Peak liberal hypocrisy is idolizing men like Chuck Berry while vilifying feminists who put women first

We all know women who fear male violence are just hysterical, right? I mean, what have men ever done to hurt us? Oh. Right

When women express concerns about their spaces, whether those spaces are locker rooms, domestic violence shelters, or even, yes, bathrooms, they are not only accused of being irrational, but are smeared as bigots.

Globally and historically, men have been the biggest threat to women. This is the reason we have spaces specifically designated for females. We are not crazy or paranoid. We are not “sexist.” (Sexism against men does not exist any more than racism against white people does — oppression operates on a systemic level, meaning that terms like “sexism” and “racism” exist to highlight institutionalized discrimination, not individual experiences of hurt or what feels like injustice.) Rather, we understand reality and have tried to create boundaries that allow us protection from those most likely to harm us.

Despite statistics that show men beat, rape, stalk, harass, exploit, and kill women at aggressive rates, policies and legislation are being enacted throughout the Western world that allow males access to women’s spaces so long as they don’t identify as male. To even acknowledge that differences exist between trans-identified males and women means ostracization, threats to livelihood, blacklisting, endless misogynist slurs, boycotts, censorship, and justifications of violence.

On Saturday, Chuck Berry died. And while it is true that he was a legendary musician, it is also true that 59 women filed a class-action lawsuit against Berry for filming them in the washroom and change room at his Missouri restaurant. (He settled out of court, paying out over $1.2 million.) Berry was allegedly sexually abusive, had a massive porn collection, and was charged with child abuse. In 1962, he was convicted of transporting a 14-year-old Indigenous girl across state lines in order to sexually exploit her.

Nonetheless, Berry has enjoyed a long, celebrated career. When his death was reported yesterday, numerous Good Liberals posted glowing accounts of Berry’s legacy.

While I don’t necessarily expect anyone to avoid appreciating music or art that meant a great deal to them personally, as well as to the culture at large, I do think it’s interesting to note the glaring hypocrisy these celebrations present. While a man who imposes on the private spaces of women and girls, doesn’t respect their boundaries, and exploits their vulnerabilities is not only permitted a successful career, but is glorified, a woman who argues that females should have the right to spaces free from men is no-platformed, reprimanded, and smeared. Even to acknowledge there are differences between males who identify as transwomen and females is, according to the liberal masses, an unforgivable crime.

So, the question is: what’s worse? A woman who understands that male violence against women is systemic and that requesting our own spaces, away from men, is therefore legitimate? Or, actual males who abuse women and who literally intrude on the very spaces we are fighting to maintain today, in order to exploit women and girls?

Ironically, both Obama and Springsteen, who posted fawning tributes to Berry in light of his death, have advocated to allow males to have access to women’s and girls’ spaces, so long as they identify as female, but regardless of their sexed bodies and male socialization.

Berry is far from the only man who has preyed on women and girls. Indeed, violating women’s boundaries is very much part of male socialization and what many call “rape culture.” The way boys learn that pressuring girls into sex is a rite of passage demonstrates this, as does the presentation of stalkeresque behaviour as “romantic.”

For men who clearly don’t take male violence seriously to demand women give up their rights, as an oppressed class of people, and to accommodate those who embody a threat to their safety is deeply hypocritical. For liberals to demand women who understand that male socialization and bodies are material realities that matter be fired or simply sit down and shut up is equally so.

Women should not have to explain or prove, over and over again, that their fear of male violence is legitimate. The evidence is right here for all to see. The reality is that liberals simply don’t care.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Lierre Keith

    Well done! Thanks for your courage and clarity!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Lierre!

  • Karla Gjini

    you’re amazing

    • Meghan Murphy


  • Melody Williams-Daniels

    I enjoyed this article.

    I certainly have no problem with anyone appreciating Chuck Berry’s art. However, I do have a problem with the posthumous hero-worship that inevitably happens when a troubled public figure passes away. Dude was still a straight-up pervert and there’s no getting around that. I’d be nice if folks would quit acting like death made his legacy squeaky clean.

    Thanks for pointing it out, Meghan.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Indeed. And honestly, I think it would be practically impossible to avoid enjoying music written by men who, as it turns out, were awful to women. But the hypocrisy of these celebrations is too much for me.

  • fxduffy

    Musicians and actors can have such an incredibly seductive effect on audiences and fans. It’s so easy for us to bask in their glory and close our eyes as to who to hell they really are. Even their sniveling appearances in MTV type videos (which to me are even worse than reality TV) and in stupendously puerile TV ads, do not seem to shake our faith in these high octane talents, and edgy geniuses.

    But both the music and acting worlds, under the cover of “art” and a-politics, can be, and often are, deeply sexist. These are liberal plus worlds, almost strictly bound to sexology ‘science,’ to sexual freedom and license, and to the commercialization of sex. Women’s oppression in these worlds exceeds that which second wave feminists experienced on the left. And I’m never shocked to hear from someone on the inside the extent of the sexism operating in these truly glamorous and appealing environments.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Thank you Meghan for not letting the bastards get away with gaslighting.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What a convincing argument, Juliana!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’ve learned soooo much from Lierre. Her analysis of gender and patriarchy is behind everything I write.

    • FierceMild

      She was that voice in the dessert for me speaking the truth like she knew exactly what I needed to hear.

  • Meghan Murphy

    <3 <3

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hey Michelle!

    Can I ask why your first priority, when responding to male violence against women, is to attack women calling out/trying to push liberals to take seriously male violence against women?

  • Meghan Murphy

    There isn’t a fear of transwomen, there is a fear of males. And if you have no problem using the women’s washroom, what’s the issue? I am talking about policies and legislation that dictate that any man who claims he is a woman has the right to enter into women’s spaces, and that women don’t have a say.

    I’m not at all surprised to learn that you are an MRA.

  • Rachael

    So if a woman is raped I’m guessing you think she didn’t fight enough, she wasn’t empowered enough?

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Thanks for centering male perverts over women’s lives, congratulations, handmaiden, patriarchy thanks you.

  • Rachael

    How old are you, five?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks, sister!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Goes to show how expected and normalized it is, eh?

  • Unree

    Brilliant. Especially the no coincidence about Springsteen and Obama blithely blowing off the safety of women.

    • FierceMild

      Yep. Springsteen was flashing his virtue all over NC because they hadthe temerity to, at least in certain places, recognize scientific reality.

  • Liz

    I don’t think women can expect solidarity from the working-class hero anymore. What happened to Springsteen since 2012? He’ll refuse to play in NC to back up trans folks, but nothing about the states who are trying to pass draconian abortion laws? Maybe he suffered a bigger backlash (and lost more money) after he spoke out for Roe v. Wade back in 2012, but shouldn’t that tell him how much more desperate the struggle is for women’s abortion rights?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Agree. Though I LOVE Springsteen, so it makes me sad.

    • Just Me

      Fair points about Springsteen Liz. But I am not of the mindset that perspectives can’t change and evolve. Even from the “working-class heros”. It is a slow process. Sometimes frustratingly so…but I do see opinions changing…even if it seems like arduous process. Just got to keep hammering away at the machine.

  • Marla

    I had this discussion over Chuck Berry today on how much of a solid, misogynistic asshole he really was. Berry was a “pioneer” all right in the sense that he made songs about stalking and date rape popular. He was a known wife beater, kidnapper of underage women over state lines, oh, and his drilling of holes in female restroom stalls just to watch them poop? Yeah, I guess it takes a “practitioner” to do that.

    • FierceMild

      I guessing we just don’t understand true brilliance. Must be our ladybrains again. Damn ladybrains, always ruining perfectly good “art”.

      • Marla

        Chuck Berry led a double life. He might be revered as some sort of rock ‘n’ roll pioneer god but the true nature of his personality was that of a sexual predator/sociopath. He had a lengthy criminal record, was prone to instantaneous flashes of aggression and violence, and no amount of jail time ever seemed to correct his odious behavior.

        And it’s not just generational to say the majority of his music was awful. A grown man in his 20’s writing love songs about teenage girls and no saw this as a red flag but rather as a “poetic genius”? I’m sure the press and the likes of Springsteen will praise him and his death will be remembered as a tremendous loss for music. You’ll never hear one word in his eulogy of how he treated women – how he really treated them.

    • susannunes

      It sounds like you never heard any of his music. You can hate his behavior, but the fact is he was one of the two most important figures in rock history, the other being Elvis Presley.

    • Rosetta Tharpe was the true inventor of rock music and Chuck took her sound. He gets more credit for what she did first. Elvis gets the most so all this proves is women come last as usual. It would be nice for people to share Rosetta Tharpe’s story. The black woman that invented rock.

  • Americus91

    I wasn’t born a TERF but I think I’m ready to come out and identify as one.

  • Virginia Howard

    RE: Chuck Berry… What is with these guys? Why is wallowing in filth the hottest thing? Wasn’t there R. Kelly, showering little girls with gold–

  • anne

    You are a narcissistic man who finds sexual pleasure in performing Ladyface, of course you have no place whatsoever in feminism. Your misogyny in a dress is not fooling anyone here (or anywhere else). No pass.

  • Philibert Nguyen

    I stand by Chuck Berry. I think that white feminists endorsing an all white jury is very typical. Feminism is just a white thing. It does not contribute to the liberation of women of color one bit.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Lol thanks dood. You types prove again and again that this ‘white feminist’ lie is nothing more than a gift to MRAs.

      If you read the site, you’ll find about a bazillion more pieces critiquing and holding to account white men (and women, in fact!).

      • melissa

        Exactly this!^ Almost every-time I’ve heard the phrase “while feminist” its been just plain old feminist/woman bashing, or a tactic to invalidate someones opinion, shut out disagreements and deflect criticism. It gets thrown at the most random people for the most random reasons. From celebrities showing support the ‘Nordic model’ to any feminist activist that both Libfems and MRAs just don’t like for what ever reason. If they really felt someone was being racist then they can always plainly say that instead of stooping to anti-feminist tactics.

    • FierceMild

      Hahahaaaaaaaaaaa!!! As if you want women of colour liberated. What a joke!

      • Morag999

        There are many one-comment wonders on this, and other, threads. That’s how dedicated these guys are to the intersection of oppression based on both race and sex — so many new disqus accounts!

        I suppose that means there must be a LOT of pro-feminist men of colour out there who are concerned for their sisters, eh?


    • Melody Williams-Daniels

      You’re just here to silence white women with insinuations of racism because you think Chuck Berry’s musical legacy should give him a pass for being a pervert-ass rapist.

      We can already see that WOC are not central to your concerns, so don’t use us as a smokescreen for your BS.

    • anne

      Rapists love to stick together, makes them feel stronger and more manly.

    • That is a lie. Feminism has helped black women. It’s mostly white men that want to paint this picture that feminism has been harmful towards black women. Feminists of the past were also against slavery and helped with the abolitionist movement. Everything a woman has done gets erased out of history. Including how it was a woman that invented the rock music that Chuck Berry was inspired by. She gets no credit and no mention in the hall of fame. Sexism has been around for thousands of years. Cut the crap. Even still in today’s society, women are scrubbed from history.

      Rosetta Tharpe invented the rock music that inspired Chuck, Elvis and Little Richard.

  • Wren

    some feel that they were using the mann act to target specific african-american celebrities. it is extraordinary that any man ever served time for sexual exploiting a minor, so they have a point, but this does not mean that he was innocent.

  • Wren

    thanks for that reference. i hadn’t heard of her.

  • Anita Perry

    Chuck Berry wasn’t anything compared to great guitarists like Jimmie Hendrix. He just got lucky with some goofy teenage rock and roll music. The old dude looked like a fool doing his signature ” duck walk” on the stage. Berry was 40 years old when he took a 14 year old girl across several states. It’s creepy as hell and sick for a 40 year old man to use a 14 year old girl for sex. What was a 14 year old girl doing traveling with some 40 year old musician. I didn’t know that 59 women were part of a class action lawsuit over Berry perving on them in changing areas and restrooms. It doesn’t surprise me coming from a man who is into 14 year old girls. Besides the 14 year old girls, I’m sure Berry did his share of drugs in his day. As to Springsteen, he has no talent. He looks like an old frog, and his voice is horrible.
    As to the class action lawsuit involving 59 women who say Berry filmed them in a women’s restroom, men have been perving on women in women’s restrooms since forever. Springsteen and Obama and other more politically correct liberals try to shame women for demanding that our private spaces be respected.

    • Fanny

      “An old frog” LOOOOOOOL

  • Cassandra

    Well well well. This is a first for me. A whole new strain of MRA’s you are, just as we’ve been saying for some time now.

    Or you’re an MRA troll. That’s my hunch. Your writing style and word choice is off for a laydeee brain dude.

    And oh hey, fuckwit: men are victims of violence at the hands of other males, so you’re agreeing that males are violent.

  • Cassandra

    Paul Elam called. He wants his libfem zombie back.

  • Americus91

    Thank you so much for tellin it like it is!

  • FierceMild

    What’s a terfalert? Was Chuck Berry a terfalert? It sounds like a kind of fruit.

    • Marla

      Is that like a warning you’re about to get turf toe while playing a Nerf game?

      • FierceMild

        Oooh, I didn’t think of that! Nerfalert!

  • FierceMild

    Sister, these people are not your friends. They are trying to be your masters.

  • FierceMild

    You deserve to be safe when you need to change or use the restroom. But you have no right to the private spaces of biological women. This is why we need a neutral bathroom option.

    Your specific situation does not justify breaking down the already too flimsy barriers women have managed to put up between our vulnerable bodies and men. You do not gain a right to women’s spaces through suffering, identifying, or demanding. We are adult human females and we say use your own restroom. We’ll gladly help fund the building of neutral restrooms through our tax dollars, but you do not have a right to demand we consent to your desires.

  • Michelle

    This is not a safe space for you and I am so very sorry about that. Please feel free to message me.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hello again, Michelle. I notice you haven’t responded to my earlier question… I’m curious as to why you think women’s rights and safety are irrelevant, here? Why is it that you believe feminists should be prioritizing the feelings of transwomen over females? While I do think there are solutions that accommodate everyone’s needs, in terms of bathroom access, what strikes me is that you don’t seem to care at all about the safety and boundaries of women? Why?

    • Zuzanna Smith

      “Please feel free to use my indoctrination as a selfless helpmate to males so that you can more easily walk all over women and their rights.”

  • FierceMild

    Right in one.

  • Cassandra

    “The fact that a there are men and transwomen who have done bad things in those spaces isn’t a good enough reason to deny people like me.”

    Translation: It’s far more important for me to swing my precious pre-op dick in your spaces so that I can “identify” as a woman and “live as a woman” (whatever the fuck that means) than it is for me to have compassion and understanding for the class of people I claim to be a part of, even though I don’t have the biology that makes them female and thus defines how they are oppressed and makes them vulnerable to rape and violence perpetrated by people with dicks. Too bad ladies, my laydee feels are far, far, far more important. How dare you DENY me!!!

    Meeeeee!!! Meeeeeee! It’s all about meeeeee! Me me me me me me me me me me me! I wanna be a laydee! I wanna be validated as a laydee brain laydee! It’s all about meeeeeeeeeeeee all the time!!!!

    What would *ever* be a “good enough reason* for mother fuckers like you and all of the other mother fuckers and handmaidens who have no qualms completely dismissing female people?

    Never mind. I already know the answer.

  • Cassandra

    “…and that he had been charged with “having sex with an underage female”. So, again, I find myself yelling at the radio “It’s called RAPE you fucking assholes!!!!””


  • Cassandra


  • Becka Cummings

    I shared the relevant info on Bruce’s post. Perhaps others should as well.

  • Melody Williams-Daniels

    Umm…..why would you come to an article about Chuck Berry to talk about your bathroom access?

    Must everything be about you?

  • filledelaneige


  • Cai Carney

    As a white male, is there anything feminists don’t hate about us? I’ve been turned away from following the new-age feminism because feminists are so ready to attack any white male, that it alienates me to join your cause. I just wanna know what’s up

    FWI: I do not stand by Chuck Berry’s actions, but can recognize his contribution to music.

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Please tell us what we should love men for. And don’t say that you protect us from other men, or that you go to fight wars that women never start and always suffer in.

    • FierceMild

      Did you seriously come here under this article and ask for a list of things women “don’t hate” about white men?! Maybe you should have led with an ‘oh my, how upsetting about all those rapes’ or words to that effect before interrupting to ask for a list of nice things women like about you. Do you see why you’re not liked now? No? Didn’t think so.

    • marv

      Wrong question in wrong direction. Start over by putting bruised ego aside and by being immersed in guided reflection without intruding upon feminists’ conversations:

  • will

    But Morag!!! Songs like “My Ding-a-ling”, “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Little Queenie”, about important stuff like jacking off and wanting to screw teenage girls (the latter two titles) are totes important to, you know, the canon of Great American Music!

    • Morag999

      True, true. If it weren’t for giant ding-a-lings taking their inspiration from the pedophilic joys of statutory rape, the canon of Great American Music would be that much poorer. In fact, it might not even exist!

  • Zuzanna Smith

    LOL, a dude gave up on feminism, how awful.

    Why should women have to fight all the time? Why aren’t you telling other men to stop being rapist predatory assholes? If you’re not a victim and so empowered then this should be a cakewalk for you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I predict that you and Philibert are the same guy.

    • Mike Brown

      …which would make you wrong….again.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I don’t caaaare *sing*

    • Mike Brown

      …and nice attempt at changing the subject of our interaction……but no dice.

  • shy virago

    What men who want to be our allies can do:

    1) Educate yourself on feminism
    2) Call men on their misogyny
    3) Do not buy women or girls
    4) Don’t use porn
    5) Organize against the sex trade
    6) Start a local chapter of NOMAS

    and this is just a start

  • FierceMild

    Oh really?! What is this really good sooper historical reason people should never feminist?

  • FierceMild

    Also, it’s never made by them and only includes their boobs because the rest of them is ick and prolly fat as well.

  • History has been erased and re-written to pin us up against each other. Feminists were also abolitionists. The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by a female abolitionist. If people actually read the book, they’d stop calling sell outs “Uncle Tom” because he was a hero. It was racist men that decided to mock that story because they know it helped change people’s minds about slavery. Anyways, Rosetta Tharpe is the one that came up with the same rock sound that Chuck imitated. She gets no credit. How is that not sexist?

  • FierceMild

    Well that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Really, thank you!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks for sharing this Georgia! So important (and maddening).

  • FierceMild

    Misanthropia has brought this up further down thread as well. She posted some videos and I was stunned!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh yes! Saw that too. Big thanks to Misanthropia also!

  • Tired feminist

    “She was really unique as a guitar player… she had a big influence on someone like Chuck Berry” – HA I KNEW IT

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, I think that today feminists are particularly focused on addressing and ending violence against women, and because the perpetrators of violence against women are men, it is understandable (to me) that the bulk of our discourse would target men, as a class, as well as individual men who perpetrate male violence (or normalize male violence).

    It isn’t only white men who perpetrate violence against women — it is all men. That said, we understand that in this world it is white men who have held power over almost everyone else for a very long time. White men are responsible for capitalism, white supremacy, war, and imperialism. Men, as a whole, are responsible for patriarchy. If you look at the news, as a woman or another minority group, and you see the awful things white men do and have done throughout history, it’s kind of hard not to feel angry about it…

  • Meghan Murphy