F. Roger Devlin writes:
It is a cliché of political philosophy that the less self-restraint citizens are
able to exercise, the more they must be constrained from without. The practical
necessity of such a trade-off can be seen in such extraordinary upheavals as the
French and Russian Revolutions. First, old and habitual patterns and norms
are thrown aside in the name of freedom. When the ensuing chaos becomes
intolerable, some group with the requisite ambition, self-assurance and ruthlessness
succeeds in forcibly imposing its own order on the weakened society.
This is what gradually happened in the case of the sexual revolution also, with
the role of Jacobins/Bolsheviks being assumed by the feminists.
Human beings cannot do without some social norms to guide them in their
personal relations. Young women cannot be expected to work out a personal
system of sexual ethics in the manner of Descartes reconstructing the universe
in his own mind. If you cease to prepare them for marriage, they will seek
guidance wherever they can find it. In the past thirty years they have found it
in feminism, simply because the feminists have outshouted everyone else.
After helping to encourage sexual experimentation by young women,
feminism found itself able to capitalize on the unhappiness which resulted.
Their program for rewriting the rules of human sexual behavior is in one way
a continuation of the liberationists’ utopian program and in another way a
reaction against it. The feminists approve the notion of a right to do as one
pleases without responsibilities toward others; they merely insist that only
women have this right.
Looking about them for some legal and moral basis for enforcing this novel
claim, they hit upon the age-old prohibition against rape. Feminists understand
rape, however, not as a violation of a woman’s chastity or marital fi delity, but
of her merely personal wishes. They are making use of the ancient law against
rape to enforce not respect for feminine modesty but obedience to female whims.
Their ideal is not the man whose self-control permits a woman to exercise her
own, but the man who is subservient to a woman’s good pleasure—the man
who behaves, not like a gentleman, but like a dildo.
But mere disregard of a woman’s personal wishes is manifestly not the
reason men have been disgraced, imprisoned, in some societies even put
to death for the crime of rape. On the new view, in which consent rather
than the marriage bond is the issue, the same sexual act may be a crime on
Monday or Wednesday and a right on Tuesday or Thursday, according to
the shifts in a woman’s mood. Feminists claim rape is not taken seriously
enough; perhaps it would be better to ask how it could be taken seriously
at all once we begin defining it as they do. If women want to be free to do
as they please with men, after all, why should not men be free to do as they
please with women?
Indeed, the date rape campaign owes its success only to the lingering effect
of older views. Feminists themselves are not confused about this; they write
openly of “redefining rape.” Of course, for those of us who still speak traditional
English, this amounts to an admission that they are falsely accusing men.
One might have more sympathy for the “date rape victims” if they wanted
the men to marry them, feared they were ruined for other suitors, and were
prepared to assume their own obligations as wives and mothers. But this is
simply not the case. The date rape campaigners, if not the confused young
women themselves, are hostile to the very idea of matrimony, and never
propose it as a solution. They want to jail men, not make responsible husbands
of them. This is far worse than shotgun marriage, which at least allowed the
man to act as father to the child he had sired.
And what benefit do women derive from imprisoning men as date rapists
apart from gratification of a desire for revenge? Seeing men punished may
even confirm morally confused women in their mistaken sense of victimhood—resentment
tends to feed upon itself, like an itch that worsens with
scratching. Women are reinforced in the belief that it is their right for men’s
behavior to be anything they would like it to be. They become less inclined to
treat men with respect or to try to learn to understand or compromise with
them. In a word, they learn to think and behave like spoiled children, expecting
everything and willing to give nothing.
Men, meanwhile, respond to this in ways that are not diffi cult to predict.
They may not (at fi rst) decline sexual liaisons with such women, because the
woman’s moral shortcomings do not have too great an effect upon the sexual
act itself. But, quite rationally, they will avoid any deeper involvement with
them. So women experience fewer, shorter, and worse marriages and “relationships”
with men. But they do not blame themselves for the predicament they
are in; they refuse to see any connection between their own behavior and their
loneliness and frustration. Thus we get ever more frequent characterizations
of men as rapists and predators who mysteriously refuse to commit.
Indeed, the only people profi ting from the imposition of the new standards
are the feminists who invented them. The survival of their movement depends
on a continuing supply of resentful women who believe their rights are being
violated; one can only admit that the principles which buttress the date rape
campaign are admirably designed to guarantee such a supply. Feminism
is a movement that thrives on its own failures; hence, it is very difficult to
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, lists the first
recorded use of the term date rape as 1975. Within a few years we find Thomas
Fleming of Chronicles, for example, employing the expression as uncritically as
any feminist zealot.4
A second instrument of the feminist reign of sexual terror,
“sexual harassment,” similarly made its first appearance in 1975. In less than a
generation this has become a national industry providing a comfortable living
for many people. Yet again we find this revolutionary concept blithely accepted
by many male traditionalists. They are content to accept without argument
that there exists a widespread problem of men “harassing” women, and that
“something must be done about it.” My first thought would be: What did
the Romans do about it? What did the Christian Church do about it? How
about the Chinese or the Aztecs? The obvious answer is that none of them
did anything about it, because the concept has only recently developed within
the context of the feminist movement. Is this not cause for suspicion? Why
are men so quick to adopt the language of their declared enemies?
The thinking behind the sexual harassment movement is that women are
entitled to “an environment free from unwanted sexual advances.” What sort
of advances are unwanted? In plain English, those made by unattractive men.
Anyone who has been forced to endure a corporate antiharassment video
can see that what is being condemned is merely traditional male courtship
The introduction of harassment law was accompanied by a campaign to
inform young women of the new entitlement. Colleges, for example, instituted
harassment committees one of whose stated purposes was “to encourage
victims to come forward.” (I saw this happening up close.) The agitators wanted
as many young women as possible accusing unsuccessful suitors of wrongdoing.
And they had considerable success; many women unhesitatingly availed
themselves of the new dispensation. Young men found they risked visits from
the police for flirting or inviting women on dates.
This female bullying should be contrasted with traditional male chivalry.
Men, at least within Western Civilization, have been socialized into extreme
reluctance to use force against women. This is not an absolute principle: few
would deny that a man has a right of self-defense against a woman attempting
to kill him. But many men will refuse to retaliate against a woman under
almost any lesser threat. This attitude is far removed from the feminist principle
of equality between the sexes. Indeed, it seems to imply a view of men as
naturally dominant: It is a form of noblesse oblige. And it is not, so far as I
can see, reducible to any long-term self-interest on the part of a man; in other
words, it is a principle of honor. The code of chivalry holds that a man has no
moral right to use force against women simply because he can do so.
An obvious difficulty with such a code is that it is vulnerable to abuse
by its beneficiaries. I had a classmate in grade school who had heard it said
somewhere that “boys are not supposed to hit girls.” Unfortunately, she
interpreted this to mean that it was acceptable for girls to hit boys, which she
then proceeded to do. She became genuinely indignant when she found that
they usually hit back.
The special character of noblesse oblige is that it does not involve a corresponding
entitlement on the part of the beneficiary. On the traditional view, a
man should indeed be reluctant to use force against women, but women have
no right to presume upon this. The reluctance is elicited by a recognition of
women’s weakness, not commanded as a recognition of their rights…
What happens when a contemporary woman, deluded into thinking she deserves a moviestar husband, fails not only to fi nd her ideal mate, but any mate at all? She does not blame herself for being unreasonable or gullible, of course; she blames men. A whole literary genre has emerged to pander to female anger with the opposite sex. Here are a few titles, all currently available
through Amazon.com: Why Men Are Clueless, Let’s Face It, Men Are @$$#%\c$, How to Aggravate a Man Every Time, Things You Can Do with a Useless Man, 101 Reasons Why a Cat Is Better Than a Man, 101 Lies Men Tell Women, Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them, Kiss-off Letters to Men: Over 70 Zingers You Can Use to Send Him Packing, or—for the woman who gets sent packing herself—How to Heal the Hurt By Hating.
For many women, hatred of men has clearly taken on psychotic dimensions. A large billboard in my hometown asks passing motorists: “How many women have to die before domestic violence is considered a crime?” One is forced to wonder what is going on in the minds of those who sponsor such a message. Are they really unaware that it has always been a crime for a man to
murder his wife? Are they just trying to stir up fear? Or are their own minds so clouded by hatred that they can no longer view the world realistically?
Internet scribe Henry Makow has put forward the most plausible diagnosis I have yet seen, in an essay entitled “The Effect of Sexual Deprivation on Women.” Apropos of the recent rape hysteria, he suggests: “Men are ‘rapists’ because they are not giving women the love they need.” In other words, what if the problem is that men, ahem, aren’t preying upon women? All that we have just preying upon women? All that we have just said supports the theory that Western Civilization is now facing an epidemic of female sexual frustration. And once again, the typical conservative commentator is wholly unable to confront the problem correctly: He instinctively wants to step forward in shining armor and exclaim “Never fear, tender maids, I shall prevent these vicious beasts from sullying your virgin purity.” If women need love from men and aren’t getting it, this is hardly going to help them.