Audre Lorde, #MeToo, and The Cult of Feminist Hysteria

The #MeToo movement is a misogynist’s dream. The protests are hysterical; half-naked, disheveled women shrieking nonsensical slogans while slamming into objects, innocent bystanders, and each other. They cast themselves as perpetual victims in need of coddling and protection. They demand censorship. They are, in short, the living, breathing, screeching embodiment of every negative stereotype ever conceived of women.

There is a method to this madness, though it’s more aptly called an anti-method, or an opting out. It’s not just that shrieking at evil cisgender, white, Deplorables and their complicit Handmaids is deeply satisfying; rather, #MeToo feminists believe that doing so is more revolutionary than voting, or behaving like sane, rational adults. Remember — they’re here to smash The System, not squabble over policy. At best, voting, the Constitution, due process, and other such (white, male) inventions are a nuisance; at worst, they’re part of The System, and need to be disposed of. Either way, they won’t suffice to bring about radical change.

Like all things leftist, this is actually an old, regurgitated idea. Audre Lorde, feminist icon, was preaching intersectionality, practicing radical self-love, and arguing for systemic change way back in the 1970s. Laws weren’t enough for Lorde, and neither was reason, which was white, male, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and so on. Only Lorde’s lived experience as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” would suffice to topple the fabulously wealthy and apparently omniscient cabal of white men who oppress everyone, everywhere, at all times. Lorde was the most oppressed, and therefore the most enlightened. Lorde and her poetry would save the world  — or savagely rape your Grandma, because Oppression. In one poem, fittingly titled “Power,” Lorde writes:

I have not been able to touch the destruction

within me.

But unless I learn to use

the difference between poetry and rhetoric

my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold

or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire

and one day I will take my teenaged plug

and connect it to the nearest socket

raping an 85 year old white woman

who is somebody's mother

and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed

a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time

“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Power indeed. Understand Lorde, and you’ll understand the #MeToo movement, especially when it calls for blood.

Audre Lorde was Tumblr before it was cool. In the 1970s and 80s, she was pioneering identity and grievance politics, with a particular focus on checking white women’s privilege. In The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism, Lorde boasts how anger “served me as fire in the ice zone of uncomprehending eyes of white women who see in my experience and the experience of my people only new reasons for fear or guilt.” Privileged white feminists could never be truly radical, caught up and shot through as they were by White Supremacy and Systems of Oppression. Remember — individuality is a capitalist myth, and we are all soulless, socially constructed automatons whose can’t think beyond the confines of the language given to us by our Oppressors. Charming ideology, right?

It didn’t matter what Lorde’s white colleagues knew, or didn’t know; they were Oppressors, and therefore unable to access the kind of secret knowledge needed to overthrow the system. Meanwhile, Lorde was. By virtue of her lived experience as a multiply oppressed, marginalized woman, her words were inherently more true, and more valid, than those of lesser victims.

Similarly, #MeToo demands that we always believe women, because they are Oppressed. Hence, “believe women” is less a slogan than a prescription, or anti-law. We believe women because they are; we don’t examine evidence. Identity eclipses truth, and the very concept of knowledge is rejected.* *

So, now that we’ve deified identity and disposed of knowledge, what’s next? How will #MeToo feminists dismantle the Patriarchy? End rape culture? Do away with those pesky karyotypes?

Well, they sure won’t be engaging in reasonable political debate. They’re not interested in facts or compromise, remember? As Audre Lorde so eloquently put it, they want to “dismantle the master’s house,” not tidy it up. “[The] master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” she wrote. “They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” If woke feminists are ever to defeat their Patriarchal overlords, they need to smash the master’s house, and break his tools with ones of their own.

Debate? Fair trials? Please! Those are the Master’s Tools! #MeToo is way too radical for that. Instead, these woke feminists will smash the Master’s House — the Supreme Court, the American Justice System, due process — with truly mighty, revolutionary weapons, like chanting and hysteria. They’ll spurn evidence in favor of identity, innuendo, pageantry, and emotion. They’ll scream, cry, and march; they’ll pepper social media with their righteous indignation; they’ll answer law with violence, and debate with outrage. When Senator Collins gives them reason, they’ll respond with primal fury; when Kavanaugh’s confirmed, they’ll hurl their very bodies against the doors of The Master’s House, in a final, poignant display of defiance.

Of course, reasonable people don’t see a final, poignant display of defiance. They see mass hysteria. They see a violent, nonsensical, and frightfully illiberal mob.

Elena CabanComment