Whatever feminism may have accomplished for women in earlier years, the movement in its modern iteration has clearly jumped the shark. Consider the evidence:
- Its hysteria over rape has damaged its credibility, from promoting bogus statistics, to undermining due process for the accused, to tarnishing journalistic ethics–not to mention the damage done to efforts to help real victims of rape. Ironically, in their fervor to eradicate rape from college campuses, feminists are unwittingly reinforcing old stereotypes of women as delicate flowers who need special protections, and even driving young people back toward a more traditional standard of sexual decorum.
- Its obsession with gender equality, even to the point of trying to eliminate gender as a normal human distinction, puts the movement in the awkward position of denying one of the most basic and intuitive principles of human nature, i.e., males and females are different. The vast majority of the human race gets it; feminists don’t, and that makes them hard to take seriously.
- The fury of feminist attacks on relatively minor infractions such as inappropriate shirts or offensive video games comes across as a visceral hatred of all things male. This is a new form of an old moralism that can only end badly for women.
- The movement’s close proximity to Marxist politics has driven feminism into the far outer fringes of cultural normalcy. Most people agree with the push for equality, but are turned off by the political radicalism.
- And how do feminists defend their movement? By posting a video of cute little princesses spewing potty-mouthed diatribes against the patriarchy. Classy.
Brendan O’Neill summarizes the current state of the movement perfectly:
Taken together, all these recent feminist ventures speak to a movement that has become deeply censorious and unjust, riding roughshod over free speech and due process. Feminism is no longer a women’s liberation movement — it’s a women’s authoritarianism movement. Under the new tyranny of feminism, anyone who possesses allegedly warped views or produces saucy culture could potentially find themselves cast out of public life.
Does this description represent all feminists? Certainly not. But let’s face it, the feminists who are pulling the levers of power in politics, academia, and journalism definitely fit this pattern. They have convinced politicians that they speak for all women, with disastrous results in the last election. Men in overwhelming numbers recognize the extremism at work here, and are checking out entirely. A strong majority of women see it as well, and want no part of it.
Some feminists recognize the damage that modern feminism is doing to the cause of women and are fighting to restore the movement to its former ideals (Christina Hoff Summers and Camille Paglia come to mind). I wish them luck, but I suspect they are fighting a losing battle. For all its irrationality, feminism enjoys a great deal of momentum and will likely inflict a lot more damage before it runs its course.