American civil discourse is at present in its death-throes. We need look no further than the daily feed to see evidence of the fundamental breakdown of communication. While the internet has provided a ready platform, the result has been to increase the screaming and clamoring for attention rather than reduce it. No where is this more obvious than in the social justice field. As Katie Byrne notes:
“Many would argue that social media's voracious appetite for instant impact and wider reach isn't compatible with an issue as complex as feminism. It certainly creates a culture in which in-fighting, point-scoring and hysteria thrive - and things can get ugly.”
The new favorite mode of battle has become the fallacious ad hominem attack. Of course, everyone has the right to freedom of speech; but that does not mean that it is always used wisely. If all commentators are more concerned with reach than content - emotion over logic – results resemble nothing so much as the hyperbolic fakery of a WWF match.
Granted, it can be fun to play these sorts of games on a screen. So where's the harm?
This sort of “trolling for justice” has long-since spilled out of the imaginal world of the internet and is now effecting people's real lives. As Jezebel reports, Laura Kipnis (Northwestern University professor) is facing angry protesters and Title IX charges brought by students offended by what she wrote in an essay published by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her crime? Pointing out that the new consent codes “infantilized students while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives.”
It is ironic that in today's environment, where “feminism” is being used to silence the voices of women, that those closest to the fire can't seem to feel the heat. A deeply distressed core of “true believers” have rushed to create apocalyptic visions of the future now that their idol (Hillary Clinton) has fallen to Trump. They see in the narrative a battle of mythic proportions between the forces of feminism (good) and patriarchy (evil).
However, consider this closing quote from Michelle Goldberg:
“My abiding fear is that the idea of women running the world will start to seem like an innocent, dated dream, akin to communes, lesbian separatism, and spelling “women” as “womyn.” Someday I’ll tell my daughter about the time we all thought the future was female. I hope she doesn’t laugh at our naïveté.”
Ask yourself: does this describe an egalitarian world, or a gynocentric one? The feminism of the last 20 years has been shooting for precisely this role reversal; and it has not led to happier or healthier women, families, or relationships.
Perhaps when faced with the realities of what gynocentrism does to a culture, America simply decided that the alternative – even THAT alternative – was less frightening.