Paul Joseph Watson is a man with an opinion on feminism.What he actually says is factually incorrect to the point of absurdity, but that has never stopped a man from writing or speaking as an authority on any subject. I’ve written before on this phenomenon of men not being ashamed when they tell lies. Patriarchy is a psychotic regime because lies are legitimate and necessary.
Anyway, Watson has written an article about second wave feminism, without ever having read a book on feminism so I want to call him out, as a writer, and a journalist. Writers should have integrity. Wanting to write means wanting to put the truth on paper. When people use this craft to create lies and propaganda it irks me no end.
“While feminists were busy telling the world about the dire need to ban the word “bossy,” the Iraqi parliament was considering the implementation of a new law that would legalize rape, prohibit women leaving home without the permission of their husband, and legalize marriage for 9-year-olds.”
What is obvious to a feminist upon reading this paragraph, is that the writer has immediately erased and rewritten history.
Feminists were a group of people, of women to be precise, who began fighting for the rights of women and girls long before men (society) even realized that there was a women’s movement. In The Spinster and Her Enemies Sheila Jeffreys outlines in great detail the measures that feminists had to take in order to create new concepts that were later to be recognized by law, concepts that had never been heard of before. One of the concepts that feminists managed to articulate, and get written into law due to their activism was the concept of the age of consent. Men actively opposed there being an age of consent.
Men actively opposed the idea that raping your wife was wrong.
Men still, today, oppose the idea that raping a prostitute is wrong.
Bearing this in mind, it is a slap in the face to women when many years later, in 2014, a man such as Watson comes along and states with confidence that women had their eye off the ball while marriage was being legalized for nine year olds overseas.
What Paul Joseph Watson needs to do, first and foremost, is thank our foresisters for putting barriers to men marrying girls at all. Thank them that the concept exists.
That Western feminists were only able to put these barriers to prevent men in Western countries from accessing girls for sexual relations appears to annoy Mr. Watson. Let’s be clear. He is not explicitly condemning the men who are creating these laws, but is in fact criticizing and condemning women for being unable to stop the laws. What this suggests is that he is not angry at the law per se, but is angry that there are more limitations on Western men compared to men elsewhere.
Let’s move on to the point he’s making about the word bossy. The way Watson explains it, a small group of online feminists have tried to make the point that when a boy shows assertive behaviour he is rewarded for it, but if a girl does the same she is called “bossy.” As a feminist, I got the feeling that the women involved in this campaign weren’t doing any harm to anybody, although it might be argued that they were exerting energy on something that doesn’t appear to be of immediate consequence. In other words, the women behind this campaign have got an (admittedly small) point to make, a point that is understandable. Later, at the end of the article, it manifests that the campaign has the dubious backing of some powerful companies.
Now. Taking the “bossy” campaign on face value, Watson appears to believe that feminists cannot work on two things simultaneously. He does not realise that there is no correlation between a campaign about the word bossy and that other women are working– right now– on a multitude of other feminist issues and concerns. In other words, just because certain women have decided that being called bossy is a priority doesn’t mean that all other feminists have magically stopped campaigning and writing in their various fields and areas.
He also seems not to realise that feminists aren’t just Western white women. Feminists exist all over the world, including in the country he has cited. He has invisibilized the work of women, world over, who are fighting together to end global patriarchy.
Despite the fact that men rule over women in the governments of all Western countries, it is still down to women to prevent atrocities being committed on an international level. We don’t have the resources or the power to prevent men in another country from doing anything. We are still struggling, drowning in the shit ourselves. And despite this, we still manage to forge connections, get our voices heard, help women, create resources and sometimes, even laws.
Completely denying feminist work, Watson states:
Feminists will give this issue exactly the same level of attention they devote to the myriad of other actual attacks on women’s rights – little or none – because establishment-controlled feminism can never risk uniting women around the fact that true oppression always comes from the state.
Again, he seems to be making an attempt at separating “women” from “feminists”, not realising they are one and the same, and that the movement he is denigrating is the very same one that has enabled him to frame female oppression as important. Going right back to the beginning, feminists have had to create concepts that never before existed. Catherine Mackinnon, for example, was the first person to define sexual harrassment and create laws based on it. Watson is unaware that the language he is using, defining women as an oppressed group, comes from feminism and feminists.
“Establishment -controlled feminism” is an interesting phrase, and it’s unclear in which context he is using it. Does he mean political handmaidens? Politicians who are elected as tokens because of male-pleasing policies? Is it a backhanded attempt at saying that feminism has been, and is, controlled by the “establishment”?
The fact that suffragettes were jailed and killed in the hundreds, by police, demonstrates that feminsim has never been an establishment controlled movement. Quite the opposite. The “establishment” is at odds with feminism.
“True oppression comes from the state” is an interesting phrase, because Mr. Watson should know that the state has always protected the institution of marriage, at the expense of women. Marriage is a state institution. If it weren’t there wouldn’t be so many laws derived from the state, on marriage. The most important of those laws, of course, are paternity rights for men and divorce laws. Until recently the state declared that married women were not allowed property. British women, by law, were not able to request a divorce. Women’s children did not belong to them, they belonged to their husbands. Watson attempts to extricate “marriage” from “the state”, when both are entwined, and both work together in oppressing women.
Whereas the drive to “ban bossy” is being funded by the likes of Bank of America, Chevron, Citibank and JP Morgan, there are no multi-million dollar campaigns backed by huge transnational corporations, banks and PR firms to combat things like female genital mutilation or the characterization of female drivers in Saudi Arabia as terrorists.That’s because second wave feminism is not about protecting women’s rights, it’s about stirring up a contrived gender war and impugning western culture, the middle class and the family unit as the source of all sexism and oppression, thereby making women more dependent on the government and hiding the true source of all oppression – the state.
Women, especially feminists, do not own huge transnational corporations, banks and PR firms. This campaign is backed by men. Men who are probably not feminists. This was quite an important piece of information that should have been offered up earlier in the article. There is no connection between JP Morgan and Chevron, and feminists. However, if some women have agreed to the campaign then “banning bossy” must have meant something to them on a personal level. Either that or they were going along with what they were being paid to say.
Watson is almost right when he says that “the true motivation of top-down feminism is revealed as having nothing to do with genuine women’s right abuses and everything to do with advancing cultural marxism – the false notion that culture and language, not the state, is responsible for oppressing women.”
When I say almost right, what I mean is that for “top-down” feminism to exist, there has to be authentic feminists in power, not just tokens, not just patriarchal handmaidens, but a group of women with substantial decicion-making power on an international political level making decisions about women’s lives. We are nowhere near that point. What we have got is a male-funded corporate-funded “campaign” hiring actresses to highlight the word bossy.
Watson should write to the CEOs of such transnational corporations asking them to promote women’s rights around the world instead of writing anti-feminist articles that waste the time of feminists, who have to wade through all the double-speak in order to, once again, clear the feminist name. Stop wasting our time, Watson, so we can get on with liberation.