All it takes to ruin a person’s life is a single loose accusation. In the court of public opinion, the standard of proof preponderance is nonexistent, and those accused of crimes have no recourse to defend themselves.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual allegations, numerous men in Hollywood, the media, and just about every other industry have been accused of crimes ranging from the innocuous (“weird lunch ‘dates’”) to the serious (sexual assault and rape), all of which have been conflated by a public hellbent on conducting a hunt against the witches in its midst.
But in some cases, these accusations have merit, and movements like the #MeToo hashtag on Facebook and Twitter have enabled the victims of sex crimes to speak out about their experiences with the men who’ve victimized them.
While a country in deepest Africa is conducting hunts against blood-sucking vampires, Internet denizens are keen to uncover the sexual predators who lie amongst them. While this poses a danger to otherwise innocent men who may be caught in the crossfire or “outed” by bitter ex-girlfriends, there is reason to believe that the accusations against male feminists have more merit than others.
In their case, the hashtag is just desserts. For a long time, male feminists have positioned themselves as witch hunters, ready to out any man who dares to step out of line by sharing an “un-feminist” thought or behaves in a manner that otherwise disrespects women (by refusing to treat them like a fragile piece of china).
Male feminists—these self-proclaimed paragons of sexual virtue—wear a skin that deceives women into thinking that they’re “safe.” They say, “I respect women. I’m one of the good guys. You can trust me not to take advantage of you.” In doing so, they have been able to worm themselves into feminist safe spaces.
These men believe what they say, but it’s only because they think all other men are sexually predatory. They act superior to other men because they believe that they’re the only ones capable of keeping their nature in check.
Becoming a male feminist isn’t just like putting on a mask. The men who become male feminists do so, in general (though certainly not in all cases) because they despise themselves for what they are and seek a way to control it—not through therapy or psychiatry, but through an embrace of an ideology that allows them to absolve themselves of personal blame by assuming all other men are as bad as them.
Feminism teaches that men are predators. Of course, this isn’t true. But because male sex predators do not want to think of themselves as monsters, feminism offers them an out by telling them, in basic terms, that they can’t help the way they are because it’s how all men are.
It’s no secret that modern feminism thrives on identifying women as innate victims, who feel oppressed by the “patriarchy” and the world at large. As such, the movement is attractive to victims of sexual assault, who seek solidarity with others who share their experience.
As such, women who identify as feminists are often vulnerable creatures—easy prey for starving sexual predators too pathetic to attain sex by enthusiastic consent. It’s a bad mix.
As Julian Assange recently wrote on Twitter, men are aware that “constantly self-proclaiming male ‘feminists’ are often predatory sleaze bags.” We don’t like them because we recognize their predatory behavior, and not because we view them as sex traitors.
There is a genuine reason to be wary of male feminists. Obviously, not all of them are bad, but one must ask how much of their zeal is projection. They may even believe what they say when they call out regular men for “toxic masculinity,” but judging by what male feminists themselves have written, their misandry comes from a place of self-loathing, and nowhere else.
On The Guardian, proud male feminist Tom Pessah wrote a lengthy apology for being male, beseeching other men to embrace feminism, as he has done. The most telling part of his essay was his admission of having groped a female friend he was attracted to without her consent. He also admitted to leering constantly at women, incapable of keeping his libido in check.
He concluded his essay with a condemnation of pornography, which he views as a sickness and condemned for his own bad behavior. Shifting responsibility of his actions to pornography, Pessah, who has been a feminist for 25 years, says pornography made him feel “as if I was possessed by uncontrollable drives.” Countless more men and women watch pornography and haven’t been affected by it as he has.
Like Harvey Weinstein, Sam Kriss, Tyler Malka, Rupert Myers, and all the other men who’ve been accused of sexual assault and admitted to it, many more men now risk becoming the subject of inquiry, with no way to really defend themselves thanks to the precedent already set by existing cases.
With the movement to out sexual predators in full swing, there is no way to turn back the tide. At this point forward, the only course of action is to be discerning and exercise a policy of “trust, but verify” rather than “listen and believe” and not be as indiscriminate as the witch hunters before us.
Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.