Sexism Existed Before Liberal Secular 1960s Feminism, Before the Me Too Twitter Trend, and Before Trump Was Elected President
In the following post, I take about every one to task:
Republicans, liberals, Democrats, conservatives, Trump supporters, Trump haters. You name it, I critique about every one here, regardless of where they stand politically.
So hang on and don’t quit reading at the first several paragraphs in fury if you are a Trump hater, a liberal, a feminist, or a Democrat, because I also get around to addressing conservative and Republican writers who blame liberal feminists for rape and sexism.
Ever since Trump won office, I have seen many women – on blogs, Facebook groups, or in editorials in newspapers – imply or suggest that sexism exists now in American culture because Trump is in office.
A few of these Trump detractors may argue that sexism is now ‘worse’ under Trump than it was pre-Trump, but the sense I get from many women who dislike Trump is that Trump invented sexism.
I’m not kidding. The writing I’ve seen from some of these women (occasionally also by men who dislike Trump) is that there was no such thing as sexism in the U.S.A. until Trump won office in 2016.
The reverse assumption seems to be this:
Life in the United States was idyllic, especially for women!, under Democrat Obama, and there was no such thing as sexism or sexual harassment when Obama was in office.
Movie Producer Harvey Weinstein – who is now on record for allegedly raping and/or groping over 50 women over the last three decades – did not exist under Obama, apparently, or, he existed but was not sexually harassing women for the eight years Obama was President.
I guess Weinstein, out of deference to the Democrat Party, chose not to rape women for those eight years? (I highly doubt it.)
To hear it from the many moderate to liberal Trump haters, The United States was a downright Themyscira paradise for women until Trump started taking up residence in the White House in January 2017.
Here is one example – an editorial where Trump seems to be blamed for creating sexism in the United States:
The Patriarchs Are Falling. The Patriarchy Is Stronger Than Ever. – New York Times, December 2017
Here is just one brief snippet from that page, with Trump-Sexism-blaming:
This month, President Trump signed into law a tax bill that throws a bomb at women. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act systematically guts benefits that support women who need support the most: It means an end to personal and dependent exemptions (a disaster for minimum-wage workers, nearly two-thirds of whom are women)…
You understand I do not include that paragraph for anyone to argue the specifics of its contents: I don’t care if you agree or disagree with Trump’s tax bill, nor am I here to debate if his bill harms women in some way or not. That is not the point for its inclusion. I am using that specific excerpt to make a broader point.
That is only but one of several points in that page where the author points to something Trump said or did to seemingly prove how sexist Trump it, or that sexism is worse under Trump, and so on.
Such editorials seem to believe that sexism and financial inequality for women and so on did not exist prior to Trump taking office.
The fact is that sexism existed before Trump took office, and it will continue to exist once he is out.
If we’re going to be consistent about things:
Some secular, left wing feminists defended president Bill Clinton during the 1990s when he was running for office, even though Clinton was credibly accused by several women of rape.
Feminists saved the 42nd president of the United States in the 1990s. They were on the wrong side of history; is it finally time to make things right?
The sexual-assault bill is at long last coming due for 42. But feminists’ defense of him in the 1990s resulted in some societal lessons—none of them good.
Conservatives Blaming Liberal Feminists For Sexism
A month or so after the “Me Too” Twitter trend (which brought attention to workplace sexual harassment or sexual abuse) became a “thing” – starting roughly in October of 2017 (or shortly thereafter) – I began seeing a trickle of editorials by conservatives actually blaming feminists or feminism for sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
I am a conservative.
I find it deeply reprehensible and a form of victim-blaming that a lot of other conservatives in the media have been blaming women for sexism against women.
However, that is precisely what some right wingers have been doing when they go on rampages blaming men’s sexual crimes on feminism, especially in the aftermath of the “Me Too” Twitter trend.
Conservatives and Personal Responsibility
Conservatives are supposed to believe in personal responsibility.
But mysteriously, when a man, (or men in general), are being held accountable for sexism, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse, my fellow conservatives don’t want to examine the issue and consider maybe men as a group do have biases and problems that led some of them to rape or harass women.
No, hypocritically and ridiculously, some conservatives would rather hold secular, liberal feminism to blame for the actions of men against women.
I did have several of those sort of sexist, victim-blaming conservative- penned essays bookmarked and may include them later (I’ll edit this post to include them if I run across them again), but for now, the closest such conservative pages I could find are these:
Contemporary Feminism: A Self-Contradiction by Jack Kerwick
–(I may eventually address the many false statements and arguments of Kerwick’s piece at a later date)–
And this one:
The #MeToo Movement Is Destroying Trust Between Men And Women – hosted on right wing site “The Federalist” by McAllister
In that page, you have an author, a woman named McAllister, who is criticizing what could maybe be referred to as a feminist-type movement, the “Me Too” movement, and blaming it (really, blaming women, since women began the “Me Too” movement) for “destroying trust” between men and women.
I disagree with her conclusion or her concerns. The “Me Too” movement was begun as a way for women victims of workplace sexual abuse and harassment to share their stories with one another, to find healing, and to possibly redress the issue of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
If someone finds themselves feeling distrustful of the opposite gender because of the “Me Too” hash tag, that is an unfortunate by-product, but it’s no reason to condemn the concept of women publicly going forward with their encounters with abuse in the workplace.
I think men need to be confronted with how common sexism and sexual harassment of women is, because most men are blind to how bad it is. If they experience some distrust or discomfort in that educational process or cultural shift, I am having a hard time feeling sorry for them.
If anyone (the author likely means “men”) finds the “Me Too” movement creates “distrust,” I find that a willing trade-off to make, if it helps halt abuse at work.
I am also willing to bet that any men complaining about “distrust” created due to “Me Too” are the same perverted or sexist bastards who now lament they may not be able to make crass comments to women co-workers, or not be able to whip their penises out in front of women co-workers, as easily as they did before “Me Too” became a cultural milestone.
Boo-hoo, world’s tiniest violin is playing just for them.
(Some men (one example here – another example here) have found the Harvey Weinstein-gate slash “Me Too” trend helpful, in that some of them publicly said they had been sexually harassed by work colleagues or at work events, and some of them have been seeking recourse for having been harassed.)
Trump Did Not Create Sexism
Personally, I don’t care much who you voted for in the 2016 elections, whether for Hillary or Trump, for a third party candidate, or, if like me, you refrained from voting at all.
I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative.
I don’t think it really matters who someone voted for in the 2016 Presidential election or where one falls on the political spectrum, because in this national conversation about sexism and workplace sexual harassment, I see incorrect assumptions or points being made on almost all sides.
You may think Trump is sexist (I believe he is so as well, or sends mixed messages: he is on tape saying sexist things about women, but he did select a lot of women to serve in his cabinet or for his staff).
That Trump may be sexist, though, does not mean he “invented” sexism.
Liberal Feminists or 1960s Feminism Did Not Create Sexism
Perhaps you are a conservative (hello, so am I), and maybe you’re the sort of conservative who blamed secular, liberal feminism for the “collapse of the family unit,” rising divorce rates, out of wedlock pregnancies, and the paper cut you received on your finger last week.
All of that is debatable. (Very debatable – read this page for more, on another site.)
I don’t see how an anti-sexism and anti-sexual harassment mindset or world view, such as feminism, is to blame for workplace sexual harassment or sexual abuse.
Yes, in the past two or three weeks, I’ve read several conservative (right wing) online magazines and newspapers publish dreck that argues that feminism is to blame for workplace sexism (you can see some of those links earlier in this piece).
These conservative writers seem to confuse the feminist penchant for arguing on behalf of lax sexual mores with creating rapists or gropers, which is a case of comparing oranges and apples.
I don’t agree with the sexual hedonism advocated by some liberal feminists, but it’s quite a jump in logic to argue that such sexual bacchanalian views favored by some liberals (or feminists) create or even contribute to men feeling entitled to rape a woman or grab a woman’s posterior without her consent.
In Christian gender complementarian churches, which purport to believe in sexual purity (e.g., virginity- until- marriage), one can still find news articles where some male members or male pastors have raped, groped, or initiated extra-marital affairs with Christian women or Christian teen-aged church members.
(Here is one example of that very thing. There are many more, if you care to do the research, but one example is sufficient to disprove the conservative blame game against liberals or feminists, as suggesting that conservative or Christian beliefs do not serve as a basis for “causing” sexual harassment but that liberal feminist beliefs supposedly do.)
Rape and groping take place by self-professing, secular conservative men or by conservative Christian men, even in church contexts.
Rape and groping and other forms of sexual harassment and abuse are not limited to liberal, democrat, or feminist venues or persons.
Some men feel justified in exploiting girls and women due to gender complementarian teaching itself.
I see more a link between conservative teachings lending credence to abusive men feeling justified in abusing or oppressing women than I do in any liberal, feminist opinions or writings about sex, dating, marriage, or whatever other subject matter.
After all, Christian complementarian writing, (and even much of secular right wing thinking), actively encourages men to hold a view point that the husband should be in charge of his wife and be “leader” in the house hold, and that women generally should hold subordinate positions to all men in all culture (not just in marriage).
I don’t agree with secular feminists on every subject. I think they are wrong on some things, and I think some of the fringe are absolute kooks and crazies.
I have spent enough time reading their material on their sites (not biased para-phrased material from their sites on right wing sites) to see that left wing feminists occasionally make a good point here and there, and to see that most of them want women to be treated with respect.
Secular feminists may have some views on sexuality that are at odds with that of some right wingers – in that they are not as opposed to women having sex prior to marriage, for instance – but they most certainly do not support men groping or raping women any where, including at a job.
Side note, though:
Although Christians and conservatives often say they support traditional sexual mores, they do not in reality.
I would know, because I am a conservative and was a Christian for many years, and I’m a celibate adult.
Celibacy not only gets mocked by many liberal feminists, it also gets mocked by Christians and conservatives.
Nobody can believe that anyone past the age of 20 or 30 can forgo sex for longer than two minutes.
I’ve spent years sexually abstaining, even though I do in fact have a libido.
I don’t receive emotional or morale support from Christians or conservatives for being celibate and avoiding fornication: on the contrary, I get incredulous comments, I get “blamed” for not being married and being a mother, etc.
No, the sort of sexual mores that feminists began fighting for decades ago -which hinge on consensual sex between adults- are not responsible for the actions of men such as Harvey Weinstein, who used his money and power to take advantage of unwilling women who had to work with him for their careers.
The Harvey Weinsteins of the world are responsible for the actions of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.
Feminists are not to blame for what Harvey Weinstein does or did. Feminism as popularized in the 1960s is not to blame for Weinstein, or for men like Weinstein.
Weinstein is ultimately responsible for his own behavior.
I’d say that sexism, which is indeed embedded in American culture, and which rewards men for being sexist (or can be apathetic towards sexism and looks the other way) is also to blame for Weinstein’s behavior.
The sexism in American culture ingrains in men this entitlement mentality, and conveys to them many troubling notions, including but not limited to, that women are primarily only valuable for being men’s sex toys, and that what a woman wants does not matter – these attitudes also play a role in churning out men who behave like Weinstein.
Feminism sought (and seeks) to correct all of that. Feminism did not create sexism or male entitlement towards women and women’s bodies.
There could be various factors at play in creating a dog such as Weinstein, but I cannot see feminism as being one of them.
Perhaps Weinstein grew up in a home where he saw his father mistreat women. I’d argue that sexism, ego, and a controlling nature all played a large role in Weinstein’s three- decades- long era of sexual abuse of women subordinates. Feminism exists to fight that very sort of behavior, not defend it or support it.
Liberal feminists do not always agree among each other.
Take pornography, for example. Some feminists think porn is acceptable, while others argue that no, it is not, and that it exploits women.
One key area all these women (liberal feminists) tend to agree is on the issue of consent.
What lacks in workplace sexual harassment is consent. Women are either directly pressured, or indirectly, to perform sexual acts on a male boss or co-worker, or are subjected to lewd comments or actions at work. Some women may comply with unwanted sexual behavior due to fear of being fired.
There is a power differential in some workplace abuses, where a woman does not feel she can speak up and say no, or else her job will be at risk.
I’m not a liberal, and I don’t wear the “feminist” label, but I find it absolutely appalling that any other conservatives are blaming WOMEN (including secular feminists) for sexual abuse in the work environment.
Conservatives who blame feminism for sexism, rape, and sexual harassment would be like someone blaming arson on fire fighters, blaming dentists for cavities, or blaming the F.B.I. for bank robberies. It’s counter-intuitive and makes no sense.
War On Women
For years, Democrats said that Republicans and conservatives were “waging a war on (or against) women.”
I used to be a Republican (I am no longer affiliated with any political party) but am still a conservative.
If I got into online debates with Democrats or liberals over these matters, I used to reassure liberals and Democrats that this was not the case, that they were wrong that conservatives are sexist. I would assure them that conservatives and Republicans really do respect women and want equality for women.
I felt that way honestly, because I was a conservative (and one-time Republican) woman myself, and I’ve always deplored sexism.
However, when national phenomenon such as the “Me Too” twitter campaign turn up, and we eventually see conservatives or Republican think tank authors penning editorials blaming women (i.e., liberal, secular feminists) for the misdeeds and sexual crimes of men, it makes it more difficult for me to convince the left wing ladies that conservatives are not in fact ‘waging a war on women.’
Tips for Republicans and Fellow Conservatives who Don’t Want to Be Thought of as Sexist
If you are a Republican or a conservative and you detest sexism and really do stand for women, then put your money where your mouth is: stop treating each and every “woman’s issue” as nothing but a Public Relations opportunity to blame, criticize, or nit pick liberal feminism some more.
Stop it with the Pavlovian response to kick the tar out of secular, left wing feminism every time a “woman’s issue” becomes trendy in the news, or to jump into the, “but what about men, poor poor men, who will think of the poor men?” routines.
Stop denying that sexism exists in the United States, stop arguing that sexism in the States is not really all that bad, or that it’s okay to turn a blind eye to American sexism because by golly, women in Muslim nations got it so much worse.
Acknowledge sexism really exists in the USA and jump on board in trying to fix it or eradicate it – stop acting as an obstacle.
Until I see other conservatives take these steps and keep at it consistently, I’m going to have a difficult time believing they mean it when they say that they are not waging a war on women, or that they truly care about women.
In the biblical book of Genesis, after sin entered the human race, the God of the Bible predicted to Adam and Eve that it would become the male gender’s natural bent to want to control women, for women to seek protection from and identity in men, and for the men to exploit that female tendency by ruling over women.
And yes, men have been controlling, dominating, exploiting, and sexually abusing and harassing women ever since, in many cultures and eras, the United States included.
Sexism Has Existed Since The Dawn of Time
Sexism, misogyny, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment did not begin in the United States in the 1960s – it existed prior to the 1960s.
Donald Trump did not create sexism, misogyny, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.
Liberal, secular feminists or the 1960s counter-cultural hippie movements did not create sexism, misogyny, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.
The “Me Too” twitter trend did not invent or cause sexism, misogyny, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.
Sexism and sexual harassment know no partisan bounds.
It’s infuriating and crazy-making to me to keep seeing journalists or everyday people on Twitter wanting to blame all Republicans, all Democrats, blame Trump, blame liberal feminists, blame 1960s counter-cultural views, or the “Me Too” campaign for sexism.
And yet, almost every week now, I see yet another liberal Tweeter or left wing rag author suggest sexism did not exist until Trump got into the White House, or I see another right wing author come up with these hideous editorials or television talking points blaming feminists or the “Me Too” trend for sexism.
Sexism runs deeper, longer, and wider than any single political party, movement, or cultural event. Sexism has always been with us, and men on both sides of the political aisle engage in it and defend those on their side who are guilty of it.