One hears a lot of talk about cancel culture these days, but little discussion of how a cultural movement goes about canceling itself. This is especially the case with feminism. The entire program is ruptured by flagrant violations of common sense and manifold contradictions it cannot resolve. One scarcely knows where to start in disentangling the skein of incongruities, mystifications, fallacies, and inconsistencies which comprise its dogma and determine its destructive course in the public domain.
Many of the movement’s disabling contradictions have been abundantly documented in various books, some of the most decisive including Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young’s misandry volumes Spreading Misandry and Legalizing Misandry; William Collins’ The Empathy Gap; Patricia Pearson’s When She Was Bad; Christina Hoff Sommers’ Who Stole Feminism?; Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly’s The Flipside of Feminism; Janice Fiamengo’s Sons of Feminism; Bettina Arndt’s #MenToo, Stephen Baskerville’s The New Politics of Sex; Esther Vilar’s The Manipulated Man; and Megan Fox’s Believe Evidence: The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo to mention only a few. Some of these self-canceling anomalies are worth reviewing to demonstrate the magnitude of feminism’s ideological incoherence.
As I wrote in an earlier article, “The most flagrant contradiction in the feminist psyche is modeled on the entitlement behavior of feminists who morbidly inveigh against the ‘patriarchy’ while enjoying the benefits of a world the much-maligned patriarchy built—a world of comfort, ease, leisure, advantage, convenience, security and plenty which they have no intention of rejecting or abandoning.” Attacking the “patriarchy” as the most oppressive institution on the face of the planet and vilifying men as rapists, conquistadors, exploiters, and irremediably toxic abusers of women, they issue their writs of attainder from a cozy, safe and privileged environment that men created for them. Every amenity they enjoy, every labor-saving appliance, utensil, mechanism, and implement they take for granted, every technological innovation, scientific discovery, and medical advancement from which they benefit is almost entirely the gift of men that they refuse even to acknowledge.
Moreover, the feminist movement could never have flourished without massive support, sympathy, and legal instruments emanating from so ostensibly demonic an institution as the hated “patriarchy.” The feminist takeover of the university, for example, owes chiefly, as Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge point out in Professing Feminism, to “the active collaboration of well-placed male allies, who stimulated intentional receptivity to feminist ideas.” Where, they ask, “was the much-maligned patriarchy while this unprecedented expansion and neoconfiguration of the academy was occurring?” A society clearly prepared to embrace feminist demands was “bolstered by legislation endorsed by the ‘patriarchal’ government in Washington, D.C.” Such willingness to help the feminist cause on the part of male administrators is tactically scrubbed by feminist advocates, a form of lying by omission.
Feminists tend to rely on circular reasoning to further their agenda, analogous to the spurious logic of the white supremacy canard, best elaborated by celebrated feminist Peggy McIntosh in “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” She writes: “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” The argument boils down to this. If a man denies that he is privileged, it follows that he is in fact privileged since, as male feminist Michael Kimmel has also argued, “privilege is invisible to those who have it.” In a gross parody of deductive logic, invisibility is regarded as proof of the condition that is being denied. Since denial means that one is part of a repressive regime that has normalized violence against women (as it supposedly has against non-whites), a man who denies “rape culture”—like a man who denies “white supremacy”—is seen to participate in it.
But illogicality—or lack of common sense—is not merely a problem in feminist dogma; it is actually a feminist goal. For example, many strains in feminist epistemology are hostile to the traditional practice of science. Feminist claims about the exclusionary nature of scientific method and the concept of objectivity as a male stratagem to de-privilege female ways of knowing reveal the deep irrationality of feminist practices. As Paul Gross demonstrates in Noretta Koertge’s edited volume, A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science, citing a profusion of sources isolating the pathogens of feminist discourse, feminists tend to redefine the ideal of objectivity as “something vaguely akin to multiculturalism.” Gross alludes to a paper by Elizabeth Lloyd glossing Helen Longino’s Science as Social Knowledge, where we find that objectivity in science derives “from the critical intersection of different groups and individuals with different social and cultural assumptions, and different stakes.”
In other words, science is not about truth but about the political desires of various competing or colluding groups. Radical feminists like to insist that “scientific results are inseparable from the politics of the scientist.” Objectivity, it turns out, is all about power struggles, male dominance, and systemic oppression. Of course, such statements are meant to be taken as objectively true, another revelatory contradiction made in bad faith.
Not content with trying to destroy science, feminism has also mounted a campaign against biology, claiming that gender is a social construct. Now in an irony of self cancellation, it is hoist with its own petard. The transgender phenomenon is a relatively recent development that has splintered the feminist juggernaut. Despite the swell of corporate, institutional, and pedagogical support for the transgender movement, resistance is mounting not only among the public at large and from parents who find their children undergoing trans indoctrination in the schools, but among many staunch and vocal feminists who cannot tolerate the righteous pre-eminence of men who profess to be women, who act like women, resemble women, and who have been medically and legally “re-assigned” or “confirmed” as women. Hence the recent campaign of lesbians and gays to drop the “T” from the LGBTQ acronym, for which they are being predictably attacked as “transphobic bigots.”
Yet, if gender is indeed a social construct, as feminists have argued for decades, then men who have transitioned — whether surgically, hormonally, or cosmetically — have every claim to be regarded as women. After all, feminists are among the chief advocates for identity choice and women’s rights. From the canonical standpoint, a man who has socially reconstructed himself as a woman has joined the female sex. “She” is a woman, enjoying all the rights and privileges that feminists have fought for and won—except that many feminists, as we see, continue to resist the intrusion of transwomen into their ranks. From the radical standpoint, such people are still biological males and therefore “toxic,” patriarchs in deceptive guise. Many feminists, or TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), have changed their stripes, opportunistically believing that sexual identity is not a construct but a biological given.
Transgenderism relies on deception as does feminism. It is a biochemical contradiction that is even more profound and certainly no less dangerous, especially when one considers that transgender activists routinely urge governments to subvert parental rights and expose children to various forms of mutilation. A sign of its power comes from Sweden where an LGBT altarpiece unveiled at St. Paul’s Church in Malmo, representing gay and lesbian couples in the Garden of Eden, was removed since it featured a transgender serpent. Trans advocates were not impressed. But that is no excuse for the feminist tendency to play both ends against the middle, and to argue from expedience rather than truth.
Feminism has also poisoned the wells of justice. Feminists argue with growing success that the justice system as we know it, predicated on the principles of due process and burden of proof, is a masculine invention for the oppression of women. Women who claim they have been sexually assaulted must be believed even in the absence of evidence. “Rarely is it ever suggested,” writes Law professor David Tanovich in a discussion of both the status of “fact evidence” in Canadian law and the tenets of the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence, “that the complainant is lying in these cases.” Similarly, examining many cases and episodes of male-female conflict, Tim Goldich in Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics concludes that “the more serious sexist disadvantage is inherent in the male’s presumed guilt, not in the female’s presumed innocence.” It seems to go without saying that only men are guilty of sexual misconduct or, worse, capable of sexual assault.
Indeed, the category of “sexual assault” has become a cowcatcher apparatus, whose application ranges from rape to merely touching a clothed body in a “sexual way” (however that may be interpreted). The euphemism of “preponderance of evidence” in cases of sexual litigation, which allows the trial judge to decide what seems more likely among opposing narratives, is gradually encroaching upon the concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It has been an integral part of so-called campus tribunals under Title IX and the purport of Obama’s “Dear Colleague” letter, which enjoined the lowest possible standard of proof in sexual assault cases.
In such cases the accused, almost always a man, found he had no recourse to justice as it has been commonly understood for centuries. (Fortunately, the 2011 Dear Colleague letter has been rescinded by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.) The situation is much less clear in Canada, where both Civil and University administrations tend to steer in the Title IX direction in the absence of cut-and-dried formal legislation. In any event, “Propensity of evidence,” as Tanovich puts it, enables “the prospect of wrongful conviction.”
Additionally, a woman who claims without evidence to have been sexually assaulted or molested can lie with impunity and will seldom if ever be counter-prosecuted for obstruction of justice or bearing false witness if her story is shown to be devoid of “probative value,” that is, found improbable, fabricated, internally contradictory or collusive. She is the beneficiary of the power of deference. The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford against Justice Brett Kavenaugh in last year’s Senate confirmation hearings is a case in point. An article by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in The Federalist methodically details “21 Reasons Not to Believe Blasey Ford.” The evidence for Kavenaugh’s presumed guilt was so sketchy, inconsistent, contradictory, unreliable, and uncorroborated as to have constituted an exercise in juridical frivolity. Perhaps the most famous instance in Canada involved CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, whose plaintiffs were shown to have conspired together, lied to police, and lied on the witness stand. In both cases no charges were preferred against the female complainants despite their mockery of judicial process. In short, the female lie will trump the male truth. How the feminist movement can be permitted to invade formal legal space and prosper in a democratic polity escapes both reason and morality.
The contradictions that render feminism illogical and self-canceling show no sign of abating. The legal system, as noted, is where its efforts are most destructive. Canadian law, in particular, has entered the realm of logical paradox, if not of pathological absurdity. For example, Bill C-36 makes it illegal for men to purchase sexual services while protecting women who sell their sexual services. Thus a prostitute is free to go about her business but a man is prohibited from “communicating with” or soliciting her, on pain of a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. The law also makes it illegal to advertise sexual services, but does not apply to the woman who does so, only to the operator of the website or other media she may use. This is the sort of legal bêtise and juridical gobbledygook one can expect when a nation becomes feminized.
In their triumphal march, feminists have also taken over the public square, transforming it into a feminine space in which men are insensibly compelled to adopt the idiom and comportment suitable, in the words of German sociologist George Simmel, to “a more feminine sensibility.” In so doing, men have given up their masculine culture of risk-taking, venturesomeness, robust argument, disregard for sensitivities, and respect for fact and have been forced to conform to more feminine attributes such as solicitude, empathy, personal feelings, and unfettered emotion. The refusal to accede to this development sheds light on the feminist detestation of a macho president like Donald Trump, a man who builds towers, is combative by nature, and is unafraid to act with pugnacious authority.
The war against the president is also a war against unabashed manliness; it is a microcosm of the larger civilizational issue. For example, writing from a homophilic perspective, International Academy of Sex Research Fellow Eric Anderson in Inclusive Masculinity welcomes the “softening of heterosexual masculinities.” This will presumably tenderize the West and make life ever more agreeable for all—though it will also render the Western world vulnerable to the unashamed masculinity of its foreign enemies and competitors. The current guidelines released by the déclassé American Psychological Association announce that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” Psychologists should focus “on supporting men in breaking free of masculinity.” An epicene Barack Obama has declared that women are better than men: “if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement…on just about everything.” Similarly, the aptly named Ruth Whippman, writing in The New York Times, contends that we should teach men to be “more deferential. To reflect and listen and apologize where an apology is due…To aim for modesty and humility and cooperation rather than blowhard arrogance…Sell the female standard as the norm.”
Some of these latter may be wonderful virtues in their appropriate place, but they are not, by and large, the defining attributes of the male sensibility. As columnist and historian Louis DeBroux argues in The Patriot Post, teaching men that they are defective women in a sure fire-recipe for gender confusion, social breakdown, and a Pandora’s box of cultural ills. “It creates men who are either feminized, weak, and self-loathing, or men who are angry and resentful at being declared evil from birth.” The prospects for normal life in a functional society dwindle by the day. Domestic anarchy becomes the rule, not the exception. “The relationship between men and women,” writes Megan Fox in Believe Evidence, “is a mysterious and beautiful thing. When each is acting within their boundaries, there is no end to the joy that comes from male and female love, familial or romantic.” To contend, as feminists and their male enablers do, that men should become more like women is to distort the relationship and introduce a schism into the culture that can lead only to turmoil and unhappiness for both men and women. This may partly explain why marriage is in decline and the MGTOW movement (Men Going Their Own Way) is gathering momentum.
Feminism is an irrational doctrine and an ultimately self-canceling project that has lost contact with reality, having rejected both biology and history. In a social and political environment that has exiled common sense, feminism has been valorized owing in large measure to its contradictory nature. Operating wholly in the realm of conjecture and offering not the slightest proof of its stentorian convictions, it nonetheless maintains its unholy grip on Western sensibility. Promoting and institutionalizing the rule of the arbitrary in public and professional life, it has gone a long way to unmanning the culture.
David Solway’s latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House Publishing, 2019, London. A CD of his original songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.