Feminism Wants a Karmic Makeover?
Yes. Four days ago, I informed you of the story that Kayleen Schafer wrote for Details magazine, detailing Kevin Driscoll's harrowing journey through the criminal justice meat grinder. But two days after that, a Feministing contributor named Lori Adelman posted her own story about this story. Which, see below:
So my own story today, is about Lori Adelman's story about Kayleen Schafer's story. Are you with me?
If you read Lori Adelman's short piece in Feministing, you will notice something verrry interesting: Lori, as a feminist writer for a premier feminist website, is trying to co-opt the moral high ground on the issue of false rape accusation.
But first, she tries to get feminism off the hook:
"As it stands, I am sort of disturbed by some of the unspoken but ever-present implications of the story: that since this particular man was found not guilty of rape, everything he says about his accuser is to be believed and everything she says is to be discredited; that since one woman lied or had her version of events disproven, there must be many more with similarly bunk accounts; that the outcome of individual rape cases should play into our bigger political and cultural attitudes towards sexual assault."I can understand why Lori Adelman might be disturbed, given the shape of recent political developments in the non-feminist sector, and what these developments portend for the future of feminism. But Lori herself never talks about that. Instead, she spins off into pure spin control. Everything she says completely misses the point, but that hardly matters since only her fellow feminist travellers are expected to be reading this. None of the "implications" that she pretends to draw from the story are actually implicit to the story at all. But she is hoping you are either a feminist who won't call her out for that, or a casual reader who isn't keen enough to register what she is doing.
For example, Lori lists the following as an "implication" of the story -- meaning that she wants us to believe that somebody or something implies this:
". . . that since this particular man was found not guilty of rape, everything he says about his accuser is to be believed and everything she says is to be discredited. . ."Trouble is, that nothing in the story hints at any such conclusion. And the implication that the story implies this, is a purely feminist reading imposed upon a narrative trajectory that has little or nothing to do with feminism at all. Lori is merely "disturbed" that a journalist has neglected to raise specifically feminist issues at a politically sensitive moment when the feminist narrative needed to be shored up. The story is patently not about whether "everything" Kevin Driscoll says must be believed or "everything" Melissa Leahy-Rossow says discredited. No, it is about whether enough of what Kevin says is believable enough -- in light of the evidence -- to discredit enough of what Melissa says, to preclude finding Kevin guilty and sending him to prison. The story is about nothing more than this -- but that is a nuance which evidently escaped the feminist writer Lori Adelman.
Next, Lori cites the following as another "implication" of the story:
". . . that since one woman lied or had her version of events disproven, there must be many more with similarly bunk accounts . . ."Again, the story does not demonstrably imply this. But whether it does or doesn't do so, is less important here than what Lori herself very clearly adds to the mix. She hasn't the hardihood to openly state as much, but she rather strongly implies that the existence of "many more similarly bunk accounts" is at the very least dubious. Or to phrase that more usefully, Lori seems unwilling to confront the possibility of such a thing. To her credit, Lori is no screaming bigot of the Amanda Marcotte model, so she doesn't bluntly ridicule the idea. And yet. . . we sense an unmistakeable leaning in that direction. Lori quite clearly does not want to grapple with the political hot potato of our time: that by abundantly stockpiled evidence, false accusation of rape is appallingly common. Has nobody informed her of this?
Then Lori cites the third and final "implication" which she claims to draw from Kayleen Schafer's article:
". . . that the outcome of individual rape cases should play into our bigger political and cultural attitudes towards sexual assault . . ."It is here that my patience, like a rubber band, arrives dangerously close to the snapping point. Not to mince words, but yes, you are goddamned right the outcome of individual rape cases should play into our bigger political and cultural attitude toward sexual assault! Rape cases happen one at a time, don't they? And they pile up one by one, am I right? So, will somebody please explain why the hell "individual" rape cases, piling up and up, should not play into our bigger political and cultural attitude about such things? I think I've made my point.
In the following short paragraph, Lori Adelman tries to morally isolate the MRA groups:
"I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many men’s rights groups take up the cause of false rape accusations with great gusto, but that their enthusiasm for seeking justice through the law rarely extends to victims of sexual assault."I disagree. I think it is pure coincidence and nothing more. There is absolutely no "post hoc ergo propter hoc" happening here. The MRAs who agitate about false accusation have their own political focus, which is not a feminist focus. They are unfocused on sexual assault victims for a very simple reason: because those people are not the ones getting falsely accused of rape. The MRA political focus is on false accusation as a feminist crime against men specifically, so it is quite reasonable that they would recognize no "duty" to go to bat for sexual assault victims. It is not relevant to their political focus.
MRAs, you see, are frankly not in the business of looking out for women's interests, and most of them will candidly admit this. The way they see it, that's feminism's job because feminism is mainly responsible for this mess anyway. Feminism has brought this trouble upon men, and now some feminist has the hypocritical nerve to lecture us about our duty toward sexual assault victims. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.
So, having (as she believes) morally isolated the MRAs, Lori Adelman next undertakes to morally reposition feminism to advantage:
"And it’s frustrating to me that there’s such a strong relationship between false rape activists and anti-feminists, because in reality feminists and those trying to reduce instances of false rape accusations have a lot of overlap and a lot in common. We both want a fair and effective justice system. We both want to reduce stigma and discrimination around cases of sexual assault. We both want to find ways to facilitate more honest and truthful dialogue around rape, sexual assault, and violence in our communities and justice systems."This "frustration" that Lori feels sounds like a personal issue that she needs to address on her own time. The rest of the world doesn't need to hear about it. If she can't see why false rape activists and anti-feminists are so strongly mapped to each other, to the point of indistinguishability, then I honestly don't know what to tell her. Is she being willfully obtuse here? Of course, I understand her rhetorical strategy perfectly well: she is trying to carve out a feminist homestead on the moral high ground of the false rape crisis. But unfortunately, all that property is taken; feminism has no title there, and certainly no squatter's rights.
The following paragraph is my favorite bit in the whole article, for reasons you will see:
"Alas, we find ourselves too often in opposition. Take, for example, the blog called “The Counter-Feminist”. Tagline: “The female-supremacist hate movement called ‘feminism’ must be opened to the disinfecting sunlight of the world’s gaze and held to a stern accounting for its grievous transgressions.” How poetic. They gleefully posted links to contact the author of the Details story in a call to contribute thoughts to the piece. "Oh heavens, now THIS . . is priceless! First, Lori splits "false rape activists" away from "anti-feminists" in order to stake a feminist claim upon false rape activism. And then, she makes it clear that she counts me and my blog among those entities with which they regrettably find themselves too often in opposition. In case that isn't clear, let me run the short version past you: Lori Adelman, feminist writer for the feminist blog Feministing, evidently believes that Fidelbogen the Counter-Feminist is really a feminist!
That is the only construction I can draw from her words. Yes, the implication is impossible to mistake! But seriously, how the hell can she quote my tagline about feminism's grievous transgressions and possibly think any such thing about me? I am scratching my head here because I am well and truly stumped -- I cannot make heads or tails of this. But since I now know for a fact that Lori Adelman the Feministing writer reads here occasionally, then maybe she will de-lurk and enlighten us about this?
But here is how the article ends:
"Insofar as it’s true that the tale of the falsely accused rapist is a man’s worst nightmare, it’s also a feminist’s worst nightmare. False rape accusations- and false accusations of any kind, really, aren’t good for anyone. They shouldn’t be framed as an anti-feminist issue any more than sexual assault should be framed as solely a feminist issue. It’s when the quest for justice becomes an anti-woman bashing session that feminists have to step in."I gather that Lori Adelman still cannot, or will not, learn to see anti-feminist as different from anti-female. Take a hard look at the final sentence in that muddled paragraph above. She is really saying that whenever the quest for justice holds feminism accountable, it becomes an "anti-woman bashing session" by definition -- and for that reason, feminists have to step in and put a stop to such games. Her reasoning is utterly circular, so don't feel bad if it escapes you on the first ten or twelve tries.
I'm not sure how a man can be a "falsely accused rapist". Either he is falsely accused or he is a rapist; he cannot be both. But yes, it is a feminist's worst nightmare because in the fullness of time it will draw down a train of vengeful consequences upon feminism and feminists everywhere. False accusations of rape are not good for feminism because feminism is so deeply responsible for making these things a living reality.
It is too late for the feminists to pretend that they are not feminists, as we see one feminist doing here. The growing power of the non-feminist revolution clearly worries them, and they are scrambling to reinvent themselves and to sweep the dirt of their own legacy under the carpet of history. But we can see through every last one of their shabby tricks and vain deceits, and we shall make these known to the world as fast as they can launch them, and in the end we shall drive the feminists into a corner where they can no longer wiggle free. And that will be all for them.