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Is the Conservative Media Really Anti-Feminist? A Pioneer Dissident Speaks Out

Posted on November 30 2010 9:00 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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Recently, a good feminist—yes they do exist–someone who has fought in the trenches for years on behalf of battered and raped women—implored me to stop publishing at this site. She said that I was the only “real,” pioneer feminist left standing who had continued to engage in the most important battles which humanity now faces. However, she was getting flack when she sent my pieces around precisely because my work is being published on conservative websites and by someone like David Horowitz.

Right there, that should have made her wonder why allegedly “feminist” or liberal websites were neither publishing nor even linking to my work and why allegedly “conservative” (and therefore presumably anti-feminist) venues have embraced that work.

She wrote (and I am paraphrasing):

I want your followers to grow. We need your voice. But how can this happen if you publish in a place that attacks feminists non-stop in sarcastic and scornful ways and whose politics are anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-gay marriage, anti-health care for the poor, and pro-war, etc.?  How can you expect feminists to listen to you if you publish at a site that attacks Gloria Steinem so disrespectfully?

Ah—so the sexist scorn dumped on every single feminist conservative or feminist Republican—and on Secretary of State Clinton–by leftists, liberals, and socialist feminists does not matter; nor does Steinem’s support for both Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Does the shoe pinch only when it is on your own foot?

I was once friendly with Steinem and I know where all the bodies are buried. She is, essentially, a “nice” woman who has been tireless in her efforts to … what can I say? Well, the main thing I have to say about Steinem-the-icon is that she failed the historical opportunity she had, that she did not have the same kind of stern and determined character that infused our First Wave suffragist grandmothers. She liked to party too much—and I am also talking about the kind of person who chooses to function as a Democratic Party operative as opposed to fomenting a bit more of a high-risk revolution.

And thus, I decided to tell this true-blue feminist and others like her–who may lack the courage to stand up to the totalitarian thought police—the story of how I began to publish at FrontPage Magazine. It is an important and instructive story.

The Second Wave feminist leadership, (those who were still left and who had not been driven away, dropped out, became old, sick, or died), and their younger acolytes began to get nervous—very nervous—when I researched and published a book about woman’s internalized sexism.

It did not help matters that, in the past, I also opposed pornography, prostitution, and the selective feminist prosecution of only certain men for sexual harassment (white men, conservative men of any color) and rape, but not other men (men of color, men of color in positions of power, Democratic presidents). These tensions were ongoing among feminist leaders from the mid to late 1970s on, and they constituted a serious private controversy between Steinem and myself.

And then I committed an ultimate series of unforgivable Thought Crimes. I publicly stood up for America, for Israel, and for the West—and I began exposing Islamic gender and religious apartheid and Islamic jihad. This included exposing the Muslim hatred, not only of Israel, but of Jews and of other “infidels.”

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