Modern feminism—more appropriately referred to as outrage or victimhood feminism—has been facing an identity crisis for some time.
Polls routinely show people, including women, support equality between the sexes but reject the feminist label. A 2013 Huffington Post/YouGov poll found just 23 percent of female respondents identifying as feminists, and this trend continued in a YouGov poll from early 2016. A recent Washington Post poll found the opposite, with more people agreeing to be called a “strong feminist” or “feminist” than “not a feminist” or “anti-feminist.”
Beyond the polls, modern feminism is seen too often as an outlet to blame men for anything a woman has to go through that she does not like. The “blame the patriarchy” phrase has become a catchall excuse to avoid personal responsibility and reflection. Didn’t get that promotion? The patriarchy, not possibly that someone else was more qualified. Earn less? Patriarchy, not the facts that women go into lower-paying college majors and work fewer hours. Now getting fired is a man’s fault, not the fault of a woman who conducted herself in an unprofessional manner.
Comedian Kathy Griffin’s recent stunt, wherein she held up a fake bloody and severed head of President Donald Trump, may have been “vile and wrong,” as Chelsea Clinton described it, and could clearly be taken as a threat, as others have pointed out, even if no one suspects Griffin is actually capable of or interested in murder. But she knew what she was doing from the get-go, as evidenced by a behind-the-scenes recording of the photoshoot obtained by CNN.
In the recording, Griffin told the photographer, Tyler Shields, the two would “have to move to Mexico today, but we’re going to go to prison—federal prison… We’re not surviving this, okay?”
The Apology that Turned Into an Attack
After she received a backlash for the shoot, Griffin issued a public apology. She didn’t sound entirely sincere, but she also didn’t resort to the “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apology. She said she crossed the line and understands “how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it.”
But she followed up that apology with a press conference with feminist attack lawyer Gloria Allred’s daughter Lisa Bloom—Griffin’s lawyer—to claim that she was the victim in all of this because she was being “bullied” by the Trump family. Just imagine the gall it takes to hold up the fake severed head of a man and then claim to be a victim when his family calls you out for your stunt.
It wasn’t just the Trump family calling her out. Chelsea Clinton and Keith Olbermann did as well. And here’s where things get precious. When Olbermann criticized Bloom and Griffin for their press conference, Bloom accused him of sexism.
Thanks for the mansplain! Super helpful! Will wait meekly for your advice on the right time for a woman to stand up against Trump. https://t.co/zoQx1p9reh
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) June 2, 2017
Olbermann had told the two women: “You could not be doing more to help Donald Trump if you were Putin. Please stop this selfish nonsense.”
The entire press conference epitomized the problems in modern feminism: Any criticism, when lodged against a woman, amounts to sexism. Oh, and all women are victims no matter what they do. Olbermann, like many others (and he doesn’t need—or probably want—me to defend him), was pointing out how terrible the press conference was. Griffin was just digging herself a hole at that point. But Bloom latched onto his tweet (because he’s a man) and accused him of sexism.
This should be embarrassing to anyone honestly trying to empower women. This cannot be seen as a legitimate response to criticism of women. If we’re trying to be equal to men (and I argue that we are equal in rights and opportunities, but not outcomes) then we can’t throw a tantrum and scream “Wah, patriarchy!” whenever we’re criticized instead of countering that criticism. That’s weakness.
Further, Griffin’s actions at her press conference negate her apology. If she believed she was wrong, then she was wrong and deserved the backlash. She was fired as spokesman of the Squatty Potty, from her CNN New Year’s Eve gig, and had shows cancelled. She should take those lumps. Instead, she’s trying to turn those lumps into another episode of the victim Olympics to score points in a craven attempt to save her flailing career.
Women should choose instead to reject the knee-jerk reaction of claiming victimhood at the hands of men for things we brought on ourselves.