### Even THAT is Too Many ###
Anti-male feminism does pervade our national thinking and talking, all the way down to the verbal tics and locutions that we use, almost ritualistically.
You can see it everywhere. One of my favorite feminists is Christina Hoff Sommers. She’s brilliant, and she seems to have followed the trajectory that leftists who become rightists follow: Mugged by reality. Dr. Sommers, a self-confessed “former ’60s flower child,” began studying feminism and “discovered numerous ‘mistakes, half-truths and untruths.'”
What the USA Today feature linked above left out was that she also became the mother of… a son. As any loving mother would do, she set out to prepare her son the best she could to live and prosper in the world of today.(2)
What she found, so the story goes, is that far from the decks being stacked in favor of boys, rather they’re stacked in favor of girls. She found boys are treated as “defective girls,” with societal and especially educational systems structured around girls as normal, and boys as creatures in need of being controlled, hamstrung, corralled, prevented from being, well… boys.
As a good mother, Sommers rejected this idea that her son was born abnormal, simply because he was born male. She set out to explore and, if needed, to debunk the myths she found that feminism had spread throughout the academic, professional and media landscapes. To say that she found many such pernicious myths is to understate the point. She found… a lot. And the myths she uncovered are foundational for feminism itself. She says as much in a post here, in a post in which she muses that, maybe, there shouldn’t be a feminist movement, but an “equalist” movement. Sommers envisions “equalism” as an all-human effort that would consider the problems of both sexes and address them with equal vigor and energy.
Here’s an example:
- In this video, Dr. Sommers debunks the pervasive myth that “one in five college women is raped of sexually assaulted.” She finds the true number: it’s about one in 53. Then, she says the magic (and correct!) phrase: “Of course, even that is way too many!” Yep. Absolutely correct.
- Then, later in the very same video, Dr. Sommers confronts the myth that women lie about rape only two percent of the time. She tells briefly of the story of one Brian Banks a high school football star who served five years in a federal penitentiary after being found guilty of rape. He was later exonerated when his accuser admitted that she had fabricated the whole thing. See if you can guess which phrase was missing in Sommers’ telling of the Banks story. Yep… the “that’s still way too many” phrase. Something like: “Even if only two percent of women lie about rape, that’s still way too many!“
I hope you see the linguistic difference. In the first case — the exaggerated incidence of sexual assault on college campuses, Sommers points out the true ratio — not 1/5, but 1/53 — and then says that it’s still a problem by using the “even that’s way too many…” phrase. She’s right. One sexual assault is too many.
When she tells of young Mr. Banks, though, her words indicate that it was certainly a problem… for Banks — who lost five years of his life! — but then doesn’t try to be sure that we all understand that false rape accusations are also a very real problem. Young Banks’ case is not, by any means, an isolated one.
Let’s face it. You and I both know it’s true: The false accusation is a commonly used weapon in the woman’s arsenal when man-woman relationships turn sour.
In the first instance — the exaggerated incidence of sexual violence on campus — the “even one is too many” phrase is meant to inoculate us from the accusation that we’re trying to minimize incidents of sexual violence. It’s what we say to try to prove that we’re still good people even as we demonstrate that as a woman you’re a whole heckuva lot safer on campus than feminists would like you to believe.
It’s a weird thing, this truth-telling. Imagine feeling that you have to protect yourself from abuse by others because you’re finding out the truth, and debunking falsehoods! But, there you have it. Imagine feeling as though you have to protect yourself for offering reassuring truths to young American women everywhere.
False accusations of rape — and not just rape — are a big problem. Ask the falsely accused Duke Lacrosse team. Ask the falsely accused members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia. Ask any man who has merely lived under threat of the accusation. And there are a lot of ’em. In fact, all the men I know have experienced that fear at least once in their lives.
I have a colleague here at our think tank, whose ex-wife threatened him with an accusation of child molestation. It colored his life for years, let me tell you, and it colored the lives of his kids, for whom he is a loving, devoted, generous, involved… model father.(3)
To my shame, I understand this power first-hand, since I almost wielded it once in my much younger life. I found myself being rejected by a young man I completely fancied, in the most starry-eyed, up-all-night-dreaming way. He was perfectly polite and gentlemanly about it, but he rejected me unambiguously. I, inexplicably, felt embarrassed and humiliated. For a few days, I toyed with the idea that I might make him pay for spurning my starry-eyed advances. I never acted on the evil impulse, but there are others, many others, who are not as restrained as I was. I look back on that state-of-mind with horror and recoil at the thought that I might have unleashed hell on a perfectly innocent young man who was simply not feeling it like I was. I’ve never been tempted to do such evil again.
And, are you ready for this? Every woman I’ve ever spoken with about this topic has also been tempted to level a false accusation against a man. When I asked why, the response was simple and forthright: I knew that I could, that I’d get away with it, and that it was a weapon available to me that was not available to him. Ouch! I shouldn’t have to point out the fact that men both rarely bring such false accusations against women, and, by extension are likely rarely even tempted to accuse women falsely.
But, why is this a big problem in America? Simple: In my female mind, I make bold to presume that I might describe the American male ethos. It’s a simple one:
- Get up.
- Do your day’s work.
- Shut up about what bothers you.
- Go to bed.
- Get up and do it all over again.
This “Shut up and Do Your Job” ethos is massive and pervasive among American men. And it’s why they complain so little, and we complain so much. Our ethos, as women, is a lot different. We need men, even if we don’t want to admit it. When we need something done, it’s a whole lot better if they do it, because they’re stronger, more durable and better at so many things they do. It’s just natural that we’d talk, complain, cajole, beg, manipulate, maneuver men to do what we need done. So we do. And it’s natural that they’d, generally, just shut up and do it all. Why? Because they don’t have to do the work of figuring out what to do.
Men (I presume to say) like to do things. They take satisfaction in looking back at the results of their efforts with pride. Women, though, like to figure out what needs to be done, make the menfolk do it, and take credit for the whole thing. The real story, though, is that both pieces — the planning and execution pieces — are absolutely necessary in the accomplishment of a task.
Still, that “division of labor,” if you will, makes it so that men are particularly vulnerable to, and terrified of, the grotesque feminist tactic of the false accusation of rape, child abuse, molestation, assault, domestic abuse… whatever.
That false accusation threat hangs over all American men, who understand at their deepest psyches that at any time and in any circumstances they could face an accusation that they’re ugly, brutish perverts. They understand also that the accusation alone can ruin their lives, even if they’re completely exonerated. How could that not adversely color male-female relations?
Feminism has made it so that even in our thinking that suggests that we should look more thoroughly, examine issues, incidents and anecdotes more completely, we still perceive everything in such a way that favors women and girls.
(1) Yes, there are rational feminists. It’s not a contradiction in terms like, for example, “informed leftist.” Christina Hoff Sommers is a rational feminist. Camille Paglia is another.
(2) Dr. Sommers is also the mother of a daughter.
(3) I know a great dad when I see one. My dad was, is, a wonderful dad. Very much like my colleague here at the think tank. Very much like most dads I’ve known throughout my life.
After the eventual divorce, the children went to live with my colleague and he raised them alone. He’d raised them during his marriage as well, while his wife spent most of her time either drunk, becoming drunk, passed out, or hungover. The children went to live with him after the divorce, and his daughter became an honors graduate at the University of Connecticut, as well as a Distinguished Military Graduate. She’s a lieutenant in the Army now, with a bright career path ahead of her. His son is a 17-year old rising volleyball student athlete, standing 6’7″ tall, with a shy, intelligent demeanor, and a sweet modesty that puts people immediately at ease. This guy is a good dad! He’ll tell you that not he’s not, and he’ll tell you where he’s fallen short… in detail, if you ask him. But, the proof is in the pudding, and his children are outstanding young people, and entirely devoted to their father. Their mother has never really been in the picture, except either to abuse them, or to threaten their father. There’s more to the story that makes her look even worse, and makes my friend here at our think tank look even better, but that’s all for another day.
The sheer, raw power in the hands of women who might, or might not, toss off an accusation on a whim, is immense. When that power is abused, it’s ugly, evil, abusive, grotesque.