If you’re a young man, you might wonder: Why the rape hysteria? Why did the press go nuts over the alleged rape of a maid in a hotel? The answer: Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller’s propaganda masterpiece.
Published in 1975, this book launched the feminist rape hysteria. The thesis: Rape isn’t just a criminal act committed by individual men. Rape is a conscious act of class oppression that men employ against women.
If you’re wondering where the "everybody’s a victim" mentality was birthed, look no further than Browmiller’s book. Here, at last, was what feminists had been looking for, a way to equate their complaint with that of blacks in the civil rights movement. They were just like blacks in the Jim Crow South! Oppressed! By violence and the threat of violence!
Brownmiller’s theory took the country by storm. Men stood accused of deliberately plotting the physical subjugation of women. The school systems immediately accepted the theory as Gospel truth. Police departments called on Brownmiller and feminists for advice. Draconian new laws were passed.
Rape hysterias are probably the oldest form of political propaganda. They are effective because they appeal to men’s chivalry and to women’s fears. Rape hysterias have traditionally been used to fire a country’s determination to defeat an enemy in war. In Brownmiller's case, the enemy was masculinity, which stood condemned as premised on violence and evil intent.
The problem here is that, in 1975, there was no rape epidemic in America. (Without getting too deep into the ugly truth, I’ll state that women like Brownmiller, a privileged Jew, probably only needed to avoid black men if she wanted to avoid being raped.) Brownmiller invented the classic feminist ploy to justify her assertion that a rape epidemic existed. There were rape victims aplenty, she argued. They were just too ashamed to report the crime to police.
The hysteria was the beginning of a puritanical reaction to the sexual excesses of the 60s and 70s. As I said yesterday in my bit on Times Square in the 70s, we go through a cycle in sexual matters. The late 60s and early 70s was an era of orgies, free love and wild abandon. Guilt and remorse started setting in for women in the mid 70s, and feminists led the charge to find somebody to blame for the reckless behavior of women during their hippie days. It didn’t take women long to decide that men were to blame.
Men, particularly liberal men, fell for it. The attack was difficult to parry. Individual men weren’t being attacked by Brownmiller’s rape hysteria. Men had been found guilty as a class. The only tactic most men could find to defend themselves was to say:
I’m working hard to raise my consciousness and become a better man. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m not a threat. But, that son-of-a-bitch over there looks like a fucking rapist to me!
The natural distrust and hatred of men for one another was invoked. We men, after all, are just dumb bulls fighting over the cows. Any weapon we can find to deep six a competitor we seize eagerly. Feminists pitted men against one another in a stupid battle to the death. We men fought to prove just how sensitive and conscious we were.
This hysteria has been going on for 35 years. It’s now so deeply imbedded into the political process that, I think, the young don’t even know its genesis.
Surprisingly (or maybe not), I think that the worm is about to turn. The cycle of puritanical reaction to the sexual excesses of the 60s is about played out. The young men are fed up with feminists’ attempts to shame and degrade them. And, we old men are still kicking. We’re cynical and we have watched for decades how the feminists play the game.
And, we’re passing on that knowledge to the young men. My advice to the young men, for what it’s worth: Don’t buy into the rape hysteria.