March 11, 2016

"Men are enemies and oppressors of women, sexual intercourse is an act that 'perfectly expresses' male domination..."

"... every male is potentially a rapist, male and female roles are the 'pathology of oppression,' and sex roles must be destroyed — this is what feminists believe. If you do not believe these things, guess what? You are not a feminist."

Robert Stacy McCain makes an argument for a very strong and quite offensive definition of feminism.

This is an interesting form of argument, where you take a central term that people have infused with various meanings, adapting it to their preferences and purposes, and present evidence that the truest, most historically accurate meaning of that term refers to things that those who've been embracing it would find repellent.

One post down, we see something similar in Garry Kasparov's argument — aimed at Bernie Sanders supporters — about socialism.

I'm interested in words, and I go back, as I do so often, to my personal favorite go-to wordsmith, Bob Dylan. As soon as I wrote the sentences you see above, this verse played in my head:
A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now 
"Equality," that's your word, and it's suppressing a better word: "liberty." Watch out for those untrustworthy oldies who are calling you to ruin with their word "equality." You know what's really happening under the "equality" banner? Well, let me tell you.

Signed,

A state-ordained professor.

72 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. That old time Revolution, it's good enough for me.

And then along came Napoleon Bonaparte. Now all together we will sing La Marseillaise. Le Jour Gloire est arrives.

But Women Seals are now here.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Sounds about right. As far as I can tell from Salon and all the SJW garbage that's written and tweeted theses days. That certainly the caricature now that "feminism" means what the SJWs use it to mean.

Gahrie said...

McCain's definition most certainly applies to the form of feminism that is practiced and taught at our colleges and universities today.

Bill Peschel said...

McCain is merely quoting the founding mothers of feminism and carrying their beliefs to their logical conclusion.

To most women, feminism doesn't mean that at all. They think it means equality and freedom to choose the course of one's own life.

Of course, feminism as practiced by these mullahs is not that at all.

The question is whose definition of feminism should we use?

buwaya puti said...

I have followed McCains arguments on his blog and have his (quite short) book "Sex Trouble" on the topic. His argument boils down to - feminism can be defined as that which is taught in university womens studies courses, as that is what the substance of it really is, as whatever rigorous thinking about it exists there if anywhere. If so, then what he says is correct, he makes quite a good case about what is being taught in the typical women's studies course. It's sort of, using a church analogy, that Catholicism is what is being taught to priests vs what the parishioners believe. And there is, to a degree, some disconnect between academic theology and what the laiety think.
I take it, using the priest analogy, that you are of the feminist laiety.

Bill Peschel said...

I should add, for those who don't visit his site regularly, that he read a number of books by these feminists and quoted them chapter and verse. This is not something he pulled out of thin air.

Frankly, I find McCain a crank; but that doesn't make him wrong.

Robert Cook said...

The "sex is rape" assertion dates back to and possibly originates with deceased radical feminist Andrea Dworkin. It remains as nutty a proposition now as then.

AlbertAnonymous said...

...and being "offended" by his view/articulation sounds about right too. Offensive. Everything with which we don't agree is "offensive".

tim in vermont said...

Quoting that line from Dylan is why I think Althouse is an "honorary conservative." I know she really isn't one, but you know what? Hippies believed in human freedom more than most, somehow their love for liberty got bought off by the socialists who gave them libertine-ism as a weak substitute, like Coffee Rich for cream.

holdfast said...

McCain is really doing what many politicians do to embarrass their opponents, but with a twist - instead of quoting a politician's most unhinged supporters, he's quoting feminism's most unhinged founders and scholars. Which pretty much makes sense if you think about it.

Sebastian said...

"Hippies believed in human freedom more than most," That's why so many opposed income taxes, FICA, subsidies for home owners, businesses, retirees, the disabled. Because freedom.

McCain/academic feminism and lay feminism differ but represent ends of a spectrum. It is not about equality or liberty but justice: as a normative proposition, feminism is the idea that women should get what they deserve. What they deserve is 1. to turn the tables on men, as compensation for past injustice 2. more, because. Rhetorical strategies in support of it just vary in intensity at different ends. "Male sex = rape" demands more table-turning etc.

buwaya puti said...

What would be interesting is a response to McCain from a Women's Studies department, and one exists, I suppose, in Madison. A statement of what actually is in their curriculum, to what degrtee they approve of the ideology that McCain has distilled from the textbooks and required readings, and what, in detail, consists the creed which their professors profess.
This is the form of a correct response to McCain.
Christian apologists have been writing such for thousands of years.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

This is an interesting form of argument, . . ."

If by interesting you mean annoying and all too common, then I agree with you.

rhhardin said...

Equality is everybody getting together and eating the seed corn.

buwaya puti said...

Holdfast, that is not what McCain is claiming.
His point isn't just to quote the extreme, but to claim that the extreme is the mainstream in the academic manifestation of feminism. That these are the true articles of faith of that religion, as they are the actual beliefs of the clergy.

RLB_IV said...

“…sexual intercourse is an act that ‘perfectly expresses’ male domination…”
Ha, not when she’s on top.

Laslo Spatula said...

Mr. Jones, Diversity Seminar Instructor...

I see all the men rolling their eyes: another diversity class foisted on them in the workplace, how the Hell can they expect anyone to get anything done? Yeah, I get it...

You see guys, it's simple: Women are your Equals. That doesn't mean that they are the same as you, but they ARE your equals. Both 2+2 and 3+1 equal four, you follow...?

I realize you are all engineers, and that women aren't usually good at that kind of thing, but that does not mean that you are better than them: it just means that you are better than them at Math. See the distinction...?

We only have an hour here, so I'm going to keep things simple...

Point Number One: stop staring at her tits. I mean, I can appreciate great tits when I see them, and women in the workplace love them their cleavage now, but you gotta keep your eyes up in the general vicinity of their face, especially if they are talking. When they walk away maybe you can sneak a glance at their ass, but keep it sly, fellas -- two seconds is a second too long...

Point Number Two: Women have the same right to be wrong as men do. Just because it seems they are wrong more often doesn't mean you can stop listening to them. And when they are wrong, don't be patronizing. I know, I know: this is a tough one. What can I say? Practice, guys, practice...

Point Number Three: you are not the one to blame things on her period. SHE can, but -- for you -- off limits, no matter how bitchy the women might get. This subject might seem to belie the point of Equality, but it really is a trade-off: women live longer than men, but most of those extra years probably add up to all the weeks of her life of menstrual cramps...

Point Number Four: you are NEVER going to fuck that Intern. It ain't gonna happen. So don't be trying to take her to Lunch and shit, just accept that she makes your balls ache and leave it at that; spank it off in the toilet stall if you must...

There are other Points to come, but I figure now is a good time for a coffee break. And -- gentlemen -- don't ask the women to get you your coffee, that hasn't been there job for over twenty years. Or ten, depending what state you live in...

I am Laslo.

Bob said...

I have read this post twice now, and I have absolutely no idea what Althouse's point is.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This is an example of the "weak-man fallacy", which is just like the straw-man fallacy except that instead of tarring your opponents by association with a wholly made-up example, you use an actually existing but wildly atypical one. More here.

buwaya puti said...

Paul Zrimsek,
As above, the real question is whether this actually is a "weak man fallacy". McCain attacks academic feminism. Is he presenting their ideology (that of the academic subset) fairly?

Fabi said...

On first pass of Cook's 9:15 I thought it read "...diseased radical feminist Andrea Dworkin." Diseased or deceased are both appropriate.

Thanks for the inadvertent laugh assist, Robert!

Oso Negro said...

Liberty or equality, pick one. We will have blood in the streets over it soon enough.

dustbunny said...

I assume Persona; is a typo but an interesting one. My Back Pages is about personas.

Amexpat said...

Is Betamax now back in the guise of Laslo? Betamax's stand up comedy routines were top notch stuff.

sydney said...

I remember in my youth reading a description of sex that went like that. It was in a novel, but I can't recall the name of the book or the author. It struck me as an odd way to interpret sexual intercourse. Why not see it as an embrace rather than attack? You could even imagine it as a woman taking in an possessing a man totally. And isn't that what often happens?

chickelit said...

Bob Dylan wrote:

A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then


The Byrds omitted that whole verse in their version. I understand the demands of the three minute format, but those lines happen to be the most quoted ones from Dylan's original.

chickelit said...

Amexpat said...Is Betamax now back in the guise of Laslo?

I wasn't aware that he'd made a secret of that. One day, when Althouse writes the best selling definitive history of her blog (including a dramatis personae) this will all become clear.

Birkel said...

Why does that damned bicycle need a fish, again?

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amexpat said...

@ chikelit
I'm aware that they were the same person. But the Betamax comments were often of a very high quality. Not so with the Laslo persona.

I have a theory that whoever was behind Betamax felt the burden of producing such a large amount of high quality material. Perhaps unable to sustain that, Laslo was created to post on a lower quality level. The above "Mr. Jones, Diversity Seminar Instructor" bit reminds me of Betamax quality material.

Amanda said...

Sounds like bullshit. I don't believe that anyone, feminist or not buys into such nonsense. Feminists have children and are married to men, surprise! And yes they are true feminists. Quit trying to besmirch the word and idea of "feminism", Mr.McCain. Obviously you have no idea what true feminism is.

Birkel said...

But that is because you are not very bright or well read, Amanda.

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Members of the Left aren't responsible for what other members of the Left say or do (even things said or done in the Left's name).

Members of the Right are responsible for anything said, done, or thought by other members of the Right as well as for things said or done by any non-Leftists who someone bothers to accuse of being on the Right.

Guilt by association only applies to the Right. Thus Donald Trump is guilty of racism and responsible for the views of the racist when a racist endorses his campaign, but (to give just two examples) Al Gore isn't responsible for Osama Bin Laden's views when OBL endorses Gore's POV on global warming nor is any feminist responsible for the stridently-professed view that "all PIV sex is rape" that some feminists put forward.

It's quite obvious, really--if you start from the position that the Right is always guilty/wrong/doesn't have legitimate positions or beliefs then all one has to do is find some reason to support that belief, and tarring anyone on the Right with the same bush as some non-Lefty kook is perfectly legitimate. The Left, of course, is by default assumed to be correct so the same tactic is not valid against them.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda said...Obviously you have no idea what true feminism is.

Did you intentionally state that in the form of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy or was that just a coincidence?

Either way, pretty funny stuff.

YoungHegelian said...

@Amanda,

I don't believe that anyone, feminist or not buys into such nonsense.

Did you see the phrase "founding mothers" used above?

Why don't you go look up a couple of syllabuses from the Women's Studies Department at a couple of major universities & look what's on it. Then you can tell Stacy McCain what an asshole he is.

This is very common on the Left. The left has lots of folks in endowed or at least tenured positions in major universities who are, by the lights of the rest of the society, utter whack jobs. The moderate left-wing media makes sure that they & their views never, ever see the light of day on a main stream event (e.g. does NPR ever interview these people?). Their views only get disseminated to the cognoscenti who are permitted to know these awful truths, usually in courses or in journals for academic specialists.

These folks are in high academic positions, & they got there by having their work supposedly peer reviewed. They have the approbation of their fellows or they never would have gotten tenure. Everyone in their academic specialty knows where they stand. But, you just don't tell outsiders --- because they wouldn't understand, and it would bolster the forces of reaction.

mccullough said...

Sounds like McCain believes in trickle down feminism

Amanda said...

The notion that female academics buy into this is laughable. How many female professors do you people actually know?

Gahrie said...

Quit trying to besmirch the word and idea of "feminism", Mr.McCain. Obviously you have no idea what true feminism is.

I'm willing to bet large sums of cash that McCain has done much more research into feminism as it is taught today than Amanda has.

chickelit said...

mccullough said...
Sounds like McCain believes in trickle down feminism

3/11/16, 11:01 AM


Egads! That's worse than anything Trump ever said.

/amanda

MadisonMan said...

From the Article:

What does Beyoncé Knowles mean when she calls herself a feminist? Does she mean that her marriage to Jay Z is “enslavement”? Is her husband her enemy and an oppressor? Does she believe “sex roles themselves must be destroyed”? Has Beyoncé ever studied feminist theory? Probably not.

Well, there's a good idea. You can't call yourself a Feminist unless you've received a degree in, say, Women's Studies or something akin. Kind of like being a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. The American Feminist Society will bestow the Honorific Title of 'Feminist' on you only if (and only if) you understand everything the way they want you to understand it.

Feminist wanna-bes, start jumping through hoops!

YoungHegelian said...

@Amanda,

Here's the doctorate reading list in Womens Studies from Rutgers, which I picked at random from a google search of "reading list doctorate womens studies". The nutjobs that McCain talks about: they're all on it!

Do you think about how much of your world-view is based on just shielding your eyes from the reality around you? This is how the lefties I know stay lefty. They just deny & deny that there are a lot of really, really unpleasant people on their side.

Ann Althouse said...

"I have read this post twice now, and I have absolutely no idea what Althouse's point is."

"Absolutely No Idea" is one of the better little-known Dylan songs.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously/But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately...

Fen said...

Amanda: The notion that female academics buy into this is laughable. How many female professors do you people actually know?

Amanda, we see news stories every week from leading feminist academics claiming exactly what McCain says. You really should get better information brokers. Its the reason why so many women no longer self-identify as feminists. The movement has gone off the rails.

Next you'll be telling us that NOW took a stand against Bill Clinton's sexual predation in the workplace...

buwaya said...

"Well, there's a good idea. You can't call yourself a Feminist unless you've received a degree in, say, Women's Studies or something akin."

This is an ancient question. St Augustine dealt with it back in the 4th century.
To make it more contemporary - who do you ask what "true Islam" is - an Afghan goat farmer or Al Azhar university? There are interesting arguments either way.
McCain has asked Al Azhar.

buwaya said...

Oh, and McCains "Sex Trouble" is indeed worth it just for the tremendous bibliography.
Just $1.99 and available on the Althouse Amazon portal !

YoungHegelian said...

@buwaya,

This is an ancient question. St Augustine dealt with it back in the 4th century.

Which brings up an interesting point. For both orthodox Christianity & Islam, the difference between, to use your example, Al Azhar & the Afghan goat herd, is one of education & native intelligence. Well, at least in theory if not in societal practice. The goatherd has a moral obligation to strive to educate himself in the full glories of Sunni Islam, and, thus come as close as possible to attaining the level of an imam at Al-Azhar. Both the goatherd & the imams agree on this, but the goatherd has to feed his family, so alas....

As Augustine knew well, there are systems of belief which are gnostic, and for the gnostics there are differences between the imam at Al Azhar & the goatherd that are not bridgeable. The exoteric doctrines are for the goatherd & the true esoteric doctrines for the imam.

Now, both Christianity & Islam do not believe in gnosis. All doctrine is exoteric. There are no secret teachings for the adepts. The question is: Is much modern post-Marxist thought (including academic feminism) gnostic? I believe that it is.

Peter said...

"I realize you are all engineers, and that women aren't usually good at that kind of thing,

Reminds me of a mandatory diversity training in which we were told, "It's not a quota, it's a numerical goal."

(Yes, we all kept quiet. What possible upside would there be to speaking up?)

buwaya said...

"Is much modern post-Marxist thought (including academic feminism) gnostic?"

I'd say no, not deliberately. These things are just terribly confused, and inbred in a series of bubbles.

McCain pierces one of these bubbles, or perhaps turns over one of these rocks.
Maybe none of what crawls out from under these rocks are directly relevant to Althouse or Inga, though there is some indirect influence. They are more directly relevant to other people, such as the poor victims of required classes, should they exist, and the students enrolled in these departments, who have probably made an unwise investment, and as McCain rather constantly harps on, a lot of quite disturbed people have latched on to the straight juice of this. There are fashions in madness too. The mad are very good at finding mad things.

The indirect influences are more to the point. How this works is an interesting investigation in itself. McCain has found the source, but the mechanics of and dispersion of the contamination deserve a look too.

buwaya said...

"(Yes, we all kept quiet. What possible upside would there be to speaking up?)"

The pursuit of truth and beauty is its own reward. OK, life forces compromises. Children must eat.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

YoungHegelian said...This is very common on the Left. The left has lots of folks in endowed or at least tenured positions in major universities who are, by the lights of the rest of the society, utter whack jobs. The moderate left-wing media makes sure that they & their views never, ever see the light of day on a main stream event (e.g. does NPR ever interview these people?). Their views only get disseminated to the cognoscenti who are permitted to know these awful truths, usually in courses or in journals for academic specialists.

It's been fun to read posts like this one from Popehat that've been popping up recently making a similar point, YH: just how many kooky Leftist Professors are there, anyway? Popehat's article uses Melissa Click as an example, but it really makes you think--the only time one of these people has their work held up for public scrutiny (as such) is when they get into trouble (a la Click, Ward Churchill, etc), but are they really the exceptions, or the rule?
Hey all you parents paying tuition bills, don't look too closely at the scholarship for which you're paying (same for the students taking on life-crushing amounts of debt to finance their "educations")...you might be shocked!

Gabriel said...

@Amanda:The notion that female academics buy into this is laughable. How many female professors do you people actually know?

I personally know many, since I was an academic for many years, and I took these sorts of classes and knew people who took them and I also knew people who taught these classes, and the characterization we are seeing here is 100% accurate.

"Female professors" are not who McCain is talking about of course. He's talking about Women's Studies, English, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, and the professors disseminating these radical viewpoints are not necessarily women.

Otto said...

Wow , "when you get old you will realize too much of anything is not good" as expressed in garbled tones by Zimmerman, a 2nd rate poet and 3rd rate musician, and brought to our attention by one of his groupie who now has a great pension plan. Oh what the 60s has wrought.

Gabriel said...

My sister is one of those who says that "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people". She may even believe that herself, though I know enough of her reading and social life to think otherwise.

Radical feminism is to popular feminism as Xenu is to Scientology. Xenu is for the inner circle, the ones who put the years in.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Feminism is a form of chauvinism that complements its male counterpart. However, its association with abortion rites and pro-choice religion or moral/legal philosophy, has established it as a preeminent threat to the reconciliation of individual dignity and intrinsic value with natural imperatives, and therefore the viability of individuals, families, society, civilization, and humanity.

That said, women and men are equal and complementary, notwithstanding a sincere zealotry exhibited/exploited by a minority of each sex.

Gabriel said...

Another metaphor for radical vs popular feminism is the old motte-and-bailey. Radical feminists occupy the bailey, talking about marriage being slavery and sex being rape, and then when confronted they run into the keep, leaving the popular feminists talking about wage gaps and glass ceilings and suffragettes.

Fernandinande said...

Bob said...
I have read this post twice now, and I have absolutely no idea what Althouse's point is.


This should clear it up:

With feline perspicacity by the university
That night I held a paucity
Which you deemed common courtesy
I wasn't what you thought I'd be
I shouldn't have invited you to dance

Fritz said...

Robert Stacy McCain makes an argument for a very strong and quite offensive definition of feminism.

He's just taking them at their own words.

mikee said...

"...refers to things that those who've been embracing it would find repellent."

McCain's point is that those who've been embracing those words do not find the actual concepts the words convey repellent. In fact, those horrible concepts are the basic, fundamental, root concepts the users of those words actually support, no matter how they try to deny it.

chickelit said...

Here's my 2¢

If people realized that Donald Trump is not Howard Stern and that Hillary Clinton is not Andrea Dworkin, we might just have better social intercourse.

buwaya said...

"Donald Trump is not Howard Stern and that Hillary Clinton is not Andrea Dworkin"

They aren't?

"we might just have better social intercourse."

Social intercourse will deteriorate enormously the moment the population at large realizes that pretty much everyone in authority is actually O’Brien from 1984.
Stern and Dworkin are silly irrelevant people.

Gabriel said...

@chickelit:Hillary Clinton is not Andrea Dworkin

No, Clinton is a popular feminist--feminism is all wage gaps, glass ceilings, government-mandated family leave and child care.

The Andrea Dworkins are giving her money and support, and they provide the studies and the arguments for the political goals of popular feminism, but I'd be surprised if Hillary had internalized any of the radical feminism.

Sebastian said...

@Otto: "expressed in garbled tones by Zimmerman, a 2nd rate poet and 3rd rate musician" Wait, I thought it was the other way around.

Robert Stacy McCain said...

First, thank you, Professor Althouse, for the link -- and for the brilliant Dylan allusion.

As to some of the comments here about my method and motives, as I explain in my book, the idea is to distinguish between the exoteric discourse of feminism (what they say to the general public when arguing for policies or recruiting supporters) and the esoteric doctrine of the movement -- the beliefs shared by the Priesthood of the Temple Cult.

To understand what feminism actually is, it helps to study cults (Manson, Jonestown, Branch Davidians, etc.) and totalitarian movements, especially the history of Marxist-Leninist regimes or radical sects like the Weather Underground and the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

The "pop feminists" (Marcotte, Valenti, et. al.) are seldom asked to explain or defend feminist theory. What do feminists mean by "male supremacy," for example? Or how does one distinguish between normal sexual attraction and "objectification"? My approach to the subject is to keep the focus on feminist ideology as it is taught in universities, because were it not for taxpayer-subsidized Women's Studies programs, this bizarre cult never could have gained such terrifying power in our culture.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

As far as Blogger's concerned, StacyIsFree!
Hide yo' easily-triggered Twitter-ers.

Paul said...

As geeze man (and woman).

I'm 60 and I can tell you, since I didn't get married till in my 30s, women like to fuck just as much, if not more, than men.

Domination.... hahaha. They like it on top, on bottom, backside, and sideways.

Several of them had their cloths off faster than me.

Feminist are just stuck up hags.

Fabi said...

Very well stated, Robert Stacy McCain. Thank you.

Otto said...

@ Sebastian: I think you are correct.

buwaya said...

Mr. McCain,
I would pay to see you lecture at a university.
No one else has made such a complete existential critique of womens studies departments.
The reaction will be interesting.
As far as I can tell there has been no serious apologia from the academic world of the substance of the field of womens studies against your critique.
Maybe it would take that - a lecture on their turf - to flush them out.

Kirk Parker said...

Gabriel,

"Clinton is a popular feminist--feminism is all wage gaps, glass ceilings, government-mandated family leave and child care."

And killing babies. You must not omit that vital plank!

Gahrie said...

Hillary Clinton is not Andrea Dworkin

Of course she's not....she's Cruella De Vil.