The XX Factor

With Feminists Like This, Who Needs the Patriarchy?

You know, screeds like Linda Hirshman’s in Double X are why I waffle so much about identifying with the feminist label.

It isn’t even that Linda Hirshman is using every ounce of her online persona to live up to the stereotype that plagues the second wave-you know, the one about older feminists being insensitive to issues of race, class or sexuality. It’s more the willful misunderstanding of why discussions of feminist ideas have veered into deeply personal territory. Yes, we understand that abortion rights are important, and need to be preserved. But that statement doesn’t speak to the reality of events like being on the abortion table for the second time and finding your ideals getting jumbled up with ideas of who you thought you were before you hopped up on that table.

Nor does Hirshman seem to pause and consider that the reason so many young women do not seek help from law enforcement when they are sexually assualted and/or raped is not that they don’t consider it important but that the system, often- most recently in Texas -places the lion’s share of the cost on the abused. Back when I wrote “The Not Rape Epidemic” for Yes Means Yes I made sure to note my thought process in not reporting my abuser-there was no physical evidence, there certainly were no witnesses, and it would quickly come down to my word against his. In a horrible twist of fate, I found out that my abuser had gone on to participate in the gang rape of another young woman-and while the brusies on the girl’s face, the broken blood vessels in her eyes, the DNA evidence collected at the scene, and testimony from the other participants clearly told the story, the defense attorney still felt that he could initiate doubt by implying that this girl had in some way asked for it.

By willfully ignoring the circumstances in which we live, and the nuance with which Megan and Moe reveal their stories, Hirshman becomes complicit in the very misogyny that she purports to be against.

With fellow feminists like this, who needs the patriarchy?