Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature, by Robert Stacy McCain, Createspace, 2015, pp. 118, $16.37 CDN
Sexual Utopia In Power, by F. Roger Devlin, San Francisco, Counter-Currents Publishing Ltd., 2015, pp. 176, $25.32 CDN
Almost a decade ago I realized that if I wished to effectively and intelligently oppose feminism that I would need to read what the leading feminists had to say for themselves, their ideology, and their movement. I therefore devoted several months to reading the texts of Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Naomi Wolfe, Kate Millett, Susan Brownmiller, and several other feminist luminaries. It was an enlightening experience, in one sense of the word, but also a dark and disturbing one, and one that I would not wish upon anyone else. I therefore see a great need for good books, written by those who have done this kind of research, so that others can be spared that sort of agony.
Robert Stacy McCain’s Sex Trouble is one such book. In his introduction he tells us that he has not yet completed the research project that produced this book and that it is therefore a preview of a larger book yet to come. I look forward to the final product but in the meantime what he has published is a penetrating look at the ideology beneath radical feminism and how completely out of sync with human nature it really is despite the astonishing amount of influence and power this totalitarian movement holds, especially on college and university campuses.
There are many women who consider themselves to be feminists, who identify feminism with the idea that women should be treated fairly, and who reason that because they are not angry lesbians who hate all men that those who are belong to a radical fringe and are not representative of the feminist movement. Addressing this naivety, McCain demonstrates that the kind of feminists he is talking about are the ones who created and shaped the movement, whose books are the texts taught in “Women’s Studies” courses in universities, and the sources cited in feminist journals. These feminists consider heterosexuality itself to be a form of oppression imposed upon women by the evil male power structure they call the patriarchy. Having so politicized their personal problems with men as to be able to hold such a ridiculous belief, they seem oblivious to the fact that it conflicts with the reality that our species relies upon heterosexuality to survive. From this starting point, these feminists interpret expressions of male heterosexuality as sexual harassment at best and rape at worst, and see lesbianism as the true expression of female sexuality.
One of the chapters in this book, apart from an introductory and concluding paragraph, consists entirely of quotes from major feminist leaders such as Kate Millett, Audre Lorde, Marilyn Frye, Monique Wittig, and Judith Butler as to how the family is an institution of patriarchal oppression, rape is an instrument whereby men collectively wage terrorism against women, and heterosexuality is an oppressive system into which women are coerced. To be able to accept such ideas, of course, one’s mind must be seriously damaged or diseased, and we are given details in several places throughout Sex Trouble about Kate Millett’s public breakdown and her family’s attempts to have her committed, Shulamith Firestone’s schizophrenia, and the similar psychological problems of several other feminist leaders.
The fruit of these ideas can be very creepy. In one essay McCain discusses feminists who wish to introduce gender studies classes into public high schools, quoting one who tweeted her enthusiasm for a study encouraging early sex education while elsewhere testifying as to how Women’s Studies recruited her into lesbianism. In a kind of twisted irony, in the next essay he tells us about a paper by Karin Martin and Emily Kazyak condemning G-rated children’s movies for instilling heterosexuality in children.
McCain does an excellent job of informing us about the lunacy of the Rita Mae Brown style lesbian feminism that reigns supreme in academia today. F. Roger Devlin’s Sexual Utopia in Power is more about the Helen Gurley Brown type of feminism which may very well be the more dangerous type. In this collection of essays that had previously been published in such venues as The Occidental Quarterly, The Last Ditch, and American Renaissance, Devlin starts from the basic biological premise that because the female is the sex that produces larger gametes in smaller numbers and the male is the sex that produces smaller gametes in larger numbers and more frequently, “women are the limiting factor in human reproduction”, which means that they have more natural power in the mating process. “The universal law of nature is that males display and females choose”. From this he introduces the concept of the sexual utopia, the hypothetical ideal fantasy for either sex. For a man this involves being able to have any woman he wants with ease rather than having to put so much effort into impressing the girl enough to be chosen. For a woman, however, her sexual utopia is to find the perfect man and have him exclusively to herself.
Devlin is a traditionalist who believes in monogamous marriage and the patriarchal family. He takes issue, however, with many – perhaps most – traditionalists, who would place the blame for the sexual revolution and the breakdown of the traditional family solely upon men and their attempt to fulfil the male sexual utopia. This, he argues, ironically draws these traditionalists into affinity with the feminists who, of course, always blame men for everything. He argues that in actuality, it is the women, who hold the power when it comes to mating, and their attempt to achieve the female sexual utopia, who are the most guilty. Indeed, against the widely held idea that marriage exists to keep men in line and protect women from the predatory aspects of male nature, he argues that marriage exists at least as much to protect men from the negative side of female nature.
If it is nature's way that women do the choosing, they will seek to choose the best mate possible. Monogamy helps to ensure that mates will be available to most men by preventing women from congregating in harems around the few men at the top of the hierarchy of sexual desirability. When monogamy breaks down, Devlin argues, the latter happens, and the so-called "sexual harassment" that feminists complain about, usually consists of nothing more than normal expressions of sexual interest on the part of lower status men. Furthermore, since no real man can live up to the ideal of the perfect man that women concoct for themselves, they are easily disillusioned and dissatisfied. They translate their disillusionment into accusations of heinous wrongdoing against their men when they want out of a relationship, which judging from the statistics Devlin points to as to the extremely high percentage of divorces initiated by women, is quite often, giving the lie to the commonly held notion that women are naturally faithful and monogamous. They are aided and abetted by a legal system that is slanted in their favour, which evicts men from their homes and the lives of their children without a hearing upon the mere say-so of a woman. Since it is hardwired into female nature to be attracted to men with more wealth, power, and status than themselves, the fact that women have property and careers of their own only makes the problem worse because it raises the bar for men who are treated with scorn and contempt if they fail to make the grade.
In reading Devlin’s book I was constantly reminded of Dr. Johnson’s remark that “nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little” and Stephen Leacock’s “women need not more freedom but less.”
The feminism that is at work in all of this is not so much the recruiting lesbianism of university campuses that McCain discusses, but the heterosexual feminism of Cosmopolitan. This feminism promises women “you can have it all”, i.e., a glamorous career, the man of your dreams, whatever you want, encouraging them to dream impossible dreams and to dump men the moment they fail to make these dreams come true. It is only aided, in its work of divorcing women from reality and responsibility, Devlin tells us, by that expression of the male protective instinct in which men shoulder all the blame for female wrongdoing themselves, while placing woman up on a pedestal as a model of virtue, seemingly untouched by Original Sin.
If you are seeking eye-opening information about the powerful phenomenon of our times that is feminism but do not wish to open your soul to the spiritual darkness found on every page of feminist writings, then these two books will be of benefit to you.
A Protestant Christian, patriotic Canadian, and a reactionary High Tory with a libertarian streak, at the same time a monarchist, indeed a royal absolutist, and a minarchist.
You can e-mail me at gerrytneal(at)hotmail(dot)ca