.A. Live, and Staples Center.

Bales is diplomatic in his criticism of how Los Angeles has (or has not) handled its unsheltered homeless crisis, but he’s very clear.

“It is a no-brainer that we should provide space for everybody in need,” Bales said. “Leaving someone on the street for one night could alter their lives in a very negative way.”

Leaving someone on the street for one night could alter their lives in a very negative way.

-REV. ANDY BALES, CEO OF THE UNION RESCUE MISSION

Bales proposes that the city builds or funds a sufficient number of shelters and beds to house all of Los Angeles’ unsheltered homeless people, similar to New York City’s approach.

Failure to do so, he said, will all but consign many of Los Angeles’ temporarily homeless to the ranks of the chronically homeless.

By the time a man or a woman or an entire family gets to Union Rescue Mission, Bales said, they’ve gone through hell. Skyrocketing rent or a job loss pushed them out of their apartment. They ran out of cash staying in a hotel. They wore out their welcome sleeping at a friend’s or relative’s. They slept in their car until it broke down. They stayed on the streets until it broke them.

“By the time you’ve endured any one of those issues and you’ve spent time on the streets you are going to have mental health issues,” Bales said. Many of the people experiencing homelessness, he added, become drug addicts on the streets. It’s a form of self-medication to escape the reality of their despair.

Bales says many people experiencing homelessness in L.A. would “just need a short stay somewhere, and they can pull it back together in 60 days to 180 days to even a year.” But that timeline can get longer and longer for anyone who spends one night, one week, one month, or one year on the streets.

“They are going to be tomorrow’s chronically homeless adults,” Bales said.

HOW DID THINGS GET THIS BAD?

In retrospect, Los Angeles’s crisis seems all but inevitable, given its high cost of living, its decision to not provide enough shelters, and the city’s de facto acceptance of homeless encampments.

Encampments in Skid Row and beyond only became a recurring problem in recent years, but it stems from L.A.’s 2007 settlement with the ACLU.

The civil liberties group sued L.A. for arresting people who sleep on sidewalks, which is illegal according to section 41.18(d) of L.A.’s municipal code.

After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Los Angeles’s enforcement unconstitutional, the city settled with the ACLU, agreeing to not enforce the law between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m until another 1,250 permanent housing units were constructed.

That number was reached in 2015, but the city still doesn’t enforce the sidewalk law between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and routinely not between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. either. Even if it did, though, without enough shelters, enforcing the law would just mean turning Los Angeles’s jails into unofficial homeless shelters, which, to a certain extent, they already are.

For at least three years, there have been innumerable speeches, committee hearings, and photo-ops from the city’s and county’s politicians — the Mayor, the City Council, and the powerful County Board of Supervisors.

See Mayor Garcetti’s groundbreaking of a new publicly funded housing development that will provide 122 new units of what officials say will be permanent housing.

Or Councilman Gil Cedillo’s excursion with a local eyewitness news team to Elysian Park, home to several homeless encampments.

Or Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s op-ed in the Huffington Post, in which he calls on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for California’s homeless, who are “living in unspeakable conditions and under peril of illness, violence and death.”

“Leaving people unsheltered is costly to taxpayers, impacting law enforcement, health services, property values, and more,” Ridley-Thomas wrote.

With the exception of LAHSA and the office of Mayor Garcetti, no city or county officials — including every member of the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee — provided an interview or comment for this story, despite repeated requests.

Tom Waldman, LAHSA’s Director of Communications, said solving the homelessness crisis is “at the top of everybody’s list.”

“I don’t know that they can do anything that they’re not currently doing,” he said of policymakers. LAHSA is the largest local provider of homeless services, and carries out the policies implemented by voters, the City Council, and the County Board of Supervisors.

“Seeing a reduction in numbers [of homeless] is our goal,” Waldman said. “We have the resources in place to … achieve the results that people are going to expect.”

Los Angeles’s homeless budget ballooned from $18 million in fiscal year 2015-2016 to $138 million in fiscal year 2016-2017 to $180 million in fiscal year 2017-2018 — a 900% increase in two years, but still a fraction of the New York Department of Homeless Services budget of $1.4 billion.

In that same period, the number of homeless on any given night in Los Angeles went from 44,359 (31,025 unsheltered) to 46,874 (34,701 unsheltered) to 57,794 (42,828) — a 30% overall increase and a 38% increase in the unsheltered population. The sheltered population actually dipped 9% from 2015 to 2016 but, encouragingly, jumped 23% from 2016 to 2017.

HOUSING FIRST

Beginning last year, a portion of Los Angeles’s homeless budget for the next decade or so will include significant amounts of funding from two ballot propositions that voters approved, both of which are centrally focused on building permanent housing and providing homeless services.

As Waldman said, describing Los Angeles’s official position, “The best way to attack homelessness is to get people into permanent housing.”

Measure H, which passed with 69% approval, authorized a 0.25% sales tax over 10 years to “fund mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services.”

The tax should raise over $350 million annually, and the funds will comply with the L.A. County Homeless Initiative’s “Approved Strategies to Combat Homelessness.” The 130-page booklet outlines 47 strategies, one of which is to “enhance the emergency shelter system.”

Measure HHH, which passed with 77% approval, authorized the city to issue $1.2 billion in bonds ($1.9 billion with interest), mostly to build about 10,000 permanent housing units for low-income and chronically homeless people.

But as city controller Ron Galperin wrote in a September report, it will take years for Measure H and Measure HHH to have their full impact, and the permanent housing “won’t in and of themselves be sufficient to house all of our residents experiencing homelessness.”

In an August interview with sports commentator Bill Simmons, Mayor Garcetti said traffic and homelessness — L.A. leads the nation in both — are his “top two priorities” and “crowns we can lose.”

But can we?

Are the large, complex, long-term programs policymakers favor, like H and HHH, the most effective way to end the unsheltered homelessness crisis?

The “housing first” philosophy that L.A. practices may be laudable, but will it be effective? This approach premises that ending homelessness begins with providing permanent housing, whether someone’s homelessness is the result of something temporary — an illness or lost job — or something chronic and recurring, like substance abuse or a mental illness.

“Housing first” is increasingly popular nationwide. It’s even the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) official policy, championed by Secretary Ben Carson.

While proponents say “housing first” has proven to be the most effective way to end chronic homelessness, the results don’t paint such a simple picture.

Even Utah, the poster state for the movement’s stated success in reducing chronic homelessness to at or near “functional zero,” has been criticized for overstating its accomplishments, in part by using very technical terms like “chronic homelessness” and “functional zero.”

The working definition of “chronically homeless,” HUD’s definition, is to be homeless for a year or more, or to have at least four homeless episodes within three years. But the chronically homeless make up a small percentage of the homeless population in Utah, and under 25% nationwide.

“Functional zero” in the context of chronic homelessness is when at least as many chronically homeless people are being placed in homes as there are new chronically homeless people. So a city can reach functional zero chronic homelessness but still have thousands of people living on the streets.

Andy Bales says housing first advocates have done a good job “marketing” Utah’s stated success story, but that the idea that the state has solved homelessness is an “absolute lie.”

“They absolutely altered the facts and they went around the country saying, ‘Look how we solved it,’” Bales said. “If you don’t believe me just go visit Salt Lake City on the streets and you will see that that was absolutely marketing.”

“Since we made the change to housing first, people around the country say we’ve reduced homelessness. I don’t see that at all,” Bales said.

He doesn’t reject “housing first,” but says it’s not the right solution for many homeless people. And it’s the wrong one when it crowds out resources for emergency shelters. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, has slashed funding for homeless shelters.

But those shelters, as Bales pointed out to the Los Angeles Times, “put a roof over people’s heads while they wait for the housing to be built.”

They think, ‘Well we got a plan and that plan will eventually address it and that’s okay.’ That’s not okay.

-REV. ANDY BALES, CEO OF THE UNION RESCUE MISSION

That will take years in Los Angeles, and still won’t come close to housing the city’s unsheltered population.

The City Council is exploring a plan to temporarily house about 67 people in three trailers on city-owned downtown lots. But the trailers won’t be ready until the summer, and they will cost $2.3 million in the first year, and $1.3 million annually after that. The cost of $19,402 per person is more expensive than annual median rent in many L.A. neighborhoods.

Anna Bahr, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, said Los Angeles is “moving as quickly as possible to simultaneously build permanent supportive housing and create emergency shelters that house homeless Angelenos while they wait for new apartments to open up.”

“The shelters the City is focused on are specifically designed to serve as bridges to permanent supportive housing. The shelter opening on Lot 5 is supplied with intensive case management services — ranging from mental health to drug and alcohol treatment — that will help homeless Angelenos stabilize and move into permanent homes as quickly as possible,” Bahr wrote in an email to The Daily Wire.

Nevertheless, as evidenced by their actions, Los Angeles’s elected officials are not going to be able to solve the unsheltered homelessness crisis in the foreseeable future.

As the head of the L.A. County Homeless Initiative, Phil Ansell, told the Los Angeles Times in September, “The simplistic response of saying, ‘Why don’t we put 47,000 people into shelter?’ — we’re not going to do that.”

That decision, though, means that Los Angeles may spend well over $1 billion in the coming years to solve homelessness, but that the crisis of tens of thousands of people living on the streets every night may remain a crisis.

“They think, ‘Well we got a plan and that plan will eventually address it and that’s okay,’ ” Bales said. “That’s not okay.”

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Bill Maher Defends Kavanaugh

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(via Zerohedge)

On his show Friday night, Bill Maher and his panel got into a heated debate over the “new” allegations about Brett Kavanaugh – yes, the ones even his accuser can’t remember. Maher even turned on his liberal comrades, adopting the position that rehashing events from when Kavanaugh was 17 years old hurt the Democrats in 2018… and could hurt them again.

Citing polling from 2018, Maher said that Democrats could have done better in the midterm elections had it not been for the Kavanaugh hearings: “People did not like going after a guy for what he did in high school. It looked bad and now Democrats are talking about impeaching him again?” Maher said.

Guest Andrew Sullivan seemed to agree. “He probably did some shitty things in high school drunk,” he said.

And when liberal guest Heather McGhee tried to jump in, asking “May the woman please speak about what this felt like?”, Sullivan shot her down immediately: “Please don’t play that card. You’re making my point.”

When Kavanaugh’s temperament was brought up, Sullivan responded: “You try maintaining a good temperament when you’re being accused of something, you had no idea it was coming at you, came at the last minute, and that happened years and years and years ago.”

As McGhee tried to make the point that being a Supreme Court justice isn’t just a “normal job”, Maher immediately fired back: “So you’re saying at 17 you have to have your fully formed character?”

He continued: “Live in reality, man! That’s who they put up. We don’t have the votes, and now we lost seats! Are we gonna do it again? Ruth Bader Ginsburg said glowing things about him… What were you like at 17?”

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WATCH: President Trump Condemns White Supremacy And Racism

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President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump condemned white supremacy, racism, and bigotry in an address to the nation Monday at the White House following a series of mass shootings across the nation during the weekend, which left 20 people dead in El Paso, Texas and 9 more dead in Dayton, Ohio.

The president specifically condemned white supremacy and other hateful ideologies and called for red-flag laws which would allow law enforcement officials and family members of an unstable individual to petition state courts to have firearms removed from a household.

“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate,” President Trump said Monday at The White House. “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

Prior to his speech on Monday, President Trump took to Twitter to slam the mainstream media and accused them of inciting domestic terror attacks.

“The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” he wrote on Twitter. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”

A 21-year-old man opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas early Saturday morning, killing 20 people and injuring 26 others — in what federal and state investigators labeled a “domestic terror case.” Crusius posted a racist, hate-filled manifesto on 8-chan, a message board frequented by white supremacists hours before the shooting, federal investigators confirmed Sunday.

Texas state prosecutors took the lead on the case, charging Crusius with capital murder on Sunday. Crusius will likely receive the death penalty if convicted.

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, are considering charging Crusius with hate-crimes and domestic terror-related charges — each of which is eligible for the death penalty.

“I’ve been in close consultation with US Attorney General [William] Barr,” U.S. Attorney John Bash said on Sunday. “We are conducting a methodical investigation with our partners, a careful investigation but with a view towards bringing federal hate crimes charges and federal firearms charges that carry a penalty of death.”

“We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case, and we’re gonna do what we do to terrorists in this country which is deliver swift and certain justice,” he added.

This is a developing news story. Please refresh the page for updates.

 

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Opinion

News flash! Women’s Lives Now More Than Bearable

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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.

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