Clementine Ford, feminist of Australia, has entered some very repellent words into the public record, and this needs to haunt her for the rest of her life.
First, let us make one thing clear: Clementine Ford never forthrightly informs us, in set terms, that she is a feminist. A basic courtesy, you would think. So does she think it is unnecessary because “everybody who is anybody” is a feminist anyway, and if you are not in the feminist church you don’t count? Does she feel it is entirely normative to be a feminist — that such a thing goes without saying? Well, at the very least, I would call this socially illiterate. I would also call it a violation of protocol. (Somewhere down the road, I will explain what that means.)
I, the present writer, am no feminist. For that reason I stand among the majority of the human race, and so I represent a normative factor. I needn’t make any special “to do” about my lack of feminism; I needn’t be self-conscious in the least, since I am not the “other” in this context. After all, we non-feminists were here first, and we are still the majority. We are under no burden to explain ourselves — that is our natural advantage. (It is not a “privilege”.) But if you are a feminist, the burden is on you to explain yourself and what you stand for — and the first step along that road, is to announce your presence. Something like, “I am a feminist, and I believe such-and-such.”
Accordingly, while it would have been proper for Ms Ford to declare her feminist standpoint right up front (yet she never once mentions it), it is nowise incumbent on me, or any other non-feminist, to declare our lack of feminism. Ever. Nevertheless (and mark this well) I am doing it anyway, because . . . well, because that is just me! It is how I roll, and my fellow non-feminists everywhere will be strategically wise to do the same.
At any rate, I do plan to make Ms Ford’s feminism, specifically, an issue here, given that she so notably avoids the subject.
Ms Ford’s opening snippet of feminist death rhetoric is embedded in a context that stretches back for many years — for example, back to hashtag #killallmen, back to Robin Morgan who really did mean that men should “possibly not exist”, back to Valerie Solanas in 1967 who not only wanted men to die, but literally attempted to render Andy Warhol dead.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention what my darling Clementine said. On Saturday, 23 May of 2020, she tweeted this:
“Honestly, the corona virus isn’t killing men fast enough.”
That was the mindless pot shot (soon deleted) which ignited the big battle — let it sink in. Before the day was out, Ford got hit by a veritable cannonade of angry public pushback. This was predictable: when you push, the world pushes back — so if you don’t want pushback, don’t push in the first place.
So did Ms Ford deserve all of this? Well, the people who roasted her evidently thought she did. They thought they were right, and you know what? Maybe they were!
At any rate, Clementine clearly felt pressured to make some kind of response — otherwise, she wouldn’t have done so. The response she felt pressured to make was, significantly, an apology. People clearly expected such, and Ford clearly lacked the gumption to ignore them. So let’s talk about how she handles things.
Ms Ford’s apology voices a sorrow at doing something very stupid. It is the kind of “sorry” you might feel if you stubbed your toe: “Oh my god that hurts!! I’m so sorry I didn’t watch where I was going!” It’s basic: a stupid game was played and a stupid prize was won.
But wait! The stupidity doesn’t stop there. I said I would make Clem Ford’s unconfessed feminism an issue, and I can hardly escape this because she makes it impossible to overlook. Look, who does she really think that her audience is? From the sound of it, she thinks that her audience is other feminists. Granted, this is complicated to explain, however, it is worth our while, so I will give it a go.
What I mean is, she apparently believes that feminism is the world. It isn’t, of course. It is only a portion of the world, but Clementine Ford and most feminists can’t seem to wrap their minds around that. They babble on self-referentially as if nothing outside the feminist bubble matters, or even exists at all.
Ms. Ford could have given the world an unmodified “I’m sorry” for the trashy thing she said, and followed through with some honest self-crit. She could have ended it right there, and turned over a new leaf in the future. If she had only done this, it might have satisfied a lot of people. But no, she compounds her trouble by effectually saying: “I am sorry, and yet I am not sorry.” This, for better or worse, was the message she sent.
Basically, she tries to exonerate herself — or more plainly, she makes excuses. When the public comments started piling in, Clem started piling it on:
“And because some men (not all of them) clearly need context explained to them, the Corona tweet was in response to this article, outline *yet again* the unpaid domestic burden men place on women, because they can’t care for their own fkn kids.”
Observe, that she immediately goes into deflection. In this case, she deflects the heat away from herself by setting an irrelevant conversation into motion. That conversation goes on for several tweets, and most of it is bubbling gishgallop. So rather than sort out the gishgallop, let me say this: it is nothing but feminism. Pure feminism from start to finish. All feminism, all the way down! For a gal who won’t even admit being feminist, Ms Ford surely can dish out the feminism!
Clem Ford apparently needs a non-feminist like me to explain context to her. Very well, if you assume that nearly everybody you talk to is a feminist like yourself (or a reprobate who must be converted) it is tantamount to suggesting that feminism is the world. And Clementine Ford certainly sounds like she thinks feminism is the world, or that nothing beyond feminism counts as real, or worthy, or innately noble.
Her opening remark, that “some men” need “context” explained to them, is misandry right out of the box. (She is careful to say “not all of them”, yet how soon she chucks this to the wayside like she never said it, and makes her opinion of the male species unmistakably plain.)
But more to the point, does Ms Ford truly believe that males compose the entire non-feminist sector? Well I can assure you that plenty of those non-feminist people are women and that plenty of those women would also need Clementine’s “context” explained to them. Let’s be inclusive!
You see, the only “context” little Ms Context Queen truly has in mind, is feminist context. Yet that is but a fraction of the total context the world offers, for one may contextualize many things in many ways. One may even contextualize context itself — in which case you would call it meta-context. But to prioritize feminist context over every other possible context on Earth is tantamount to, let us say, feminist privilege. Do you follow me?
Clementine Ford, despite never confessing her feminism, says a heap of things which only a feminist would say, and which only a feminist would find edifying. Throughout her invective, she insults “men” time after time — men are “ding dongs”, apparently — yes, all of them:
“Christ alfkn Mighty, men love to screech about snowflakes and triggered feminists and women not being able to take a joke and they crumble at the first sign of a hyperbolic tweet that doesn’t place them as gods at the center of the universe. Ding dongs, all of them.”
She treats the word “men” as an abstraction. And notice how she conflates “feminists” with “women”. (We call this “hiding behind women”.) Will feminists ever stop doing that? Probably not, and that alone is reason enough to put feminism out of business by suitable means.
So get in the back row, Clementine, along with the other class clowns. “Men” don’t want to be “gods at the center of the universe”. Got that? They just want to be human beings, and they want to be treated like human beings. I have known plenty of actual men, I know what I’m saying, and that is the “context” which I bring to the table! Feminists are the only people I know who want to be goddesses at the center of the universe, and Ford, you sound like a case in point.
Clementine offers the world no legitimate argument, but only a mess of feminist talking points and dogmas which feminists like her have regurgitated for years and propagated like gospel. You want context? There you go. When non-feminist people get angry at feminists, feminist behavior is just the “context” that they have in mind, and most feminists evidently need to have this explained to them.
All right, Clementine Ford wanted to pull herself off the hook, and frankly, a mea culpa was the only way that could have happened. However, at the same time, she wanted to save face. She was presuming that boilerplate feminist rhetoric would ride to the rescue (in its time-tested manner), and that is why she laid it on.
Observe the progression: Ms Ford started with the most quintessentially feminist statement you could imagine (wishing death upon men). That was bad enough by itself, but when it blew up in her face, she was dutifully contrite for only a moment. Then she treated the angry public to a string of ripe feminist goodies without ever considering that the bulk of said public is not even feminist.
To be concretely specific, Clementine followed up her offensive tweet with feminist talking points that were arguably even more offensive. Here is one example:
“The Corona tweet was in response to this article, outline *yet again* the unpaid domestic burden men place on women, because they can’t care for their own fkn kids.”
The article she speaks of, is on a feminist website called TheLily.com. The tale which that article tells (and which Ford endorses) is old anti-male agitprop that feminists have been repeating for years (but here dressed up in the politics of COVID-19). The veracity of that ancient message remains questionable on various levels, yet according to Clementine, here is precisely the “context” that we non-feminist folk should have installed into our folklore by now. (Feminist folklore should be everybody’s folklore! Get it? Feminists like Clem Ford shouldn’t need to explain this painfully clear context! You lazy sods should have learned it yourselves, years ago!)
Clem Ford rationalizes her misandry with MORE MISANDRY. That does not sound like a well thought-out strategy at all. What on Earth was she thinking? And who did she think she was fooling? No doubt there is a wealth of feminist doctrine behind her words — a kind of feminist “gold” standard which turns out to be a misandry standard. So to a non-feminist, it is no better than redeeming worthless words with prior worthless words. The point is that feminist currency simply has no value in the non-feminist sector, hence no “purchase”, and finally no traction. Yet Clementine Ford and other feminists never seem to learn that.
So yes, it should be needless to point out that Ford’s verbiage drips hatred of men, as venom from a cobra’s fangs. It is simply old hat, that feminists hate men. And those young schoolgirls, who staged a walkout on behalf of the boys on that notorious day, must have picked up her vibe with superlative clarity.
But right now, the focus is a bit different. We need to consider exactly what Clementine is doing: she is taking back, with her left hand, the “apology” she handed out with her right. It was an embarrassment, a sting, to even make that apology, and she wanted to undo some of it.
Evidently, she thought that making a display of feminist attitude (for the edification of non-feminist people) would mitigate the original offense. Or to put it another way, she first made a feminist statement (about men dying), and figured that additional feminist statements would make it all good. But this was patently childish, and pointless, and of no mitigating effect. We could even argue that it rubbed salt in the original wound.
Look now: suggesting that men are unhelpful bastards around the house is a classically feminist statement that non-feminist people would not endorse. (They would more likely opine that some men and some women are this way.) Nor would they go along with the idea that household work and job market work are equivalent things. Only a feminist would voice that idea.
On Sunday (the day following), Ford came out with a more lengthy, pained and nuanced apology, and I will discuss that now:
“I’m a big enough person to admit when I’ve misjudged something. I still stand 100% behind my fury at men exploiting women’s unpaid labour (exacerbated by the global pandemic), but I’ve reconsidered my flippancy in discussing it. I’ve always maintained that the difference between jokes that punch up and down is the reality of harm. Eg joking about firing men into the sun has no basis in reality and therefore no potential to further harm, while “jokes” about domestic abuse are very much reflective of an extensive harm already in place.”
Her “misjudgment” was (how shall I say it?) the kind of transgression that a non-feminist man or woman would almost certainly never commit. But on the other hand, there is something about being a feminist which, on its own account, naturally comports with making such a blunder. Chalking it up to “bad judgment” is no excuse, since only a feminist would be apt to load the faculty of “judgment” that way in the first place. In other words, to embrace feminism at all entails a judgment in itself, from which related judgments will predictably flow.
We see next that her “fury at men” is unabated, and that she stands behind it 100%. This, once again, is a quintessentially feminist thing to say. “Fury at men” is elemental to feminism altogether, and without it feminism would literally not exist, full stop.
And the bit about men exploiting women’s labour is, frankly, once more, a feminist idea — so Clementine is only being presumptuous when she lays it out for her non-feminist readers. I do not believe for one minute that this timeworn talking point is the genuine source of her “fury”, but regardless, I reject her ideology, along with any hypothesis which upholds it. Hence, the ideology lacks any meaningful force of argument for me, but more to the point, it does nothing to mitigate the audacity of Ford’s suggestion that men should die of corona virus more quickly.
Moving along: how wonderful that she has reconsidered her flippancy! (She makes it sound like a wrong move in a board game.) I wish she had done that before she did the flippancy, but I see where she is coming from. She is trying to sound like a “big” person capable of introspection and self-correction. Okay, sure, that could give her a good look, but it does not change the fact that she is addressing a largely non-feminist public by inflicting a feminist “context” on them, while the fact completely escapes her that non-feminist people also speak from a context, and that she is arrogantly ignoring this. Feminist subjectivism is invincible; we see it all the time.
One more thing: I don’t know what “jokes about domestic abuse” she means — is that just more feminist hype? It certainly isn’t common public knowledge. If I could hear some samples, I could evaluate them and decide if they were funny or not. (Feminists, as we all know, lack a sense of humor. Just watch a feminist comedian — they absolutely cannot “do funny”!)
However, I do know that feminists have lied about domestic violence for many years, and maliciously stacked the deck against half of the human race (the male half). This is arguably the gravest of feminism’s moral crimes against the non-feminist sector, and in the future I hope to see a lot of professional “deep dive” books published about this, and plenty of documentary films that can be shown to school children, so that they will know the truth from their earliest years.
So here is what the feminist Ford says next:
“The corona tweet was contextually in response to the fact that women are once again shouldering the burden of domestic labour at the expense of their own economic freedom, being let down by men who are in turn upheld by systems that have privileged them. It is acceptable to express fury at that, and it’s disappointing more men aren’t outraged by this reality. But based on my own metric outlined up thread, I have to accept fault for the corona tweet because it made a flippant joke about something that IS actually a harmful reality, and one that affects marginalised men disproportionately, not to mention robs people of their loved ones. Regardless of what people want to think about me, I have no wish to compound harm and grief for anyone, nor be dismissive of the very real impact and fear a crisis like this presents.”
And there we go; feminist Ford once again assaults us with that old feminist folk tale which we non-feminist people have no duty to believe, and every right to question. After all, it is only a random story, and its veracity is poorly grounded. We hear random stories almost daily, we are often phlegmatic, and we find it annoying that feminist Ford wants “outrage on cue”. Ford has no entitlement to that, but apparently thinks she does, and that is a symptom of her feminist privilege. She might be disappointed, but she needs to get over it. I mean, don’t we all face disappointments in life?
The rest of the paragraph sounds like proper moral introspection, and Clementine largely gets it right, but unfortunately, in the context of everything else she says, it sounds like posturing. The point is not that she was dismissive of the corona crisis. The point is, corona or no corona, that she would ever make such a vile statement under any condition. To be disappointed that more men are not dying, is disgraceful in its own right, and fully in character with feminist rhetoric over the years.
Thus, historic feminist behavior is the context here, because non-feminist people are keen observers of that behavior and frankly fed up with it.
Next comes more of the same:
“But I also think it’s fair to be angry at the lack of interest in this crisis’ impact on women. To be astonished at how women are expected to perform the essential tasks that allow men to thrive, at the expense of women’s stability, while being denied recognition for that work.”
Yes, more variations on the theme of “women are oppressed” — which is merely a fractional truth in need of parameters. And it is hardly fair to demand all people at all times to view this fractional truth through a feminist lens, to feel an identical anger for identical reasons, and to ignore the many ways that women are the exact opposite of “oppressed.”
And still more of the same:
“A flippant (and yes, poorly judged) tweet doesn’t change that reality and it shouldn’t change the focus away from it. If we benefit from privilege, we should also be robust enough to accept critique of the systems that privilege us and work to change them.”
All I can say here is: “Physician, heal thyself.” Feminist Ford’s statements, which I have unpacked in this article, are little better than an extended exercise in feminist privilege. Ford and all feminists should be robust enough to accept critique of the down-punching, hegemonic systems that privilege them, and work to change those systems.
“Anyway, this acknowledgment isn’t for the men who are lookng for any reason to ignore patriarchal impact but for the people genuinely hurt by my words. I’m sincerely sorry, and I wish I had framed my argument in better terms and in a way that didn’t compound harm. Be well.”
I’m sorry, but to be perfectly frank, her acknowledgment isn’t for any non-feminist person at all. Non-feminist people are not on board with the concept of “patriarchy” in the first place, and feminists are practically the only people who throw that word around. Mind you, they are quite welcome to throw that word around, but they should do it only amongst themselves. When they address people outside the feminist bubble, they need to keep a grip on it. It is simply bad manners for feminists to presume that the rest of us understand, or have some duty to understand, what the hell they are talking about.
All right, I think we have wrung more than enough juice from our present topic.
If this article contains any lesson at all for the feminist Clementine Ford, it should instruct her to overcome her feminist subjectivism, and to make a genuine apology for that sorry thing which she wrote on Twitter. She oughtn’t make herself emblematic of feminism as a whole, since non-feminist men and women are surely bound to notice this. Ms Ford has given us a lecture on feminist ideology. Sorry, but that is no apology. She has got to do much, much better.
And feminism itself has got to do much, much better. One feminist at a time.