A common criticism of feminism is that it removes female agency and promotes perpetual victimhood. Under feminism, women can do no wrong. In fact, this article was prompted by a comment made to me by a woman saying essentially, “I’m a feminist because for years I tried to own my mistakes, but now I don’t have to.” This was disturbing to say the least. But it got me thinking.
The question I’ve never heard asked is why does feminism do this? Why does feminism absolve women of their sins? Why are female rapists and abusers simply erased from existence? It is far too easy to simply blame this on feminism wanting female superiority. If feminism’s goal is female superiority, then it would be logical that feminists would attempt to weed out the imperfections in women instead of ignoring them.
The answer lies in the notion of feminism being a religion. A primary interest of religion is the problem of evil, or why do bad things happen to good people? The answer to this question can be quite personal and complex, but the simplest, most common answer is that there is a malevolent force in the universe that causes evil. This force is known in the Judeo-Christian tradition as Satan. In the feminist religious tradition, this force is known as the patriarchy. In my previous article on the feminist religion, I explained that the point of feminism is the eradication of the patriarchy. It is now that the answer to why feminism absolves women of sin becomes clear. If the patriarchy is sin personified, and the patriarchy is expressed via men and masculinity, then women cannot sin (unless they’ve somehow ingested the patriarchy themselves). This is the core of the feminist theodicy, or explanation of evil: men are bad, women are good. It is this glue that holds the entirety of feminism together. If this idea is violated, feminism disintegrates.
Let us see this via two clear examples. First, behold the Duluth model of domestic violence, best shown via this power and control wheel:
The Duluth model is based on the feminist idea that domestic violence is based on male patriarchal aggression against women. This is most clearly seen in the section where men use the male privilege that patriarchy affords them to abuse women. Under this system, female-on-male violence simply does not exist. While there is an updated wheel floating around where the victims can be female or male, the aggressor is always male because female aggression does not fit in the model by design. If female abusers were recognized, then it means that domestic violence is not simply male patriarchal aggression, so patriarchy is not the sole cause of evil. If patriarchy is not the sole cause of evil, feminism, along with the Duluth model, falls apart at the seams.
Another example is the current campus sexual assault “epidemic.” Former George Washington University president Stephen Trachtenberg was criticized when he said that in order to help curb sexual assaults on campus, women should stop drinking in excess. What the criticism boiled down to was that women can drink however much they want, but it’s up to men not to rape. What they are doing is absolving women of engaging in high-risk behavior that may contribute to their ability to be sexually assaulted. This whole thing gets even more disturbing when you consider that female alcoholism is on the rise, a fact that feminism would prefer to sweep under the rug as evidenced by the criticism of Trachtenberg and others. Here again, feminism has to absolve women of sin. If feminists admit women’s actions can play a role in their being assaulted, then sexual assault is more complicated than just patriarchal aggression and oppression. Like with the Duluth model, patriarchal oppression has to be the root cause, otherwise the ideology driving this collapses.
In the end, feminism has to absolve women of sin in order to function. If the premise of feminism is that patriarchy is evil incarnate, then women sinning either proves that all women have ingested patriarchy, which is absurd, or that patriarchy is not the root of all evil. If patriarchy is not the sole cause of evil in the world, then feminism is wrong. In order for feminism to be “right,” women must be free of sin. Therefore, as MRAs, we must push for a society where women are held accountable for their actions if we are ever going to achieve true equality.