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The revolution devours its own
Susan Brownmiller, Heretic

As author of the enormously influential book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, feminist writer and activist Susan Brownmiller has done more than almost any living person to combat the scourge of sexual violence. So when she critiques the excesses of today’s rape-crisis activists, you might think the activists would listen—that is, if today’s anti-rape movement were actually an open-minded, reality-based effort to combat a very real social problem rather than, as Christina Hoff Sommers memorably described it, “a panic where paranoia, censorship, and false accusations flourish.”

In an interview with New York magazine last week, the 80-year-old Brownmiller suggested that the campus rape movement is narrow, elitist, and “doesn’t accept reality.” Asked what advice she would give activists, Brownmiller said, “extend your focus to the larger percentage of women and girls who are in danger of being raped. They are more important than the college kids.” She also violated the well-known taboo against drawing a connection between sexual assault and the campus culture of binge drinking: “If you drink you lose your sense of judgment. Everybody knows that. You should know that when you are going into a fraternity party, something can happen.”

The rape crisis crusaders contemptuously brushed Brownmiller’s views aside. Downgrading her to a “former feminist hero,” Amanda Marcotte wrote in Slate that Brownmiller is “downright victim-blame-y, sneering at girls today with their booze and their clothes and their asking-for-it,” a line echoed by writers at Salon and elsewhere. Jessica Valenti wrote in the Guardian that “the movement will go on without” outdated thinkers like Brownmiller. According to one feminist writer, Brownmiller’s views “seem to be straight from a 1970s chauvinist.”

Ironically, Brownmiller’s swift exile from the shrinking tent that is third-wave feminism confirmed one of her other critiques of the current movement: that modern activists “think they are the first people to discover rape, and the problem of consent, and they are not.”

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  • Pete

    This is akin to the village idiot running into the town square proclaiming that the sun rises in the East. What can you do but smile and approvingly pat her on the head?

    • FriendlyGoat

      Today’s village idiot is Jessica Valenti, not Susan Brownmiller, no?

      • Andrew Allison

        I’m surprised you didn’t suggest Trump [grin]

        • FriendlyGoat

          Trump is not an idiot. Trump is brilliant (enough to get himself nominated but probably not elected.)

          • Gene

            FG, you do realize that after the Republican Party self-immolates, that your party is next, right?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I do agree that Democrats could use a shift to the left—–and that’s really the only direction they can go and get away with it. Everyone is tired of Democrats (in Congress, not Obama) who act the same as Republicans while pretending to be “centrist” in front of corporate interests.

          • Andrew Allison

            I mostly agree, but a contest between an aged socialist who has spent a quarter century in Congress, is running as an “outsider” and isn’t even a member of the party whose nomination he seeks would be interesting.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sanders needs Joe Biden agreeing to run with him in a replay of the Vice President role. It’s a personal fantasy of mine. If Hillary is the nominee, of course I’ll support her for the policy difference between parties. We still don’t know what is going to happen. Hillary and Joe could team up too, but that seems less likely to me.

          • Andrew Allison

            Oh, come now. You know perfectly well that you’ll support whoever the nominee is. FWIW, I suspect that Biden/Warren is the best hope your side has (just to be clear, I don’t have a side — I’m an independent who hasn’t seen a presidential candidate I could vote for for all to many elections).

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, I will support whoever the Dems nominate. Other than just saying I won’t vote, it’s hard for me to see any other choice for me.
            Many conservatives have asked me, “Well, if we can show you ten ways Hillary is bad or a crook, will you THEN consider voting for the GOP candidate?” The answer, is “of course not”, because I cannot vote for a platform I do not believe in, regardless of the nominees.

    • Andrew Allison

      I beg to differ. This is an extraordinarily rare example of a “progressive” acknowledging that she was wrong.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Or acknowledging that he was right and her successors went off a cliff.

  • Fat_Man

    About 40 years ago she and I lived in the same apartment building in the West Village. She always smiled and said hello to me.

    • FriendlyGoat

      What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, nothing like a first impression.

    • f1b0nacc1

      I knew her (very slightly) about the time that “Against Our Will” was published…very nice lady actually. Dumb as a box of hammers, but pleasant enough face to face.
      I hope that I am not rude in asking, but where in the Village were you? in the late 70s, I lived around 9th and University for a about a year or so.

      • Fat_Man

        Madame Brownmiller and I lived at Jane and Hudson (61 W. Jane St.). It was and is about a 19 story building of no particular grace built in the 1960s which probably had about 260 apartment units. It co-oped long after I left.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I know precisely where you are referring to….brings back a lot of memories!
          Has time really passed so quickly?

  • DukeLax

    I believe that todays gender-feminists are going to keep getting federal funding to pay state law enforcement to manufacture faulty and Inflammatory rape statistics for them ( And state law enforcement are going to keep un-constitutionally “Taking the federal pork”)…until hetero-sex becomes a dangerous legal liability for the male. The social consequences of these massive perversions to US law enforcement will have massive re-gendering social consequences.

  • Dr Why

    “…think they are the first people to discover rape, and the problem of consent, and they are not.”

    That is good !! These rape activists are so self-righteous, for self-righteousness’ sake

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