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Posted in: Feminism

Published on Aug 24, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Feminist Hawks Unite!


Look, who am I to complain? I've published thirteen books and thousands of articles. My first book, Women and Madness, which came out in 1972, sold nearly three million copies. In the last forty years, my work has been reviewed and I've been interviewed coast to coast on every continent, yes, even in the London Times, the London Guardian, Le Monde, La Stampa, Il Foglio, Spiegel, Politiken, Il Globo, Yediot Aharonot etc. and of course, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star, The San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

A complete unknown, I'm not.

Indeed, the Gray Lady is my hometown newspaper. Beginning in 1972, they started reviewing my every book, (twice on the front page of their Book Review), and they started interviewing me. Not all the reviews were gushing but when the review was "mixed," countless letters appeared, (written both by me and by others), and I was invariably interviewed or asked to submit a piece on the subject. Once, in 1986, I co-ordinated a conference in New York City about women and custody that their reporter covered in two separate articles.

So–how can I complain? I've also published numerous op-ed articles and letters in the New York Times; my goddam photo appeared in their pages in the late 1970s and again, in 1990, I appeared on the cover of their magazine.

How quickly they forget.

This past Sunday, the New York Times magazine published an issue which promoted a new book by one (or two) of their own: Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. It's title: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity: for Women World-wide. I happen to adore Kristof's work. True, he is standing on the shoulders of all my compatriot Second Wave feminists–but that's precisely what he's supposed to do. Also true: He, as well as most other journalists, rarely connect the political dots as we once did and they even more rarely intone our names.

Piffle.

So here's what puzzled me. In their infinite wisdom, The Paper of Record decided that there is only one "feminist hawk" in the entire universe and his name is…David Horowitz of Frontpage magazine. Actually, this is a giant step forward. Usually Horowitz is demonized as a Traitor who left Ramparts (both the magazine he edited and the faux-fighting American left which it represented) in the dust and became a born-again, fire-breathing conservative.

Here, he is credited not only for publishing the work of
"feminist hawks" but for being the only "feminist hawk" they could find to name. The article gets even more peculiar when it presumes to tell us that the "feminist hawk" phenomenon is mainly a "hybrid" invention of the "internet," one that has "borrowed left-wing shibolleths as one way that conservative ideas can make it big in a generally more liberal online social sphere."

C'mon: Prick me, will I not bleed?

The very articles that are mentioned in the New York Times about "female prisoners being raped in Iran…and a possible honor killing by an immigrant in New York" were written by none other than myself. Over the years, to their credit, Frontpage Magazine and Pajamas Media have continuosly published serious feminist articles (many of them by feminists, myself included), which have focused on Islamic gender apartheid and on the failure of Western feminism to stand up to it–even to name it.

Among the writers concerned with women's rights are: Frontpage editor, Jamie Glazov; Tammy Bruce (who was once the President of Los Angeles NOW); Nonie Darwish; Brigitte Gabriel; Professor Donna Hughes; Nancy L. Kobrin; Wafa Sultan; and countless others. I will be adding more names to this list.

I know, I know: Many of the above writers are conservatives, not liberals. Some are new-comers, others not. But, they are all, myself included, "hawkish" on the subject of the war against women and a) will not engage in cultural relativism to avoid being called "racists" or "Islamophobes;" b) will not be held hostage to one of two political parties; c) will not sacrifice Israel, America, the West, Muslim and other Third World dissidents–or the truth in order to remain politically correct and aligned to social, political, and funding networks.

Both David Horowitz and Jamie Glazov gave me a venue six years ago where I could write about dozens of issues relevant to women's freedom, and to the survival of an imperfect but not yet barbaric West. More than two years ago, Pajamas Media gave me a home where I now publish Chesler Chronicles.

And, my feminism came of age circa 1967–maybe it really came of age in 1961 when I lived in Kabul, Afghanistan. My feminism has nothing to do with the internet. Or with electoral politics. Or with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Obama.

How, dear reader, did I ever fall afoul of the New York Times? What daring deeds did I commit that, with the exception of a letter or two, led to my utter "disappearance" in their pages? That is a long story, meant for another day. Hint: Try exposing sexism among feminist leaders, then expose anti-Semitism both among western intellectuals and jihadists, and top all that by exposing an utter failure of principle and nerve among western progressives in terms of human rights in the Islamic world–and see where that lands you on the left-liberal radar.

I admit it: I did all that in my last three books: Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, (2002) The New Anti-Semitism, (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom. (2005).

I regret nothing.

Suffice it to say: We live in an era in which propaganda increasingly passes for balanced information; an era in which ever-new Gulags and the need for internet and small press samizdat have been created even amidst the most democratic and most massive information-technology ever created.

Yes, hardcopy media is in free fall. Still, The New York Times and its counterparts remain stern and wily gate keepers of culture. Although there are exception, no author can succeed (critically and commercially) without some kind of recognition in their pages. Yes, even though their record of covering the Holocaust-in-process left everything to be desired; even though they are losing money and readers; they still hold sway. And let me be clear: I still read them religiously. It is usually a painful task, but it is also sometimes an unexpected joy.

But, with a heavy heart, I say: Remember Yale University Press's surrender to radical Islamism. Well, I do not recall seeing the Danish Mohammed cartoons reproduced in the pages of the New York Times. Do you?

So, I wrote to Sister David Horowitz to congratulate him. Among other things, I said:

"They praise you (but not Jamie, who has written many, many pieces about the abuse of women) in a back-handed kind of way, conceding that Frontpage has certainly covered the feminist waterfront, but attribute your success to…the internet! Not to your conviction or principle."

David immediately responded. He said "I think the term 'feminist hawk' is a gift and you should embrace it. Think about it. If you're a feminist dove, you're a feminine weak sister — not really a feminist. "

Well, he is absolutely right.

Conservatives: Don't gloat too soon. For starters: The hardcopy version of Commentary Magazine publishes very few women (except as novelists, short story writers, or book reviewers). Misogyny is well ensconced on both the hard, anti-Hillary left and the hard anti-feminist right. Stay tuned.


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