|Every Man For Himself!|
Walters suggests that "the world has little place for feminist anger." Really? Seriously? This is the new normal. Not new, actually. Checked out Hollywood recently? Or most progressive newsblogs - think The Guardian or the HuffPost?
Okay, sort of new but not at all unexpected. Why?
The reason is found in the contrast between the white/male world view and the minority/feminist world view.
Articles like that don't get written about women and minorities, because they have strong cultures of effective activism, rooted in a strong sense of collective identity. They're bound together by a narrative of shared oppression that lends itself to strong cultures of effective activism. Write something like this about women or PoC and expect a massive backlash - boycotts, protests and so on. The feminist and minority world views are marked by an attitude of reciprocal expectation towards the broader society - they give nothing unless something is given in return and they're not responsive to social cues and signals that frown upon the demanding of your rights because their narrative of historical marginalization immunizes them against that. They would not have ascended to the extent that they have if they'd not looked out for each other and their collective best interests.
Not so with white males. At least since the Reagan and Thatcher years, the white male ethic is highly individualistic, libertarian and moralistic. In their worldview, bad things don't happen to people who don't do immoral or stupid things. So they have less empathy towards their fellows, who they might even regard as competitors. As such, articles attacking white men barely register with them, because they don't even think of themselves as such. White males do not regard one another as equals, and are more responsive to ideas expressed by celebrity leadership than they are to ideas rooted in collective identity and well being.
This lends itself to a weak or absent culture of activism. They wouldn't know how to, nor would they have the inclination to if they wanted to, organize an effective response to an article like this. It would simply never occur to them. This is because white males, working class ones especially, are marked by an attitude of unilateral obligation and duty towards the broader society, despite their ostensibly libertarian pretensions. They're highly responsive to cues and signals telling them that collective identity and standing up for yourselves is something you just don't do. Instead, they expect truth and rightness to naturally win out on their own. Bad ideas will naturally falter. Karma will prevail, God will provide and protect the innocent, wrongdoers will get their comeuppance, etc.
People with histories of being marginalized are not this bloody naive - they know you have to go out and get justice if they want it. So they do. This was once true of white western men too - we defeated fascism. We unionized and voted for the New Deal and the Great Society in America and the Welfare State in Great Britain.
Not so anymore. Since Reagan and Thatcher, we've been only to happy to export our jobs, slash our boss's taxes, disband our unions and repeal regulations that constrained his ability to extract surplus value labor out of us. All for the greater good. How ironic. Our concomitant accession to white male guilt, first on college campuses, later in the broader society, was a parallel development. Although seemingly opposite in their political aspects, white western man's succumbing to political correctness on the one hand and neoconservative capitalism on the other are alike rooted in the same basic underlying cause. Loss of identity and purpose, and compensatory cults of self flagellation, atonement and sacrifice. At this point, the real question is: how would white males respond if their women actually loved them, like they did in their grandfather's time?
There might be some talk of the WaPo losing readership over this, but it won't happen because even those suggesting that would never even participate in, let alone organize, an advertiser boycott or something similar. Hell, by sharing the article without first archiving it, they're actually feeding the monster. Most of them know this, yet do it anyway. In a way, the white male is being devoured by the beast he himself has fed and nurtured, based on his natural political proclivities: a relatively laissez faire capitalist economy wherein media corporations are driven by ad revenue and whatever will be most successful in generating that, even hate speech, is fair game. The deeper question is: would he have it any other way?
We teach others and we teach institutions how it's okay to treat us, especially over longer stretches of time. Noteworthy is the fact that this is what the alt-right has been telling the white male, and what the alt-left has been telling the white male working class, for years now. They've been oblivious. No surprise.
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