As the title of a childhood classic points out, Pigs is Pigs — and this regardless of the shape of their genitals. Ilse Koch was a Nazi, not a “sister.” Love is not hate, war is not peace, freedom is not slavery, and book-burning is not liberatory. Anti-authoritarians who would be revolutionaries confront many difficult questions. First, though, they should answer the easy ones correctly.
All hyperbole and metaphor aside, what passes for “radical feminism” is fascism. It promotes chauvinism, censorship, maternalism, pseudo-anthropology, scapegoating, mystical identification with nature, tricked-up pseudo-pagan religiosity, enforced uniformity of thought and even appearance (in some quarters, Hera help the ectomorphic or “feminine” feminist!). Here is all of the theory and too much of the practice we should all be able to recognize by now. An ominous tactical continuity with classical fascism, also, is the complementarity between private-vigilantist and statist methods of repression. Thus Open Road, the Rolling Stone of anarchism, applauded some anti-porn actions in Vancouver (not as direct action, hence understandable even if misdirected, but rather) because they encouraged lethargic prosecutors to persecute. In post-World War I Italy (the suppression of the IWW in America followed a similar pattern), fascist gangs attacked socialist and trade-union organizations with the tacit approval of the police, who never intervened except against the left. As I once wonderingly asked: “How come these women won’t get in bed with any man except the DA?”
Not that I could care less about the porn-for-profit industry, for its “rights” of free speech or property. That is beside the point, which is: why single out this species of business? To target porn bespeaks planning and priorities, not elemental anticapitalist spontaneity. Those who carry out a calculated policy can’t complain if their reasons are asked for, and questioned.
Fascist ideology always incongruously asserts to its audience, its chosen people, that they are at one and the same time oppressed and superior. The Germans didn’t really lose the First World War — how could they? ex hypothesi they are superior — therefore, they were stabbed in the back. (But how could a superior race let such a situation arise in the first place?) Men (only), we are told in a feminist/Anti-Porn Movement (APM) diatribe in Toronto’s Kick It Over, “have created the nature-destroying and woman-hating culture.” If so, then either women have contributed absolutely nothing to culture, or there is something more or something else to this culture than destroying nature and hating women.
For their own purposes (some of which are as mundane as sexual rivalry with straight men for the women they both desire), self-styled radical feminists actually reduce women to nothing but helpless, cringing near-vegetables, passive victims of male contempt and coercion. This profoundly insults women in a way which the worst patriarchal ideologies — the Jewish notion of woman as a source of pollution, for instance, or the Christian nightmare of woman as temptress and uncontrollable sexual nature-force — fell short of. They defamed woman as evil but could hardly regard her as powerless. The new woman-as-victim stereotype is not only directly traceable to nineteenth century Victorian patriarchal attitudes reducing (bourgeois) women to inert ornaments, but by denying to women the creative power inherent in everyone, it places women’s demands on a par with those advanced for, say, baby seals.
Suppose instead what only the most demented feminists and misogynists deny, that things aren’t quite that bad, that women have been subjects as well as objects of history. Then how can women — or any other subordinated group: workers, blacks, indigenous peoples — be entirely acquitted of all complicity in the arrangements which condemn them to domination? There are reasons for these accommodations. There is no excuse for denying their existence.
This isn’t sour grapes. It has never bothered me that some women dislike men, even to the point of having nothing to do with them. I don’t like most men myself, especially the archetypal “masculine” ones. I can’t help but notice, though, that the vast majority of women feel otherwise. The radical feminists have noticed it too, and it drives them to distraction. I would be the first to agree that vast majorities can be wrong. If they weren’t we would be the fringe loonies, the impotent kooks that almost everyone thinks we are. But then I criticize majorities, I don’t pretend to speak for them. Radical feminists, in contrast, are vanguardists. As such they need to rationalize their animosities, and so they have — making a dick-determinist demonology out of their prejudices. As man-haters they can’t help but be women-haters too.
To equate pornography with rape — beneath the rancorous rhetorical froth, this seems to be the core APM axiom — is presumably intended to make porn seem more serious. And yet, if men call the shots and the system’s built-in tendency (as we’re told) is to denature oppositional initiatives of which the feminists’ is the most revolutionary, then the likely result is rather to make rape seem more trivial. It’s the old story of the woman who cried wolf. (Similarly, the manipulative media line that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism” worked wonders to sanitize Israel until its expansionism-cum-exterminism engendered anti-Zionists who just might proceed to take the B’nai B’rith defamationists at face value.)
According to feminoid epistemology, men understand nothing of the real nature of women. One might logically suppose that the estrangement of the sexes resulting from disparate roles and discrimination would work both ways, and so most of us attending to our actual experiences reluctantly conclude. But no: men don’t understand women, but women (at any rate their radical feminist vanguard) understand men. Women — feminist experts, anyway — understand pornography and its meaning for men much better than the men who write and read it — and lesbian-separatists, who avoid men and decline to have sex with them, appreciate these verities best of all. The more remote your experience is from the real life of actual men, the better you understand it. Turning this around, isn’t the Pope, as he claims, the ultimate authority on women and sexuality?
The asserted connection of porn with rape is allegorical, not empirical. As a correlation it compares with the recently revived “reefer madness” marijuana-to-heroin Rake’s (Rapist’s?) Progress line in absurdity no less than in suitability for the state’s purposes. If feminism didn’t exist, conservative politicians would have had to invent it. (Why, pray tell, did all-male legislatures ever criminalize “obscenity” in the first place? And why do all-male courts arbitrarily exclude it from constitutional protection?) APM harpies, should they ever deal with people instead of their own fevered projections, would discover that porn is of no interest to the majority of post-pubescent males — not because they are politically correct, but just because it’s obviously gross, sleazy, and above all, inferior to the real thing.
The feminist book-burners are cowardly opportunists. If what they object to is subliminal socialization of women into subservient roles vis-a-vis men (curiously, adopting the same roles vis-a-vis butch lesbians is harmless fun), their primary, near-preemptive preoccupation would have to be Cosmopolitan, Barbara Courtland romances, and the vast crypto-pornographic pop literature written for and snapped up by women. After all, the gore and violence are derivative: only victims can be victimized in any way. Fifteen years ago, the original women’s liberationists (subsequently switched like changelings with today’s priestesses, lawyers and upscale bureaucrettes) at least lashed out at influential enemies like Hugh Hefner and Andy Warhol. Nowadays they terrorize teenage punk anarchists (this anecdote is from The Match!) whose collages insinuate that Margaret Thatcher for instance is a ruler, the “mother of a thousand dead,” not a “sister.” Such is the logic of this bizarre biological determinism: any animal equipped with a vagina is one of Us, any prick-privileged person is one of Them. One can only echo The Firesign Theatre: “Who am us, anyway?”
Male leftists, for instance, are easy and often willing yes-men to feminist aggrandizement. They combine guilt at past improprieties (by and large, those who feel guilty — toward women, blacks, foreigners, whatever — usually are) with a present ambition to get into the leftist-feminists’ pants. Thus Berkeley, California (to which I am adjacent) is crawling with male “feminists” who converted the easier to get laid. Much the same scam seems to be happening in Toronto and, doubtless, many other places. These ulterior ambitions obviously don’t, in themselves, discredit the ideologies to which they are appended — one can come to the right conclusion for the worst of reasons. But insofar as the opinions at issue certainly seem to be idiotic to anyone without extraneous interest in embracing them, otherwise inexplicable paroxysms by male intellectuals seem to be most plausibly explainable as self-interested insincere rationalizations.
Possibly the ideology I’ve excoriated is something that people had to work through in order to free themselves to the extent necessary to venture upon a project of collective liberation. Already alumnae of feminism have moved on to the common quest for freedom, and some are the better for what they’ve been through. We all have our antecedent embarrassments (Marxism, libertarianism, syndicalism, Objectivism, etc.) to put behind us: had we not thought in ideological terms it’s hard to believe we’d ever get to the point where we could think for ourselves. To be a Trotskyist or a Jesuit is, in itself, to be a believer, that is to say, a chump. And yet a rigorous romp through any system might show the way out of the master-System itself.
Not likely, however, when women critics are ostracised as renegades while male critics are ignored or defamed as a matter of principle. (A precisely parallel mechanism for maintaining a conspiracy of silence is worked by Zionists: Gentile critics are “Anti-Semites,” Jewish critics can only be consumed by “Jewish self-hatred.”) Separatism may be absurd as a social program and riddled with inconsistencies (scarcely any separatists separate from patriarchal society to anything like the extent that, say, survivalists do — and nobody intervenes more to mind other people’s business than separatists). But semi-isolation makes it easier to indoctrinate neophytes and shut out adverse evidence and argument, an insight radical feminists share with Moonies, Hare Krishna, and other cultists. It’s fortunate that their doctrines and subculture as initially encountered are so unappetizing. Indeed, I’ve noticed a graying of radical feminism: as Sixties politics and culture continue to gutter out, less and less women have had the proper pre-soak preparing them for feminist brainwashing. Radical feminists (so called) in their early 20’s are rare, and getting scarcer.
Radical feminism (no point disputing title to the phrase with its present owners), then, is a ludicrous, hate-filled, authoritarian, sexist, dogmatic construct which revolutionaries accord an unmerited legitimacy by taking it seriously at all. It is time to stop matronizing these terrorists of the trivial and hold them responsible for preaching genocidal jive and practicing every evil (even, if the truth be told, rape!) they insist has been inflicted on them (or rather, as it usually turns out, on some other suppositious “sister”: the typical radical feminist has it pretty good). How to thwart femino-fascism? That’s easy: just take feminists at face value and treat them as equals... then hear them howl! The Empress has no clothes... and that’s what I call obscene.
Part IV: Other Vices