Author Nadine Strossen: “As writer Cathy Young has observed, from some perspectives it is considered strategically advantageous to depict women as victims: Victimhood is powerful.”[i] Says Nancy Friday, author of The Power of Beauty, “Since the Anita Hill affair, matriarchal feminism has sucked more profit out of victimization than anyone would have imagined, and it still goes on.”[ii] Christina Hoff Sommers: “Sandra Bartky, an expert on something she calls the ‘phenomenology of feminist consciousness,’ puts it succinctly. ‘Feminist consciousness is consciousness of victimization . . . to come to see oneself as a victim’ (her emphasis).”[iii]
Says Daphne Patai, author of Professing Feminism, “Women’s Studies seems to need angry students in order to ‘keep the momentum going,’ as one feminist professor put it. . . . The perceived need to stir up feelings of outrage among students is also connected with the feminist sacrelization of what is generally described as a ‘click’ experience.”[iv] Christina Hoff Sommers quoting Ms. Magazine: “The ‘click’ is a quantum leap in feminist awareness—‘the sudden coming to critical consciousness about one’s oppression’”[v] Daphne Patai: ”However, while religious conversion experiences are often followed by surges of euphoria and celebration, feminist epiphanies are more usually accompanied by strong waves of anger. . . . Hence, irascibility and ire have come to be seen as indicators of the depth of one’s feminist insight and commitment, ‘a sign of one’s authenticity,’ as Margaret [former Women’s Studies program director] put it. From a feminist viewpoint, then, cultivating anger not only increases the likelihood that students will turn to activism but also serves as a precondition for equipping them with an authentic feminist conceptual framework. Those who are not full of rage, ‘just don’t get it.’”[vi]
According to Myrna Blyth, author of Spin Sisters, there is a cabal of female media elite who make it their business to keep women perceiving themselves as victims.
I know as an editor it became the style to tell women over and over they had lots of reasons to worry and complain. So much so that talking about personal responsibility or making tough choices and living with them seemed downright harsh. Av Westin, the television executive who created the news magazine 20/20, which became the template for so many of the magazine shows that followed, told me, “We started every story with a victim. That’s what we said. ‘We need a victim. Find me the victim.’” In magazines, we also got into the destructive, demeaning habit of looking at the world of women victim-first. Of course, this made us—the editors, producers, and news magazine anchors, Spin Sisters all—seem so understanding and caring about women. As if the only thing women deserved was sympathy.[vii]
New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning “Spin Sister.” According to Cathy Young, the title of Quindlen’s 1990 column:
“The Glass Half Empty,” sums up the drift of many reports on women’s lot. Women’s magazines run stories on “The Schoolgirl Scandal,” “Unequal Justice,” and “Why Doctors Mistreat Women.” Much of the New Yorker’s special “women’s issue” in 1996 was a catalog of women’s wrongs, with artwork featuring such nuggets as, “The average salary of a black female college graduate is less than that of a white male high school dropout” (in fact, it’s 80 percent higher). A 1994 U.S. News and World Report cover story, “The War Against Women,” counts the ways in which women everywhere are victims of everything.[viii]
All of this is what Camille Paglia has dubbed “women’s victim-centered view of the universe.”
But it’s not just that women are being “sold” victim. There is profit in selling “Victim” to women because women buy it. They’re grabbing “victim” with both hands. Most men reject victim no matter what the facts. So why should women be so insatiable for reasons to believe that they are the powerless victims? It’s because a “victim” is an “innocent victim.” We must never “blame the victim.” It is this “innocence,” this moral highground and the faultless, blameless, “righteousness” that goes with it, that is what women are so addicted to.
So, when feminists shame any and all male complaint calling it
“whining,” perhaps they’re being just a wee bit hypocritical?
[i] Strossen, Nadine, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights (New York: New York University Press, 2000) p.117.
[ii] Friday, Nancy, The Power Of Beauty: A Cultural Memoir of Beauty and Desire (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) p.157.
[iii] Sommers, Christina Hoff, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (New York: A Touchstone Book/Simon & Schuster, 1994) p.42.
[iv] Patai, Daphne & Koertge, Noretta, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies Lnham (Maryland: Lexington Books, 2003) p.96.
[v] “The Click Experience,” Ms. Magazine. Cited by Sommers, Christina Hoff, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (New York: A Touchstone Book/Simon & Schuster, 1994) p.54.
[vi] Patai, Daphne & Koertge, Noretta, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies Lnham (Maryland: Lexington Books, 2003) pp.96-7.
[vii] Blyth, Myrna, Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004) p.48.
[viii] Young, Cathy, Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality (New York: The Free Press, 1999) p.62.