Previously on HBR Talk we’ve discussed what I’ve labeled the Feminist Advocacy Research Scam, a form of academic fraud wherein dogma is established as accepted, unquestionable “fact” through academic chicanery instead of rigorous vetting. 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 the previous layer. 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.
When the validity of any claims based on these house-of-cards-supported reports is challenged, the feminist response is not to provide evidence, because they don’t have any. These are the resplendent garments of a thoroughly naked emperor, or perhaps an emperess, and you’d better proclaim their elegance and beauty, lest you become the target of a smear campaign by her supporters. They will use shaming, crybullying, and censorship to shut the questioner down before the entire scam gets exposed. That behavior has been protecting feminist narratives for decades.
This is how a belief like the Duluth Model of official response to intimate partner and sexual violence makes its way into becoming internationally standard practice despite the fact that even one of its creators admits that it is based solely on ideology. It’s how the Toxic Masculinity narrative became established as an issue to be confronted by the American Psychological Association despite the fact that feminism’s use of it originated not with research, but with Raewyn Connell’s gender dysphoria, filtered through her feminist belief in Patriarchy theory, and buried under layers of self-citation.
And Patriarchy… there’s another feminist “because-we-said-so” narrative that is often explained using made-up terms designed validate otherwise ridiculous attitudes and impositions like imputations of malice against the entire male population. You know… because if a feminist gives her narrative a label like “muh lived experience,” you can’t question it. It must be real, because it has a name, right?
Try to get one to prove their crazy conspiracy theory, and you will be treated to several rounds of circular reasoning that presents adversity faced by women and girls as if it is unique in type or degree, cites that as evidence of patriarchal oppression, then cites this alleged patriarchal oppression as evidence that the types and degrees of adversity faced by women and girls are unique. The fallacy here is obvious, yet the myth of patriarchal oppression enjoys widespread acceptance.
Why is this obvious tripe so easily adopted, with feminist buzzwords, myths, and attitudes becoming the filter though which gender issues are observed and discussed?
Well, again, it’s because they said so, or rather, because they saturated public discussion with enough repetition to disguise their dogma as common knowledge that only a fool would question. You’d have to be a fool, because “everyone knows” feminism is about equality for women, and what kind of person would oppose that?
It’s why “everyone knows” that without feminism, women wouldn’t be able to work outside the home, even though women working outside the home predates feminism by a long stretch. If you question feminist claims about this, well, clearly you just want to go back to the days when women weren’t allowed to work… even though there was no such time.
It’s why “everyone knows” women get paid a fraction of what men get paid for the same work, even though the wage gap myth is based on a comparison of raw averages among very unequal job choices and work habits. If you refuse to accept the narrative, it’s not because you’re opposed to manipulating the economy based on lies, but because you want women to be second class citizens.
It’s why “everyone knows” that feminists are the reason birth control exists because there was nothing before the pill, even though condom use predates the movement by centuries, and feminists have opposed birth control access for men as an affront to women’s control over human reproduction. If you question the feminist narrative on this, it’s most certainly because you want to keep women barefoot and pregnant, probably slaving in the kitchen to feed families of 27 kids while giving birth to another one on the fly like in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life… even though every kind of hormonal birth control in existence could disappear right now and women would still have more options for controlling our fertility than men have for controlling theirs, and that’s not counting abstinence or the available methods of aborting a pregnancy.
It’s why “everyone knows” that if it weren’t for feminism, women would never have gotten the right to vote, even though the suffragist movement, the movement that rightfully deserves recognition for their fight for universal suffrage, was not a feminist movement, and the violent feminist suffragette movement may have actually been a detriment instead of a help in getting women’s voting rights established. If you question society’s debt to feminism for women’s suffrage, it’s obviously not because you’re a history buff, but instead because you oppose women’s voting rights, despite the fact that nothing about modern feminism can even remotely be credited with their protection.
It’s why “everyone knows” that until the mid-20th century it was totally legal for men to beat their wives, even though laws against wife-beating predate the feminist movement, those old laws carried harsh penalties like horse-whipping and public humiliation, and feminists have fought to prevent men from receiving the same recourse or protection against abusive female parters that women currently have against abusive male partners. If you question feminism’s version of partner violence history, it’s not because you’ve read news articles proving that narrative wrong. It’s because you approve of beating women.
It’s why “everyone knows” that there is a culture of tolerance for rape, resulting in a worldwide rape epidemic affecting anywhere from a fifth to half of the female population, even though research that tracks women’s assessment of their own experiences instead of filtering vague answers to vague survey questions through feminist dogma before deciding their victim status for them finds that number to be at most, 1 out of 50, and quite possibly even fewer. If you question the feminist “rape culture” narrative, it’s not because you treat the crime very seriously and are only willing to base your opinions on accurate information. No, clearly you are a rape apologist, maybe even a rapist yourself, and hey, maybe someone should contact authorities about you.
It’s why “everyone knows” that that epidemic of rape is mostly male-perpetrated against mostly female victims, even though about 40% of incidents that same survey would identify as rape if the researchers hadn’t designed their definition to exclude being “forced to penetrate” would be female-perpetrated acts against male victims. If you challenge the standards that obscure this male victim set, it’s not because your compassion for victims of sexual violence isn’t limited by the sex of the victim and perpetrator. No, it’s because you are trying to deflect from the real victims… women and girls… you creepy, potentially dangerious rape-apologist.
It’s why “everyone knows” that at one point in time women were considered men’s property, even though the laws feminists cite as evidence for this do not deem women property, but instead make women’s welfare the responsibility of the male head of their household, with rights, restrictions, and obligations faced by both sexes in conjunction with that expectation. If you show consideration for men’s experience under coverture and guardianship systems, it’s not because you recognize the burdens those systems impose on them. It’s because you think women should go back to being men’s property… literally chattel.
And “everyone knows” that throughout history women have been oppressed by a dominating and controlling patriarchal system… because feminists said so. If asked to prove Patriarchy Theory is valid, they’ll cite the feminist mythology that “everyone knows,” as evidence. If you point out the flaws in their argument, talk about men’s experiences of systematic oppression, point out the progress women have made, or otherwise question the patriarchal oppression narrative, it’s not because you see feminism as an oversimplification of a rather complex history. You just hate women and want to see them oppressed! You certainly can’t be allowed to publicly question feminism like this. Why, you make feminists feel unsafe!
This formula - repeated assertion of victim status defended by attacks on the character and social standing of critics who question that narrative - has successfully intimidated or indoctrinated the general public into tolerating all manner of false beliefs. It’s been working because most people don’t question these narratives, or if they do, they stop the moment their questioning is deemed offensive by the thought police. The only antidote to this is the segment of the population that doesn’t stop questioning, doesn’t stop digging, searching, assessing, and concluding based on facts, logic, and reason instead of dogma, collective victimhood or guilt, and fear of social consequences.
Social consequences we have seen, and we will continue to see, because seeing is what we do. Seeing is why we’re here… and why we’re hated.
We’re not afraid to call the emperess naked.