Are some stereotypes true?
One of the favorite pastimes of liberals is lecturing the rest of us about how ignorant we are. Every common-sense belief about human nature is a “myth,” liberals say, and any generalization about various human traits and patterns of behaviors is a prejudicial “stereotype.” These accusations of ignorance and prejudice are, in fact, a form of character assassination— a way of discrediting anyone who refuses to go along with whatever agenda liberals are currently pursuing. We ought to resent these insults more than we do, but that might just be my inner redneck talking, because you know how Southern men are about being insulted, right?
Oh, but that’s just a stereotype. Rednecks are not prone to fighting, Asians are not good at math, women never gossip — all stereotypes are false, liberals insist, except when negative stereotypes can be used to demonize Republicans as intolerant bigots. If you voted for Donald Trump, liberals condemn you as a neo-Nazi who wants to kill all Jews and homosexuals. Why? Because you’re ignorant and prejudiced. Otherwise you would vote Democrat, like all the Smart People™ do.
Having majored in drama in college, and having once been the only heterosexual employee in the menswear department of a major retail outlet, I’m tempted to laugh when liberals accuse me of being ignorantabout gay behavior. As for “homophobia,” what does that word mean? This is one of those slurs that liberals invent for political purposes which, on closer examination, doesn’t really mean anything.
If you’re my age, you may recall that the word “homophobia” suddenly burst forth into journalistic usage in the mid-1980s. This was not a coincidence, as it was during the 1980s that Democrats blamed Christian conservatives for the success of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and, also not coincidentally, it was during the 1980s that the AIDS pandemic aroused entirely rational fears about homosexuality:
Permit me here to recommend “The Origins of a Political Epidemic,” in the book Destructive Generation by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. This article was first published in 1983, when the AIDS epidemic was first making headlines, and when gay activists blocked the public-health measures which might have saved many thousands of lives. . . .
There is no such thing as “safe sex.” That phrase was born during the 1980s as a result of the gay community’s belated recognition that the AIDS epidemic had been spread by, uh, specific types of sexual behavior that resulted in the transmission of a virus through the exchange of bodily fluids, to explain this problem in the most polite way possible. . . .
In 1982, the CDC reported that that the “median number of lifetime male sexual partners” for gay men diagnosed with AIDS was 1,160.
Repeat: One thousand one hundred sixty.
To comprehend what that means, if a man was diagnosed with AIDS at age 30, after having 1,160 partners since becoming sexually active at age 18, he would have had 97 different partners in an average year, i.e., nearly two new partners every week, or eight new partners per month. This was the “at-risk” population among whom the epidemic was incubated in the late 1970s and early 1980s (a story told in Randy Shilts’s book And the Band Played On). Extreme promiscuity under conditions of almost complete anonymity (i.e., bathhouses, “glory holes,” nightclub pickups, etc.) had become so widely accepted in gay culture in the 1970s that when public-health officials first urged gay men to use condoms during the, uh, specific types of sexual behavior by which the virus was spread, these official recommendations were suppressed.
To say that the actual facts about the AIDS epidemic confirmed certain “stereotypes” about gay male behavior would be an understatement. The accusation of “homophobia” was used to intimidate anyone who expressed common sense on this subject, at a time when people were quite literally dying because they had ignored common sense. By the 1990s, the definition of “homophobe” had been stretched to the point that it meant anyone who disapproves of homosexuality. Well, as someone who disapproves of a great many things — modern art, the designated hitter rule, yoga pants and Auburn University, to name a few — I don’t see why I should be forbidden to express disapproval of sexual behavior, merely because this might hurt someone’s feelings. However, since the Democrat Party decided that gay people are victims of social injustice (and thus in need of assistance and protection by the federal government), we are now required to be enthusiastic cheerleaders for all things LGBTQ, or else we’re “homophobes.” On this, as on so many other subjects, liberalism means that you have the right to whatever opinion the Smart People™ tell you to have. But I digress . . .
All stereotypes are false, liberals tell us, and so you’re not allowed to call attention to certain facts. If you notice, for example, that women’s athletics is dominated by lesbians, don’t mention it too loudly, lest you be accused of ignorance, prejudice, misogyny and homophobia.
Jackie Simpson was an All-American volleyball player at the University of Wisconsin and, after graduation, was an assistant coach at Winona State, East Carolina, Marquette and Iowa before being named head coach at George Mason University in February 2015. Jordyn Kirr was a first team high school All-American in lacrosse before joining the team at Georgetown University, where she led the team in assists her freshman and sophomore seasons, and was second in scoring her junior year, helping lead the Hoyas to the Big East title with 4 points in the championship game against Syracuse. Ms. Kirr was the only player in Hoya history to record over 100 goals and 100 assists in a career, and later got her master’s degree at Marquette, where she was assistant coach of the women’s lacrosse team and met Ms. Simpson:
They were working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the time, so they met up at a Green Bay Packers game where both were eager to get to know the other better. By the end of the third quarter, they’d shared their first kiss, and an official first date over a home cooked breakfast later followed.
That’s from a story about the ceremony in which the couple tied the knotthis past summer. Ms. Kirr is now assistant athletic director at an elite private school for girls where tuition is nearly $30,000 a year.
The five founders of Bryn Mawr School.
This school, not coincidentally, was co-founded in 1885 by M. Carey Thomas, an early radical feminist who condemned marriage as “a personal subjection for which I see absolutely no compensation.” Among Thomas’s co-founders were her “devoted companion” Mamie Gwinn and a wealthy heiress named Mary Garrett. Shockingly, in 1904, Gwinn ran off with a man. Thomas then became the partner of Garrett until the latter died in 1915, leaving a will which bequeathed to Thomas a sum that would now be worth more than $15 million. But, yeah, it’s a stereotype to say that radical feminists are lesbians, just like it’s a stereotype to say that women’s sports coaches are lesbians, and I’m sure there must be lots of heterosexual women playing varsity sports in college. Wait a minute, my eyes just rolled out of my head . . .
One of the consequences of political correctness is that it requires a hypocritical dishonesty, forbidding us to mention certain facts that everybody knows, but which no one can say aloud without being denounced as a bigot. Everybody who actually knew anything about gay male behavior circa 1980 understood that an astonishing level of promiscuity was commonplace, but there was an embargo on criticism of this promiscuity, especially in terms of specific types of sexual behaviorthat involved the exchange of bodily fluids, IYKWIMAITYD. The only people who were speaking out in the 1970s against the behaviors that led to the AIDS pandemic were those who spoke of “the wrath of God,” etc. Gay activists and their liberal friends vilified Anita Bryant for her 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign, and what a weird coincidence that so many of Anita Bryant’s critics died of AIDS in the ensuing decade.
Brushing inconvenient facts under the rug, while intimidating people into silence by the use of slurs like “homophobe,” is oddly reminiscent of the Victorian concern for propriety that forbade anyone from speaking aloud what should have been obvious about women like M. Carey Thomas, whose personal aversion to heterosexuality was plainly evident and yet off-limits to critical scrutiny. In recent decades, lesbian feminists have fought hard to illuminate the truth that Victorian prudery obscured, claiming M. Carey Thomas (and Jane Addams, Mary Woolley, et al.) as members of their tribe. Whatever the unknown details of these early feminist’s lives might be, we cannot deny that the dots form a pattern, one to which most opponents of Victorian-era feminism were reluctant to allude even indirectly. One finds critics of the suffrage movement denouncing the “mannish” attitudes of feminists, without daring to go so far as to state clearly what was insinuated by such criticism.
We are in a more . . . enlightened era now, and the winds of progress have blown away the obscuring fog of prudery, so that we need no longer pretend that the truth is concealed from our observation. In 1971, lesbian feminists Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love wrote:
Those threatened by or irritated with women’s liberation often dismiss the movement by saying, “Oh, they’re just a bunch of dykes.” The response of the women’s liberation movement to this charge is vital to the feminists, the lesbians, the many who accept both identities, as well as to the life and the meaning of the movement itself.
The words “dyke” and “lesbian,” especially when used by men, are charged words calculated to send shivers of horror up the spines of women who want a more independent life style. Men who pride themselves on their capacity for rational responses cannot keep a cool head on this subject. . . . “Let’s face the truth,” says one feminist, “the greatest threat to men is solidarity among women and lesbianism epitomizes that solidarity.”
Notice here the accusation of male irrationality, attributing fear to men who allegedly feel “threatened” by feminist “liberation.” Yet at the same time the authors of this essay, entitled “Is Women’s Liberation a Lesbian Plot?” must be understood as answering this question in the affirmative. It does not strain anyone’s “capacity for rational responses” to examine the facts and say, “See? We told you so.” In 1993, lesbian feminists Celia Kitzinger and Rachel Perkins wrote:
The word ‘homophobia’ defines fear of lesbians as irrational. . . . This is completely at odds with radical lesbian politics. We cannot think of lesbianism as a challenge to heteropatriarchal structures and values and simultaneously claim that there are no reasonable grounds for men (or heterosexually identified women) to fear us. . . If lesbianism is a blow against the patriarchy, the bonding of women against male supremacy, then it is entirely rational for men to fear it. Contemporary psychology evades these political implications of lesbianism and presents us as essentially harmless.
Anyone who takes feminism seriously understands that the movement is anti-male, anti-marriage, anti-motherhood, and anti-Christian. This is what “solidarity among women” is all about and, as Professor Kitzinger and Professor Sue Wilkinson wrote, it is “hard for heterosexual feminists to reconcile their political analyses with their chosen lifestyles,” because of “the perceived negative consequences of heterosexuality for women.” (See “Feminism and the Psychology of Fear,” Sept. 26.) My point is that we ought not tolerate the dishonest evasions by which some feminists seek to conceal what Professor Kitzinger readily admitted. The truth is obvious to anyone who is willing to pursue feminist arguments to their logical conclusion. Feminism “condemns heterosexuality as an oppressive ‘institution’ forcibly imposed on women by the social system of male domination known as patriarchy,” as I explained in April, summarizing the work of several authors:
Heterosexuality is “an institution of male domination,” as Sheila Jeffreys and her colleagues declared in 1981, and it is an “illusion that heterosexuality is the norm,” as Professor Shaw and Professor Lee more recently declared in their popular Women’s Studies textbook. The penis is a “weapon against women,” as Professor Graham explained, women are victimized by “the coercive power of compulsory heterosexuality,” according to Professor Jackson, and masculinity causes “sexual violence . . . a physical reaffirmation of patriarchal power,” according to Ms. Wooten.
If these eminent feminist professors say this, certainly we are not trafficking in stereotypes to say that feminists are “just a bunch of dykes,” because it is impossible to imagine that women who express such complete contempt for men could ever consent to any heterosexual relationship. And why would any man be interested in such women?
So pay $30,000 a year to send your daughter to an elite school founded by a woman who condemned marriage as “subjection,” and encourage your daughter to become a varsity college athlete, but do not accuse me of ignorance when I tell you where this pursuit of feminist “equality” is likely to lead. Some stereotypes are true, after all, and if you accuse a Southern man of ignorance, he’s apt to take your accusation as an insult. If you then add injury to this insult by imputing to him a cowardly fear, you have forfeited any consideration of courtesy by which he may otherwise have been constrained.
Gosh, ma’am, I wonder why anyone would think so? The motto of Bryn Mawr is Veritatem dilexi, “I delight in the truth,” yet the school’s founder was less than truthful about her purposes. M. Carey Thomas despised men and marriage, but she expressed this disdain only in private, except for one occasion when, during a chapel lecture, she declared of Bryn Mawr’s students: “Only our failures marry.” This caused something of a scandal, and Thomas claimed she had been misquoted, but it is evident she did consider marriage incompatible with feminist “success,” even if she concealed this attitude from the parents of the girls she recruited to Bryn Mawr College. She established Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore as “one of the first college-preparatory schools for girls in the country,” and would no doubt heartily approve of Coach Kirr’s return to her alma mater as assistant athletic director. Mission accomplished.
Certainly we ought to congratulate Bryn Mawr School on their success in achieving the feminist goals toward which M. Carey Thomas aimed, teaching girls to avoid the “failure” and “subjection” of marriage to men.
Veritatem dilexi — “I delight in the truth,” and as for the truth about feminism, why pay $30,000 a year for your daughter to learn it? But maybe they still teach Latin at those elite schools. IYKWIMAITYD.