Another Perspective

V Is for Victimhood

Why do feminists hate Valentine's Day?

By 2.13.14

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What most of us call “love” is actually the violent oppression of women, according to radical feminists. The latest trend in feminism’s decades-long war against human nature recently inspired me to write a Valentine’s Day poem:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
The heteronormative patriarchy
Is raping you.

That verse probably won’t make it into any anthologies of feminist poetry, although it is a concise summary of radical feminism’s implacable hostility toward traditional love. And the traditions of Valentine’s Day are part of what feminist Samhita Mukhopadhyay calls the “Romantic-Industrial Complex.” The holiday celebrates “traditional and conventional fantasies about gender and love,” Mukhopadhyay, former executive editor of the blog Feministing.com, wrote two years ago. “It’s what theorists call heteronormativity: the structures and norms that privilege heterosexual monogamy, while simultaneously stigmatizing behavior that deviates from this model.”

As women’s liberation pioneer Ti-Grace Atkinson declared more than 40 years ago, “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice.” Emboldened by the political success of the gay-rights movement, many feminists have gone beyond criticism of “heteronormativity” to declare war on heterosexuality itself. Last month, some conservatives were shocked to discover the nutty lengths to which some have taken this. The anonymous proprietor of the feminist blog Radical Wind declared that “PIV” (i.e., penis-in-vagina, or what most people would simply call “sexual intercourse”) is always rape: “Intercourse/PIV is always rape, plain and simple.... Intercourse is the very means through which men oppress us, from which we are not allowed to escape.... [M]en use women as useful objects and instruments for penetration, and women are dehumanised by this act. It is an act of violence... inherently harmful to women and intentionally so, because it causes pregnancy in women.”

Radical Wind’s anti-PIV screed inspired much online mockery — “Was she dropped on her head?” — but this kind of anti-male, anti-heterosexual thinking is actually commonplace in feminist rhetoric and in the campus Women’s Studies programs that promote such beliefs at colleges and universities. (Mukhopadhyay, for example, majored in Women’s Studies at the State University of New York-Albany and added a master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State.) Radical ideas promoted by academic intellectuals have an influence beyond campus, however, and so we find the blog Femonade describing women’s oppression in terms of their “sex role as f--kholes, breeders and slaves,” a role which “has been forced on us by men.” As the feminist writer makes clear, this violent oppression of women “implicates men as a sexual class” at all times, throughout history, on a global basis.

Such is the logic of radical feminism: All men are complicit in this system of violence they call the patriarchy. All women are victims of patriarchal oppression, and therefore heterosexual intercourse is always rape. Women who think they like having sex with men are actually victims of “brainwashing and mind-control” by men who “deliberately manipulate our responses to increase their control over us,” Radical Wind explains.

This is why feminists have made Valentine’s Day an annual occasion for the performance of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues” on university campuses. One of the most controversial scenes in Ensler’s original play involved a 13-year-old girl experiencing “a kind of heaven” after being sexually molested by an older lesbian: “If it was rape, it was a good rape.” That line was subsequently excised from the script and the girl’s age changed to 16, but the fundamental point of the scene remains: Lesbian sex is never wrong, and introducing young girls to lesbianism is a good thing.

And thus Valentine’s Day — a traditional celebration of love between men and women — is an institution representing violent rape and homophobia. “Heteronormativity and gender roles also rear their ugly heads on Valentine’s Day,” self-described “queer feminist” Sara Alcid explained last year at EverydayFeminism.com, lamenting that “it’s almost impossible to find cards that represent queer couples.… It’s not hard to see why Valentine’s Day is problematic for many feminists. Celebrated traditionally, Valentine’s Day magnifies many of the very systems of domination that we work to critique and dismantle.”

There is no such thing as a happy Valentine’s Day for feminists. They hate men, they hate love, and they hate happiness, too.

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About the Author

Robert Stacy McCain is co-author (with Lynn Vincent) of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party (Nelson Current). He blogs at The Other McCain.