Skip to Content

Pussy Grabbers and Ball Busters


There is an argument that says modern feminism is dependent on the protections of the state and the rule of law to exist; without it, feminism could not flourish. I'm not saying that's wrong; just that it is the case. A case in point might be Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin back in the 1980s, when they famously allied with right-wing religious fundamentalists in order to outlaw pornography -- especially porn on film -- as beyond First Amendment protection. Their argument was that film porn was actually a record of an actual, real crime, the sexual domination of women. One thing they tried to do was write and encourage ordinances, in MacKinnon's words, "allowing civil suits for sex discrimination by those who can prove harm through pornography." It had mixed success as I recall, though MacKinnon remains a highly respected academic. In ancient times and, to some extent and in some places today, women were/are protected from rape and sexual abuse by fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. This structure, of course, can be quite repressive. Saudi Arabia is now, we’re told, just getting around to liberating women from this ancient form of male protection. Again, I'm certainly not advocating repression or opposing the rule of law, just that with the rise of bureaucracy, the protection of women from the abuses of maleness has moved into the political/cultural space and into the criminal justice system with all its shortcomings and hypocrisies. As this process advances and cultural life becomes more sophisticated and complex, women become an identity group and an ideology (feminism) that, given the idea of the battle of the sexes, naturally ends up head-to-head with a counterpart male identity group and ideology (what logically should be called masculinism). This leads to a state of tension and, when unfairness is perceived, antagonism between men and women over issues of power, a situation that can sometimes lead to collateral damage -- innocent people run over by a critical mass rush to judgement. I'd submit that is happening to some degree in the #MeToo movement.

The #MeToo movement is, in my male mind, a briar patch in the eternal battle of the sexes. And as the notorious trickster Brer Rabbit used to say: “Whatever you do, don’t throw me in the briar patch.” Brer Rabbit was the creation of Joel Chandler Harris, a white man in racist Georgia during and after the Civil War. Harris was a foundling who ended up working on a plantation where he absorbed the books in the landowner’s library and comfortably associated with Africans in their quarters, where he learned about the trickster Brer Rabbit and his many forest friends. Tricksters, of course, thrive in repressive cultures.

story | by Dr. Radut