The Feminist Advocacy Research scam | HBR Talk 67


Gynocentrism plays a big role in the ability of feminist pressure groups to influence and inform law and policy, but it is not alone in its impact. Gynocentric excuses for legislative control over male-female relationships rely on a systematic cultivation, promotion, and exploitation of a female victim identity, to be contrasted against a male threat narrative. This process involves a particular method that is used by victim identity cultists in general, feminized for feminist groups’ purposes. 

Step 1: Create underdog

Feminists claim that women - all women - are oppressed by systematic, institutionalized discrimination and socially accepted violence that keep the entire female population in a “second class” role in comparison to men. This view is largely based on examining human rights issues and gender roles through a filter that reserves consideration for women and girls, but responsibility and accountability for men and boys. When consideration is given to men and boys, it is seen as being taken from women and girls, and when women and girls face personal responsibility and accountability, it is seen as discrimination against them. That has allowed feminists to treat conditions affecting both sexes as if they uniquely affect women, portray women as victims of the results of their own choices, and articulate expectations of men that they would never tolerate, should women be asked to live up to them. 

They have promoted this view of women’s status in society through over 200 years of social evolution, during which women’s roles in western society have dramatically and profoundly changed. Instead of evolving their approach in tandem with these changes, feminists moved on to establish the female victim identity encapsulated in their “Patriarchy” narrative. Improved conditions for women don’t mean women are no longer oppressed now because all objectionable conditions that affect women are said to be maliciously targeted on the basis of sex. 

This, in turn, allows them to inflate minor inconveniences or personal preference-based objections into the current version of crippling, systematic, institutionalized oppression. Manspreading and stare rape have taken their place alongside the historical conditions under coverture and the narrative on intimate partner and sexual violence. Under this model, there is no room for women to ever escape the victim identity, as every time a set of objections and demands are addressed and resolved, the new gender role and the next adversity level down will become the new maliciously gender-targeted, crippling, exploitative, patriarchal, systematic, institutionalized oppression of women and girls. 

This is the foundation of the scam.

Step 2: Convince society to feel indebted to the underdog, enough to justify social change and funding for entitlements, and service programs 

During the 19th century and about the first two-thirds of the 20th century, feminism’s objections centered on the restrictions and obligations women faced as a function of the overall female gender role in society, often described by modern feminists as women having been “literally chattel!” These objections ignored the fact that these conditions existed to facilitate men’s responsibility for meeting their obligations to women and restrictions on their behavior around and involving women, which they faced as a function of the overall male gender role in society. Feminists did not ignore those conditions, but instead fought to free women from their side of that system, while preserving everything about men’s side of it that obligated them to serve, protect, defer to, and provide for women. Having achieved that, feminists spent the final third of the 20th century establishing the body of the scam based on the female victim identity. 

This entailed tailoring research to foster conclusions that would support that identity. An example of this is the research used to support feminism’s rape culture narrative. During the 60s and 70s, feminists began promoting a set of beliefs about sexual violence prevalence and perpetrator demographics that were formed almost entirely on the basis of ideology. This would be the idea that male-perpetrated sexual violence committed against female victims is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. During the 80s, academic feminists began seeking a means to support those beliefs by citing data. One of the obstacles they faced was the inconvenient fact that existing data didn’t do that. Another was a stark disparity between feminist attitudes toward women’s sexual experiences, and women’s own assessment of them. Feminists needed a method to get around those obstacles. A variety of data-collection and creation methods were tried, until feminist icon Gloria Steinem promoted the work of Kent State professor Mary P. Koss, despite serious flaws in her method from a scientific standpoint.

Koss’s survey method, used to create a report that Steinem published in Ms. Magazine, involved asking women vaguely worded questions about their experiences and then applying labels to them based on feminist dogma rather than the women’s own assessment. From the initial report’s publication, Koss’s method has been criticized for the disparity between researchers’ assessment of women’s answers and women’s own assessment. Other criticisms included her application of the label “rape” to experiences which didn’t legally constitute rape, Koss’s choice to phrase her definition of rape to exclude female perpetration against male victims despite not using the legal definition of rape, and wording of the questions to avoid getting answers affected by personal agency. 

Those objections did not lead to reform or abandonment of those methods, however. Instead, Koss’s work became the standard in feminist-informed sexual violence prevalence research, her methods eventually being adopted by government agencies. As we’ve pointed out before, Koss’s survey questions and crime definitions are the basis for the Centers for Disease control’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey. The researchers who did the survey, at least the 2010 survey, did not even know why they were using a definition of rape that specified the victim must be penetrated and thereby excluded male victims on whom women had forced coitus or fellatio. This was demonstrated to me by the answers some of those researchers offered me during a conference call regarding the data from that survey, the audio from which is included at the end of Alison’s video “Mens' Rights vs Feminist Rape Culture explained using Puzzle Pieces”

When they’re not relying on weasel-wording and bypassing survey respondents’ agency, feminists use house-of-cards research methods wherein a small “study” using a carefully-chosen sample is used to get desired results instead of accurate ones. Often, dogma that hasn’t been established as fact but is widely accepted as such by feminists may be used as the basis for supposed truths on which the research is based. This is its own house of cards method, with writer A’s personal beliefs cited as a source in person B’s essay which is in turn cited in person C’s thesis, until the woozle finds its way into acceptance as established fact.

An example of this is the feminist toxic masculinity narrative. Feminist use of the term “Toxic Masculinity” emerged from writings on masculinity by Australian sociologist and arguably, the founding mother of Australia’s gender studies curriculum, Raewyn Connell. Prior to its first use, the components of its definition were established in Connell’s 1985 paper, Theorizing Gender, which cites existing feminist theory including Role theory. In this paper, Connell lays the groundwork for attributing dysfunctional behavior in men to socially imposed gender roles and stereotypes, while the same dysfunction in women may not even be attributed to gender at all. 

Connell later began using the term “Hegemonic Masculinity” to denote a given culture’s standard expectations of characteristics to be displayed by men and boys. The usage is based on the Marxist term “Cultural Hegemony,” which refers to a ruling class’s use of imposition of its worldview as a social norm to dominate an otherwise culturally diverse society. The concept of “hegemonic masculinity,” derived from this belief, was used to establish social expectations of masculine characteristics as both a vehicle for and evidence of male domination of women. The concept of “toxic masculinity,” derived from the idea of hegemonic masculinity, is used to frame dysfunctional characteristics or behavior as gender-specific and, ultimately, curable by “feminizing” men.

It is significant that Connell’s initial writings on masculinity, from which the toxic masculinity narrative stems, were penned prior to her public identification as a woman, when gender dysphoria would define her experience of masculinity but would not be evident in her presentation of her ideas to the public. That she is a transwoman does not invalidate her experiences related to masculinity, but it does invalidate her claims that her work is applicable to the male population in general. It’s interesting work on how stereotypical masculinity can feel like a prison to a person experiencing gender dysphoria, to the degree that even the truth behind the stereotype (men’s psychological and emotional makeup being different from that of women) feels to the person experiencing dysphoria like it’s a lie… but it doesn’t make it a lie in terms of all men, and especially not in terms of straight cis-men.

It is also significant that Connell’s assertions arise from supporting ideology with ideology, basing each new assertion on the assumption that those it follows are valid and widely applicable. This presumed “knowledge” is then cited as evidence for assertions taken as fact in the determination of hypothesis and methodology in research related to masculinity. It has even become the basis for determining the American Psychology Association’s first-ever guidelines for practice with men and boys. In other words, Raewyn Connel’s gender dysphoria and the ideological rhetoric inspired by it are now guiding factors psychologists all over the United States will be expected to use in therapeutic environments intended to treat men and boys suffering other mental health conditions.

Often, feminist writing and biased research are used to support conclusions that have no basis in fact, and wrongly applied to the general population, but not widely promoted. Instead, they’re buried under layers of citation and essay, with an end-result in the form of a report from newer research that traces back to it. That is then widely promoted, with the flaws at its roots shielded from public scrutiny by a trail of citations mostly hidden behind paywalls or in exclusive academic libraries.

Double-standards camouflaged by careful phrasing also serve to disguise biased design. For example research on attitudes and reasoning behind partner violence perpetration might define aggression against a partner suspected of cheating on the relationship as “coercive control” stemming from a sense of ownership or entitlement when a man does it, but “self-defense” against “feeling betrayed and disrespected” when a woman does it. The first physical assault in a bi-directional conflict gets labeled an effort to dominate if a man is the aggressor, but “pre-emptive self-defense” if the aggressor is a woman. In this manner researchers guided by ideology can create a body of data from which to draw conclusions that ignore women’s agency and dysfunction while emphasizing men’s agency and dysfunction. They can blame men for adverse conditions and experiences faced by both sexes, and portray women as victims of everything.

Once tailored research is established and put to use, its conclusions are exploited to create panic and call for action. In the late 80s and early 90s, this entailed a hard push for the Violence Against Women act, a federal bill that amended existing law on intimate partner and sexual violence to presume perpetrators male and victims female, and tailor legal recourse, government services, and authoritative response to fit that frame. Included in VAWA was funding for a variety of feminist initiatives, which would create jobs for women’s studies graduates. When Joe Biden introduced and promoted that bill in 1993, he cited statistics based on Koss’s work as evidence for why congress should pass it, using women’s victim identity as a combination battering ram and get out of criticism free card. It worked, with the bill being signed into law in 1994.

This leads into

Step 3: Profit as underdog's self-appointed representatives & service experts

Not only did VAWA gear jobs in the intimate partner and sexual violence victim’s advocacy industry toward feminist ideologues with gender studies degrees, it created new roles for them to fill. It funded ideology-based training for every aspect of the justice system from the neighborhood patrol officer to judges and other court personnel. There had to be experts to administer that training. The law and its subsequent updates created a set of regulations and standards complicated enough to inspire a variety of types of organizations from educational institutions to corporate entities to pay consultants to inform them on their compliance needs and means of lawsuit prevention. There had to be experts to provide that consultation, as well. The bulk of the human resources service industry employed by most big organizations exists to navigate the minefield created by this law, its subsequent updates, and the tweaking tendrils it has shot out into other federal law and policy. A human resources specialist can draw a salary similar to that of a school teacher. 

On top of the variety of profitable areas of expertise this has created, the victim identity itself nets big bucks for organizations purporting to advocate in women’s name, with donations coming in from wealthy institutions like the Ford Foundation, major banks, political organizations, and government agencies, that last being largely through grants that trace back to feminist-lobbied law and policy. 

The scam is supported by a cycle that begins with that victim identity, continues with the tailored research, panic-mongering and feminist lobby, and then follows up with rhetoric. When feminist-lobbied law and policy creates its own problems due to anti-male discrimination and funding of dysfunctional choices in women and girls, feminists deflect criticism with cries of misogyny, or by labeling their critics “oppressors.” They treat criticism as evidence of a need for further research and so-called reform. Express doubt that we live in a rape culture and your criticism will be used as evidence of that environment. The act of questioning Patriarchy Theory is treated as a manifestation of Patriarchy. Don’t believe in toxic masculinity? That’s just your own toxic masculinity speaking. But you’re a woman, you say? You’re just suffering from internalized misogyny, which in your case is a result of living in an environment dominated by toxic masculinity, of course.

All roads lead back to the feminist victim identity and its male perpetrator boogeyman, where the cycle begins again with step 1: Create Underdog. The spinning will continue until the ridiculousness of the narrative exceeds society’s level of tolerance for unfounded victim signalling.

I only have one question. Are we there yet?

at 7:20 in this interview Koss says men who are raped don’t experience the same trauma as women and therefore should not be considered victims of rape

Holmes & Slapp, however, found numerous indications of trauma.