Why, in societies that claim to support women’s rights, does misogyny continue to flourish?

Although rape and domestic violence are criminalized, a quick scan of our culture makes it clear that violence against women is something that we consume, celebrate, and, ultimately, excuse.

In 2013, Shafeeq Shiekh, a doctor at the Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, Texas, raped an acute asthma patient while she was sedated. Though he was convicted and his license suspended, the punishment handed to him at his trial last week was shockingly bare: he received 10 years of probation, but no jail time. Shiekh was arrested in 2015, after detectives analyzed evidence that included footage of Shiekh entering the patient’s room, DNA test results, and two years’ worth of other damning material. Despite understanding that he had deliberately exploited a sick woman in an obviously vulnerable state — he was roaming the halls during his night shift when he “noticed her breast implants” — jurors decided to interpret the guilty verdict they handed to him as one that did not warrant a lengthy prison term, or any prison at all. How could this be? They were confident enough in the evidence they were presented to deem him guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of raping a sedated woman. Texas sexual assault law gave the jury the authority to sentence him to 20 years in prison. Did they simply not attach any great meaning to the crime they determined Shiekh had committed?

In any society that maintains itself through law, that law will be contextualized and influenced by the culture, ideas, and norms of that society. Early philosophers like Aristotle considered legislators to be the most virtuous of all professionals, because, in his day, they allowed ethical concepts contemplated by only a few to be transmitted to the masses via the law. “It is legislators,” he wrote, “who make citizens good by habituation.”

The way law and culture intersect today is wildly different than it was in the past. We once believed that it was necessary to impose morals onto society via the law because we assumed that the hierarchical structures that were in place ought to be maintained. This meant that we created legislation that would enforce and maintain already existing systems. Today, culture and legislation remain inextricable, but because we recognize the potential of law to be an instrument of progressive social change. In other words, we see the law as a potential means to change society and to reflect our updated ideology or ethics.

Conceptions of what is “moral,” “good,” and “virtuous” have varied widely across time, space, and culture, and the legislation dependent on those ideas has tended to follow those ideological fluctuations. When drastic cultural changes take place, similar legal changes follow. For women in some parts of the world, cultural changes have led to laws protecting our rights to work, to exercise reproductive choice, and, generally, to exist autonomously as members of society.

Unfortunately, disdain for many of the crimes that disproportionately affect women is hardly represented in U.S. law. Child marriage — a crime in which girls are typically forced or coerced into marriages with older men — remains legal in 48 states, and cases like that in which Brock Turner spent three months in prison for raping an unconscious woman reflect the lenience with which sexual abusers are often treated. Domestic violence claims, when they are investigated, are not always taken seriously, and rarely result in jail time for the offenders. Indeed, victims of domestic abuse who act violently in self-defense are sometimes sent to jail with or in lieu of their abusers.

Even when men are arrested for these crimes, they are often treated with a degree of flexibility. Many sex offenders are given the opportunity to be released upon payment of an assigned bond while they await trial. While judges sometimes require defendants to pay 100 per cent of their assigned bond in order to be released, in many other cases, they are only required to pay a small percentage, provided they appear for their day in court. If and when they attend their trial, they are assigned weak sentences far too frequently.

Some will argue that this lenience is due to the law’s flexibility. Indeed, the now-recalled California judge who sentenced Turner, Aaron Persky, defended his decision by saying that he owed deference not to the convictions of the public but to the law, saying, “As a judge, it’s my role to consider both sides. It’s not always popular, but it’s the law.” But Persky ignores — or chooses not to address — the fact that the laws of a republic are inextricably tied to social views and ethics. This means the law’s lenience must be connected, in some way, to the perspectives and beliefs held by the public. Indeed, a recall effort against Persky was successful, but no efforts were made to amend or review the laws that permitted a rapist like Brock Turner to be handed such a light punishment.

Perpetrators of crimes against women are not treated by judges, juries, and law enforcement as serious offenders.  We need to consider this not only as a flaw in the law, but as a reflection of the beliefs, mores, and concerns of broader society, and conclude that violence against women remains low on the list of things we deem to be worthy of denunciation and deterrence.

Although rape and domestic violence are criminalized, a quick scan of our culture makes it clear that violence against women is something that we consume, celebrate, and, ultimately, excuse.

The TV show Game of Thrones is one of the few excuses many people use to keep their cable, and is wildly popular in spite of a glaring flaw: it contains a ridiculous amount of sexual violence. When confronted, the show’s writers and producers, including George R. R. Martin himself, author of the books and producer of television series adaptation, defended the misogyny and frequent rape scenes by saying that it is realistic, considering the show takes place during a violent and archaic time (although it’s not clear how the dragons and the undead also contribute to the show’s historical accuracy). If consumers disapprove, they certainly don’t show it. Stores like Hot Topic sell oodles of GoT merchandise to eager buyers, and the viewership speaks for itself: if people are at all upset by the ubiquity of sexual violence in GoT, they aren’t upset enough to stop watching.

Interestingly (but unfortunately), themes of sexual assault, violence against women, and sexism in general are consumed en masse by fans of the nation’s favorite music genre: rap. It’s true that the genre is diverse and that not all rappers produce work with misogynist themes and lyrics; it’s also true, though, that that many popular rappers are openly violent and misogynistic toward women in real life. Rapper XXXTentation, who was recently murdered, had a long and brutal history of domestic abuse, but people around the world mourned his death anyway; industry figures like Kanye West, J. Cole, and Travis Scott lamented his shooting on social media. Though some celebrated his death, he received a posthumous outpouring of support from the world of popular culture. Performer Chris Brown is still alive, but continues to receive support from his many fans worldwide, despite the fact that his brutal abuse of Rihanna is known to anyone who came in contact with popular culture at all during the late 2000s. Many more celebrated rappers — dead and alive — have histories of violence against women, including Big Pun, Dr Dre, and Nas.

Beyond violence behind closed doors, a great deal of rap music includes messages of sexism and sexist violence. Some songs, like “Bitch Suck Dick” by crowd favorite Tyler, the Creator, openly describe acts of abuse; Too $hort’s song “Blow Job Betty” describes a woman choking to death via oral sex, and Rick Ross’ “U. O. E. N. O.” presents a presumably fictional anecdote in which the rapper rapes an intoxicated woman and insists she enjoys it. Performers across the genre also seem to have difficulty referring to women in ways that don’t include the word “bitch” or sexually objectify them. These disturbing and demeaning trends are hardly given any notice within the sphere of popular culture; and, on the rare occasion that the topic of sexism in rap is entertained by that collective sphere, it is often to say that those who make this argument are misguided at best and racist at worst.

To be sure, many female rappers and prominent feminist figures like bell hooks have repeatedly addressed the ubiquity of sexism in hip hop. Unfortunately, when these analyses of the genre are offered, they are often ignored, and, in some instances, the violent behavior of rappers against women who speak up is deliberately swept under the rug. Rap, many black feminists agree, is “a welcome articulation of the economic and social frustrations of black youth.” They also acknowledge, however, that “youth” in that case typically only refers to “male youth,” and that women — black women, especially — are often verbally brutalized via this “frustration.” The obvious and often violent form that sexism takes in rap music ignores the struggles that the female subjects of the genre face, and undermines their autonomy. In spite of this, though, rap’s many avid fans continue to support the genre and the artists who use it to purvey a message of sexism — some black feminists even consider the violent misogyny in rap to be a “necessary evil.”

Among all of the cultural manifestations of sexism and sexist violence, though, two of the most shocking continue to exist within the liberal green zone. The first of these is pornography.

Since the dawn of the Internet, porn viewership has risen dramatically — some estimates say certain sites now receive 100 million unique visitors each day.

Pornography addiction among men is also on the rise, and the categories into which the videos are separated include increasingly exploitative and disturbing content. A data-gathering effort from PornHub which calculated the most popular content category in each state found that “lesbian” was the most common search nationwide, indicating a clear disregard for female sexuality, and that categories like “step-sister” and “step-mom” weren’t too far behind. Another study published in the journal Violence Against Women found that nearly 90 per cent of the content available on the internet contains physical violence and nearly half features verbal aggression, with 95 per cent of each aimed at women. Despite the overwhelming evidence that pornography is harmful to women, its public stock is rising.

The same thing can be said for BDSM. A once-taboo sexual practice that began gaining momentum in the 1940s and has now found favour in alternative circles as well as the general public. BDSM, though widely misunderstood, only further demonstrates social acceptance of sexism and sexual violence. Considering that the basis for BDSM is domination and subordination, and we live in a culture wherein men are dominant, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of males who practice BDSM with a female partner play the “dominant” role. It relies on the sexualization of abuse, though its proponents claim BDSM is harmless, since it’s only “role-playing.” Even if it were true that it is simply “role-playing,” and therefore disconnected from real-life violence, practitioners say they find BDSM pleasurable because it allows them to either have sexual power over another person or to submit to the deliberately frustrating, uncomfortable, degrading, abusive, and/or painful sexual demands of another. The fact that “a heavy concern for safety” may exist in such an environment does not negate the presence of sexual sadism, masochism, and aggression. Even if participants don’t suffer physical injury or death, the harmful combination of violent and exploitative sexual behaviors and the modern justifications of those behaviors that make BDSM so alluring for its practitioners affects the way they view other humans.

Widely critiqued by practitioners for its supposedly unrealistic portrayal of BDSM, the Fifty Shades of Grey novel and film trilogies were immensely popular with the general public. The series presented shocking amounts of sexual sadism to its immense audience, romanticizing male masochism and intense sexual violence, and was a remarkable commercial success. While practitioners and their “progressive” allies didn’t offer much support for the franchise, their criticism was rooted in its allegedly inaccurate portrayal of BDSM, not its glorification of male abuse.

If we choose to look for it, we can see that the presence of violence against women in American culture is imposing. And, once we do look, the claim that such violence is low on the list of things we deem immoral, which we have already determined is possible, begins to appear more realistic than we would like to consider. Though we would like to dismiss it, the legal and cultural evidence that led us to question our beliefs about violence against women to begin with only seem to confirm our worst suspicions.

Morgan Amonett is a Classics student at the Ohio State University.

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  • Can’tUnseeIt

    “Why,” indeed. Because the gap between the word and the fact is so wide. In practice, mysogyny has remained firmly ensconced. Talk is cheap and men who control all of the power systems benefit far too much to let go of woman-hating. It forms the bedrock of our “civilization.” Too many women are convinced by the gas lighting into believing that they too benefit from its practice. And then there’s the violence and intimidation if you try to step out of it.

  • Alienigena

    Because these societies never ceased being profoundly misogynistic and only grudgingly granted women the paltry rights they have because of the efforts of some very brave and committed bio women. Just look at your own family dynamic and look at who does the bulk of the labour in the home (emotional and other, I would assert). Hollywood movies make a big deal of the long suffering male slaving away in the workplace, unhappy, unfulfilled and striving to provide for his family (both necessities and luxuries). Has anyone ever seen a movie that truly celebrates single mothers who strive to provide for their families and who are as, if not more, exhausted than their male counterparts? I can’t think of many examples in the English language. The mothers in Hollywood movies seem to be in search of a male saviour, or are completely flakey and narcissistic (e.g. “Anywhere but here”, read the book, didn’t see the movie). There is the TV show, “One Day at a Time” (original and reboot). Or the lives of the single moms are too perfect to be believed. Everything in this so-called advanced society seems to be calculated to undermine women as a collective whenever they make even the smallest gains. A portion of the American electorate was calling for the vote for women to be rescinded during the last election. Maybe it was a joke, but it wasn’t a good one.

  • Ada

    “Why, in societies that claim to support women’s rights, does misogyny continue to flourish?”

    Because that benefits men and they run the world, with violence and economic power, which they manage to gather because they are physically stronger. In most species male is stronger and hence more dominant, but if females manage to knitt close bonds with each other, they working together can neutralize male supremacy, like Bonobos, for example. And that is the solution for humans too and men know that so they use every tool to keep women divided.

    Also, I want to ask if anyone here is familiar with Lundy Bancroft situation? I read his book “Why does he do that?” because it was recommended here and I think it is great and very valuable but now I wonder if he is just another men who masks himself as an ally just to prey on vulnerable women.

    • Wren

      What situation is Lundy Bancroft in? I am a fan of his books, but I don’t know what you are referring to.

  • FierceMild

    So feminists should focus on making men’s lives better. What a new and exciting idea!! If only we focused on making men happy they would stop hurting one another and after that they would stop hurting us. PERFECT PLAN!

    • radwonka

      Lol!! Right????? It is not like women ALREADY do whatever men want

  • Elara

    I’m sorry all this awful shit happened to you, Calabasa. You are strong, sister <3 And thank you for this insightful post.

  • There have been some egalitarian religious churches which have worked out for women, but only in the short run. And then there are the ANARCHISTS who are, almost by definition, anti-hierarchy, but few if any, embrace anti-sexist positions.

    As to Norway, even the Nordic Model (prostitution) although critically important, is not being energetically enforced.

    As long as even the weakest men in the chain are offered more social power than their female counterpart, they will sense themselves as both superior to and apart from women.

  • Tobysgirl

    I would point out that societies and individuals can CLAIM to support whatever, but they must be judged by their actions not their words. Americans think of themselves as kind-hearted and generous because it makes them feel good, but if you judge us by our actions we are selfish and complicit in terrible evil. People and cultures do not want to look at themselves, critique themselves, and there is no encouragement to do so.

  • marv

    The Left has blamed violence against women on men’s economic class divisions for a long time; others see misogyny as the result of race class. In reality, men’s domination of women stands on its own – patriarchy unmodified.

    Reversing the order of her/your position by putting sexism first has more potential to subvert the “male pecking order”.

    The fact that you critique male stratification yet use prostitutes contradicts your analysis. Since you are aware of the importance of abolishing male ranks why do you continue to violate women in the sex trade?

  • Jani

    You just have to look at the antics of Scotland’s ex First Minister steamrollering his massive ego all over the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him. He’s made it all about him and somehow he’s also managed to make it all about his commitment to independence, and how devoted to the cause he is. His supporters have donated £100,000 to his challenging the complaints process in the courts. Meanwhile the usual criticism of women reporting sexual assault and harassment — that they are liars, and why didn’t they come forward before, and they are ruining the reputation of this great man etc etc. As soon as the complaints procedure was put in place, enabling women to come forward as these two women did, it’s being torn apart by the male with the most power, the loudest voice, and the most money. He called his crowdfunded “Fairness First” and made out that he is the victim. I don’t think these women stand a chance. That’s patriarchy at work.

  • Jani

    It’s interesting that black rap music is very popular with young white men.

  • Omzig Online

    It’s already pretty well understood that inequality among men is a source of strife and is frequently used as an excuse for violence. (The same points you mentioned could also be applied to white supremacy, by the way). When men feel they’re being deprived of the status recognition they feel entitled to, they take it out on someone they perceive as inferior. Women and PoC understand this to be true on a visceral level, because we are the targets of men’s violently butt-hurt feelings. Your comment kind of reminds me of these articles:



    Both articles cite research that women already intuitively know to be true: men become violent when their fee-fees get hurt, whether it’s because they’re losing a video game, they’re favorite football team is losing, or they’re just losing at life in general.

    But this is not a problem for Radical Feminists to solve for you. It is a problem that MEN need to solve on their own. The real issue is that men don’t seem to have the intellect or the emotional maturity to solve their own problems without Feminists spoon feeding the answers to them.

  • radwonka

    MTE. What more “extreme” could even be possible? Why do these people blindly defend MVAW should be the real question of this article…
    In the same interview she said a pedo “””dated””” her when she was young, and that the same man is now dating her mother.

    See that is what I am talking about when I mention women’s responsability: female pimps, abusive mothers, narcissistic masochists etc. Their behavior impacts other women and girls.
    Im not blaming women only but the article was like “men do this; men do that”, when reality is not either black or white.

    But yeah the interview made me sad. Sad because this young woman was probably abused but also sad because she can only cope via banalizing MVAW even more.

    It just never ends.

    You are right that women defend misogyny… they punish women who refuse to support MVAW also. Think about women who defend “transwomen”, those who claim to be “sex experts/sexologists” just to make women feel bad about their boundaries, those who write grooming magazines about “feminity”…

    They all police women for no real reason other than not being a maso.

    Even powerful women would rather get richer than challenge norms. Isnt it telling that all these pop stars are supposed to be powerful yet cant sell one single without being objectifed? Lets compare them with male artists who sold over 250 millions albums: Michael Jackson just grabbed his penis in one choreo (fully clothed) and Elton John, huh, didnt need anything lol.

    But now the norms are still the same: male rappers are ugly and just stand there moving their hands while female rappers have to be perfect and to be objectified.

    I read in a forum that twerking was just a dance, and while it might be true, I think it is pushed because it sexualizes the female body. When was the last time male rappers had to shake their butt to prove to the world they are not prude? If it was just a dance male rappers wouldnt be ashamed to do it. The fact that they would feel shame by doing it shows that it is more than just a “dance”.

    That dancing of Iggy made me laugh :’) Idk it is so ridiculous :’) I dont know what yo say lol xD

    And Yeah I agree. Women need to say “no” to objectification and refuse to collaborate with violent males.

    If the majority of women (especially the popular ones) continue to support these men, the revolution wont be possible.

  • TLT

    Thanks for the warning about game of thrones…can cross that off my list. Also wanted to warn others about the movie pitch perfect (I believe there are 3…only watched the first one of course)…I know it’s a bite dated…but that movie is disturbing….it is specifically marketed toward young women, and they made the movie to be anti woman and racist as fuck….i recommend that you don’t watch it unless you want to do your own feminist analysis on it, but especially don’t let any child you care about be exposed to that mind warping
    shit…The movie was especially cruel to Asian women, here is good article about it…


    • OldPolarBear

      Interesting. Haven’t watched any of them, but have been sort of curious because I liked singing in high school. The first one, at least, was praised because of the positive things about young women achieving, etc., but I don’t remember any critique of the presentation of Asian characters. I did see some reviews panning the 3rd one because it was basically a Pentagon ad cheerleading for war and militarism. Thanks for the link. I may eventually check the movie out.

  • radwonka

    “Focus on men! Prioritize men! Men suffer too!”

  • OldPolarBear

    Great comment! I have been rather bemused by many of the penis-centric phenomena you mention, and others, especially that of the “dick pic.” I am a “hundred percent homo” gay man, and I have often been quite fond of penises, some more than others obviously, and in the right circumstances and at the right times, etc. But I don’t think I have ever had the slightest desire to send or receive a dick pic. The first time I ever walked into an “adult” bookstore, back in the 70s, there were magazines with huge closeups on the cover, and I was like, um, OK, what else ya got? An older friend had rented a PO box and placed an ad in The Advocate for possible meet ups — yes, gay men really did that, back when that magazine was really a gay magazine; there were still a few plesiosaurs roaming the river bank by the main PO when I went with him once to pick up his mail. And one guy had sent a Polaroid of his. And we just LOLed!, a half-century before that was even invented! LOL! That guy did not get an answer. Years later, I got one via email, from the friend of a friend who was being visited by another friend, from whom the sender somehow wormed my email address. I was WTF I didn’t want to see this! That guy actually turned out to be deeply disturbed and creepy, way too long a story to go into here. I was involved in online and phone sex for a time, and sometimes it turned out pretty well (probably not if the time wasted is accounted for), and I sometimes thought it might be nice to have a picture of the guy, although he probably wasn’t anywhere near as hot as he described himself, anymore than I was. But I never ever, never found myself thinking, “Gee, what wouldn’t I give for a picture of this guy’s junk!” Never wanted to own or display any of those joke items on my coffee table or anywhere else, even ironically. So dick pics, yeah, weird thing. Do women ever actually request these? I’ve tried to imagine, OK, you are in an actual relationship and you really actually like this guy, and he’s away and you’re talking on the phone, and you want a picture of that? OK, maybe, whatever floats your boat.

    And Camille Paglia … I tried to read that book, bought a copy and everything. Everybody was raving about it, especially gay men. Just got a few pages in and couldn’t get any farther. She seems like somebody who is very erudite, I think is the word. She really knows a whole lot of stuff, a lot or most of which is actually true, but she just throws it all out there, and then it’s like it’s supposed to add up to some conclusion, but it’s not the conclusion that she says it is. She did say something in an interview once, about how she envied men that they had these things they could easily get out in certain situations, like when gay men were cruising parks, etc., and they could whip them out and have them pleasured and be able to put them away quickly if there was danger of being caught. So-called “tearoom” sex, etc. And I thought, OK, yeah, I can sorta get what she’s saying. But the costs of that “subculture” … John Waters actually had a scene, I think maybe it was in Desperate Living, where I guess he was satirizing that, there was a lesbian “tearoom” situation. It was just so absurd, it was funny.

  • Jani

    At where I used to work, a woman received a plastic penis “sex toy” from a male coworker as a “secret santa” gift, although everyone knew who it was from. It was supposedly a “joke” but I thought it was a humiliation for the woman concerned. Most people thought, oh what a laff, although I’m sure most of the women were happy not to have endured the embarrassment. Had it been me, I would have just thrown it at him and left. I would have felt an element of threat and subjugation if I was to accept this guy’s proxy penis as a so-called gift.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Male anarchists are often incredibly misogynist. I mean, it’s these guys who are out there saying we should all be beaten and murdered for knowing that ‘woman’ is a real thing…

    • Robert Lindsay

      Meghan, just thought I would let you know. The MRA’s can’t stand me. They hate anyone on the Left, but their main beef against me is that they say I’m a feminist.

      So the feminists hate me and call me an MRA, and the MRA’s hate me and call me a feminist. You can’t win.

  • Hanakai

    You are justifying the use of rape as entertainment. Children watching will learn about rape and the normalization of rape. Nothing like giving the kids ideas. Not cool.

  • Hanakai

    The ubiquitousness of Internet porn is a major factor. Before Internet porn, men would have to go to smut shops, usually in not-so-good neighborhoods, and surreptiously buy pornographic magazines or watch short films in semen-stained booths. Now every 10 and 11 year old boychild is learning misogyny from Internet porn.

    • Jani

      Oh, definitely yes. Internet porn is semen-stained brainwashing for the masses. It’s the ultimate ‘opiate for the people’. Those sex shops of yore were so ridiculous. I remember going into one with a friend from college and I was just cracking up at the rubber vaginas and blow-up sex dolls, thinking “who buys this shit?” It was more like a joke shop. And the customers! Mr Respectable from Suburbia looking very uncomfortable and embarrassed. All the magazines were wrapped in plastic and they were supposed to have been censored anyway with black squares printed over the genitals, but obviously the suckers bought them thinking they were going to see something far more explicit. I thought that only idiots would ever go to a seedy “adult bookstore”. Perhaps I was naive but I thought that garbage would be history by now. Who knew we’d go from that to the nightmare we have now.

  • Wren

    That’s all I found as well.

  • Wren

    Wow if this is true (and she seems very believable) it’s very disappointing. How did this seemingly enlightened man become so enamored with himself that he feels justified in becoming the creep he once sought to expose?? I’m asking this rhetorically because I’ve known plenty of men who’ve done this kind of shit. It sucks and I feel her pain.

    I also didn’t know that he developed “retreats.” I am soooooo suspicious of any kind of “healing” experience for traumatized individuals since they are vulnerable and desperate for answers, and doubly suspicious when it recruits women yet is lead by a man. I don’t like it.

    I do, however, stand by his earlier books about abuse as good, strong guidebooks for victims to use to make sense of their situation. I think they are good tools, and I know they’ve helped me. But it is always a danger to elevate someone to hero status, and even more dangerous when that person is a man.

  • Misanthropia

    I’m a straight forward woman, but I’ve never had a worship of a penis or particularly been affected by phallic imagery. In contrast I’ve been more preoccupied with my clitoris than I have with anything else Males don’t like the clitoris too much because its an organ that is solely devoted to female pleasure and its an organ that usually takes a mouth or finger to bring it pleasure, which is effort that hetero males don’t usually like to put in. And in FGM its the first organ they go after because they subconsciously acknowledge its female sexual power. Even in the west the clitoris is not much focused on generally.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m heterosexual and have zero interest in strangers’ penises, penis paraphernalia, dick pics, etc. I am attracted to the men who I am specifically having sex with, which is different. Meaning I’m not interested in looking at random penises or objectified penises. I think when women are into that, it’s kind of a performance — an attempt to ‘be like men’.

  • Misanthropia

    You should be glad most women only want equality and not revenge. And if you’re tired of being treated like a rapist that’s not my problem or any woman’s problem. Male suffering, whether real or imagined is not of concern to me.

  • Jani

    “The alternative to Game of Thrones, are films, such as Disney films, which imply that patriarchal monarchies lead to happy princesses, glamorous weddings and peasants who blindly celebrate their rulers.“

    I live in Europe where cinema is considered an art form. Sorry my friend, but neither Disney or GoT come close to the tradition of European cinema.

  • Jani

    Being in the UK I had no idea about 9/11 widows. How awful. I think a lot changed after 9/11 on a global scale.

  • marv

    Regret for my tardy response, Wren. I didn’t see your question earlier.

    It was before your time on FC, I think. Years ago he frequently commented defending his use of a woman in prostitution as a consensual exchange and that he sincerely loved her. We went after him with rigor and vigor so he hasn’t been around for quite awhile.

    • Wren

      Oh, then I hope the fucking punter rots in his own hierarchical hell.

  • marv

    Since you are a therapist have you tried therapy or baby soothers?

    • Wren


  • Jani

    I am horrified by what is going on in the US. The threat to Roe v. Wade and the lack of access to abortion in some geographical regions; threats to the funding of Planned Parenthood; lack of sex education in some states; bizarre teaching of the Biblical creation as an alternative to biological evolution; the political influence of the Christian lobby; the dumbing down of news to the level of popular entertainment; the so-called free speech coalition and their toxic influence; the shooting of unarmed young black men; the rise of the alt-right; oh, and Donald fucking Trump as president. Honestly, every day I switch on the news and it gets worse every day. What happens in the US is going to infect the rest of the world. I can see us being relegated to chattel once again.

    • Hekate Jayne

      As a person living in the states, I do not understand how we affect so much. I feel like males in the US go on about how great everything is, knowing that it is an obvious lie, but daring anyone to defy them. Even other countries.

      It is awful here. I see what the media shows the rest of the world. Our politicians go on about how even people in poverty have refrigerators and microwaves, that the poor are lazy and worthless. Meanwhile, my neighbor died last month after not being able to afford insulin for his diabetes. I know more than a few people that don’t have refrigerators or working stoves. In Alabama, there has been an outbreak of hookworm (iirc, it is one of the worms) and it’s been traced back to so many people having to rig their toilets with pvc pipe because they can’t afford plumbing repairs.

      Males In my country love the male concept of “deserving” or “worthy”. Are you deserving of health care? Of good food? Shelter? How about rape? Do women deserve to be abused? Or safe? A few white males find themselves to be deserving of everything good and nothing bad, and they have decided that everyone else deserves to suffer.

      We are a trash heap, which is exactly what males wanted. They excel at destruction and are completely void of any empathy or kindness.

  • Jani

    Looking back, there was Brian Jones, David Bowie, Marc Bolan and many other performers who weren’t “masculine” in the traditional sense but they didn’t come out with this “gender fluid” garbage. There were women of the punk era like Siouxsie Sioux who totally subverted ideas of “femininity” and “sexiness” into something unique and confrontational. When you look at women of the 60s until the “high maintenance” 80s, women like Julie Christie and Ali McGraw had natural figures and weren’t caked in make up. Somehow things became very stereotypically gendered again with Lego beauty parlors and highly sexualised ‘teen’ Bratz dolls in thigh highs. These were supposed to be toys for girls. Tesco (UK supermarket) was actually selling a pole dancing kit for girls complete with toy money and a garter. It was actually sold in the toys section of the store – until there were complaints. I thought we’d be over so much of sexism by now. How wrong I was.

  • Jani

    The man who gifted the plastic penis had been doing the “non consensual attention” thing in the workplace, hanging around her work area a bit too much. When she would take her break, he would suddenly appear on his break. I’m sure you get the picture. Middle aged, married man, forever turning the topic of conversation into something sexual or smutty. The last I heard was that he was doing the same old “non consensual attention” thing to another woman. I wonder if she’ll get a plastic penis too. These morons are just stupid and embarrassing to know.

  • Wren

    Good grief I can’t believed I missed those posts (or as Marv said, it may have been before I discovered FC). Thanks for the intel.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Susan faludi wrote an excellent book about it. I can’t recall the title, atm.

    I don’t remember much about widows outside of the FDNY, except for the Jersey 4, who were pretty fucking badass and I don’t recall them taking a lot of shit.

    The fire department widows made the mistake of not flogging themselves in public while donning widows weeds. They also made the mistake of continuing to live when their heroic, perfect, angelic, sweet, bestest husbands were murdered by other males. A good woman is supposed to lay down and die, I suppose. Because if they don’t, they are totally callous, greedy bitches that obviously wished their husbands dead.

  • Misanthropia

    My hatred for males is stronger than my fear of them though. I personally have stopped giving a fuck about being nice to males just to stroke their ego or to smile at them out of submissive fear. They don’t deserve anything from us unless we deem it acceptable to give to them

  • acommentator

    “liberal feminism helps no woman ”

    I don’t see how you can make that statement. I have always understood liberal feminism to be that branch of feminists who focus on the use of liberal (small “l”) institutions, in particular the law, to advance the interest of women.

    You can’t just excise the contributions liberal feminists have made and continue to make in advancing women’s interests.

    This may sound grating, coming from a man, but liberal feminism gets a bad rap on this forum, IMO. Most of the time the term is used to refer to young women who are have a SJW mindset and who are not liberal under any serious understanding of the word. They certainly are not liberal feminists.

    Liberal feminists were right there pushing all of the legal developments that, since the 60s, have benefited women. Liberal feminists were involved in the court cases and in influencing the legislation that is attributed to the Second Wave. Do you think all the female legislators, judges, prosecutors, public interest lawyers, and womens advocates behind all these developments for women’s rights were all radical feminists?

    I went to law school in the late 80s. Many of my female classmates went on to become judges, litigators, legislators. They run law departments in corporations (My immediate supervisor is a woman and her immediate boss is a woman, in charge of a group of probably 40 or so lawyers, and a couple dozen non-lawyers) and in cities and towns and public interest groups. Almost all of them are liberal feminists. They would laugh at some of the things people say on here about liberal feminists.

    I know many more liberal feminists than I do radical feminists. The liberal feminists I know are not post modern. They don’t write for hip internet sites with a SJW mindset. They are not “woke” and they don’t think men are women. They don’t talk about “white feminism.” They are educated, clear eyed, rational, and competent. They make things happen.

    • Wren

      “They are educated, clear eyed, rational, and competent”

      Then I would say that your legal colleagues and these women you’re referring to are actually radical feminists, but probably don’t identify as such due connotation of radical. In fact, as you may have noticed by now, we are not radical by any means. We just refuse to defend men’s use of porn and prostitution, reject the notion that men can identify as women, and have no tolerance for the normalization of rape and sexual violence. The fact that we have to call ourselves radical is completely misleading, but it is necessary to distinguish ourselves from *feminists* who put men’s needs first. Unfortunately this is what contemporary libfems tend to do.

  • calabasa

    The comment section here is always a minefield for me, with all the doodz named Robert, which is (my most recent) rapist’s name (although he changed it now to something much cooler and less white-sounding)!

    Who knew how many men were named Robert? I certainly did not. Not until it was a massive trigger, that is.

  • Tobysgirl

    Maybe I’ve been reading too much Janice Peck (I read The Age of Oprah, recommended by an FC commenter, a while ago, and am now reading The Gods of Televangelism), but when you begin exploring neoliberalism in all its manifestations what is happening in society becomes quite clear. Ronald Reagan was our first unabashedly neoliberal president (you may glean from this that neoliberalism has naught to do with actual classic liberalism), and every day in every way we in the U.S. are pummeled with neoliberal ideas. Whenever you hear that some singular African-American raised herself by her bootstraps, you are listening to neoliberal propaganda. Whenever you hear that you have no responsibility to make sure that your neighbors have access to health care, housing, education, nutrition, you are hearing neoliberal propaganda. Neoliberalism is the destruction of the social contract; it rests on there being no social contract because it declares there is no society (Margaret Thatcher). I am NOT saying that things were wonderful before this horrible philosophy permeated our existence, but many people felt some responsibility toward their neighbors, their community, even their country. I do not believe that 9/11 destroyed what shreds of a social contract remained, I think it was just useful in helping Americans to think that their enemies are out there in some nebulous somewhere rather than right here running their country. Neoliberalism has been a huge blessing for the ruling elite and their minions (1% my ass, it’s more like 20% of the population benefits from the oligarchy we live under). My apologies for the length of this reply.

    • shy virago

      Excellent comment. I was out of the country for 12 years, on and off, and came back
      just in time for the stolen election in 2001.
      When I look back at 911, I see how it has been used to make people more afraid and much more easily manipulated by the Police State. I will take your suggestion and read Janice Peck. Am eager to read Chris Hedges ‘Empire of Illusion’. He writes about our history of bashing radicalism to instate liberalism, which helped me understand neo-liberalism much better.

      • Tobysgirl

        The Gods of Televangelism is very academic; I suspect it may have been Peck’s dissertation. However, The Age of Oprah is very readable — Peck weaves together so many strands and it really helped me to understand what has happened in the U.S. since 1980, including the sidelining of feminism. (I am very aware that radical feminism NEVER got media attention.)

  • Hanakai

    What universe did you drop in from that you think children are not watching Game of Thrones? They absolutely are. Google it. Kids these days watch it on their iPads. If you were in touch with reality and kids today, you would know kids are fascinated with GoT.

    Just as we feed our bodies and the food becomes part of our cells, what we feed our minds becomes part of our consciousness. I choose not to feed my mind on rape and violence as entertainment. We have other ways of entertaining ourselves and the children here.

    You are intellectually dishonest in saying that I suggest that kids should not learn about rape. Obviously, children should learn about the depravity of their species, about the Holocaust and rape and psychopaths, but the entertainment media is not where these realities should be taught. My objection is to rape being used as entertainment, to children being shown rape as entertainment, and rape being used to increase HBO’s corporate profits.

    You think some screenwriter who thinks rape is entertaining is presenting politically complex ideas. Give me a break. TV is not where one finds complex ideas — TV is where capitalism distorts the hearts and minds for its own ends. Instead, read Barbara Tuchman, or Noam Chomsky, or Upton Sinclair or Franz Fanon or Kate Millett or Simone de Beauvoir.

    Something in your psyche loves that show, something in you wants to feed the darkness and violence in your store consciousness with more trash. Fortunately, the women here are not in agreement with your delusions.

  • Ada

    Yeah, I’ve noticed your comments on her channel, I hope she will read them. I brought this up because I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else. I don’t know why, maybe he is just not that well known for media to be interested in this story. I am not from North America so I don’t know how things work over there, but I assume there must be some institution she can formaly complain to about his unprofessional attitudes and they release some kind of public warning. Until then I think it’s important to spread this information through informal channels and hopefully it will reach some women who may consider going to his “retreats”.

    • Hekate Jayne

      There probably is some kind of oversight or organization that she could inform about this, but all of those are funded and run by males. Our justice system, the police, the courts are all vast majority male which protects males. This is why not a single male has been arrested over MeToo, why rapists go free, and MVAW goes mostly unpunished.

      It will be better just to spread that information to other women, as you were saying. At least then, we can avoid him. I can help spread it around, I will get to it tonight.

    • Hekate Jayne
  • Wren

    Good on you for attempting to evaluate even one bizarre sentence from this man. I just can’t.

    Although I find it incredibly amusing that he thinks men would get more sex if women weren’t afraid of them, when in reality it’s just the opposite.

  • shy virago


  • acommentator

    “(which is what most people are referring to here, not women from the past)”

    Women from the past? The liberal feminists I personally know are mostly in their 40s and 50s. Some in their late 30s. They are hardly “in the past.” They are still around. Many are at the height of their professions and in a position to make a difference, and they do make a difference.

    I don’t mean to unload on you. And as a conservative man, it is kind of funny that I am making the case for liberal feminists. But I often feel like the majority of the women I know, who most assuredly fall into the category of liberal feminist (including my wife), are somehow almost invisible, even here.

    This is not a “notalllibfems” argument. These women are the people the term “liberal feminism” was coined for in the first place. At a time when this SJW stuff was a blip on the radar screen, if that. There are far more of them than there are SJW types that you have in mind.

  • Hekate Jayne

    YAS, will, thank you.

    I didn’t realize that it was a book about (mostly) 9/11 until I started reading it. I am guessing that you probably read “Backlash”, too? She has a conversational way of explaining things that make them easy to remember.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t understand who you are talking about when you say ‘liberal feminists’? The liberal feminist position is in favour of porn, legalized prostitution, and transgender ideology. The women you are talking about are either not liberal feminists or they privately believe things they are not saying publicly.

  • Wren

    What is so irrational about feminism?

  • Wren

    Sigh, why are men always trying to school us in feminism??

    I don’t know what to tell you, but according to the contemporary distinction in feminism, your friends would be TERFs and SWERFs, meaning Trans-Exclusionary RADICAL FEMINISTS and Sex-worker Exclusionary RADICAL FEMINISTS. Okay???

    But this…

    “They don’t believe that is necessary to end male violence towards women.”

    Unless, this is some kind of typo, I regret to inform you that these women are not feminists of any kind.

    Also, who says we have a problem with heterosexuality? That is patently false. Think, man.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I think there is also the fact that, when you’ve been oppressed/marginalized for a long time, it’s kind of natural that you’d want to enjoy life and feel good, not bad. Liberal feminism offers women this easy ’empowerment,’ and anything goes approach. You can be a consumer, buy makeup, get cosmetic surgery, do whatever the fuck you want, and liberal feminism will tell you, “You go, girl.” This is the draw for most women, I suspect. When you’ve suffered a lot, you kinda just want to have fun and participate in capitalism, ya know?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why do you believe they are liberal feminists if they don’t subscribe to liberal feminist ideology? Maybe they are just women who consider themselves feminist and it isn’t really necessary or accurate to label them ‘liberal’ or ‘radical’?

  • Hekate Jayne

    I do absolutely believe that people are upset about it. Funny how these people will be all FETUS RIGHTS PROTECT THE FETUS. Until it gets here, as a fucking baby, turns into a child, and the child needs education, food, health care and other basic necessities.

    I am not a fan of kids, I am no good with them. But I cannot fucking stand the thought of kids being hungry. Anyone, really, but especially kids. A few years ago, I had an extra poor year, and I ended up dropping a little over 20 pounds because I couldn’t afford food for my dogs, husband and me. Things are much improved now, but I know what hunger feels like, when you have barely eaten, and maybe not at all, for days at a time. I haven’t felt it for a long time, but thinking about it can bring me to tears. No one, and I do mean NO ONE, should feel that.

    We make kids go to school, food should be provided. That’s it. End of. And the fact that I share space with fuckheads that are fine with for profit prison, health care, and war, and they think that children are not fucking worthy/deserving of food, makes me want to commit another fucking felony. In my state, our previous lieutenant governor compared poor kids to stray dogs, actually saying that if you feed them, they won’t go away. And they continue to reproduce. I guess he just wanted them to die? BUT LIFE BE PRECIOUS, THO.

    Their fucking Jesus was big on feeding poor people and being kind to children. And I am sure that those same people that complain about kids getting food would find themselves deserving of whatever they needed.

    • lk

      I would guess that most (all maybe?) of the people who are upset about this are against abortion/against sex education that includes more than abstinence only and are sure as hell against tax dollars paying for birth control.

      What doesn’t seem to upset them is kids starving, homeless kids or sick kids who struggle due to lack of access to medical care…

      I am sorry to hear your experienced that. I truly believe that in a world where there is an abundance of food nobody of any age should go hungry.

      People were commenting how this isnt really a free lunch, how unfair it is that they have to pay for kids food, how horrible this is because kids will think the government will take care of them.

      Awhile back on an article about free lunch, someone actually suggested that kids who were on free have to do work around the school to get their lunch…wtf? are we going to make kindergartners clean the school to get their breakfast…lol, ridiculous.

      Children do not need to earn food anymore than they need to earn clean air to breathe.

      “In my state, our previous lieutenant governor compared poor kids to stray dogs, actually saying that if you feed them, they won’t go away.”
      What a truly disgusting thing to say. And these are the people who are supposed to represent us, to make decisions for us….

  • Robert Gonzalez

    I am, but I can’t speak for all MOC. I honestly doubt that most care to.

  • radwonka

    Im not sure. I think it is more a cultural thing. Growing up with misogynistic norms (like rap and hip hop, or sexualised women everywhere like in Brazil, or Kpop in Korea, Islam, ETC) AND defending whatever culture raised you just because it is not white (since this is how many claim to fight white supremacy: without even talking about objectification) are more important factors than economic ones imho.

    Because when they use liberal rhetoric, “get money, be empowered” or “just your religion it kills white supremacy”, they completely deny that some things are gendered or at least have no problem with that. Which is why they fail to be radical, they dont challenge whatever they have internalized. Just like any white libfem. Angela Davis being a good example of that.

    So I think it is more a consequence of socialization than anything else imho

    If people were really worried about economics, they would be against capitalism, not think of it as “empowering”.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I suppose this is why I’ve moved towards discussing ‘third waveism’ vs feminism, over radical feminism vs liberal feminism.

    Of course, there was no third wave during the second wave. I suppose I’m still confused as to what you mean when you say ‘liberal feminist’, if the women in question are opposed to porn and prostitution… It leads me to believe the label is unnecessary. These women are just feminist.

  • Wren

    I’m in my 40s and I’ve never considered myself a liberal feminist. I may have considered myself a liberal and a feminist separately, but I’ve always known that libfem has been associated with support of pornography and prostitution and has been since the 80s. This libfem ideology is the 3rd wave. Now, for a long time I didn’t know who I was because radical feminism wasn’t quite as newsworthy as liberal feminism (no surprise). Their age bears no relevance since most of us here are in this age range or approaching it.

    But like I said before, if your friends reject trans ideology and porn and prostitution, they would be labeled TERFS and SWERFS. It really doesn’t matter whether your friends are aware of it or not. That’s the direction this has gone.

  • lk

    “I can personally attest to how toxic Hispanic machismo was in my household when I was a little boy.”

    And thats all it is toxic…..its not some important part of culture that needs to be preserved or protected.

    But in the name of “culture” (black, latina, native, etc)..WOC are expected to be silent about the violence of MOC.

    Its dangerous for women and for children that speaking out about MOC violence is tantamount to betraying your culture or your people.

    The true betrayal is continuing to defend violence against WOC and children as somehow being necessary parts of minority culture…

    (I am sorry to hear about your experience).

  • Hekate Jayne

    I tweeted that, as well, although I may not have any followers, since I abandoned Twitter a while back.

    I am taking it to GC Reddit, too. I don’t post there, and they have rules about new id’s posting a new thread. If I can catch up with mancheeze, I will see if she will mirror it.

    I just assumed that she would not report. Why would she? I wouldn’t. I didn’t. Avoiding these assholes is the important thing.

    I just can’t get past that he is taking money from these women, AND THEN treating them as his personal dating pool. Male ethics!