I usually try to space out the FJM series, as the entries tend to be a little overwhelming to read and labor-intensive to write. But K-Lo (a.k.a. Kathryn Jean Lopez) wrote something so stupid that were I in the midst of summiting Everest I would stop for an hour, possibly losing a toe in the process, to FJM it. K-Lo is a prominent wingnut and "neo-feminist." You know, the kind of "feminist" who thinks that gender discrimination is fictional and women need men to protect them. Yeah. One of those. Get ready. The treatise in question is "Confusion Reigns as Tradition Decays." If the use of the word "tradition" wasn't enough to send a chill down your spine, then you don't know K-Lo.
According to an article in the Boston Globe, an informal poll taken among 200 teenagers
It's "informal", i.e. not a poll and in no way indicative of a random sample of public opinion, and it was asked to high school kids. Boston high school kids. We're off to a great start.
has revealed that almost half of them blame the pop star Rihanna for her recent beating, allegedly by her boyfriend, Chris Brown.
According to the internet, these two people of whom I've never heard are celebrities who churn out the kind of brainless, ProTooled pop music that makes my soul weep with boredom. And he slapped her around. Well that's not good.
It's just one survey. But it's very bad news.
I agree. Domestic violence is a big problem, and male-on-female DV is especially prominent.
Everyone take a big mouthful of your favorite beverage at this point. You'll know why in a minute. Also, if you have a snooty English butler, ask him to bring you a monocle. One that you don't mind breaking. So, you know, not your good monocle.
And feminists are to blame.
Wait, I thought it was Chris Brown's fault. Oh, you mean the childrens' survey responses. That is the fault of feminists? K-Lo, I've been to two county fairs and a Carrot Top show yet this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Think about that. Carrot Top.
I don't say that to bash Gloria Steinem or whomever the most easily blamed feminist would be at this point.
Heavens no! This doesn't read at all like a desperate attempt to go off half-assed on feminism.
I say it so we can collectively get our heads out of the feminist fog in which we've been lost.
OK, just to make sure we're all still on the same page: because of feminism, people think male-on-female violence is acceptable. Right? That's what we're doing here? OK.
I appreciate the kids wanting Rihanna to take some responsibility for her situation. She's an adult, after all, as is Brown. If Rihanna is getting beaten, she should get the heck away from the person responsible. And as a best-selling artist, she has the financial freedom to extricate herself from her trouble.
Well, the psychology of domestic violence is a lot more complex than that but, yes, as uninvolved observers it's pretty easy for us to say "Easy fix: dump his ass."
But where's the outrage over what Brown is accused of doing?
Well you could have written a column expressing outrage, but instead you wrote this idiotic piece of hackery about "the feminists." Maybe that's where all the outrage went.
There's something off when so many people blame the victim, not the aggressor.
But nothing wrong with blaming amorphous concepts like feminism. Also, "so many people" is a handful of Boston high school kids who probably got their ideas from their parents who got them from Rush and dipshits like you, K-Lo. So yeah, something is wrong alright.
As one male reader e-mailed me: "The only times I can remember my father hitting me was for fighting with my sisters. I resented it as a child, but I told my father, shortly before he died at age 90, that it was the best life lesson he taught me of many."
No, the best life lesson would have been "Don't hit people."
He added: "I am stunned by the number of women, young and old, abused by men. There isn't a hell hot enough for men responsible for the injustice of abusing women." Now there's an appropriate reaction!
Is there some evidence that this is not how a lot of people reacted? Seems like most of the people for whom this would not be the first reaction would be the religious "Woman obeys man" nutjobs in your neck of the woods, K-Lo.
What has happened — and what Rihanna and Chris have to do with Gloria — is that by inventing oppression where there is none and remaking woman in man's image, the sexual and feminist revolutions have confused everyone.
OK, checking in again to make sure I follow the argument. Women cried wolf, making up oppression where none existed, and now no one cares when the wolf comes. The wolf, in this case, is Chris Brown. So women cried Chris Brown one too many times and now Chris Brown is really here.
It's natural for us to expect men to protect women, and women to expect some level of physical protection.
Your entire argument would make sense if this statement was true, but…stay with me, because this is the important part…it's not. There's nothing natural about Protestant social conditioning. Your kids think this is the natural Order of Things because you tell them it is.
You know what you sound like, K-Lo? Like an Uncle Tom. Like a black person in the 1800s standing up for white people and agreeing that subjugation is the Natural Order of Things. And that being a slave isn't really so bad. In fact, your argument is virtually identical. Just find-and-replace the nouns.
But in postmodern America, those natural gender roles have been upended by academic jargon and political rhetoric.
Let's summarize the historical record of America: the K-Lo version. Everything was great for women. There was no oppression. Then feminists invented some, and now everyone's confused because they said there was some when there wasn't and now when there IS some (which, according to the original K-Lo hypothesis, there isn't) we react incorrectly.
The result is confusion.
I'll give you that. I am fucking confused.
And perhaps, too, a neo-feminist backlash.
I'm tired and my butt itches. I think I'll have a nap when I'm done protecting women and bench pressing this 1991 Hyundai Scoupe.
The need for some return to sanity forms the subtext of an article in this month's issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. The article explores how some women find themselves abandoning heterosexual relationships in favor of partners of their own gender.
"Subtext" in the hands of conservative columnist means "Seeing what we want to see and making up a right-wing moral where none exists or is intended." Like that bitchin' list of the greatest conservative rock songs.
One recently divorced academic describes what attracted her to a future female lover. "She got up and gave me the better seat, as if she wanted to take care of me. I was struck by that. … she took initiative and was the most take-charge person I'd ever met."
Scientists at the University of People have just discovered that people like it when other people are nice to them. This anecdote confirms and strengthens their findings.
This article isn't about closeted homosexuality;
No, this isn't about K-Lo's kids. Yet.
it's not asserting that there's a vast population of women who were born to be with women, and are instead trapped in unfulfilling heterosexual arrangements. No, this article, despite its celebration of unconventional lifestyles, boils down to something much more orthodox:
Being with someone who respects you: unconventional. Well, that probably is an unconventional idea for a lot of daily K-Lo readers.
Femininity and masculinity mix well together.
So do cockroaches and garbage.
And women are taking masculinity where they can get it, even if it's in the arms of a fellow female.
They could probably get it from a man – IF we accept the premise that these women are honestly hetero – if we didn't raise men to think that A) women are weak and need male protection and B) that the real force working against women isn't misogyny, it's feminism.
I wonder if reinforcing traditional M/F, Dominant/Weak gender roles has anything to do with encouraging domestic violence? Nah…that's a stretch. It's probably feminism's fault.
Last year, author Kathleen Parker published a book called "Save the Males." What a perfect title, what a necessary cause, I thought at the time.
Yeah, Susan Faludi did that 10 years ago.
As Parker wrote: "For the past 30 years or so, males have been under siege by a culture that too often embraces the notion that men are to blame for all of life's ills. … While women have been cast as victims…men have been quietly retreating into their caves."
I try to be responsible for fewer ills. That seems a better response than retreating.
Men kinda are to blame for all of life's ills. Certainly more than half. Men brought you the Inquisition, the Holocaust, every war in recorded history, nerve gas, clip shows, the McRib, and Menudo.
Sometimes, of course, women are victims.
Yeah, but…they kinda want it, don't they? I mean, look at how they're dressed.
But while feminists whine about false pay gaps and oppression that doesn't exist,
Well, this would be more credible if pay gaps were not an easily demonstrable fact, discrimination and harrassment in the workplace were not rampant, and this column weren't written by the National Review's Token Female Columnist.
we ignore the mess that we created by rejecting nature and tradition
"Tradition" means doing things the way they have been done previously. Which is, you know, just about the worst possible argument for continuing to do something unless it has proven to be very successful. At this point I should note that enforcing traditional gender roles has always worked well.
We've so confused ourselves that almost 100 teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown.
And for my next act of contortion, I'll explain how Jesse Jackson causes racism! How abortion causes child abuse and breast cancer! How liberal judges cause genital warts! How BK Chicken Fries make your sons gay!
Why wouldn't they?
Well, maybe they wouldn't if their parents raised them to understand that people don't solve problems by hitting other people. And that hitting someone else, absent self-defense or an invitation to do so, is unacceptable behavior among adults.
Men and women are equal, but we've conditioned ourselves to expect a lot less of men, and maybe too much of women.
I've never felt that "Don't hit women" is either too much or too little to ask of men. But we do ask too little of men overall. For instance, we don't ask them to recognize that gender discrimination is a serious problem. Instead we write columns claiming that oppression doesn't exist and making excuses for widespread victim-blaming.
"Save the Males" needs a follow-up: A Woman's Memo to Her Sister Feminists: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. Or instead of another book, why don't we just reboot?
Good idea, K-Lo. Go ahead and write that book. I'm sure your kind of "feminist" – a motley crew of homeschool moms and housewives who can justify the occasional black eye – will eat it up.
Was it really that bad when men didn't have to pretend to be what they weren't and women didn't have to try to reinvent themselves to make up for what they lost?
You're right. Things were better for women before the 1960s. Things were good. Reeeeeeeeeeal good.
This is the heart of the entire modern conservative movement: the constant, nonspecific yearning for the way "things" "used to be" back before The Fall, before the 60s came along and we lost our way. They yearn endlessly for a trip back in time to a fictional Norman Rockwell America that never was, a world in which everything was perfect. Men worked, kids were apple-cheeked, women were pregnant and baking, and everyone was white (OK, there were Coloreds, but they Knew their Place). You know, the good old days. Back before feminism caused all this confusion. Back when women were never beaten or, if they were, society unanimously condemned the act and no one, absolutely no one, looked upon spousal abuse understanding the urge and approving of the act.