Noah Berlatsky perseveres in his quest to become America’s Next Top Feminist

In what has become a relentless and fanatical obsession with positioning himself as an ally while simultaneously working in direct opposition to the feminist movement, Noah Berlatsky, writer and author of “Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948,” perfectly exemplifies the trouble with male “allies.” He not only presumes to know more about what’s good for women than women themselves, but has taken it upon himself to dictate what the future of  the feminist movement should look like, using Playboy as a platform, at that.

Noah Berlatsky calls Wonder Woman "a vision of feminist bondage matriarchal utopia."
Noah Berlatsky calls Wonder Woman “a vision of feminist bondage matriarchal utopia.”

The trouble with electing Berlatsky feminist spokesman (and the clear and malicious intentions Playboy has in this endeavour) is a problem that should be obvious to most, but is, apparently, not, based on the number of “feminists” who support him. Propping up a man whose “feminist cred” consists of attacking feminists and smearing the feminist movement is as ignorant as it is dangerous. There are obvious reasons why a man who promotes the sex industry and the objectification of women, as Berlatsky does, routinely, is no ally. Here are some hints, though, for those who need it spelled out:

Men like Berlatsky are big supporters of “feminism” so long as it benefits them. Playboy Feminism works to elevate male power and privilege and supports a notion of liberation that says: “Beautiful naked women, splayed across pages for the male gaze is what freedom for women is really about.” When twisted up into objectification = “women expressing their sexuality,” we really get into trouble…

Playboy and the male gaze have absolutely nothing to do with female sexuality. To imply as much is to reinforce the notion that women exist only in relation to men and, therefore, that women’s sexuality depends on the male gaze.

Despite challenges such as a fundamental lack of understanding around what feminism is, Berlatsky has persisted in his quest to reinvent our century-old women’s movement, painting feminists as needing, simply, a little male leadership.

In his most-recent piece, “You can’t have feminist liberation without choice,” Berlatsky focuses his energy on Dr. Meagan Tyler and “choice feminism.” Tyler argues, as I and many other feminists do, that individual choices won’t liberate women from systemic oppression. We don’t say this because we think choice, in an of itself, is a bad thing, nor do we say it because we want to limit women’s choices. We say it because the idea that any choice a woman makes is a liberatory one, simply because she’s made a choice, is void of any substance. If “choice” is the key to feminism, then consumerism is the key to feminism (we can, after all, choose to purchase a myriad of beauty products, get cheap manicures, buy new body parts, and more — all in the name of “personal empowerment”). If choices that are destructive, either to individual women or women as a whole, are feminist, simply because women are choosing them, we must, then, defend things like starvation diets, cosmetic surgery, pornography, and surrogacy — because individual women choose to participate in these things. Of course, this is precisely what many women and, of course, men, are advocating…

Berlatsky quotes Feministing writer, Katherine Cross, (who promoted his Playboy piece, smearing feminists, and willfully misrepresented my and Tyler’s arguments last week) as his cover, who says:

“Most feminists who get hung up on condemning choice feminism focus less on economic and legal issues, where the mythology of individualism and choice is especially damaging, and fixate instead on sex and sexuality or anything that smacks of it.”

Of course, this statement is blatently untrue. Criticisms of “choice feminism” are rooted in a critique of neoliberalism and capitalism — that is, an ideology that favours privatization, a “laissez-faire” approach to economic development, and a focus on personal liberty over collective liberation. Feminists who challenge “choice feminism” do so from both a feminist and a socialist foundation, arguing that the personal choices of either privileged or marginalized people, particularly if said choices happen within a context of and contribute to capitalism and patriarchy, will not result in the collective liberation of marginalized groups from systemic oppression. Collective movements that address systems of power are required to combat things like poverty, racism, capitalism, sexual violence, and patriarchy.

Both Cross and Berlatsky make a common mistake in presenting critique of “choice feminism” and a neoliberal approach to liberation as “policing women in much the same way patriarchy does,” without actually addressing patriarchy’s role in shaping women’s supposedly liberatory choices. Berlatsky writes:

“Cross said the perfect sexualized woman who appears in publications such as Playboy is replaced by feminists with a perfect woman who avoids a (long) list of sexual behaviors. Either way, women are held to an impossible standard. And either way it’s often the same women who are criticized and devalued. Sex workers face stigma and persecution from mainstream society, and they’re also, Cross points out, frequently marginalized and stigmatized by radical feminists.”

But feminists aren’t asking women to avoid sexual behaviours. We’re asking women (and men) to avoid presenting certain choices and “behaviours” as “feminist,” simply because women claim to be choosing them. As I’ve said many times before, just because you like it doesn’t make it feminist. If I wear makeup or watch reality TV or eat a sandwich, that doesn’t mean that wearing makeup or watching TV or eating sandwiches is “feminist.” Beyond that, feminists do not target the particular “choices” prostituted women make, they target the choices men make to buy sex as well as the systems to funnel women into the sex industry in the first place.

Berlatsky says feminist critique often involves a critique of “femininity,” which is true… Though he doesn’t quite get why. He writes:

“Is femininity a tool to devalue women? Or is the devaluation of femininity a tool to devalue women? Wearing high heels doesn’t necessarily make you a dupe of the patriarchy. It could mean you’re a super-powerful rock star, and you want to show that femininity can be strong, too.”

He seems to see femininity as innate, here. As though, to critique social constructs is to critique something essential about females. But “femininity” is an idea — a set of characteristics (invented and reinforced by a patriarchal society). It says “woman” means “delicate,” “passive,” “pleasant,” “accommodating,” “pretty,” “nurturing,” “irrational,” and “weak.” Feminists say women are not “naturally” any of these things. So no, femininity isn’t about “strength,” despite the fact that women are “strong.” And this is because femininity and femaleness are not connected in any material way.

Berlatsky’s insistent manipulations and misunderstandings of feminist thought and critique should not be celebrated, but ignored. His pompous explanations with regard to the correct way women and feminists should think and behave should be enough to reject his attempts at positioning himself as “ally.” The fact that he has inserted himself in feminist conversation for profit, attention, and self-interest (I don’t doubt he enjoys the privilege of objectifying women) should also be regarded with skepticism. Men who demand women be silent, accuse them of being “angry” or “aggressive” (remember, women are meant to be passive and polite — to suffer quietly through abuse and oppression) and that feminists take up even less space in conversations about our own liberation are not allies.

“Liberation can’t just be choice, but it’s hard to see how sneering at the very concept of individual choice gets you to freedom,” he writes, in the pages of Playboy. Well, Noah, you might ask yourself how smearing feminists in a porn rag and promoting “femininity” as an innate part of womanhood will “get us to freedom.” You also might ask yourself why you think you have a say, considering your investment in our continued oppression.

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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  • Laur

    At this point, I’ve read several of Berlatsky’s articles, including the one discussed in this article. One thing that stands out to be is the glaring absence of *men* and men’s choices from every article I have read. You would think men don’t even exist.

    Take the following lines from Berlatsky’s article:

    “The thing is, though, that Tyler, in her article, doesn’t mention Walmart. She doesn’t mention Sheryl Sandberg, either. Instead, most of her criticism of choice feminism focuses on nude images, labiaplasty and Beyoncé.”

    I can’t speak for Tyler. I will say that there is a large section of society, including a majority of men and some women who will adamantly defend nude images, increasing labiaplasty, and Beyonce’s choice, with, “it’s her choice!” This is whether or not they consider themselves feminist. It’s as though choice is the be-all, end-all argument. And then there’s the oft-heard “feminism is all about choice.” The feminist motto, “my body, my choice,” was for a particular movement (abortion and birth control rights) at a certain time (early 1970’s) emerging out of the U.S., as far as I am aware.

    Berlatsky and his followers want to change the subject away from the demands male sexuality makes on women. They do this in a myriad of ways, including attempts to change the subject. The fact that men get so angry when women, feminists, question male sexual entitlement should point to the importance of it to men. Never mind that Berlatsky doesn’t have the slightest interest in questioning male sexual entitlement; he’s writing for a publication that he knows would never allow this.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Exactly. He doesn’t seem to ever address MALE choices, MALE power, MALE violence. He seems to focus solely on the choices of women and on what feminists are doing ‘wrong’.

      • MLM

        Can we call this guy Knowall Bellendsky yet? Or maybe it should be “Wonder Ally”…

        Faster than you can shut down feminist critique of the sex industry with a magical “phobe” silencer
        More powerful than the steaming smell of piled up neoliberal pomo bullshit
        Able to leap over fact based logic in a single bound

        He fights for avoidance of truth, denial of justice and the crown of America’s Next Top Playboy Feminist!
        (Cue wolfwhistle)

        • derrington

          With his trans objectification support in Playboy – maybe a neat catchphrase such as ideology before biology would suffice. Funnily, I dont see many men choosing blackface and then telling people in Ferguson its my choice and I am the ultimate black person as I choose to be black.

          • MLM

            It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I wish I could find it now, but I remember seeing an article a while back about a white guy who had decided he was “trans Asian”. And had had surgery and coloured his skin and put contacts on his eyes etc. to modify his appearance to fit that identity. I wonder what sort of enlightened wisdom those wonderful philosophers at Playboy could have imparted to us all if this person had also been trans and chose to do a photo shoot for Allure as a WW2 “comfort woman” or something?

            The trans divide is very easy territory for Berlatsky to exploit, and I’m pretty sure he knows it. Because feminists acknowledge that people do all kinds of things to preserve their own psychological survival in a toxic system that leaks its poison into their self perceptions, and they have empathy about that, that can, ironically, make them quite vulnerable to criticisms that they’re lacking in empathy about this stuff.

            That’s why I have nothing but risible contempt for the poison pushers like Berlatsky, who exploit that very difficulty and source of conflict to further their own bullshit agendas and idealogically napalm feminism in the name of “feminism.” Fuck him. Really. This whole shit storm has just been a career move for him.

      • Adam Sowa

        As is pointed out. Berlatsky will only argue from an authoritarian and patriarchal perspective; or as narcissist that is unaware of his own reflection.

        Berlatsky also reminds me of “G-Man” in “Half-Life”: “Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you.”

      • Tao

        Bottom line is, a woman’s personal decision to get plastic surgery does not challenge gender norms, roles, or prescriptions. It does not address male entitlement, resist sexual exploitation and the male gaze, or liberate women from the system of institutional disenfrancisement that is male supremacy. It is apolitical and supports the status quo. The only thing it does is increase the number of females (and now males) who embody and perform the narrowly achievable demands that men have of femininity and the ideal woman™. It’s not like anything negative like death from eating disorders and surgical mishaps ever occur from this pursuit. Forget the connection it has to competing in the exploitative sex industry. Accepting these standards, of course, reinforces the idea of an innate feminine essence, the naturalist essentialism used to subordinate women. But feminists are just conservative prudes, haters who be trippin. We should all be quieter and less visible to make the menz happy.

  • Priscila

    No good could ever come from a man being paid to write for a porn corporation, that was clear from the start. What really depresses me is that people buy into this crap. Between stopping buying Playboy altogether or adopting this liberal rethoric of “free expression of sexuality” (goddammit how do they even dare to call it freedom) to relieve their conscience (assuming they still have some), what do you think the average pseudo-progressive leftist dude will choose? It’s so much easier to accuse feminists of misunderstanding feminism. Women come to think the problem lies within themselves. Just once again.

    And this is precisely why men can’t be feminists. Moreover, this is precisely why men who proclaim themselves feminists are usually the most damaging ones.

    • derrington

      There are a few men of integrity – Chris Hedges and Robert Jensen – but most men are very unaware that buying into male biological supremacy is the same as buying into racial supremacy etc and leads to violence against women and children as they seek to enforce their supremacy.

      • Priscila

        You’re right, I know there are true male allies. My point was that true allies aren’t proclaiming themselves feminists.

  • Rachael

    Where do men get this endless insatiable ability to lecture other people on things they know almost nothing about? It must start when they’re children, and raise their hands without having anything to say but the teacher keeps letting him do it because she thinks it’s adorable.

    • Priscila
    • Jane

      Yes. They learn to not listen to women’s voices because of the higher pitch and in turn women learn to pay extra attention to whatever a man says because he has a lower voice. Plus since boys have an attention span of two seconds every teacher is quick to heap praise on him if he decides to direct his valuable attention to school matters every once in a while.
      I had a feminist professor call a guy out on bropropriating, that is repeating what a woman had just finished saying, in his own words and expecting to be thanked for his groundbreaking idea. It was satisfying.

  • Ellesar

    The thing that infuriates me about this ‘expression of sexuality’ by posing nude anywhere is that it doesn’t express sexuality. It is paid work. If women were not paid, or paid very little there would soon be a dearth of women prepared to pose nude, unless they thought that the exposure (pun intended) would get them paid work, and plenty of it.

    And as you say, it is not a woman’s sexuality you see there. The whole set up is a man pleaser – there is no part of that process where a woman is supposed to be sexy on her own terms – HER TERMS DO NOT COUNT. I remember a topless model saying how bad for the back the common pose expected of her was, and how she had to do a lot of stretches after to avoid backache. Doesn’t sound very sexy to me!

    • Meghan Murphy

      No, none of the poses women do in magazines feel sexy (or even comfortable), breast implants don’t feel sexy either — we equal “feeling sexy” or “expressing our sexuality” with looking sexy (for the male gaze) and being looked at as a sexual object.

      • Missfit

        This is old patriarchal trope that a woman’s satisfaction is derived from pleasing her man. How convenient. This Adam Carson guy who believes Playboy is about women expressing their sexuality really thinks that a woman’s sexuality revolves around pleasing men? How convenient for him. The reality is that a man may masturbate to Playboy, the women featuring in it get paid. Sex for men = orgasm, for women = money. Not surprising that these people accuse anyone critical of prostitution of being anti-sex.

        And what about this Andray guy… his comment MUST be sarcasm, right?

        I wonder… these people who keep saying that feminism is about choice often do so when talking about getting naked for men, getting plastic surgery, wearing high heels, shaving, being a sexual submissive… Patriarchy already allows, even highly encourage, women to make these choices. So if feminism is about choice, what are the choices they are fighting for? What is their feminism about? They are against rape culture? Why do they think rape culture is a thing in the first place? They think that by repeating consent and for men to respect women, they will defeat it. How long do they intend in repeating it? I mean, why would men not respect women by default? Why do we still have to teach college age men about the concept of consent? Could it be because they have been (and continue to be) exposed to a flow of messages that made them believe women’s main purpose/value is to please men (which makes women beneath them), that they like to submit, are passive, objects offered for men’s pleasure? They can go on repeating consent over and over again, trying to re-educate men so that maybe they will see the light after they managed to hurt a number of women in the meantime with their coercion, sexist remarks, and worse. I see no end to this wheel if we do not address the problem at its roots. And that means among other things to take a critical look at the effects of so much exposure to women’s sexual objectification.

        Also, how can high heels mean, in themselves, that femininity (or does he mean females?) can be strong? High heels hurt your feet and can make women vulnerable by limiting their movements… Noah Berlatsky is boring and his ‘analysis’ are empty. But then, who buys Playboy for the articles anyway I guess?

  • I only have one thing to say to what’s-his-face. Leave Wonder Woman alone. And also please stop talking forever.

  • jo

    “a vision of feminist bondage matriarchal utopia”
    This dude is fucked up.
    An utopia involving bondage is only a perfect world if you enjoy being a slave master.
    I bet these types gets off on calling random patriarchal shit like Playboy “feminist”. War is peace!

  • Zhang He

    I think Berlatsky exists to give men who objectify women guilt-free permission to do it. I can imagine wives and g/f’s everywhere having to be lectured as the men hold a porn magazine and tell them how prudish and intolerant they are to not accept this amazing “feminism”. In fact, I don’t know one heterosexual woman in her twenties that has not been negatively affected by porn. Most of them have had to endure being compared to it, being expected to mimic many degrading things in it, expected to watch and pretend to enjoy it, expected to look like it, and if they ever say “no” they receive a backlash.
    Most of them have been in a relationship where a man will make her feel bad about herself for daring to deny these things to him, because women in their twenties are of a generation where boys were practically raised on every type of disgusting internet porn imaginable, and believe it to be “normal”, even “healthy”.
    I don’t think there is a woman out there that hasn’t felt uneasy with porn at some point. Even if they don’t admit it.
    I’ve seen people on FB try to reference Noah Berlatzky’s article in Playboy where he explains feminism to all of us. All I usually do is copy and paste his other crazy articles like the one on OITNB, or his patronizing, narcissistic replies to anyone who disagrees with him (and how he can find anyone racist for anything). Then they go silent and feel embarrassed.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’ve heard from so many young women whose boyfriend’s try to shame them for not enjoying burlesque or porn or what have you, explaining, just as you say ‘see! It’s feminist — stop being a prude.’ Berlatsky is contributing to this subtle misogyny.

  • J L Hargraves

    The Murderhood of Men never ceases to disgust me. The benign patriarchy of heroic dudes, allies, and “feminist” men MUST be recognized and given plenty of whatever they want because they are going to take care of things, you know. They are amazing human beings possessed of the most dizzying insights and mind-boggling empathy for your plight. Here comes Superman! He has x-ray vision and knows what you face better than you yourself do.

    What a relief for untold generations of women!

    The complex of psycho-social pathologies inculcated into males starting at birth (I think of that assortment as representing the ideals of manhood and masculinity) introduces me and other males to our place within the multitude of hierarchies which define existence in the state society: the top. We are conditioned to take what we want and secure a spot in social situations which “reaffirms” our power and ability to “succeed.” The men who walked this planet thousands of years before me instituted the tradition and reality of MY privilege and YOUR punishment. Idiots like Noah and yours truly made sure this continued onward through time and the rise and fall of empires, empires made by men which cater to men, all at your expense (as well as the planet as a whole).

    I wouldn’t trust any man who proclaims himself to be a feminist “ally,” because we are not the friends of women. We have been and continue to be your oppressors. I sure don’t fancy myself to be anyone’s “ally.” We don’t need pats on the back for refraining from beating you, gaslighting you, raping you, or murdering you. FFS. It looks like Noah needs plenty of that, though.

  • Jane

    So if a woman making pro-patriarchy choices is a feminist wouldn’t that technically make a man in favor of feminism the highest form of meninist and not a traitor or mangina because he chooses his choices? Oh but there’s that uncomfortable truth of power relations that is so conveniently ignored by Berlatsky and Co. Disclaimer: Choices must benefit men.

    Men convincing women that their powerlessness is empowerment now. Pussy-whipped is an insult but dick-whipped is something women should strive for? Imagine the photoshoot “No, no, baby, we have to see BOTH nipples to really capture your empoweredness”

  • Jane (the first)

    I can’t stop laughing at Domise saying you take up too much space with your plucky little blog! Another would-be male ref demands that you present your black libfem papers before you dare advocate for women as a class. “Some libfems and sex industry flacks started a petition against you, Missy. You better think about what you’ve done!” Get outta here. People of all races make misguided choices. Good on you for standing up to him.

    He and Berlatsky are the kind of liberals who make the left look like a joke. How brave to go gangbusters on an individual who is much less connected than they are just for daring to dissent. The pathetic thing is a lot of these people think they’re radicals rather than the self-indulgent, finger in the wind liberals they actually are. They should be ashamed of themselves for the way they use antiracist and intersectional terminology to mask neoliberal goals. They’re using liberal feminists of color to shield their dudely self-interest. It’s too obvious at this point.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Domise also, I was reminded by a friend, attacked an interview with Talitha Stone back in 2013, defended Tyler the Creator’s virulent misogyny and essentially called her a racist (and I one also, just for doing the interview) for pushing back against verbal abuse and rape/death threats. His lack of concern for women, in general, seems to be part of a pattern.

      • Jane (the first)

        The cold hard truth is that these neoliberal men, regardless of color, don’t really want to elevate the status of women of color. They just resent the fact that they generally can’t treat white women as badly as they’ve treated women of color. They want to knock white women down a few pegs, not liberate women of color. Right wing men think women are private property, and left wing men think women are public property. That’s the whole reason they butt in and play ref. That’s why it upsets me to see liberal feminists of color enable sleazy frauds like Berlatsky.

      • Jane (the first)

        Another thing I will not forgive liberal male media hacks for is how they have utterly abandoned poor and working class women to the sex poz meat grinder. For example, the sexualization of the culture hits working class girls much harder. I remember a working class mother telling me how hard it was to find non-tarty clothes at big box stores for her three prepubescent daughters. It’s much easier to find tasteful girls’ clothes at upscale stores.

        The liberal hacks’ daughters, on the other hand, are shielded in their “good schools” (i.e. white) middle class neighborhoods, with little chance of ending up as prostitutes or strippers. Lefty men can protect their little angels and have their porn and hookers too. They don’t fool me by hiding behind the idiot libfems who are often employed by the same mass media outlets they are. I could puke when I see lefty bros like Chris Hayes, Dave Zirin and Doug Henwood praising the likes of Melissa Gira Grant.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Ugh. I was soooo disappointed to see Zirin repping for MGG. His analysis is usually on point.

        • Lee

          Exactly. It’s open-season on poor and working class women and girls (especially teens). Being objectified, being ‘hot’ when you have no protection is a huge liability and burden. 3rd wavers know, they just don’t care. They are happy to feed the another class of woman into the darkest parts of the Patriarchy Machine and feign a limp kind of activism when those women and girls are chucked out, broken or dead.

  • mauritia

    Being a “male feminist” is a prime example of something that is good in theory but rarely works in practice. In my experience the rare men who are kind, thoughtful and amenable to listening and learning about feminism and women’s issues…are never, ever, the same dudes who loudly proclaim themselves to be OMG FEMINISTS

  • Why aren’t we talking about men’s choices? Men choose to degrade. Men choose to abuse. Men choose to purchase women for sex. Men choose to be neglectful of their duty in a family. Men choose to rape. Men choose to watch pornography. It’s time to put the blame squarely on men’s shoulders for these things.

    • Jane (the first)

      Yes. Liberals don’t shy away from assigning collective responsibility, as long it doesn’t jeopardize a male orgasm. They have no problem, for instance, with indicting Westerners for the consumerism that results in Chinese worker suicides and oceans choked with plastic, or white people for systemic injustice to people of color. Left class analysis breaks down, however, when it comes to harm caused directly and indirectly to class:female by porn and prostitution. Then they hide behind the rhetoric of freedom of choice. As we see with Domise and the no-platforming craze, they can’t even bear one radical feminist interrogating male sexual privilege on her own damn blog. Sensitive, aren’t they?

      • And they say women are irrational and emotional. They are the harpies not us.

        • slaw

          What is wrong with being emotional? Emotion is something you feel and it may or may not be expressed outwardly. Men are emotional too but frequently they choose to express that emotion by being physically destructive or violent. Why is that appropriate? I was listening to CBC’s Sunday Edition today and they were talking about anti-semitism in a small Swedish town called Malmo and the lack of a Swedish reaction to the violence. I think one interviewee called it cowardice. I think it is a close cousin to cowardice, reserve. My mother’s parents were both Danish and from her world view I got the sense that propriety was paramount (more so than with the British even). Or maybe it’s ‘didn’t happen to me doesn’t matter’ syndrome. I imagine a big broom that Scandinavians use to sweep all that upsets them under the rug. There’s a hell of a hillock (made of dirt) under that rug. They just ignore the unpleasant reality, pretend the words haven’t been said, and they hope the unpleasantness will just go away. I have never understood the admiration for all things Scandinavian. Sometimes they seem like emotionless robots or just really deceptive ones. And you know what happens when robots depart from the 3 laws (asimov) – mayhem and murder. See Hal or any of the terminator movies. I really prefer Lem’s robots – they are emotional, irrational, competitive, silly, loving … they’re … people.

          • jo

            Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden. And yes, there is a mentality here: Ignore the problem; that will make it go away. It doesn’t work, obviously. It gives abusers and assholes free reign. There has been many times where I’ve been the only one doing something about disturbing situations in public. Me, a small woman while big tough men ignored it.
            Not so keen about seeing Scandinavians compared to robots though…hey!

      • Yisheng Qingwa

        There is nothing more fragile than the male ego–and heaven help you if you are a woman and DARE refuse their insane, sadistic demands.

  • What’s-his-face needs an education on Wonder Woman. His mind is so perverted that when he sees arm cuffs and ropes he thinks of sadomasochism. Well I as a long time fan say no. The bracelets are to let her control her awesome power(which almost rivals that of Superman’s). If she takes them off she goes into a berserker rage mode. The rope is the Lasso of Truth. Go figure. As for the costume the scantiness is an unwritten rule.

  • slaw

    The male gaze is not meant to empower women or girls it is meant to keep them in their place and under the jackboot. I remember being called a slob by my father because I wore baggy but clean clothing as an adolescent. My hair was combed, my room was clean, I did my homework but somehow none of that counted. He was a misogynistic pr*ck and still is. He makes fun of my mother’s friend who has remarried a few times because her spouses die – says being with her is what kills them. My brother has followed in his footsteps and thinks he is supportive of women – but only if they register high enough on the f*ckability index and they don’t have more status and money than him. Because he can’t really deal with women as equals. He is quite the catch (he does have money, but who could tolerate Mr. Blame Game for more than a few hours, he blames everyone but himself for things that go wrong in his life (including his infidelity)). I am sorry but I can’t take seriously anyone who claims men can be feminists. Maybe they can be allies. But feminists. I think, that once again, this claiming to be more feminist (or the right kind of feminist) is a way for them (men) to reclaim the high ground, moral that is. Because they need to be on the top of the heap. Or they will seek retribution. It’s just hilarious when women pander to these men, these ‘male feminists’. For those of us who aren’t in the least interested in whether men like you (the women who seek male approval) it just validates our skepticism about your commitment to feminist principles. You’re committed until it affects your relationships or even how some random guy on the street (or Internet) perceives you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Fathers have *never* been around for their kids. They are moreso today than ever before, but still not nearly at the level women are. Despite marriages, fathers have simply not contributed to child rearing. You are delusional if you think that is somehow the fault of feminism, considering that feminism has led men to take *more* responsibility, not less, in terms of participating in child rearing and domestic chores, etc.

    • James Dosher

      Ms. Murphy, thank you for your timely response.

      I am the primary caregiver for my children and have since 2006 when I became disabled ~ bipolar disorder. For that matter, I was taught how to be a good Father by both my own Father, who died when I was eight, and my maternal Grandfather, who was a school teacher and principal. My paternal Grandfather, on the other hand, was a ‘piece of work’ thus was his own lesson in ‘parenting’.

      Even before then, I was taught marriage is WORK and that comes from both sides. I was taught you and your partner share in the chores. In my case that is laundry and vacuuming. For my wife it is the kitchen. This is as much because I pretty much spent my teenage years alone as my Mom traveled for for the State (NC ESC Youth Work Programs) while my wife’s Mother was a military wife and always home. Her home chores involved a stable and horse manure. Likewise, I cooked at a restaurant my senior year in college and learned to hate it while she had never done a load of laundry in her life before going to college ~ so that became the obvious division of labor.

      So I was the one to help my daughter through the break up with her first boyfriend … and her first girlfriend. She’s happily bi-sexual and confident in who she is because I have taught her my love is unconditional, to never expect something from a friend she would do herself and any ‘lover’ who says “you’ll do this if you love me” doesn’t really love you. We’ve talked about the risk of rape and the merits of fighting back versus staying alive – how she could go either way – how she would always be my wonderful Daughter and it would NEVER be her fault.

      Honestly, my wife has a trouble opening up emotionally so we have always known I’d handle this aspect of parenting. I have always gotten people to open up and am a good listener … which is probably why she married me. I attribute those traits to being my Mother’s sounding board for numerous years as well as the ‘masculine’ lessons that I should be there for her, as her Son and Family.

      As I see it, Fatherhood is very serious work – right up there with Motherhood as having both role models help both genders of children navigate their own graduation to maturity. It is hard going and there is rarely any prize for doing it right beyond knowing your children are happy in whatever direction they choose to take in this life.

      Mind you, I am pretty old now (54 ~ I started out late in life) and I can remember a time when divorces were rare, stigmatized yet desperately needed due to neglect, emotional and physical battery as well as risk of life. I also believe today divorce has become too common and both partners have simply decided it isn’t worth the work even when children are on the line.

      I believe this is both a deliberate and side effect of feminism. Feminism pointed out women needed to be protected from dangerous, unbalanced marriages. Unfortunately, in the process of making it safer to divorce, it also made it easier to toss in the towel by a generation of women unwilling to put in the work. Why? Divorce in the US and most Western Nations favors women and penalizes men.

      Men know this. As marriage becomes more of a burden with less likelihood of reward, men are bailing on the whole idea of family. That is the unintended consequences of feminism ~ fatherless households and the denigration of the entire concept of Fatherhood.

      P.S. While proof-reading this, my Daughter asked me to add that I taught her to always form and hold her own opinions, no matter what I, or anyone else says. As I said earlier, she’s Freaking Wonderful!

      • Meghan Murphy

        I think all women should get divorced. There is zero need to get married in this day and age. It ensures nothing. Certainly not that men will behave better towards women and children. Again, if we look to history, we can see this. Whether or not you as an individual are a good father is irrelevant to broader patterns that disprove your argument.

        • James Dosher

          Ah, beyond our differing opinions on marriage, I think we also hold different views concerning the collective versus the individual and how we prioritize our actions and see the possible results of those actions.

          I was taught “you marry out of love. You stay married out of ‘like’.” In theory, no civil, or religious, commitment should be necessary. Sadly, then we run across the problems of ‘Common Law Marriages’, who owns what property, ect. How that leaves the kids to grow up … doesn’t look promising. Experience shows us single-parent households have a host of issues which are only compounded if the mother is left to fend for herself because the father is AWOL.

          If you have found love, I hope it lasts forever. If you haven’t, I hope you do. Sure, love might not count for much in the Macro, but you can’t hug the Collective and the Collective rarely hugs you back. Thank you for your responses. Take care.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Of course most of us probably hope love lasts forever. But marriage doesn’t ensure this. You are conflating the two unnecessarily.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s not what I mean… I mean that if you love someone, there is no need to get married. You can choose to be in a relationship with someone or not. It can be any kind of relationship you like. If we lived in a matrilineal or matriarchal society, we could be raising children without men. It’s totally doable and totally reasonable.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You do understand that women get pregnant all the time outside of marriage, yes?

    Re: your question about responsibility, I think the answer is in changing society, so that women don’t need to depend on men, so that they can get pregnant or not, and are able to raise children, if they like, without having to depend on men… I think, again, we could achieve this in a matrilineal or matriarchal society.

    Patriarchal capitalism doesn’t enable women to be truly independent, so I think we need to work toward another model.