Manipulating – This is What Feminism Looks Like
By Joe Soltys
A new PR campaign to promote feminism reminds me of my children; shove everything under the bed where mom or dad can’t see it, then presto, the room appears clean and tidy.
This same tactic is being used for a promotional video put out by the Feminist Majority. In the video, numerous well-known Hollywood actors, male and female, offer their opinions and perceptions on what it means to be a feminist.
I have to admit the production is well crafted, and will be very influential when viewed by the general public. In its purest form, the ideology of feminism cannot be argued: Equality for men and women that transcend all aspects of life.
And this is the image and mood the video embraces. But as we all know, the devil is in the details.
This video chooses to present feminism as a historical movement that was essential in achieving many of the gains women enjoy today, and how it is still essential to address the modern day inequities that still persist. It also presents the feminist movement as a historically benevolent movement that is embolden through its use of compassion, pragmatic thinking, selfless activism, and the deep desire to help those who are marginalized in society.
So I thought, if feminist and their movement truly embody these altruist qualities, why the need to promote themselves? As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”.
This is what troubled me the most about the video. This contradiction concerning the need for feminist to promote themselves in spite of all the humanitarian, legendary, and iconic events it claims it has been responsible for.
To put it in perspective, did Mother Teresa have to promote herself? Did Gandhi have to promote himself? Did Dr. Martin Luther King have to promote himself? These individuals never engaged in self promoting. Their messages were extremely powerful, but only because their actions ultimately provided the catalyst that fueled and validated their messages. And by action, I mean using the appropriate methods to carry out the message by maintaining a standard of integrity, morality, and ethical behavior.
It should also be noted that each of the people I mentioned was greatly humbled, meaning they understood the power of humility. Thus, in order to change others, it meant they themselves must be willing to acknowledge their own faults, and be willing to change also. Therefore, the act of humility brought creditability to them as individuals, and ultimately, brought credibility to their message and their movement.
The feminist have to promote themselves because they have no humility. They have lost creditability with the general public, and more importantly, with the majority of women. They have used sexism to fight sexism, stereotypes to fight stereotypes, and have avoided accountability for their questionable behavior while forcing others to be held accountable for theirs.
Therefore, it appears to me the vague and opaque message about what feminism really means in the video was intentional, because if any amount of clarity seeped in, the benevolent, altruistic image of feminism would begin to deteriorate rapidly.
Let me present my view of the feminist movement with respect to some of the views that are offered in the video:
- One woman says feminism is not about hating men.
As a man who grew up during the feminist movement, I have been bombarded with aggressive, sexist, and discriminatory comments about men from feminist icons. Let me provide an example:
– Not many men have both good fortune and good sense.
– Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.
–Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relations with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, their codes.
– A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.
– If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?
– Pornography is the instruction. Rape is the practice, battered women are the practice, and battered children are the practice.
– A commitment to sexual equality with males is a commitment to becoming the rich instead of the poor, the rapist instead of the raped, the murderer instead of the murdered.
–Men are distinguished from women by their commitment to do violence rather than to be victimized by it.
– Men know everything – all of them – all the time – no matter how stupid or inexperienced or arrogant or ignorant they are.
The hate and contempt for men within the feminist movement is well documented. However, not one powerful feminist will step forward and admit this truth without conditions. Nor will they apologize for letting the movement become embroidered with such gender hatred, or make a serious commitment to vilify one of their own who has preached male sexism, as they have done to many men found guilty of sexist behavior towards women.
- Another woman says feminism is about treating women not as somebody special, but just as equals.
Then why do feminist spend so much time in Washington, and in the family court systems across the nation, fighting for special privileges for women?
Feminist fight any legislation that would ensure child custody cases automatically assume joint custody unless conditions prove otherwise. They favor legislation that conforms to custody inherently belonging to the mother – yet they claim they want no special privaleges.
They fight any legislation that awards resources to male victims of domestic violence, and have been known to walk out of domestic violence seminars when male victims are discussed, because they find male victims irrelevant. This despite their vocalization for men and women to be treated as equals.
They fight any legislation that would bring serious consequences to women who falsely accuse men of rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence, because according to them, it could cause more consequences for true victims trying to find justice.
So the pain and destruction of men’s lives perpetuated by unconscionable female behavior is ignored by feminist who, by their own actions, show feminists put more value on the well-being of women first, rather than show concern for the safety and justice for both men and women. Five men mistakenly sent to prison is nothing more than collateral damage in their process to ensure one true female victim of violence is not hindered in her pursuit of justice. This is their “equality”.
- One woman implies feminism is about self confidence. She says that if a woman is self confident, then this confidence will be experienced in the bedroom. She then gives the stereotypical provocative wink and nod. Another woman states that if she wants to wear a really short skirt, then she is no less a feminist for doing so.
If there is one aspect of gender politics that irritates me the most, it is the blatant hypocrisy of how feminist, and females in general, approach female sexuality.
Feminist make it clear that the use of female sexuality to sell or promote products/events is sexist, degrading, and is a symbol of male dominance of women. Yet, here they are using the same tactics to promote feminism. I mean, I have to assume the bedroom reference was put in not just for women, but also to appeal to male viewers. Otherwise, why the provocative wink and nod?
I’ve written about this situation before, and here is my conclusion: Using female sexuality to sell or promote products/events is OK if the beneficiary is a woman – otherwise it’s sexist.
And a woman can flaunt her sexuality all she wants, but if a man mistakens her flaunting for something more, itâ€™s his fault.
Women play both sides of the fence with their sexuality, vacillating between victim status and empowerment status, depending on which position gives them the most power. And feminists are no different.
- Michael Moore says we [men] have held all the power for ten thousand years and look what we have done with it, implying men have failed miserably.
Well Michael, if I use you as an example, I think us men have done quite well with it. The industry in which you make your living was created by men, and this male industry has helped you gain incredible financial success. Also, this male environment has also provided you with considerable status that most people will never see. And you achieved your success by creating documentaries that have challenged the actions and behavior of some of the most powerful industries and individuals in the world, and youâ€™re not imprisoned, or exiled for doing so. This is because you live in one of the most emulated democracies in the world, which by the way, was idealized, constructed, and actualized by men.
You’ve done very well in this f***ed up male dominated system, and I don’t recall hearing that you’re sacrificing all your privileges and gains within it, in an attempt to show commitment to your beliefs.
It is well documented that feminism is not the benevolent, altruistic movement the video tries to portray it as. The actions of feminism, historically and presently, do not corroborate the words and images portrayed in the video. This is why it is forced to launch a PR campaign. A campaign such as this is usually reserved for those that have fallen out of favor with public opinion. And feminism is definitely in that category, with polls showing most women who believe in womenâ€™s rights refuse to call themselves feminist – a big red flag for their movement.
But as I have shown, feminism has no one to blame but themselves. It has spent years holding others accountable for their malevolent actions, but refuses to honestly acknowledge or rectify their own. Feminism will never achieve the status or image they desire until they first achieve the arduous trait of humility. This is a form of empowerment shared by all real altruistic individuals and organizations, and it brings validity and credibility to their causes. It embodies the spirit that we come together through our imperfections, not become more divisive because of them.
Sadly, for all its self-aggrandizing about teaching empowerment, this movement cannot, and has never shown an ounce of humility. It refuses to acknowledge that it has made any serious mistakes. I liken the feminist movement, and this new promotional video as a modern day re-creation of the fairy tale â€œThe Emperorâ€™s New Clothesâ€.
The day I see a video that celebrates the achievements of feminism, along with a sincere look at its faults and consequences – by feminist themselves – is the day I know the feminist movement has matured.
Until then, I guess were subjected to watching videos of feminism as seen through their own rose colored glasses, their own limited clarity, and their own recognition as societyâ€™s panacea. In other words, if we really want a true picture of feminism, we need make sure we look under the bed.