Kiran Opal has a post on the Jian Ghomeshi Saga, and the ‘Conquest’ of Feminism. She discusses the massive obstacles to reporting sexual assault and the consequent rarity of official reporting.
In most high profile sexual assault and rape cases, if the women (or in the cases of male victims, the men) don’t name names or don’t come out openly and accuse those who they say have assaulted them, they are called liars. If they name names and come out openly and accuse, they are themselves accused of trying to destroy the alleged perpetrator’s career. Here, we don’t hang women for speaking up about being assaulted like they just did with Reyhana Jabbari in Iran, nor do we stone women to death for reporting their rape and sexual assault, like they did with Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow in Somalia. Here in the civilized West, we only silence, shame, bully, pressure, harass and destroy their lives for speaking up at all.
There are so many ways of doing that. I’ve been learning about some new ones lately.
This whole Ghomeshi mess came as a shock to me and to several of my friends, all of us left-leaning, social liberal, progressive types. CBC Radio‘s show “Q” has been a cultural icon for the last several years, with so many amazing guests, interviews, music performances; I wouldn’t have guessed that in October of 2014, I’d be reading these terrible allegations and the awkward explanations that Mr. Ghomeshi wrote in his Facebook note. I will reserve a final judgement until there’s a proper trial (if ever), and meanwhile, I will consider Ghomeshi’s other actions; like his seemingly blasé attitude about a “debate” on his show on whether rape culture “actually exists” from earlier this year. I am not saying that he’s automatically guilty of the latest accusations, but I am also not one of the people who worship at his altar in the type of cult of personality that Justin Beach eloquently takes apart in his piece. The cult-ish way that people swarmed on social media, having decided based on only his PR letter that the issue was finished and resolved – with no critical thought – was quite disturbing to watch.
Beware of worshiping at the altar of anyone. You can admire, like, emulate (within reason), but do not worship. It never goes well. Ok wait that’s too strong – sometimes it goes well; sometimes the object of worship actually is someone who doesn’t rape or bully or silence. But it goes wrong all too often and anyway it’s abject. Don’t be abject. Be appreciative but not abject. Admire where appropriate but don’t grovel.
Thinking about this and related things has prompted Kiran to see a pattern emerging.
There is a certain breed of men nowadays – often found in secular, progressive, atheist, artsy, hipster enclaves – who behave in a way that I call “feministy”. These men’s so-called support for women’s equality is quite superficial; it’s really a predatory tactic to gain women’s trust. The feministy predator man, in fact, likes to think of himself as a kind of “conqueror” of feminist women. He is exciting at first, but gets predatory in his sexual and romantic pursuits; he tends to seek out strong minded women and try to break down their will. These types of men gaslight women – it starts slowly, but eventually they tend to belittle and demean the woman they’re with to the point that the women may even start believing them. My progressive friends and I run into this type all the time.
One feministy predator type told me not long ago, when he was a bit drunk, that inside every feminist is a submissive woman wanting a man like him to overtake her. That it’s “evolutionary” or “human nature”. This is someone who goes around calling himself a male feminist, and has even written a couple of articles about women’s rights around the world. He seriously got off on that fantasy that feminists secretly all want to be dominated by men, and believed women shared his narcissistic obsession with himself. He had convinced himself, and no amount of evidence that women don’t want relationships like that, or women who had accused him of abuse and violence seemed to get through to him.
I know the type. Boy do I know the type. It makes me want to live in a cave and haul supplies up in a basket.