Two of my favorite right-wing bloggers, Jane Galt and Cathy Young, have commented – in a rather unkind fashion – on Nicks’ recent posts about rape. Jane, responding to Nick’s fantasy of what Nick’s “ideal world” would be like, wrote:
…it’s stupid. Not only are we not in this utopia, we are never, ever going to be in that utopia. Even if we achieved a marvelously gender-blind society, there would still be some people who want to have sex with people who do not want to have sex with them.
So, to summarize: Nick made it clear she was talking about an “ideal world,” not the real world; Jane responds by saying, in essence, “but your ideal world won’t ever be real.”
Well, duh, Jane. That’s why Nick used the phrase “my ideal world,” to distinguish it from the real one.
Meanwhile, Cathy wrote:
But alongside it, another type of double standard has developed as well: one that views unconstrained, selfish, hedonistic female sexuality as “liberated” while condemning similar male behavior as sleazy and exploitative. In this new double standard, the promiscuous or adulterous male is a pig, while the promiscuous or adulterous female is a rebel against the patriarchy.
This kind of feminism is not about equality and not about female empowerment. It’s about female entitlement.
“This kind of feminism” is not one that Cathy has actually shown exists – say, by quoting a single example of such a feminist. Let alone quoting enough examples to provide evidence of some sort of widespread trend within feminism.
The prime example – indeed, the only example – of a feminist in Cathy’s post is Nick. Under that circumstance, most readers would naturally assume that Nick is an example of the double-standard Cathy’s railing against. But that’s not the case, and Cathy doesn’t bother to clarify this point for her readers who don’t click through.
Cathy’s argument seems to boil down to this: Nick says one thing; some feminists Cathy doesn’t name have said something different; therefore feminism has developed a double standard.
I shouldn’t have to explain why Cathy’s argument doesn’t hold water. Feminism is large and varied, and – as any regular “Alas” reader knows – feminists often disagree. (If you ever want to start an endless argument in a room full of feminists, just say “I think prostitution ought be legalized” or “must never be legalized” – either one will do the trick). Nick is under no obligation to agree with Cathy’s unnamed feminists; and the fact that not all feminists agree on everything doesn’t establish some large strain of feminist hypocrisy.
Are there some feminists out there – out of millions – who actually hold such a double standard? I’m sure there are a few. But in general, the feminists I know are pretty consistent – the ones who favor women fucking around a lot (consensually) are also the ones who don’t see anything wrong with men fucking around a lot (consensually). (For example, you’ll never find Amanda of Pandagon criticizing men merely for wanting to have frequent, consensual, casual sex.)
Cathy also says:
In fact, let’s take this a step further. Suppose things didn’t end quite so well for our male Nick. Suppose he actually does get drugged and robbed by the two female strangers he picked up in a bar for sex. Do you think Nick is going to encounter a lot of sympathy for his plight, from men or from women? I seriously doubt it. In fact, I suspect that the response is going to be mainly along the lines of, “he had it coming.” (A male friend to whom I outlined this scenario said, “The word ‘dumbass’ comes to mind.”)
Really? If Cathy says her friends have that reaction, I’ll take her word for it.
But I’m glad I don’t have her friends. I can’t imagine any of my friends saying “you had it coming” to a robbery victim in the situation Cathy describes, let alone to a rape victim (male or female). Someone who said that sincerely (rather than in an ironic, dark-humored way) would be considered appalling among my friends.
Cathy’s argument supports my theory that many conservatives are far more anti-male than the typical feminist is. It’s not feminists, after all, arguing that men are incapable of controlling themselves and need to be civilized through marriage to women; that sort of argument is reserved for conservatives like Maggie Gallagher. It’s not feminists who say that men, once in the sex act, are incapable of stopping, like dogs; but it’s a pretty common belief among conservatives (just read the comments following Jane’s post and you’ll find a couple of examples).
Not all conservatives are like that; I’ve never noticed such anti-male nonsense coming from Cathy or Jane, for example. And for all I know, the friend Cathy quoted was a flaming liberal. But anti-male attitudes such as what Cathy’s friend said, certainly seem more accepted among conservatives than among any of the feminists I hang with.