Feminists get a bad rap these days (making a brilliant scientist cry tends to inspire negative feelings), so today I would like to pay homage to a group of feminists who are actually pretty awesome. These women uniformly decry the censorious thought-policing of modern internet feminists, reject the mantel of victimhood, openly love and celebrate men as men and understand that sometimes women suck. Of course women suck! They’re humans, and humans can be real jerks sometimes.
1. Karen deCrow
The late Karen deCrow was an attorney, the former President of the National Organization for Women, close personal friends with Dr. Warren Farrell, who wrote the Myth of Male Power and a passionate advocate of justice for both men and women. When Frank Serpico’s mistress became unintentionally pregnant, deCrow represented in him in court and advanced the argument that given Roe vs. Wade and women’s legally established right to choose parenthood, justice demanded men have the same right.
“The courts have properly determined that a man should neither be able to force a woman to have an abortion nor to prevent her from having one, should she so choose. Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”
The family court judge, a woman, agreed with deCrow and ruled in her favor, but the case was later lost on appeal. And since that case, no prominent feminist has argued for reproductive rights for men. Equality got lost along the way, which likely plays a huge role in the fact that so few people identify as feminist, but almost everybody believes in equality.
2. Gloria Steinem
As far back as 1971, Gloria Steinem was a champion for men’s rights as fathers. She wrote that children suffer from having “too little father” in their lives, and that “women will never be equal outside the home until men are equal inside it.” As recently as 2010, Steinem was on the Stephen Colbert show, arguing that the men’s rights movement is fighting for men to take a more active role in raising children, and many US laws make that difficult, if not impossible. Steinem is not one of the many feminists who actively and aggressively oppose equality when it comes to custody of children and parenting after divorce.
Steinem was one of the main proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment to the American Constitution, and firmly believed in equality. Once again, we see that modern feminism has somehow lost the plot when it comes to equality. Not a single US state has shared parenting laws, in many cases due to the actions of feminists. Gloria does not approve.
3. Camille Paglia
When Camille Paglia published her book Sexual Personae, people pretty much thought it would head straight to the bottom of the no-seller list. A 700 page academic word salad about art and feminism and culture? Surprisingly, it sold over 100 000 copies, and turned Paglia into a household name. Part of Paglia’s mass appeal was her exuberant, spirited admiration for men and masculinity. Paglia saw no need to disparage men in order to elevate women, and proceeded to do exactly that as she careened through history, from Nefertiti to Madonna, celebrating both men and women in equal measure.
Paglia was enormously critical of the joyless feminist brigade, writing that “American feminism has a man problem. The beaming Betty Crockers, hangdog dowdies and parochial prudes who call themselves feminists want men to be like women.” This enraged feminists, who attempted to cast Paglia from their ranks, but endeared her to the common people who know that you don’t have to hate men to love women.
4. Christina Hoff-Summers
Christina Hoff-Summers is a rare feminist who values facts over feelings, and her enormously popular YouTube channel The Factual Feminist takes on feminist issues one by one by examining what the facts are when it comes to a specific issue. From rape culture to whether video games cause misogyny and violence, Hoff-Summers looks at the data and reveals the errors of feminists who are guided by ideology and an agenda rather than hard data. Feminists despise her for crunching numbers instead of tear-soaked tissues, and she took top spot in Amanda Marcotte’s list of women who are apparently working tirelessly to attack equal rights for women. I made that list, too, but further down.
It’s a rather sad statement on modern feminism when using data to support an argument equals attacking women’s rights. Are we to understand that women have rights predicated on false information? That seems like an odd position to take.
5. Kirsten Powers
Kirsten Powers is a writer and political analyst who began her career working in the White House will Bill Clinton and Al Gore. She identifies as a feminist, but is scathingly critical of modern, censorious feminists who prefer to mock and silence people rather than construct good arguments. She calls these feminist “illiberal”, and has no patience with their antics. “There really is no winning with the illiberal feminists. They become enraged when the “wrong” people call themselves feminist, but then turn contemptuous when a woman says she isn’t.” Powers regrets how “the feminists of the illiberal left don’t seem to realize how they’ve given feminism a bad name” and acknowledges that these types of feminists wield an enormous amount of power.
Sadly, for Powers and all the other pretty awesome feminists, the illiberal feminists have completely dominated the narrative and have poisoned it beyond redemption. If feminism were still in the hands of women who supported rights for men, who believed men and women to be equals, who celebrated and admired all that was wonderful and amazing about men, who used facts instead of feelings and who focused on constructing good arguments rather than silencing voices they don’t agree with, I’d be a feminist.
I’m pretty sure we all would be.