But for this argument to fly, women must be viewed as weak, fragile, and easily victimized. So, like a rehab facility maintaining its patient base by giving away bags of heroin at a table in its parking lot, academic feminism has become a force for female disempowerment. It pushes women to identify as victims — an identity formed not by what they’ve done but by what’s been done to them — and to demand not equal rights but special rights, perks, and protections. (Notice us coming full circle, anyone?)
THE jihadi feminists of academia have had help spreading their dogma — from phenomena such as overparenting, the decline of religion, and the rise of the internet and social media. Academic feminists’ rejection of science has also played a major role.
Helicopter parenting — the perpetual parental hover — took off in the early nineties, galvanized by TV news-driven paranoia that every stranger who said hello in the mall was plotting to kidnap their kid. And now it’s given way to “snowplow parenting” — adults clearing every possible obstacle in their child’s path — in school, at work, and beyond.
Young people who’ve grown up having all conflict in their lives magically removed by an authority figure are, as you might guess, proving to be less independent and self-sufficient than previous generations. Yes, in 75 years, we’ve gone from the Greatest Generation, storming the beach at Normandy, to the Gripey-est Generation, with Mommy calling her grown child’s boss to complain on their behalf. Not surprisingly, today’s young women are ripe for a feminism acting in loco parentis.
Contemporary victim feminism operates like a fundamentalist religion without the God stuff. Women’s attraction to it is understandable, given the sharp decline in organized religion in America. Like traditional religions, this kind of feminism offers comfy, pre-chewed black-and-white beliefs — us and them, right and wrong, good and evil.
It also seems to fill a major psychological hole in people. We appear to have an adaptation pushing us to join groups — behavior probably coming out of how there were distinct survival advantages to living cooperatively in ancestral times.
Behavioral scientist Clay Routledge, who studies the evolutionary roots of what motivates us psychologically, theorizes that secular movements now function as a substitute for religious belief. He cites studies finding that “people who score low on commitment to a religious faith” are more likely to turn to “extreme political tribalism.”
As for how they’ll wave the flag of their allegiance — how they’ll signal their tribal affiliation — in lieu of religious worship and church socials, well, there’s…social media.
SOCIAL media platforms are today’s stages for communicating a belief system. It can be done quietly by posting a photo of oneself complying with a group dress code — such as when a woman dons a pink pussy hat and circulates the image on Instagram. But it can also be done aggressively by attacking a common enemy online. Within minutes on Twitter, hundreds, thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of ideological fellow travelers can be mobilized against a perpetrator of wrongthink.
As a bonus, this virtue signaling — conspicuously displaying your moral righteousness, your commitment to the cause — requires little actual effort or commitment of time. Why get all sweaty marching when you can just tweet?
Welcome to the Age of Endarkenment.
Like many actual religions, victim feminism rejects certain forms of scientific knowledge. Most consequentially, it denies research identifying basic differences between male and female psychology and behavior. Its argument, boiled down, is basically, Sex differences? That’s bro science. Without evidence, academic feminists insist that differences between men and women are largely (if not entirely) socially constructed. They claim that a “toxic patriarchal culture” determines sex differences in societal outcomes, such as how women tend to be kindergarten teachers and not oil rig workers.