“I once asked Leslie Harris, the head of the ACLU task force on women, how feminists could continue their support of a man [Ted Kennedy] who was such a prominent abuser of women himself. ‘We know that,’ she said, ‘but he’s down for the political agenda.'” – David Horowitz, Radical Son.
As this memorable story from Horowitz’s autobiography shows, radical feminists are not unaware of their hypocrisy. And in 2012, it reached a fevered pitch. After living through such an insufferable charade, Katie Pavlich had had enough. She was determined to fight back, and put her remarkable talent as a writer, reporter, and political warrior to work. The outcome is her enormously entertaining and hard hitting exposé Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women.
Having had the misfortune of attending the DNC in 2012, she describes the putrid circus this way:
The Democratic National Convention that summer in Charlotte became ground zero in the war on women. On the same night birth control heroine Sandra Fluke spoke, warning of a grave future under a Republican president that would send women back to an ‘offensive, obsolete relic of our past,’ serial sexual assaulter and accused rapist Bill Clinton spoke. Then a lengthy tribute to Ted Kennedy, who left a woman to drown and mistreated countless mistresses since, played with the words ‘women’s rights champion’ plastered across the big screens. Along with deadbeat dad Jesse Jackson was Chuck Schumer, who famously called an airline stewardess a ‘bitch’ after she had the nerve to ask him to turn off his cell phone. Notably absent from the proceedings was one of the party’s leading presidential candidates, John Edwards, who was still dealing with issues that came with denying the existence of a child he fathered out of wedlock while his wife was dying of cancer.
None of these guys were abandoned by leftist women’s groups, of course. Their fury was somehow targeted at Mitt Romney, perhaps the most milquetoast, nonthreatening candidate nominated for president since Warren G. Harding promised a “return to normalcy.”
The leftwing tradition of turning worthless men who abuse women into false icons goes all the way back to grandpa Marx. Paul Johnson brilliantly chronicled in Intellectuals that, while Karl Marx was being subsidized by Fredrick Engles to sit around writing about “Dictatorship of the Proletariate” and whatnot, his wife and daughters were left to live in poverty and hunger. At the same time, Marx was having an affair with Helene Demuth, his young, unpaid servant (talk about exploitation of workers!). When a child was born from this affair, Marx never admitted that the child, Freddy Demuth, was his son, but his wife Jenny eventually found out anyway.
It should not be surprising, then, that the founders and leaders of the fringe-left feminist movement that has plagued America since the sixties were fanatic Stalinists. In 1941, the campuses of Smith College in Massachusetts and Hunter College in New York were haunted by the specter of two young women so devoted to their campus Red groups and the Soviet Union that they were willing to support the monstrous Nazi-Soviet Pact. Those young Reds grew up to become Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and Bella Abzug, the pro-Castro, pro-Vietcong, pro-Soviet onetime congresswoman who Jimmy Carter appointed to his “National Advisory Committee for Women” and chair of the massive, climactic “National Conference of the Commission on International Women’s Year” in 1977. Additionally, in the early 1980s, David Horowitz says, “at the University of California, Bettina Aptheker, 20 years on the central committee in the Communist Party, took over the Introduction to Women’s Studies course, made it political, made the whole department a department of feminist studies. And was told by her communist — other communist professors that it’s her revolutionary duty to do this.”
“Marxist teaching” wrote Pavlich, who’s family lived under Communism in Yugoslavia, “is not a tiny fringe part of the modern, militant feminists’ agenda. It is its centerpiece.” Among its most basic tenants are that family and monogamy are awful for women. Pavlich responds: “In reality, a monogamous relationship is anything but sexually exploitative. The principles of monogamy are based on mutual respect, commitment, trust, care, and comfort in order to protect a significant other.” Some of the Marxist literature Pavlich found at the 2013 NOW convention likely mention with pride that the Bolsheviks orchestrated a campaign aimed at eradicating the “bourgeois capitalist” principles of the traditional family. This is something that the Socialist Workers Party in particular is proud of, since their icon, Leon Trotsky, writes so fondly of this campaign in The Revolution Betrayed. What they never mention is that there were serious negative consequences to weeding out these traditional family principles of “mutual respect, commitment, trust, care, and comfort in order to protect a significant other.” And women are hit hardest. Today, Russian women are the victim of sky-high levels of alcoholism, divorce, abortion and domestic violence, an epidemic that emerged during the Soviet Union and has no end in sight.
It was not the Marxists who secured rights for women. Pavlich reminds us which group of freedom fighters we have to thank for that:
The same party that sent Hiram Revels to serve his fellow countrymen as the first African-American in Congress sent the first woman, Jeannette Rankin. The same party that battled blatant racists at the local, state, and federal level battled sexists. The same party that sought to end lynching and the poll tax sought to end women’s pay discrimination and grant women the right to vote. Yes, the Republican Party.
She recounts the history of how, at every step of the way, it was the Republicans that pushed through women’s suffrage laws–eventually forcing Woodrow Wilson kicking and screaming to the realization that his resistance to suffrage was doomed and he needed to sign the 19th Amendment.
Pavlich also has a lot to say about President Obama. To pick just five of the outrages from the 2012 campaign that Pavlich recounts:
- Creating an ad starring Lena Dunham telling teenagers to vote for Obama because their “first time” should be with “a guy with beautiful…” who will “get birth control” for them, on the belittling assumption that they can’t get it themselves. (Pavlich points out that, judging from this lurid Obama/Dunham message to teenage girls, “it doesn’t matter if your ‘first time’ is with someone who deeply respects you as a person.”)
- Posting a message telling women to “Vote like your lady parts depend on it”. As Pavlich says: “The message from Team Obama was clear: Don’t vote with your brain, ladies, vote with your genitals. It was also a clear picture of how Democrats saw women as voters.”
- Creating “The Life of Julia,” a slideshow telling women that they can’t do anything by themselves and need government assistance at “every stage of life.”
- Holding up as a role model “a thirty-year old adult child and Georgetown Law student” who spends her public life demanding that everyone else pay for her contraceptives. Wouldn’t a real role model be, for example, a woman who at twenty-five became one of America’s top reporters and bestselling authors?
- Campaigning with the Clintons — enough said.
In 2007, Obama publicly lectured Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as “Obama Girl,” about her famous music video. When asked about the video by the Associated Press, he responded: “Sasha [Obama’s youngest daughter] asked Mommy about it. She said, ‘Daddy already has a wife’ or something like that. I guess it’s too much to ask, but you do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families.” Oh really? Then explain the utter vulgarity of your last campaign, Mr. President?
Gloria Steinem used to say “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Well, America needs Katie Pavlich’s book like our Revolution needed Common Sense. In Assault and Flattery Pavlich takes a battle axe to the Left’s Feminist mythology. They’ll try to ignore it, but we conservatives must not let them. Nothing hurts the Left more than the truth.