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Feminism's Similarities to Medieval Christianity
Fine, I'll Write About Politics!
The German saying goes, "Whoever likes the law or sausage should not watch them get made.", and since my mother worked in a meat packing plant once, I can assure you all that this is true of sausage. But, what about law?
To me, the political process in the United States is horrible; everyone is shallow, opinionated, narcissistic, ignorant, and the media is batshit insane.
People act like there are only one of two political categories in existence, and that disloyalty to the red team means loyalty to the blue team 100% and vice versa, and this is absurd. The people, when quizzed on the street, are woefully ignorant about their constitution and their government. The media often misrepresents everything because of its push for sensationalism. And activists, who try to fix things and do good, often just end up making things worse for everyone.
So, for a while I thought well, to hell with the whole thing, I'm not getting involved in politics. It's ugly, it divides rather than unites people, and with my it's probably just not good for my health. But, as a compassionate person, it's hard for me to ignore politics altogether. I'm concerned not only about the future of my country, but about the future of the world. And if politics f*cks it up too badly, we won't have a future at all. I have very deeply held beliefs that align me fully with neither the blue team nor the red team.
Since leaving feminism, I have solidified these values, through my experience writing for the MRA website A Voice For Men and by talking to MRAs on Facebook and listening to them on YouTube, along with non-MRA critics of the feminist movement or its actions in contemporary politics. Feminism is an important topic because it is so influential in the media and in academia and online; it's damned hard to ignore. It's hard to ignore a movement like feminism that is literally everywhere, calling everything around you "racist", "sexist" or "problematic" or some such nonsense, and begging for your time and money to aid their just holy wars against such things.
As the current leading philosophical influence on Western culture, I feel like drawing a comparison between today's feminism and yesteryear's Catholic Church. Specifically, I'm talking from around the end of the Roman Empire until the Reformation (although exact dates are a little fuzzy on both). During this time, while the Catholic Church did a lot of good and was responsible for a lot of philosophical growth, it was also corrupt, hypocritical, militant, and intolerant. Much like today's feminism, yesterday's Jesuits, crusaders, and the like thought that they were saving the world by bringing the truth to it, when what they were really bringing was hatred and destruction. Now, there are differences that are important (I doubt a typical feminist today and a typical medieval Catholic would have quite the same views on premarital sex for example), but just for fun, let's look at all the ways in which the two belief systems are eerily similar.
5. Hatred of Heresies
The Catholic Church's biggest enemy, besides Islam, was heresy. They defined a heretic as someone espousing beliefs about Christianity that were not in line with what the Church taught, which they believed would lead otherwise good people down a path to damnation and sin. To the non-Catholic observer, this is concerned with political power; the Church could not tolerate alternative viewpoints to its own about Christianity or it would lose power and not be the dominant religious authority in Western Europe, or "Christendom" as it was called then. Therefore, Church militants waged war after war against heretics, and they had no qualms about using torture to exact information and false confessions from accused heretics or people associated with them, sometimes destroying entire villages to "stop the spread of their heresy". This solidified for Medieval people that the Church and the Church alone had the one truth about God and the one true path to righteous living. Only until the Protestant Reformation was a "heresy", or a challenge to the Church's authority, strong enough to truly challenge that dominance of thought.
With contemporary feminism, their venom is unleashed similarly not only on their external enemies, but also on internal disagreement. They're not really burning villages or using thumbscrews on people, but they do try to push outside-the-box feminists and heterodox branches of feminism to conform to the more mainstream point of view. Similarly, this is about political power, they need thought-hegemony in order to, as a group, get anything done politically. This means that they're usually targeting non-liberal women who call themselves feminists, whether they be libertarian, conservative, or just not a cultural Marxist. For example, Jessica Valenti of The Guardian wrote her article, "When everyone is a feminist, is anyone?", implying that if you disagree with the orthodox opinion on matters like abortion, you forfeit your right to call yourself a feminist. Similarly, Christina Hoff Sommers, the "Factual Feminist" on YouTube, has drawn a lot of feminist ire, even people protesting her speaking engagements, even though she calls herself a feminist too.
Clearly, certain feminists have gotten the idea from somewhere that being a feminist means:
- Not being a conservative.
- Not being religious.
- Being pro-choice, in all cases and circumstances.
- Not criticizing the state of feminism or the actions of other feminists.
- Being a socialist.
When I was a feminist, I remember resenting the fact that I had to qualify it with labels that amounted to "non-crazy feminist", such as "moderate", "sex-positive", "libertarian" or "choice" feminist. The labeling made it clear that I was "other" and outside the mainstream of feminist thought. I suppose that radical feminists who think things like that all male fetuses should be aborted as soon as the maleness "defect" is detected also have to qualify their feminism as "radical" or "extreme", but I feel like feminists target less anger at zealots within the movement than they do at people who are feminist but not in line with the Marxist ways of thinking that are currently popular.
While feminism has the gall to speak for all women, it can also be merciless to women who turn away from feminism. In the Medieval Catholic analogy, this is like the way that apostasy, or leaving Christianity, was a crime in the Church's earliest days. This is again about political power; the organization could not uphold people's religious freedom and maintain their political power over Europe.
Similarly, if you leave feminism and declare yourself an anti-feminist or even merely non-feminist woman, feminist reactions will range from pity to hatred, with little compassion or understanding. Many women are creepily told some kind of menacing "I hope you get raped", which is the kind of thing an abusive boyfriend would say when a girl leaves him. I never got called the "c-word" (that feminists claim to hate as a gendered insult) until I was arguing online against a feminist who called me that. Sometimes they express pity, saying things like that they feel sorry for women who "don't stand up for themselves". Most of the time, the reaction is shockingly bullying and negative; insulting the apostate's worth, intelligence, or basically engaging in "slut-shaming", by saying that she is only a non-feminist woman to garner the approval of men.
There's a lot of things wrong with this attitude, obviously. It's not only bullying, but it's hypocritical. Everywhere you look, you see feminists branding themselves as "compassionate", "pro-woman", "open-minded", "tolerant", and interested in "social justice". But where is the proof that they are any of these things, especially when you consider how they shun and shame their apostates! Assuming that a woman who is not a feminist is stupid or only doing it for the approval of men is also blatant misogyny, and coming from the people who claim that they are on a mission to stop or end misogyny. This is misogyny because it implies that women are so stupid that they can't think for themselves without submitting to the will of the collective sisterhood. This is not really that different from the historical misogynistic idea that women were so stupid that they couldn't think for themselves and had to submit to the authority of their fathers and husbands.
Apostates Are Stupid! Shuuuun!
3. Original Sin and a Flawed Humanity
Most religions follow a model by which they teach us that humanity has a flaw or problem inherent in it; in Buddhism this is suffering, in Christianity this is "original sin", in Judaism this is a general tendency to stray from God. The human condition is not only flawed in most religions, but it is flawed in an incurable way, a way humanity cannot overcome on its own. Therefore, religion makes religion a necessity to human life and argues for its existence and relevance in our lives by "inventing a problem", or using religious terms to describe actual problems, and then "selling a cure" in the form of their religion.
Now, obviously, this kind of thinking is not really unique to Christianity, but "original sin" is a central concept in Christian theology because it is what causes the necessity for the savior of humanity to be born and crucified for that original sin in the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. If there were no original sin (a sinfulness inherent in human nature due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden), then there would never have been a need for Christ to come down as a savior, to redeem mankind from this original sin.
In feminism, it's clear that their concept of original sin is masculinity or simply being male. Men can get into feminism's good graces only when they renounce their masculinity, accepting it as the source of all the evil in the world. Men who refuse to do that are scum, unrepentant sinners. If they're not a sexual or gender minority, that makes men "cisgender scum", targets for feminist's derision, sexism, and bullying behaviors (and Goddess help them if they also dare to be white on top of that). While of course feminists claim they do not hate men, this is a case similar to Christians saying they do not hate the sinner, they hate the sin. Just like how Christians claim not to hate homosexuals but rather to disprove of homosexual actions, feminists claim not to hate men but rather to hate a lot of things that end up just being euphemisms for male or masculine, ie, toxic masculinity, patriarchy, etc. They end up blaming masculinity for all that is wrong with the world or everything bad that happens to women, never mind all the times women abuse or attack other women, never mind all the good men, and never mind all the women who abuse or attack men. They have an irrational worldview in which all women are morally good and all men are morally evil, except for the few elect who repent for their manliness and convert to feminism, essentially becoming man-hating men.
We get one message from feminism over and over again, loud and clear; masculinity is a disease, and feminism is the cure.
2. Only We Hold the Key to Salvation
This goes along with what I said earlier about apostasy. Both religion and feminism say that outside of their worldview, there is no hope for a good life. Feminism claims that women cannot make progress on their own without calling themselves feminists, when that is demonstrably falsified by all the historical women who have held reins of power in the past mightily who lived before such an idea as feminism ever existed. This is quite similar to the oft-quoted John 14:6 as used by Christians, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (source). This is usually understood to mean that no one can attain salvation and entry into Heaven after death unless they believe in Jesus.
In feminism, similarly, they are arrogant enough to think that they have the only one true path to "women's liberation" or "women's equality". Therefore, all criticism of feminism is seen as misogyny or an attack on women. As if it weren't totally possible to be a non-feminist and still believe in women's rights, or to be a non-feminist and still assert your independence and intelligence. Well, I think that if you are intelligent, you don't need to go around stomping and shouting to everyone about how intelligent you are, it is just something that becomes apparent to others. But more importantly, I think that there is a whole wide range of possible political opinions and philosophies someone could have relating to gender, and that people should be free to explore all of these options and decide which is right for them. My own opinion on the matter is just an opinion. Yet to feminists, their opinions on gender are often not talked about by them as if they were mere opinions. They are spoken about as truths, even taught as truths in some university gender studies classes. This is, for me, to borrow their term, "problematic", assuming that only they hold the claim to one singular Truth about gender and gender-based politics.
1. We Must Control Women for Women's Sake!
In the Medieval Catholic worldview (I would recommend reading The Decameron for an example of this kind of thinking), women were considered too weak not only physically, but morally, spiritually, and intellectually, to be anything other than dependent on male help. This is why, in Europe and later in America and other Western countries, it was common courtesy for women to have an escort whenever they left their home, as they were seen as simply incapable of protecting themselves from thieves or rapists, and that was a responsibility put on the shoulders of their male relatives or dates. But because the root cause for this practice was considered sexism, it disappeared, and yet the very feminism which fought this sexism has merely replaced it with their own. Now, they think that women are too stupid to make their own choices too, apparently, because they do a lot of talking on the subject of what women should and should not be doing with their lives!
Much like how they tell us what to think, feminists these days are attacking "choice feminism" because, basically, if women believe that feminism means just doing what they want to do and not giving a fuck, the organizations and talking heads lose their power to garner support and donations they need to perpetuate themselves. So their strategy is to tell women that some choices they make are good and some are bad, for the collective bargaining power of all women. So, if men are supposed to self-flagellate for the "original sin" they have incurred by not being women, women have to self-flagellate for the sins they commit against their sisterhood, which primarily have to do with being attractive or nice to men in any way, or attracted to men. Want to be in a conservative religion? Bad. Want to be a stay-at-home-mom? Bad. Want to shave your legs? Bad. Want a traditionally feminine career choice like being a nurse? Bad. Want to have long hair that isn't chopped up and dyed anime colors? Bad.
Basically, your choices in these matters signify whether you're "with" or "against" feminism, so that even women who call themselves feminists and clap their hands like they believe! in feminism can still be targeted for shunning or bullying behavior for making the wrong life choices. Similarly, medieval Catholicism was concerned about enforcing a high standard of moral purity and thought hegemony on its followers. In both, being a believer was not enough; one had to prove their faith and devotion in all of their actions, and do penance to atone for their sins.
So, goddamn it there, I made another article about feminism/politics. In reality, I hate the whole thing, and talking about it makes me want to claw my own eyes out. But like I said, anyone who is concerned about values such as truth, integrity, and freedom should fight the enemies of such values with vigor, so I'm no longer content to hide in the closet.