Hit & Run

PandaGate and anti-male bigotry

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I'm coming a little late to the farewell party for Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte as blog coordinator for the Edwards campaign. Now, Marcotte's sister-in-arms, Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister, has stepped down as well.

Some, such as my Reason colleague David Weigel, are concerned that the Marcotte/McEwan brouhaha may backfire against all bloggers who don't write like political hacks. I think outspoken bloggers have nothing to fear unless they aspire to actually become paid political hacks. (Andrew Sullivan has a good comment on this.) What I find more troubling is that the criticism of Marcotte has focused so much on her swipes at religion, and so little on her brand of feminism -- a cult of female victimhood rife with militant anti-male bigotry.

A number of publications have quoted her sarcastic comment on the Duke alleged sexual assault case: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair." But it's hard to appreciate the full flavor of that comment without its full context.  This is the post that Marcotte scrubbed from her blog after it attracted unwanted attention in the wake of her new job with the Edwards campaign. It seems she also deleted some of her comments in the thread, preserved here. Even with Marcotte's posts gone, the thread remains quite revealing: Marcotte's like-minded regulars (particularly ginmar) verbally assault, insult, and mock any dissenter.  Responding to a feminist blogger who says she is a survivor of sexual assault herself but is concerned about fair treatment for the accused players, ginmar offers this gem:

Natalia, I don't think anybody cares if you're a rape victim and you toe the party line when it comes to "But what about the menz!"

(Yes, I know ginmar is not Amanda Marcotte, but ideologically they're pretty much peas in a pod.)

A sampling of Marcotte's other posts on the Duke case can be found on this page. Anyone who questions the guilt of the accused players, in her book, is a "rape apologist." In this post, she fumes:

Kathleen Parker has been … building a long case that unless the victim is 9 years old and a virgin and white and blonde and her attacker kills her and he mutiliates her body, then rape isn't so much a crime as a feminist plot to put all men in jail so that we can, I don't know, wear sweatpants more or something.

Here are three Kathleen Parker columns, discussing the "rush to judgment" in the Duke case. In the last of these columns, Parker actually expresses concern that the alleged victim may be seen as less deserving because she's a stripper, and writes, "A woman raped is a woman raped, no matter what her ill-chosen profession."

Marcotte's crude "satire" is far worse than a caricature of Parker's views. A caricature is an exaggeration of truth. Marcotte's summary of Parker's position is an outright, slanderous lie.

I should add here that I have been on the receiving end of the Marcotte method of polemics myself. On July 25, 2005, Marcotte made a post at Pandagon titled, Cathy Young to battered wives-"Stop hitting yourself!" This in reference to my Boston Globe column on the Violence Against Women Act. Somehow, my discussion of the false assumption that mutual violence always involves male aggression/female self-defense becomes a call for throwing battered women in jail if they fight back or so much as accidentally hit the abuser while flailing around trying to escape.   See also Marcotte's post here at Feministing, and more of my discussion here.

And finally, best for last: an October 19, 2006 post in which Marcotte explains that there's no such thing as man-hating feminists. She's particularly unhappy with the "made-up word 'misandry.'" (Actually, the word "misandry," or "hatred of males," appears in the Webster's Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language [1996] and its origins are traced to 1945-50. That patriarchal conspiracy sure is insidious!) Sayeth Marcotte:

This is a word that was made up by men on a victim trip because they don't get to abuse and oppress women as much as they'd really like to, and it's an attempt to pretend there's a tradition of man-hating so severe it deserves a word of its own. … Attempts to create a false equivalence are about the worst sort of victim tripping imaginable. It wasn't the girls that were sent out of the room so boys could be raped and killed in recent school shootings.

Marcotte, I assume, is referring to these two cases. The horrific actions of two severely disturbed men become her paradigm for male attitudes toward women in our society. (Was serial killer John Wayne Gacy a self-hating misandrist male because he killed only boys?)

Marcotte's conclusion:

The phrase "man-hater" is more an insult to men than to feminists. Anyone who uses it generally means that the person thus accused is a rapist-hater, abuser-hater, sexist-hater. And when you call someone a "man-hater" who is actually hating on sexists, abusers, and rapists, you imply all men are these things. And they are not. So who are really the man-haters when that phrase is being wielded? It's not the feminists; it's the men implying that hating rape or hating abuse is the same thing as hating men.

Or maybe the person using the phrase "man-hater" means that the person thus accused is ready to presume any man to be a rapist or abuser at the drop of an accusation, no matter how non-existent the evidence. For a stark demonstration of such bigotry, look no further than the Marcotte/ginmar lynch-mob mentality in the Duke case.

Extended version cross-posted at The Y Files.