The sneaky sexism of left-wing men

It’s been a year since Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered – and the Mayor of London this week called on men to lead a ‘fundamental cultural change’ to help end violence against women. Sadiq Khan said the problem is not only with violent men, but also with men who engage in sexist behavior and remain silent when other men harass women. So far, so good.

But is he really the best candidate to talk about sexism? This is the same man who fired Joan Smith from her role as co-chair of the Mayor’s Council on Violence Against Women and Girls without explanation, although it is believed to be because she campaigns against biological men’s access to women-only shelters. Khan, like so many prominent leftists, is on the “trans women are women” side in the war of the sexes; he seems not to understand what sex is.

Gender wars have come in handy for these men over the past few years. They used the issue to firmly and relentlessly position themselves as progressive superheroes, bending over backwards to be seen as supporting the oppressed and marginalized at all times. These men are signaling their support for Black Lives Matter – and spouting, at every opportunity, “trans women are women”. But scratch the surface of Left Man and you’ll find all kinds of hypocrisy.

Left Man uses liberal feminism as a smokescreen to mask its misogyny. He is staunchly committed to “sex work is work” and “porn is empowering” ideologies. As long as there are a few Women voices claiming that women freely choose to rent parts of their bodies for the one-sided sexual pleasure of men, the social structures that underpin pornography and prostitution around the world – racism, colonialism and misogyny – can be set aside.

While right-wing men tend not to bother claiming to support feminism, progressive men don’t just pretend to be feminists, but then also trying to dictate the terms of feminism. Recently, in the interval of a play exploring the history of racism in the United States, I heard a bearded white dude shout, “My feminism will be intersectional, or it’ll be bullshit.” He was sitting with a bunch of buddies, sipping real ale, and I heard mumblings of “transphobia” and “TERF.”

The mantra the young man shouted was coined by Flavia Dzodan who, in her scathing critique of feminism, argued that “intersectionality” means including men in the category of women and celebrating prostitution. This is a twisted version of the original definition, which was created by feminist law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the specific challenges faced by Black American women in the workplace. If you find yourself on the path of multiple forms of oppression and exclusion, Crenshaw explained, you are likely to be affected by both.

The garish beard at the theater made me realize how Dzodan’s bastardization of Crenshaw’s concept has been a gift to so many men on the left. They arrive at to see progressive, while despising women.

Likewise, as pro-feminist violence against women lawyer and activist Tom Farr says, if so many white men insist on associating their name with anti-racism activism, it is because they can to see as if they were challenging their privilege without actually do something. They have very little conscience when it comes to their own racism – or even their sexism.

“The defense of ‘sex work’, which is based in part on the racist objectification of black women, makes it clear that these men don’t care one iota about deconstructing their true privilege,” Farr says. “But actively challenge sexism and misogyny, they would be required to change their behavior and admit their own contribution to male oppression and the exploitation of women”. They may point to the virtue of ending racism, but to work to end misogyny they would have to give up the benefits associated with their male privilege and their right to valuable modes of sexual liberation.

Some men get it, and their genuine commitment to fighting misogyny puts posturers in the spotlight. Robert Jensen, author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men (2017), finds that left-leaning men who celebrate pornography and prostitution tend to downplay the prevalence and devastating effects of rape and other forms of violence against women. It’s no longer possible for men on the left to pretend that racism, economic or global inequality has nothing to do with their work, he tells me, “but men on the left can, and consistently do. , ignore the relevance of patriarchy”. He writes not only about explicit misogyny in pornography, but also about racism; unlike many leftists, Jensen understands Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality and is able to apply it.

But for every man like Jensen, there are ten like Owen Jones. The left-leaning uber bro insists he’s a strong believer in feminism, while championing male porn use, despite its inherent racism and obvious harm to women. Jones has even defended MPs and judges – our public servants – who have access during office hours, because even if men like Jones want to be considered on the right side of history, they will almost always defend the rights of men to degrade women. As Jones himself said, magnanimously forgiving disgraced judges, “There is clearly a strong argument that judges should do their job, not get into pornography. Okay, but there are all kinds of procrastination that happen in the workplace. »

Men tend to bond over sexual rights, and porn in particular. US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has spoken lyrically about the laudable anti-racist values ​​of Hugh Hefner – the pimp and pornographer responsible for turning niche market images of sexually degraded women into mainstream entertainment. Hefner has “featured” black women in his pornography because selling the racist stereotype of “exotic” women to white men makes money. Jackson was thrilled to be interviewed in Hefner’s flagship porn rag Playboy, and in an article after Hefner’s death in 2017 praised him thus: “Very few white people publicly associate with black people. But Hefner opened his nightclubs to African-American artists and patrons.

Hefner hated women and called them “dogs”. But the boys stick together and to hell with those sluts who make a big deal out of being degraded and mistreated. It’s almost as if they only support social justice movements in which men have a stake. Or, as feminist jurist Catharine MacKinnon put it: “It seems that if your oppression is also inflicted on a man, you are more likely to be recognized as oppressed, as opposed to inferior.” As these men on the left might say, it’s the homies before the whores.

And, in their quest to put men first, they tell true feminists how to do feminism right – again using intersectionality to silence women. There was a particularly egregious example during Washington’s march against Trump in 2017. Perched on a plinth above the crowd were two young white men, sporting smug expressions, standing either side of two young black women . The men held the poles of a huge banner bearing the slogan “White feminism was built on the backs of women of color”. The imagery is clear and straight out of the Marvel Universe: Left Man saves the poor, helpless heroine, while despising the villains of “white feminism.” This is a poisonous combination of white knight and virtue signalling, covered in a progressive smokescreen.

And you can see this guiding policy of the toxic mixture. Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch (and a highly paid white man), lobbied for the removal of all prostitution laws, including pimping and brothel ownership. When criticized by feminists (including black women) for his support of the sex trade, Roth erected a facade woven with arguments about free choice and economic empowerment for Southern women. “All want to end poverty, but in the meantime, why deny poor women the option of voluntary sex work?” tweeted Roth. To which sex trade survivor Rachel Moran replied, “Wouldn’t you say that if a person can’t afford food, the appropriate thing to put in their mouth is food, not your dick?”

But the patriarchy is depressingly resilient. It can thrive in all kinds of environments. “As a member of the Labor Party all my adult life, I always took it for granted that the leftists were the progressives, and that racism and sexism were left to the bad party (the Conservatives),” says Lucy Masoud , a former firefighter who was one of the fire union’s few black elected officials and the only black lesbian. Like many feminists, she is fed up with the new breed of progressive men. “They describe themselves as ‘cis’ and hang around Dalston drinking beer and saying trans women are women. But underneath all this false progressiveness always hides the same titled misogynist.

What worries me, as a lifelong leftist, is the power and influence of Left Man on young women seeking to find their way as feminists. It is hard to see and believe that these men only seek to protect their own interests. But these sexists in sheep’s clothing cannot be allowed to set the agenda.

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