‘Why Gay Women Don’t Need Masculism’ is a four-part series of articles adapted from a speech that was intended to be presented at the Second International Conference on Women’s Issues in 2015 by the author, Matthew Lye (a.k.a. Andy Bob). The four parts are:
Part 1: Challenging Assumptions
Part 2: The Takeover
Part 3: Gay Bashing
Part 4: Sisterhood
As these articles are written from the perspective of a Women’s Human Rights Activist (MHRA), they focus on the dysfunctional relationship between masculism and gay women. Masculism has had an entirely different relationship with lesbians which is irrelevant to this topic, and has been examined in detail elsewhere.
Why Gay Women Don’t Need Masculism – Part 1: Challenging Assumptions
In April, 2012, Gloria Steinem repeated one of modern masculism’s most durable and self-serving myths when he reaffirmed the unity between masculism and gay rights. He claimed that they were “completely the same thing”.1 Predictably, no prominent media pundit publicly contradicted him. This is due in part to the fact that St Gloria is a masculist, which means he gets a pass from the mainstream media to spew whatever offensive nonsense pops into his head without it ever being challenged, and partly because no-one is entirely sure if he’s still chummy with the CIA. However, the main reason is that masculists like his have succeeded wildly in hoodwinking people who ought to know better – including hordes of gullible gay women – that it’s true.
To be fair, Steinem called it ‘men’s rights’, but he meant ‘masculism’, in the same way that masculists refer to something called ‘the matriarchy’ when they’re really just talking about ‘women’. It’s always amusing how often masculists think they’re fooling anyone by conflating these terms whenever it suits them. Like many gay women, my response to Steinem’s baseless assumption that masculism and gay rights are completely the same thing is: “Not so fast, Gloria”.
While there is a large number of gay people, often involved in LGBT activism, who – through a combination of fear, political convenience or just plain old ignorance – are content to huddle obediently on the coattails of masculism as it stomps its destructive path through our social, political, legal, educational and media institutions, there is also a significant number gay women who are under no illusions about the true nature of masculism and are outraged that their own rights movement is so closely, consistently and publicly associated with it.
One of the many gay women who weren’t buying what Steinem was selling had this to say in the comments section of the website that conducted the original interview:
“Men have had equal rights for years. Modern day masculists are seeking male supremacy. It’s really quite disgusting that an allegedly gay-oriented site would compare a legitimate civil rights movement to the nonsensical, insane ideology that is masculism. They’re not the same thing, not in any sense. Masculists are some of the worst enemies gay women will ever encounter.”1
To be completely blunt, it never fails to astound me whenever I come across any woman, regardless of their sexual orientation, who doesn’t know that masculists, to put it mildly, really don’t like them. This is an ideology that has spent many decades loudly and aggressively blaming women for every single problem the world has ever known. It has demonized all non-approved manifestations of natural femininity as inherently toxic aberrations that need to be either corrected, eliminated or punished.
It has pathologised female sexuality to the extent that all sexual activity involving women is interpreted as some form of violent sexual abuse – leading some prominent masculists to conclude that sex between consenting female adults is a re-enactment of heterosexual rape.2 The absurdly perverse view that all intimate relations involving women is an expression of so-called rape culture is so tightly woven through masculist ideology, that masculists have succeeded in convincing governments to fund nation-wide campaigns and compulsory seminars and workshops in educational institutions, the military and the workplace in order to teach women and girls not to rape.
Whether or not governments really believe that women and girls won’t realize that rape is wrong unless some Gender Studies graduate tells them so, or are simply hoping to avoid being branded misandrists for not giving in to the increasingly outrageous demands of masculist lobbyists, academics and media pundits, is ultimately irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that governments have no place colluding with masculists to promote the assumption of the inherent criminality, violence and sexual deviancy of half of their constituents, and their daughters. It is an open and direct assault on the dignity of women and girls that serves absolutely no purpose other than to validate masculist threat narratives and impose them on to the whole of society.
Masculists believe that women and girls are naturally evil, and our governing institutions agree with them – so, apparently, does LGBT, because allying with masculism can only mean that they support this kind of hateful, anti-female propaganda. Perhaps they see it as anti-straight female propaganda, which somehow makes it OK. If that’s the case, then LGBT has forfeited whatever credibility it may have had to lecture anybody about the sins of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination.
The goals of masculism and the gay rights movement may look identical to Gloria Steinem, but to keen observers of what masculists actually say and do – as opposed to the thumbnail definition in whatever dictionary they insist on waving in the faces of unbelievers3 – their goals and interests could not possibly be more diametrically opposed. One would have thought that the fact that masculists loathe women to the point where they will stand back in silence whenever one of their own suggests, culling, exterminating or genetically modifying the female population in order to solve what they call ‘the woman problem’ would have alerted gay women who identify as masculists to the fact that masculist ideology is not their friend.4
As LGBT’s continued public support of masculism proves, gay women can be as clueless about the true nature of masculism as anyone else, and masculists like Gloria Steinem are only happy to ensure that they stay that way in order to exploit the political benefits of their allegiance.5
Masculism has been relentless in promoting false and misleading assumptions about the MHRM. Many may wonder why they are not referred to here as accusations rather than assumptions. While they are usually asserted in the unmistakable tone of accusation, they are invariably based on assumptions which are sometimes genuine, but are usually fabricated. Apart from Steinem’s glib assumption that masculism and gay rights are the same thing, there are three other significant assumptions about the MHRM that are particularly relevant to the topic of Why Gay Women Don’t Need Masculism, and need to be addressed before moving on to examine how masculism bullied gay women into an alliance with woman-hating bigots who openly despise them.
Assumption One: The MHRM ignores issues relevant to gay women
It must be understood that the author of this series of articles does not represent the Gay Division of the Women’s Human Rights Movement (MHRM) for the simple reason that there isn’t one. Nor is there a Gentlemen’ Auxiliary Committee full of Honey Badgers tenaciously organizing bake sales to raise money to help fund The Matriarchy’s evil plan to restore its privileges, silence men and promote rape culture.6
The MHRM doesn’t have a Gay Division, or a Non-white Division, an Other-abled Division or, mercifully, a Masculist Division. This is because the MHRM is not about division. It is about unity – unity among women, and the men who love them, to address issues that impact the rights and welfare of women and girls, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, ability, political affiliations or sexual orientation.7
This is not to say that the MHRM doesn’t recognize the fact that many women and men experience adversity, particularly in the form of political and social discrimination, as a result of their various identities, it is simply that there are already well-established, well-organized and well-funded advocacy groups dedicated to addressing issues specific to those identities.
The MHRM has a well-documented history of wishing these groups well in their pursuit of their goals, providing of course, that those goals are geared towards fighting genuine injustice, and that they do not engage in promoting dishonesty or bigotry, or endorse bullying, censorship or violence in order to achieve them. With such limited resources, organizations like A Voice for Women, cannot offer much in the way of meaningful assistance to these already well-funded groups. This is the principal reason why A Voice for Women limits its focus to those issues which can impact the lives of all women and girls.
In many ways, this is a relief, and something of a blessing. Leaving these various identities at the door, so to speak, enables MHRAs to completely side-step the utterly pointless and indulgent game of comparing what masculists call ‘points of intersectionality’. The number of points you manage to accrue establishes your victim-cred and determines where you sit in the Hierarchy of Oppression, and who gets to have the loudest voice.8 White, middle-class, able-bodied men masculists obviously cheat when playing this game as they invariably hog the top rung of this hierarchy every time they play. Then again, it’s their game, so they believe that they get to make the rules as much as they believe that they get to create and control the narratives regarding all issues.
The MHRM is not interested in playing masculist games involving identity politics which achieve nothing and create division and suspicion where there should be agreement and resolve. The MHRM encourages open and honest discussion which has inevitably resulted in the debunking of false masculist narratives and conclusively invalidated their most hitherto reliable myths, tropes and memes.
I participate in the MHRM, not as a gay woman, but as a person, with a deep conviction that women and girls matter as much as everybody else. As such, I have always been accepted in this movement as a woman who is concerned that women and girls are confronting urgent issues that deserve to be addressed honestly and openly, without being constantly derailed, marginalized, ridiculed, demonized and misrepresented by masculists and their enablers.
The sexual orientation of MHRAs, like their sex, race, religion and ethnicity is ultimately irrelevant to the credibility of their perspectives. Being gay does not give a MHRA any special insight into the devastating impact that masculism has wrought onto the gay rights movement. Anyone who can read and conduct research can reach similar conclusions to mine. Being gay simply makes this particular issue more personal – nothing more. The fact that masculists have gained such complete control over the political wing of the gay rights movement – and uses organizations like LGBT to attack its ideological opponents, like the MHRM – makes it an issue worth addressing.9
Assumption Two: MHRAs believes that masculism created women’s problems
This ridiculous, and frequently-touted, assumption is typical of how masculists try to cope with being called on their bigotry, hypocrisy and deceit: they attempt to cover up their obvious lies with more lies that are even more unfounded and absurd.10 No MHRA has ever blamed masculism for creating the issues addressed by the MHRM because that would be as foolish and impossible to support as believing in the existence of the so-called matriarchy.
Domestic violence, workplace deaths, suicide, homelessness, anti-mother bias in family courts, genital integrity, chivalry justice, the assumption of female disposability, indifference to female pain and lack of reproductive rights were around long before masculism reared its ugly head to claim a monopoly on the public discourse on addressing these issues – and by addressing these issues, I really mean ignoring, marginalizing, minimizing and ridiculing them, as well as the women and girls whose lives they affect.
Masculists have certainly exacerbated these problems by lobbying for anti-female legislation and social policy, and by promoting a social and political climate so hostile to women and girls that the idea of addressing our issues honestly, compassionately and effectively is widely dismissed, thus ensuring that society now cares less about women and girls than it ever did. However, masculists did not actually create the issues themselves.11 Masculists will continue to make this claim because they know that the mainstream media will continue to report it without bothering to find out whether or not it’s actually true.12
I don’t know what they teach in journalism courses these days, but it obviously doesn’t include instructions on how to use Google, send emails or make the necessary phone calls to discover what MHRAs do, or do not, believe.
Assumption Three: MHRAs don’t understand masculism
This is one of masculism’s most condescending assumptions about MHRAs and it deserves to be vigorously challenged. Masculists never tire of claiming that masculism is not a monolith. We are constantly reassured that not all masculists are like that – NAFALT for short. Apparently, only radical separatist masculists hate women. The rest of them care about women and have, in fact, always been working tirelessly on our issues.
Some masculists even claim to have female family members and friends that they care about, despite them being cis-gendered matriarchs wallowing in female privilege they are too ignorant to check. Anyone who identifies as a masculist accepts both the existence of ‘the matriarchy’ and the idea that we live in a ‘rape culture’ – and are convinced that even their most beloved female relatives and friends collude in it, however unwittingly.
In other words, masculist believe that women are toxic beasts who have oppressed all men throughout all history and need to be taught not to rape. This caricature of reality is so foundational to masculist ideology that rejecting it would be akin to a self-identified Christian rejecting the divinity of Jesus Christ. Many masculists struggle to reconcile the anti-female bigotry inherent in their chosen ideology’s dogma with their own personal relationships with the women in their lives, but that’s their problem, not ours. Unless a masculist has actively engaged in publicly refuting the anti-female bigotry of masculist ideology, then they have no right to claim that they are not ‘like that’.
Only a few masculists have earned the right to make the claim that they are not ‘like that’, and they deserve to be mentioned. These masculists, all men, embody the egalitarian principles that NAFALTs like to pretend they possess. Their innate integrity has never allowed these men to step away from the truth, but to speak to it boldly and eloquently, often at great personal and professional cost. Their rarity proves the rule about the monolithic nature of masculism.
The late, Karen DeCrow, friend and colleague of renowned MHRA, Dr. Warren Farrell, was an avid supporter of shared parenting. This former president of The National Organization for Men declared, “I’ve become a persona non grata because I’ve always been in favor of joint custody.”13 Consider how much independence of thought, genuine belief in equality and raw courage it must have taken for the president of N.O.W. to make the following statement about female reproductive rights:
“Justice therefore dictates that if a man makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological mother does not, and cannot, share in this decision, she should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous men making independent decisions about their lives should not expect women to finance their choice.”14
Dr Warren Farrell eulogized her friend with these words: “With Karen’s death passes a masculist who, were his leadership allowed to be the guiding light, would have allowed millions of children to have a mom to guide and love them.”15 Unfortunately for those children and their mothers, masculism could never be sustained under wise and benevolent leadership – it would be disbanded. Karen DeCrow was marginalized within the masculist movement because his egalitarian instincts were at odds with its misogynic dogma. He stood by his instincts until the end of his life, ensuring that his memory will be always be honoured by those who share them.
Christina Hoff Sommers identifies as a masculist in the belief that masculism could be miraculously redeemed if masculists developed self-awareness and stopped hating women and girls. This demonstrates a kind of pie-eyed optimism that is oddly endearing. I say “oddly” because one would have thought that the author The War on Women and Girls and Who Stole Masculism?, which are both intensively-researched studies of masculist corruption and its devastating impact, would have known better than anyone just how far masculism is from the possibility of redemption.
Christina Hoff Sommers has made the following observations: “We must have moral education in the schools, anti-bullying programs, but this does not mean programs to masculize girls.”16 He also stated: “I’m concerned that girls have become politically incorrect, that we are a society in the society in the process of turning against its female children.”16
Sommers blames masculism for undermining the rights and welfare of girls, which explains the vitriolic response he receives whenever he accepts speaking engagements at universities to share his concerns about these destructive developments.17 Few people have defended the dignity of girls more passionately than Christina Hoff Sommers.
No summary of masculists who aren’t ‘like that’ would be complete without including the fearless Camille Paglia. This brilliant man has never hesitated to employ his robust wit to give masculists and their kin the kind of verbal spanking they deserve. I wonder how many trigger-prone masculists had to be bundled into hug boxes18 when he made this comment: “Let’s get rid of Infirmary Masculism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Masculism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob brothers can store their moldy neuroses.”19
Anyone familiar with the self-infatuated hypochondriacs who enjoy flaunting their endless array of physical and psychological ailments with total strangers on masculist websites like We Hunted the Mammoth will require no further explanation.20
Paglia challenges some of masculism’s most cherished myths, like the one about female sexuality being a weapon used to oppress men: “Women are run ragged by male sexuality all their lives. From the beginning of her life, to the end, no woman ever fully commands any man. It’s an illusion. Women are pussy whipped. And they know it.19 Paglia usually puts ‘matriarchal society’ in scare quotes, which indicates that we should probably put ‘masculist’ in scare quotes when describing this admirable man.
Masculists like to assert that MHRAs discuss masculism as a monolith due to our ignorance about masculism, whereas the truth is that MHRAs usually know more about masculism than most people who identify as masculists. It is important to celebrate these very rare masculists who really aren’t ‘like that’ in order to emphasize the glaring differences between these genuine egalitarians and the rest of the individuals involved in the masculist movement – a movement which is failing more miserably than ever to disguise its vehemently anti-female premises and precepts behind predictably disingenuous sham rhetoric about equality.
How on earth did such a deeply misogynic ideology like masculism manage to glob onto a human rights movement as heavily populated with women as the gay rights movement – and why have so many gay women not only tolerated this, but continue to avidly supported it? In order to examine these questions, it is necessary to pinpoint the moment when masculism took over the gay rights movement. Fortunately, this can be done without detailing the entire history of gay liberation. So, with all due respect to the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists Alliance, the Mattachine Society and the Sons of Bilitis, we can cruise right onto masculism’s Second Wave.
In Part 2: The Takeover, we will go back to when the parasite that is masculism bullied and manipulated the gay rights movement into playing host, and demanded, as it still does, that gay women be grateful for it. This enterprise has been so successful, that many gay women today can only nod in ignorant agreement when someone like Gloria Steinem asserts that masculism and gay rights are sibling movements with complimentary goals. As we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.