Today is Valentine's Day, usually known as the very best day for conservatives to finally take those feminists down a peg or two on the internet. As this year was no exception, we at The Wire have taken it upon ourselves to rank this year's feminist trolling. We have added Harry Potter gifs to each ranking, because Harry Potter Tumblrs are a happy place.
The Very Best
Get ready. The Wall Street Journal had "Princeton Mom" Susan Patton give some "straight talk," with the emphasis on straight, to all the smart ladies on Valentine's Day about finding husbands and therefore happiness. "For most of you," Patton advises all college women, "the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry." As a consolation to the fact that she is talking to "smart" women, Patton condescendingly appeals to their cognitive ability and asks them to "think about it:"
If you spend the first 10 years out of college focused entirely on building your career, when you finally get around to looking for a husband you'll be in your 30s, competing with women in their 20s. That's not a competition in which you're likely to fare well. If you want to have children, your biological clock will be ticking loud enough to ward off any potential suitors.
So, according to Patton, the happiness of all women has an enemy. That enemy is not men, nor is it her infantilizing assessment of the emotional maturity of men that, frankly, should be insulting to most males. No. Women (and men!) must accept accommodate her caveman stereotype, you see, for their own good. Instead, the enemy of happiness is feminism. Patton writes: "Not all women want marriage or motherhood, but if you do, you have to start listening to your gut and avoid falling for the P.C. feminist line that has misled so many young women for years." Do not listen to their lies. They are the ones. Stop them.
Angry feminists should obviously respond to this piece with outrage! There are no "Downton Abbey reruns," as Patton shamefully lies in her first paragraph. She is thinking of Netflix.
This week, Ricki Lake announced that she was working on a new documentary on birth control. This is a pretty good troll, because the ideas she's advancing are in the name of, but actually terrible for, women's health. Here's the description, via Deadline:
“In the fifty years since its release, the birth control Pill has become synonymous with women’s liberation and has been thought of as some sort of miracle drug...But now it’s making women sick and so our goal with this film is to wake women up to the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications and the unforeseen consequences of repressing women’s natural cycles.”
The whole thing is based on a book, Sweetening The Pill Or How We Became Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control. In Slate last year, Lindsay Beyerstein went into why the book's claims don't really hold up to scrutiny, noting that its conclusions "rest heavily on her own bad experience with Bayer’s Yasmin...and comments on various websites dedicated to sharing pill horror stories," rather than on clinical studies, which have produced results quite different from what the book claims is true. The film is a spiritual sequel to Lake's previous documentary, "The Business of Being Born," which similarly relied on anecdotal — not scientific — evidence to "prove" that home births are superior to hospital care.
Try Better Next Year
We have a tie! First up is GQ's pledge to pay $10,000 (in monopoly money) to anyone who can present the original, pre-retouch photos of Barbie's Sports Illustrated cover. Get it? It's just like what Jezebel did with Lena Dunham. Funny.
GQ is tied with FrontPage magazine, which published a piece on how feminists are just like radical Muslims because they both hate love:
leftist feminists are not to be outdone by their jihadi allies in reviling — and trying to exterminate — Valentine’s Day. Throughout all Women’s Studies Programs on American campuses, for instance, you will find the demonization of this day, since, as the disciples of Andrea Dworkin angrily explain, the day is a manifestation of how capitalist and homophobic patriarchs brainwash and oppress women and push them into spheres of powerlessness.
It goes on and on and would normally be some A+ trolling. But as it turns out, FrontPage couldn't even be bothered to write a new anti-feminist Valentine's Day piece this year. The masterpiece above is recycled from 2013. Boo.
This all is not to be flippant about how awful some of these claims are. There are mothers, or aunts, or fathers, who will really give their smart, college-aged daughters Patton's advice. And many anti-feminist arguments are great for those who want to justify inequality with whatever sounds good to them personally. But it's hard to believe that some of these pieces aren't written with the hope that feminists will turn into a mob of outrage upon reading them.
Some anti-feminists like to talk about "anger" and "man hating" as if its a symptom of women childishly reacting to being (properly) told to behave. In reality, that "anger" is usually coupled with exasperation, borne of the repetition and traction of those old, tired conspiracies about women.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.