In keeping with the spirit of our times, radical feminists began 2018 with some “big bangs,” and though these bangs were entirely consensual, someone snuck out before breakfast, thereby ensuring controversy, confusion, and prodigious amounts of virtue signaling and wailing.
The sexual abuse allegations (and expected convictions) against a long list of powerful men earned the women of the #MeToo movement recognition as Time’s “Person of the Year.” Yet, the movement also spawned a problematic new brood of man-haters who condemn and accuse innocent men of perceived abuses.
At the recent Golden Globes awards ceremony, Hollywood’s glorified starlets paraded across the red carpet wearing black in protest of sexual abuse, while Rose McGowan—the woman who first broke the silence that led to this deluge of revelations—was unimpressed, insisting that “it’s simply a Band-Aid to make yourselves feel better.”
And now, in grand finale fashion, a bullying crowd of catty females stab the lovely back of the illustrious Catherine Deneuve—who dared sign her name to a French Manifesto decrying the #MeToo movement as a stultifying witch hunt.
An Unlikely Enemy
Deneuve is a most unlikely enemy of feminists. Back in the day, her intelligence, beauty, and talent garnered her international fame and admiration; she enjoyed laudable success as an elegant yet sensual model, and earned countless awards for her prolific roles as an actress. She was the emulatable woman who showed how to exude proud ownership of feminine sexuality and enjoy sexual freedom. And not unlike the Hollywood elite of today, she used her fame and power to launch and advocate for countless liberal causes.
One expects that Deneuve should be counted among the “wise elders” of the feminist movement, much as the Clintons are revered among the Democrats. But to radical feminists, her signing of this manifesto is a more vile and grave offense even than those crimes of which the Clintons appear guilty.
What is so controversial about this French Manifesto that even a grande dame of feminism is found guilty of treason? It clearly states that sexual violence is an unforgivable and despicable abuse of power. However, things get a bit touchy for feminists when the document astutely warns that the #MeToo campaign goes “beyond the denunciation of abuses of power, [and] takes the face of a hatred of men and sexuality.” To radical feminists, it’s all well and good to accept a healthy fear, if not hatred, of men. We are told that unless so-called “toxic masculinity” is suppressed, women should live in fear of all men since they are born capable of sexual crimes and misdemeanors. Yet, since feminists haven’t yet openly denounced sexuality en toto, this statement might rankle some of their guard who recognize the power in female sexuality.
Is Feminism About Liberation or Eternal Victimhood?
The authors then warn that the #MeToo movement claims to “promote the liberation and protection of women, only to enslave them to a status of eternal victim and reduce them to defenseless preys of male chauvinist demons.” Feminism is nothing if it doesn’t liberate women—after all, “Women’s Lib” was the preferred moniker for the feminist movement during the sexual revolution of the ‘60s.
But today’s “feminism” is no longer about all women. It is not the great-granddaughter of suffragettes, nor is it the granddaughter of Civil Rights. It is the not even the daughter of “Women’s Lib.” It is the daughter of the Sexual Revolution, taken to a radical extreme and an extreme in which women are mere pawns. Contemporary feminism is about whether or not we agree with the specific agenda of some women. It has become a sorority of leftists; women are either in or out, and all too often “out” is not by choice, but by sororicide. Intelligent women need to resist being sucked into the idea that in order to be truly “feminist” we need to ascribe to the rules of these radical step-sisters.
This anti-#MeToo manifesto was signed by over 100 French artists and intellectuals, but in a stunning spectacle of feminists killing off a high-profile target who used to be one of their own, Deneuve is declared the “enemy of the movement.” Despite her lifetime dedication to feminism, American feminists react as if they have discovered some kind of traitor within their ranks. Ironically, one of the very problems that this French Manifesto warns against is that within radical feminism “what was supposed to liberate voices has now been turned on its head: We are being told what is proper to say and what we must stay silent about—and the women who refuse to fall into line are considered traitors, accomplices!”
Now that its smoke-screen of being “pro-woman” has cleared, this pillorying of Catherine Deneuve gives us a close look at the unsavory underbelly of contemporary radical feminism.
#MeToo Bumps into the Feminist Establishment
For starters, it’s time to be honest about the #MeToo movement: The intent was to support victims of actual crimes and somehow even to help put an end, at least, to the toleration of sexual violence. But it didn’t work out that way. Even if the movement initially encouraged victims of actual crimes to speak out, that moment is over, and it has morphed into an easy way to throw men under the bus for any and all reasons. As the French point out, there is a subjective and very loose interpretation of what constitutes a sex crime. When women jump aboard the “#MeToo” bandwagon after experiencing minor infractions such as catcalls—as if these behaviors are of the same gravity as violent rape—there is no way for a man to effectively defend himself against false, petty, or even egregiously misinterpreted actions morphed into accusations.
Even worse, this sisterhood of victimization neutralizes truthful claims of harassment, abuse, and rape.
Take a close look at the victimization of victims: plenty of women are guilty of this and shouldn’t get a free pass simply because they are leftist females. The vilest and unforgivable examples of slut-shaming were modeled by Hillary Clinton, yet the entire Democratic Party and scores of liberal women continue to lionize her as an advocate for women. It was incomprehensible when feminists dismissed her “scorched-earth tactics” toward her husband’s accusers as irrelevant.
Radical feminists will never hold Hillary accountable for her anti-woman actions. She won’t apologize for trying to silence Bill’s victims, for blackmailing them, or for trying to cast doubt on their credibility by calling them names such as “floozy,” “bimbo” or “stalker.” And don’t expect anything but token denunciations of her from those on the Left who are not, in fact, concerned with any of the victim groups they champion beyond using their victimhood status as a vehicle to power. The Left is about power, and if inconsistency and hypocrisy are required to maintain it . . . well, what’s the problem?
In fact, Hillary’s slut-shaming antics may have helped set the stage for powerful women in Hollywood to play a similar role in silencing abuse victims. In support of the #MeToo movement, actresses crossed the Golden Globes red carpet in their black gowns, hoping to form a symbolic “black line” against sexual abuse. But those black gowns actually may be better symbols of a “blacklist power” these women wielded against their own Hollywood sisters.
Actress Rose McGowan insists she was raped by Harvey Weinstein when she was in her 20s, and recently in a New York Times exposé, she broke the silence about systemic sexual abuse in Hollywood. She alleges that many of the black-gowned actresses knowingly allowed and participated in decades of denial about Weinstein’s numerous “casting-couch” abuses, hushing victims to protect their own ambitions, and she is poised to name names. She skipped the self-serving celebration, as did other victims—some of whom were effectively blacklisted and not even invited. MacGowan chastised the actresses in a tweet saying, “Your silence is the problem.”
Real Concern for Women and Liberty
If women truly want to defend and advocate for women who are victims of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape then they need to cease protecting those women who are part of the problem. If we have learned anything in the last several months, leftist politics do not protect women from sexual abuse, leftist men are no less likely to be abusers, and leftist women are no less likely to be enablers. Politics has nothing to do with this, in fact.
Women who have used their power to silence victims should be held accountable for their roles in enabling the horrific sexual abuse and rape of their sisters. Women also need to be held accountable for the broad brush they’ve used to paint all men as potential abusers. The French Manifesto makes a strong point that the #MeToo movement undoes what the sexual revolution of the 1960s gained for women: the freedom to enjoy sexual fulfillment. If all men are made the enemy, then all women must be constantly on guard and fearful of men’s true intentions; rather than enjoy a natural interest in one another. The #MeToo movement destroys normal flirtatious behavior, and women are again enslaved as potential victims who must be protected from the advances of men.
This frenzy for sending the “pigs” to the slaughterhouse, far from helping women empower themselves, actually serves the interests of the enemies of sexual freedom, the religious extremists, the reactionaries and those who believe—in their righteousness and the Victorian moral outlook that goes with it—that women are a species “apart,” children with adult faces who demand to be protected.
But interestingly enough, the French Manifesto stops short in its take-down of #MeToo. As Sir Isaac Newton’s third law proved: for every action or force in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Indeed, women seem pushed to polar-opposite ends of a spectrum in their efforts to escape or defy victimization. One response is to guard against men in suspicion and even fear—women covering up or hiding their feminine sexuality and eternally enslaving themselves as potential victims of sex crimes. As the French suggest, these women try to “desexualize” themselves, perhaps by ascribing to some version of the “modesty movement” in an attempt to hide the beauty of their female sexuality.
The equal and opposite reaction is when women respond with overt sexuality in an effort to “deprogram” men’s supposed inevitable proclivity to objectify women. Just as some men use sexuality to gain power over women, women also are capable of using their sexuality to gain power over men, and some feel empowered by “dressing sexy” for this reason.
It’s Shaming Men
Some women take it to an extreme, as evidenced in recent Glitter Boob Marches, a naked effort to “stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and spark a debate around consent, victim blaming and sexual harassment.” It has become perfectly acceptable for women to use their sexuality as a weapon, to enjoy and use the power they have as sexual beings in precisely the manner they protest. Suddenly it’s okay for women to display nearly nude bodies anywhere and in any situation, effectively harassing and daring men to not respond—as if in this manner a man can be desensitized to a woman’s sexuality.
By natural design, a man is meant to look at and be desirous of a woman’s beautiful body. But instead, he is now shamed and reviled for doing so, told that his masculinity is toxic, and that he must learn to suppress his nature. Men are supposed to sit back and “take it” as they let women show them “their stuff,” parade their sexuality, taunt and titillate—but men better stay damn quiet about it. Sound familiar?
But of course! This is just role reversal in sexual harassment. Why is this okay? Just as men are expected to honor and show respect for women, there is every reason to expect the same from women. And when there is flagrant intent to shame and emasculate a man by parading female sexuality for the purpose of asserting “naked” power, it should be called out for what it is: a form of sexually harassing men. In this way of thinking, if little preschool children are caught showing each other their body parts the little girl would be hugged and asked if she is alright, while the little boy is shamed, chastised, and put in the corner for his behavior—these days, probably even expelled.
Such a reaction is manifestly unjust. True equality between the sexes recognizes the roles both play in all the good, bad, and ugly manifestations of our sexuality.
Of course, these are the unnatural extremes, but these extremes exist because the once “all-woman” feminism has been co-opted and radicalized by the politics of the far Left. This toxic feminism sets men and women against one another as adversaries, rather than encouraging them to respect and enjoy their intended interaction and interplay. We would do well to reflect upon how, in speaking out against the #MeToo movement’s own abuses, this “French Letter” protects the idea that a woman should be able to “enjoy being a man’s sexual object, without being a ‘whore’ or a vile accomplice of the patriarchy.”
It also speaks volumes that, in their inability to reconcile emulating a real feminist while also demonizing men, radical feminists and the #MeToo movement have victimized Catherine Deneuve, a woman who in her lifetime has been nothing but consistent: a feminist, but also the nonpareil of an elegant, sensual, man-loving woman.