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Biden is the white knight women don’t need The Democrat's patronising, paternalistic brand of feminism isn't much of improvement on Trump

A female VP doth not a good feminist make. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A female VP doth not a good feminist make. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images


January 11, 2021   5 mins

After a week of electoral mayhem that left five people dead, the U.S. Capitol trashed, and our collective memory forever seared with the indelible image of a shirtless man in a furry horned hat sitting on the Senate dais, this may seem an especially absurd moment to be writing critically about the man who will succeed Donald Trump. In truth, after four years of national embarrassment that culminated in a literal riot, most Americans are ready to welcome just about anyone into the Oval Office, as long as that person meets the sole qualification of being not-Trump. Even members of his own party are begging him to quit.

All of this is to say, a Joe Biden administration will be a marked improvement on the politics of the past four years precisely because it’ll be a return to business as usual — and because the 78-year-old Biden’s extra-long tenure in public life makes him an especially predictable president, even before he’s signed a single bill into law. Whatever he might do in office, he will certainly not surprise us! Indeed, he hasn’t yet: from his campaign promises to the scandal that briefly threatened to sink his candidacy back in the spring of 2020, the twists and turns of Biden’s path to the White House could be seen coming a mile off.

We know, too, all the ways in which a Biden presidency will be a negative — and they’re worth taking note of, before we’re put to sleep by the blissfully boring politics. For there is at least one policy issue on which Biden might well be worse, not better, than Trump —it’s precisely because Biden has long styled himself as a champion for women that we know how lacking his feminist credentials truly are.

Back in the 1990s, Biden was a tough-on-crime Democrat and a leading proponent of the legislation that would eventually become the Violence Against Women Act. His statements and positions then followed what would become a familiar pattern: what women needed was not liberation, but protection. Not rights or respect, but rules and regulations — for their own good, of course. And if one of these damsels in distress rejected the state’s attempts to save her? Well, then she was part of the problem.

Biden was an early advocate of no-drop prosecutions and mandatory arrests in domestic violence cases — policies that punish female victims who don’t go along with the state’s preferences vis-a-vis how to resolve such conflicts. That a woman might have good reasons for not wanting her partner arrested, or not wanting to be mired in the criminal justice system herself, was immaterial: those who refused to testify in domestic violence cases against their partners were subject to arrest or imprisonment. Sometimes, their children were, too.

Long after data had emerged to suggest that mandatory arrest policies made America’s domestic violence problem worse, not better — and that they diminished battered women’s trust in the system supposedly designed to help them — Biden continued to push them as a solution. When the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994, it cemented the role of the state as saviour — and the notion of women as too hapless and helpless to act in their own best interests.

Biden is proud of this legislation; he’s touted it repeatedly as an indicator of how good his presidency would be for women, how long he’s been fighting on their behalf. Of course, under the circumstances, it made for a persuasive contrast: who wouldn’t prefer a president who protects women over Mr. Grab-em-by-the-pussy? You could almost overlook the fact that Biden’s care for women seemed to always take the form of chivalrous head-patting, that it was insulting in its own way. As Barack Obama’s Vice President, Biden toured colleges around the country to promote the administration’s commitment to combatting campus assault. His vision of female empowerment always had a funny way of sounding a lot like benevolent sexism: “The greatest sin is the abuse of power,” he would tell the assembled crowds of students. “And the cardinal sin of them all is for a man to raise his hand to a woman.”

In practice, the result of all this state-sanctioned white-knighting is not the woman-saving panacea it claims to be. Since the passage of VAWA, countless victims have ended up unwittingly ensnared in the criminal justice system when they didn’t agree with the state’s desire to prosecute. And on campus, third-party reporting mandates mean that women are labelled victims whether they agree or not, forced to have their sex lives dissected by Title IX tribunals who are highly motivated to expel alleged offenders lest they lose federal funding. (One exasperated accuser told authorities, “I’m fine and wasn’t raped”; administrators disagreed, and expelled her boyfriend anyway.)

This morally panicked approach to campus sexual assault has made a mockery of both due process and women’s agency; the Obama-era strategy, with its focus on continual consent-seeking at every stage of intimacy, seem founded in the rather Victorian conviction that no woman ever really wants to have sex at all. And with Biden vowing to reinstate these policies — the rolling-back of which might have been the one good thing to come out of a Trump administration — women can expect more unwanted, “for your own good” intrusions into their private lives over the next four years.

All of this is complicated by Biden’s own woman problem, which once presented the greatest threat to his chances to occupy the White House. In March 2019, a report surfaced of the former Vice President’s extensive history of cheek-smooching, hair-sniffing, and other instances of inappropriate touching, calling into question whether he was really the right man to represent a Democratic Party trying to position itself as the anti-Trump. A year later, this same history worked against him when Tara Reade alleged that he had assaulted her while she was working in his office as a Senate aide.

On both occasions, it was Biden’s huggy paternalism that opened him up to controversy; but it was also this — that special brand of intimacy with a whiff of protective condescension — that ultimately saved him. In a world primed to conflate “inappropriate touching” with “sexual misconduct”, Biden’s behaviour was odd, but also oddly sexless, in a way that made it difficult to pinpoint as a violation. And while his accusers were all woman, he himself did not discriminate on the basis of sex; Biden would bestow a grandfatherly hug and forehead-kiss on anyone, of any persuasion, who he perceived as vulnerable and in need of comfort. Inappropriate? Come on, man! It’s a public service!

Between the raunchy anti-feminism of Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement that positioned sexual misconduct as the only misconduct that matters, it is hard to make the argument that our next president will be bad for women — and indeed, this is not that argument. But Joe Biden’s brand of feminism ultimately does not do enough to grapple with the radical notion that women are people, with all the agency and complexity that this implies. Instead, his administration seems poised to continue protecting women, rather than respecting them, and failing to recognise that these two things are not always one and the same. Is he bad? No. Worse than Trump? Not by a long shot. But when it comes to women, his presidency should serve mostly as a reminder that we could, someday, do better.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

a Joe Biden administration will be a marked improvement on the politics of the past four years precisely because it’ll be a return to business as usual
Perhaps you can explain how ‘business as usual’ is a good thing. It was business as usual that made Trump possible in the first place.

Kevin Fiske
Kevin Fiske
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Ouch! Nail. Head.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Fiske

Not really. I think that was part of the authors point.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

And the author is egregiously wrong about what people want

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“In a world primed to conflate “inappropriate touching” with “sexual misconduct”, Biden’s behaviour was odd, but also oddly sexless, in a way that made it difficult to pinpoint as a violation.”

Absurd comment. Biden has an unusually long history of inappropriate behavior, touching women in public who CLEARLY did not want to be touched, not to mention comments. And much of it with children, no less. He has also been accused of sexual assault. On top of it, he displays not a shred of ability to change. Touching women who do not want to be touched is not about sex, it’s about power and as we have seen with Biden, many women have no problem at all pinpointing the violation. Pretending this is about “comforting” them is equally absurd.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago

He is not called ‘Creepy Joe’ for nothing!

Swag Valance
Swag Valance
3 years ago

He touches men too, if you haven’t noticed.

Americans have become such haphephobes… even long before COVID. And we wonder why American life spans are shortening while we die of loneliness and diseases of human despair.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Swag Valance

I’m all for greeting a male friend with a hug or whatever. I’m less inclined to go along with him behind me, hands squeezing my shoulders and sniffing my hair. I’d look askance at a woman doing that. Because it’s creepy. This isn’t garden-variety behavior where one touches another during conversation; it’s practically groping.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Swag Valance

And if men complain about it, he should stop that too. Apparently many women don’t like it. Is that wrong in your view? Should women have to abide Biden’s touch simply because he touches someone else?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

And if men complain about it, he should stop that too. Apparently many women don't like it. Is that wrong in your view? Should women have to abide Biden's touch simply because he touches someone else?

Huh? Swag pointed out that he touches men too. This is hardly a value statement about what women should put up with”it’s a statement of fact, that shows framing it as a women’s issue is factually and morally inaccurate.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If you believe that touching one person means someone has the right to touch others, we won’t have much in common. Touching women who clearly do not want to be touched is wrong even if the person touches men or other women for that matter who don’t mind being touched. Attempts to justify it are also wrong. If men have their hair sniffed by a too close Biden, they can certainly come forward with complaints as well.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

What in my comment allowed you to imagine I

believe that touching one person means someone has the right to touch others ???

The comment of mine you reply to was explicitly correcting your incorrect claim that Swag above thought this.

Can you quote me where you think I’ve shown I

believe that touching one person means someone has the right to touch others
?

Maybe then we can sort your misinterpretation out.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You seem to be objecting to my correction of your correction.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Attempts to justify it are also wrong.

Are you making a general claim about morality? If so, it is rather mundane.

Or have you fantasised a situation in which I have attempted to justify touching women who clearly do not wish to be touched??

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Your problem is much more basic. You don’t actually grasp the difference between people who do want to be touched and those who do not.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Your problem is much more basic. You don't actually grasp the difference between people who do want to be touched and those who do not.

Elsewhere I pointed out that feminists come in two types”those that create lies, and those that believe the lies.

I’m starting to think you’re complicit with the liars since I’ve asked you to quote me where I’ve said what you erroneously claim I’ve said, and you are curiously silent on that. Instead, you just Cathy Newman me.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I’m not in the least interested in your pontifications on feminism and judging by the responses to you, no one else is either.

This isn’t about feminism, it’s about touching people who don’t want to be touched. Including children.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

I'm not in the least interested in your pontifications on feminism and judging by the responses to you, no one else is either.

Ad hominem and bandwagon fallacies.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Simple observation.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Simple observation.

Guffaw.

English to feminist translation:

Simple observation = repackaging of plain statement into critical theory framework.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Your best post yet

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

This isn't about feminism, it's about touching people who don't want to be touched.

Ah! Back-pedalling”the dishonest version of a concession. I’ll take it, because at least we’re on the same page now.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If I’d been the one to bring up feminism you’d have a stellar point again. But since I wasn’t, I’ll just watch you spin those pedals.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

If I'd been the one to bring up feminism you'd have a stellar point

Can’t remember the name of this fallacy”it might be the tautology fallacy.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

The fallacy where you’re having a conversation totally different than the subject under discussion?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

The fallacy where you're having a conversation totally different than the subject under discussion?

I’m getting really fluent in my translations from feminist to English. Yes, correct”I am sticking to the point and directly answering points made to me rather than inventing things my fellow conversant thinks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

And we are all very proud of you.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

And we are all very proud of you.

So what you’re saying is, you think I’m a boot-licking misogyny internaliser

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I’m saying we are all very proud of you. If Joe were here he’d even sniff your hair just to show you how proud we all are.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

I'm saying we are all very proud of you

But I already femsplained to you what you meant. Why are you so resistant to the truthiness?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You seem rattled. You’d be okay with quick sniff wouldn’t you? Why not just take the compliment about how proud of you we are? Honestly some of you women are just so coy.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Touching women who clearly do not want to be touched is wrong... If men have their hair sniffed by a too close Biden, they can certainly come forward with complaints as well.

If only you could read a statement rather than interpret it via a feminist bias.

You are confusing statements about what is for statements about what ought to be.

As I’ve explained to you already, calling a problem that affects both sexes a woman’s problem is inaccurate. It is a fallacy of cherry-picking.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If only men were coming forward to object to Biden’s hair sniffing, you’d have had a really stellar point, eh? I’m waiting for your claim that Jill Biden doesn’t seem to mind Biden’s touching as evidence that it isn’t a problem at all. That’s gotta be next.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago


If only men were coming forward to object to Biden's hair sniffing, you'd have had a really stellar point, eh? I'm waiting for your claim that Jill Biden doesn't seem to mind Biden's touching as evidence that it isn't a problem at all. That's gotta be next.

OK Cathy Newman

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Who is Cathy Newman? Does she not object to Biden’s touching either?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Does she not object to Biden's touching either?

Aha… so, following from your belief that you can read minds, you also think I can.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I am not sure you can read, no.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago


I am not sure you can read, no.

Me: Mind reading
You: So what you’re saying is, reading

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Can you prove you can read?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Can you prove you can read?

Let me consult my feminist-English dictionary… hang on… prove..

Aha! Yes, I can prove I can read! I just say I can and if anyone doubts my word for it I’ll call them a misogynist.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I don’t think can accept that as proof. How about this. You show where anyone other than you in this “conversation” we’re having has said anything about feminism.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

I don't think can accept that as proof. How about this. You show where anyone other than you in this "conversation" we're having has said anything about feminism.

My jaw has dropped. So you DO think that truth claims should align with reality!

So what’s up with all the inventions of things I said, and your staunch ignoring of my requests for you to QUOTE ME where I justified touching women against their will? I take it you have enough sense to know the difference between QUOTING and paraphrasing.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

After you pick your jaw up, how about answering the question?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

how about answering the question?

Can you explain why I have to quote you, but you are allowed to make nonsense up about what I said?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I didn’t ask you to quote me. Try reading the post again.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

I didn't ask you to quote me. Try reading the post again.

Yup. You wrote:

You show where anyone other than you in this "conversation" we're having has said anything about feminism.

So if you don’t mean me to quote you (I never said anything about anyone else so that’s the red herring fallacy), what do you mean?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

How is that asking you to quote me? I didn’t say show where I said something, I said show where anyone did. Again…..reading.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

And I repeat:

So if you don’t mean me to quote you (I never said anything about anyone else so that’s the red herring fallacy), what do you mean?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Ah so words don’t mean what they plainly mean to you then? You’re going to crack the code of what was really meant rather than what was actually said. Anyone other than you means just that. Anyone other than you.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Ah so words don't mean what they plainly mean to you then? You're going to crack the code of what was really meant rather than what was actually said.

I asked you to clarify what you meant, given you say you didn’t mean what I incorrectly but reasonably interpreted your request as.

Asking for clarification is obviously down in the feminist dictionary as something else.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If you need clarification you can just ask. Here was the request….

“I don’t think can accept that as proof. How about this. You show where anyone other than you in this “conversation” we’re having has said anything about feminism.”

You can surely say that you don’t need or want to prove you can read. Or you can scour the conversation and determine if anyone other than you said anything about feminism. Since we both know you’ll come up empty on that, maybe you should stop trying to shoehorn it in.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

As helpful as you have been refreshing my memory of logical fallacies and why I despise feminists, your usefulness, AND entertainment value, have shrivelled up.

Bye bye Cathy Newman.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

show where anyone did.

Why? I never made a claim about ‘anyone’ ” I made a claim about you. I do not need to back up a claim I never made.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I didn’t say you did make a claim about anyone, did I?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

I didn't say you did make a claim about anyone, did I?

In that case, this

where anyone other than you in this "conversation" we're having has said anything about feminism.

Is a non-sequitur.

And as helpful as you have been refreshing my memory of logical fallacies and why I despise feminists, your usefulness, AND entertainment value, have shrivelled up.

Bye bye Cathy Newman.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

What a lovely white flag. Hold it high, you’ve earned it! And I was just getting to the fun part where you get to explain how children shrinking away from Joe Biden’s unwelcome touch is all about feminism. I guess I should google Cathy Newman. Does she shoehorn feminism into every conversation as well as you do?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

You show where anyone other than you in this "conversation" we're having has said anything about feminism.

There’s that same logical fallacy I already called out. But you know that.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

So you can’t?

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

So you can't?

Logical fallacy. Your entire argument uses feminist ‘theory’ and factoids, but because you have not literally written ‘feminism’ you think you can credibly claim you haven’t referred to feminism.

As I say, I don’t know the name of the fallacy, but I think it’s the tautology fallacy.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I haven’t referred to feminism, that was you, peanut. Not wanting to be touched by someone has nothing at all to do with feminism. It’s you who keeps trying to shoehorn it in.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Touching women who do not want to be touched is not about sex, it's about power

Sex and power are but two candidate reasons someone touches a woman who doesn’t want to be touched. Another candidate reason is being socially clueless, and another is being impulsive. And yes”sex really is a motivator in some cases.

I don’t think you can read Biden’s mind any better than I or anyone else can, so his motives remain debatable.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Nope, it’s power. Pure and simple. It’s not about sex. Just like rape isn’t. The big clue is in “who doesn’t want to be touched”. Nothing at all to do with mind-reading.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Nope, it's power. Pure and simple. It's not about sex. Just like rape isn't. The big clue is in "who doesn't want to be touched". Nothing at all to do with mind-reading.

Nope”I’ve already corrected your inaccurate assumption.

Touching someone ‘who doesn’t want to be touched’ is not a clue to a bid for power over that person. Except in your biases.

For example (if you really can’t think of one yourself) people on the autism spectrum often don’t pick up social cues. So what might be clear to YOU might not be clear to others.

You assert by repetition you are not mind-reading”assertion by repetition is a logical fallacy.

And as I’ve stated, yes, rape is sometimes about sex. You can quote unfounded, out-dated feminist dogma to me all you like.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes touching someone who does not want to be touched is about power. It’s not about sex. Neither is rape. You can continue posting from another century all you like. It changes nothing. Learn the difference and distinguish between people who do want to be touched and those who don’t.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Yes touching someone who does not want to be touched is about power. It's not about sex. Neither is rape.

And you double down on the logical fallacy that repeating a false or unevidenced statement can make it correct.

Learn the difference and distinguish between people who do want to be touched and those who don't.

And this is such perfect evidence of how feminists invent instances of oppression. You have invented out of thin air a situation in which I personally can’t tell the difference between someone who wants to be touched and someone who doesn’t.

You are tilting at windmills. You are living in a fantasy world where normal factual claims are coded oppression and you have ‘cracked the code’. In other words, you think you can read my mind. In yet more words, you are femsplaining to me what I mean by my own words.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If you were going for top pointless blather post, you’ve won. If you want to believe that rape is about sex, you’re welcome to do so. You’d hardly be alone in that, in fact, spousal rape wasn’t even a crime in many places not all that long ago on the same basis.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

If you were going for top pointless blather post, you've won. If you want to believe that rape is about sex, you're welcome to do so. You'd hardly be alone in that, in fact, spousal rape wasn't even a crime in many places not all that long ago on the same basis.

Cathy Newman for the win! (In her own imagination.)

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You’re a tad late. The win was some time ago.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

The win was some time ago

Yes, dear.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You’re a gem

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Thanks, pet

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You’re welcome but I’ll skip the pet, Joe.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

So what you’re saying is….

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Come on, man. You can figure it out.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

You can figure it out.

Processing translation….

Yup, yup, I can invent stuff out of my imagination

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

My god! I thought feminism was going to be ushering in a new world of cooperation and that only men went in for this level of conflict.

That was definitely what we used to call a “cat fight”.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

If I were female you’d have a great point. I see the name threw you. Chuckle.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

You’d much rather a leader who treated men and women no different,
The left gives no evidence of believing this. As soon as Biden chose Harris, the talking points were issued: any criticism of her would be sexist. Or racist. Maybe both. The implied message is clear – she cannot be held to the same standard as other running mates. It was the same with Obama – the same soft bigotry that equated all criticism with racism, as if none of the white guys in the office before him had been criticized.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Left invests in tokens. And their policies keep minorities dependent on government. They literally buy votes with the voters money.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Left invests in tokens

Yup. Biden explicitly set out to find a BLACK + WOMAN to run with. Way to tell Harris she’s not actually qualified in any other way but her race and sex are CORRECT.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

Yeah, see, I’d like to agree with you, but it’s a little hard to see this kind of white-knighting as some kind of backhanded sexist assault when it’s precisely what so many women spend so much time clamouring for.

If women are strong, why do so many of them wail at me that they’re weak, that they’re helpless, that I just can’t understand how fundamentally and hopelessly impotent they are? That it’s my job to be gentle as a lamb because they’re just so scaaaaaawwwed of my big scary male self? Why do they scream, actually scream, at me about how incredibly strong and powerful I am? I don’t feel the least bit strong and powerful, but when I say that I get told that I’m heartless.

So it seems to me that I can either take women at their word that they’re weak, or I can assume that they’re strong but too stupid to realise it. Or, I suppose, that they’re both strong and smart, but too deceitful to admit it. I don’t want to submit to any brand of misogyny, I really don’t, but I honestly do not see how I’m not stuck with one form or another.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

Replace “women” with black and “misogyny” with racism. Works well. Your observation and experience mirror the parallels.

voodoopolitics
voodoopolitics
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Women scream at him. They “actually scream” at how strong and powerful he is. Why do I suspect that doesn’t happen?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  voodoopolitics

I liked it too although I’m not proud of myself for doing so. Kind of pitiful really.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

“If women are strong, why do so many of them wail at me that they’re weak”

Manipulation? There is strength in playing weak, power in playing powerless. Or perhaps some women are surprised to find that success in the world doesn’t come as easily as they thought it would so think crying “help”will win them special treatment.

Much to the annoyance, it must be added, to the women who are just getting on with it.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

“So it seems to me that I can either take women at their word that they’re weak, or I can assume that they’re strong but too stupid to realise it.”

Or you could give up mixed martial arts ðƾ˜€

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If you truly have women wailing at you that they’re weak, you need to find other women friends. If you do attract this type, you might want to ponder why that is. Some women attract weak men and they should wonder why that is as well rather than dwelling on what’s wrong with the men.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago

Bewilderingly silly article, but I suppose Unherd sees silliness as an essential part of its mission.

The idea that there are now many women “suffering” because men are expected to seek consent, and because rape complaints are now taken more seriously, is the most gibbery gibberish I’ve read for some time.

I blame the current fashion for social commentators to be stridently “contrarian” instead of bothering to try making any sense, which is seen as “old school”.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Rather than suffering I think its “I’m fine and wasn’t raped” translated to “you’re not and you were”

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

That’s it Colin – you set the woman straight. ðƾ˜€

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

“The idea that there are now many women “suffering” because men are expected to seek consent, and because rape complaints are now taken more seriously”
I have found it difficult to find actual comments from relatively modern western culture suggesting men weren’t expected to seek consent or complaints are not to be taken seriously.

The main issue has always been cases are typically “he says ““ she says” complaints with minimal evidence or witnesses (unless you do it with two people and a camera watching you), combined with the “innocent until proven guilty” standard.
The main change the likes of Biden have sought is to dilute that standard, which just like the demrat assault on free speech or the refuse to properly analyst election isssues, is a maasive assault on society.

Incidentally, she has pointed out with clarity the reasons why she is uncomfortable, and her point about infaantilisation and making women into perennial victims is excellent, but take for example her pertinent comment about making it mandatory to have “continual consent-seeking at every stage of intimacy”.
Funny thing is, based on these new standards, both you and me have ra**d every time we slept with our wife / partner…any woman would be massively annoyed if you “asked for consent” every two minutes.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Women do indeed suffer when their sons, brothers, friends, and lovers–and sometimes themselves, in same-sex situations–get railroaded in campus kangaroo court, which is what Obama’s administration implemented. One of the few good things DeVos did was restore some fairness to how cases are adjudicated.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

what women needed was not liberation, but protection.

This is hardly limited to Biden – it’s more like the direction feminism has been going. “He for she” the more extreme forms of “metoo” where women can no longer deal with some drip who puts his hand on their knee. Social media pile ons. Female politicians who complain that men talk over them (its politics, for gods sake), minor sexism construed as hate speech and/or misogyny.

The odd thing is that neither french women nor, in general, conservative women, seem to be afflicted. Somehow they seem to be able to stand up for themselves in the way that, deep down, we all know most women can.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Female politicians who complain that men talk over them (its politics, for gods sake)

Yup. They are showing that they are, indeed, too emotional and sensitive to do the job. Being talked over is part of the job and they can’t hack it.

The odd thing is that neither french women nor, in general, conservative women, seem to be afflicted. Somehow they seem to be able to stand up for themselves

I can’t speak for French women, but a characteristic of conservatism (sic”generally right wing or classical liberal) is (a) being level-headed and sensible and (b) cheerfully fielding the slings and arrows of life.

Conservative women, as a subset of conservatives, therefore (a) don’t think men are going to rape, bash, or murder us if we stand up to them (leftist women generally do explicitly think this) and (b) don’t expect or even want life to be perfect. We don’t need life to be perfect to be perfectly happy with life.

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

It’s time to turn the clock back Feminists need a sense of proportion a sense of humour and sense.Some so-called men need the guts to stand up to them.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  mark taha

And above all, other women need to stand up to them and say “they don’t speak for us”.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

“We don’t need life to be perfect to be perfectly happy with life.” That’s a great summing up.

I’m not a natural conservative, but I just have no sympathy with the endless whining, and sappiness you get on the left nowadays. The left I grew up with was about giving a chance to the less well off and the genuinely disadvantaged. Not wallowing in victimhood and petty difficulties. Not to mention the contempt for free speech and desire for censorship.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Beijing Biden is not a ‘white knight’ and he is not someone that anyone needs. (Well, I suppose Hunter and his other family members needed him in order to become rich). Biden’s track record in every area of politics, over 50 years, is either disgusting or disastrous.

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
3 years ago

Trump has said some offensive things but let’s not forget who the alternative was in 2016. Trump accomplished many positive things in his four years but those accomplishments will be forgotten now given the debacle at the capital. I stand by my vote for the president in both elections because the alternative is bleak for the country I think as we return to our descent into socialism.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Why do I get the feeling that for many feminists, nothing will ever be right?

Perhaps because once they are forced to admit that in fact, they enjoy tremendous privilege, and always have, that the constant complaining will have to cease.

But feminism has evolved to become just a tool for extracting special favours from society based on gender, while complaining incessantly about imaginary victimization. When the basis for that claim is removed, then the privilege stops flowing.

In Canada, the government is about to shovel billions out the door exclusively to women “because they were the ones most harmed by covid”- this in the face of the fact that men are dying at a much higher rate. But women losing jobs is considered to be of more importance than men losing their lives.

Rather than simply helping those people who need it, regardless of sex, the government has instead gendered the relief measures to favour females- because their unemployment rate is 2.8% higher than that of men, mainly because they were in non- essential jobs.

But pointing this out is now considered sexist, while giving females special help is not.

Feminism has become a means of grifting the government, a con job that can only continue as long as the dubious claims of victimization can continue.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Why do I get the feeling that for many feminists, nothing will ever be right?

Perhaps because once they are forced to admit that in fact, they enjoy tremendous privilege, and always have, that the constant complaining will have to cease.

Feminists come in two types:
(1) Those that devise complicated yet blatant lies about men and women (usually in the academic setting)
(2) Those that believe the lies because they have no idea how to filter and process truth claims. (Which is true of most people, given scientific inc statistical and logical thinking is neither natural to humans nor taught to us as core subjects.)

Same as the BLM etc stuff. Recently I challenged a very young female colleague about BLM, saying they lie about police oppressing black people.

She retorted she has seen videos of it.

I replied, you have seen videos of police statistically singling out black people over white people and harming them *because* they are black? (Wow that’s some crazy futuristic multimedia going on.)

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago

My experience with women has been of people perfectly capable of looking after themselves. Foolish men are usually effective put in their place.
In the extremes of assault, we may all need the help of the authorities. I don’t understand why a woman wouldn’t seek their protection from a violent man but then I am fortunate in have escaped violence.

The Title IX business does seem very sinister and very cruel.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

> I don’t understand why a woman wouldn’t seek their protection from a violent man

In the case of people we know the man is a controlling personality and was protective when not being violent..For the woman her life had been invested in the family and she was trying desperately to hold it together and give the kids a semblance of normality. It finally ended when he assaulted their teenage daughter and she went to the cops.

In terms of protection what would have been most valuable would have been a safe place for the wife and the kids so that they could have got out sooner, and support for them to rebuild their lives. Only then is it really possible to expect a woman to testify against her abuser.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

My experience with women has been of people perfectly capable of looking after themselves.
Hear, hear. Who exactly are these pitiful creatures who require the constant nannying of govt actors?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agree – there are some women who lack the capacity to look after themselves and run their own lives, but they are few. And, of course, there are men who are just as incapable.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

This article is so out of date, I mean-men…women-these outdated and disgraceful attempts to reduce gender to two sexes is so un-woke.

SUSAN GRAHAM
SUSAN GRAHAM
3 years ago

We heard plenty about Trump’s dalliances with females (not much different to most politicians?) but never, even from his detractors, that unlike Biden he had a creepy liking for little girls and has been accused of sexual assault.
Sleepy Joe /Creepy Joe – leader of the free world ?
350 million people in the US and this is the best they can come up with? My guess is that it won’t be very long before the US electorate will be hoping they still had Trump in place – soon after Biden starts his first war – within months.

Andrew McGee
Andrew McGee
3 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

Never suggested that Trump liked young girls? Never accused of sexual assault. Neither of those is remotely true.
I am no great fan of Biden, but he will surely be an improvement on Trump.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

When did Trump indicate he liked young girls? Are there photos of him mauling them in public like Biden?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

In its lust for power & glory the Democrat Party & its MSM accomplice deep-sixed Tara Reade’s story – ditto the Hunter Biden tale. Hunter’s exploitation of women as seen in photos released on line prior to being censored (he even has some chick measure his p***s for all to see) paints a very ugly picture of how Hunter treated women, not to mention that he took up with his brother’s widow, then dumped her. Hunter went on to get another woman pregnant the child of which he insisted wasn’t his but turned out to be. Then he married yet another women. About Hunter, Joe Biden says, “I am very proud of my son”. #YUCK

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago

Biden does seem a bit ‘handsy’ and will need to be reined in on that. But he won’t be president for long.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

It could be the first assassination in American history carried out by the Vice President hiding the president’s tablets.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Interesting article, thanks.

Swag Valance
Swag Valance
3 years ago

If you’re gonna nail Biden for what he did in the 90s and compare him to Trump, why no mention of Trump’s candidacy for the Reform Party?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Swag Valance

non sequitur of the day award

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Swag Valance

In the 90s? Biden touches people who don’t want to be touched today.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

‘the Obama-era strategy, with its focus on continual consent-seeking at every stage of intimacy, seem founded in the rather Victorian conviction that no woman ever really wants to have sex at all. And with Biden vowing to reinstate these policies ” the rolling-back of which might have been the one good thing to come out of a Trump administration ” women can expect more unwanted, “for your own good” intrusions into their private lives over the next four years.’

Is the author saying consent shouldn’t be sought? Why on earth does seeking consent imply women don’t want to have sex?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You seem to be just a hair’s breadth away from saying ‘She wanted it, really’. Scary stuff.

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

No not at all. Someone has to make the initial unambiguous move and it’s usually down to the man. If he has read the signs wrong it is embarrassing for both parties but there is generally no harm done/

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Nick – You should perhaps add that most men have the good sense to make the first move something fairly innocuous. Enough to signal intent, but not to cause offence.

It’s a game that everyone seemed to understand the rules of until 5 minutes ago. And in most countries probably still do.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Don’t be frightened…it will be ok, just relax.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

No, he wasn’t saying that at all. Please check your bias.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You seem to be just a hair's breadth away from saying 'She wanted it, really'.

Disagree strongly.

He’s not talking about women who don’t want it. He’s talking about women who do want it, but don’t want to lift a finger to get it.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Is the author saying consent shouldn’t be sought?
Are your being purposely argumentative? No, that’s not what the author is saying. What’s being pointed to is what amounted to a checklist that demanded the seeking of affirmative consent for every part of the process from kissing till the end. Who does that? Consent, for the most part, is implied and ‘no’ only needs saying once. You don’t have to ask “is it okay if I unbutton this one?” and two minutes later ask again “how about this one?”

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Was there a checklist – care to share it or point me in the direction of where I can find it?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Search on “affirmative consent.” I’d use links but this site seems to frown on them. One result from SUNY, the State University of New York system that defines it. Another is from Fire, or the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The short explanation, from the Fire site, is While the details vary from campus to campus, affirmative consent policies generally require that participants in sexual activity obtain objectively demonstrable consent at every step of a sexual encounter.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Perhaps it’s one of those rules that’s designed to work de-facto

After a few rounds of questions, any remotely romantic/sexy atmosphere will be completely dead…mission complete.

No sexual assault possible if no sexual activity takes place 😉

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Does anyone actually believe that these standards apply to women too?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Thanks for the pointers to sources.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It's the standard female perspective and contradiction on the issue. Of course they want consent, but they also want men to make the first move and be assertive. Thus, they get annoyed when the workplace becomes a stale and sexless environment.

So close to liking your comment, but as I can’t stand feminism, I also can’t stand the conflation of ‘some feminists’ and ‘standard female’. The perspective you describe is *not* the standard female one, but the culturally hegemonic one forced on us all, men and women, by the worst of feminism.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Is the author saying consent shouldn’t be sought? Why on earth does seeking consent imply women don’t want to have sex?

She did not appear to be saying that judging from the quote you included in your own comment. As you can see, the author appears to be saying that it is…

continual consent-seeking at every stage of intimacy

… that shouldn’t be sought.

I gave up on the article in the first few paras (author is delusional about Trump and the support he has) but she is correct that the mandate that men seek consent at every step of sex shows a belief that women must only consent to sex, rather than want sex.