In one of the most puerile outbursts of imbecilic male privilege in recent memory, old male oil industry hack, Rex Murphy, felt it was necessary to give his opinion on the "feminist movement" in The National Post, much to the glee of Men's Rights Activists and reactionary dimwits everywhere.
Murphy, who confuses pontificating and using "big words" with actually saying anything of any meaning, penned a piece in which he, being the expert on the women's movement that he is, somehow makes it out as if the actions of a handful of famous women and a story out of France form the basis of feminist activism today.
This is an old and, despite his pathetic attempts at fancy wording, particularly sad and intellectually idiotic and dishonest "critique" of the feminist movement that reflects a common line of attack used by right wing (and sometimes liberal) useful idiots to denounce radicalism of any kind. They will isolate and decontextualize manifestations and demands of human rights movements that they, basking in their privilege, see as somehow flippant and irrelevant to allegedly prove that the entire movement is all about these supposedly minor issues that they do not think matter.
First, why, honestly, would anyone care what an old white wealthy male like Rex Murphy has to say about feminism? If there was ever an example of someone with a vested interest in talking about feminism in ways that would reflect his completely reactionary views on the world and his affinity for Fifties style stupidity disguised as the "folksy" musing of a Maritime pseudo-intellectual, it is Rex Murphy.
But second, and far more importantly, he is totally wrong.
Murphy, as do all of feminism's reactionary (and sometimes liberal) opponents, acts as if the "privileged" and "western" feminist movement is somehow fixated on "minor" issues like toys or symbolic fights instead of:
...the trivialities of Boko Haram, the kidnapping and sale of young girls by demented fanatics, the horrid acid attacks on school girls from the frothing Taliban and their ilk, and the sundry brutalities and mass rapes by the world’s real women haters.
This tired and absurd attempt to claim that somehow women's issues do not exist here in "enlightened" Canada and that feminists here simply don't get "how good women have it", especially in the year of Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, Ray Rice, Dalhousie University and so many other manifestations of our culture of misogyny, is beyond offensive. These examples, of course, do not include the countless -- literally millions -- of cases of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence that do not make the news. This does not include the fact that poverty is a gendered issue. This does not include the realities of street harrasment, objectification and porn culture. One could go on.
Guess what Rex! This, if you had bothered at all to listen, is actually what feminists are actually organizing about!
One does not have to look to Africa and Afghanistan for rape, violence against women and a pervasive culture of male entitlement that facilitates abuse. In fact, in the case of Rex Murphy he would only need to look at the "tax-payer" funded institution that pays his salary. They did a bang up job without the Taliban.
One could, rather easily, point out that rape culture and violence against women is very real right here and that this is easily proven. One could point out that feminists have been fighting on a vast array of issues that are only unknown to Rex because he is an old white guy who really doesn't care unless he can be smug about himself and his mental masturbation. One could point out that by trying to pretend that rape, violence against women and the trafficking and exploitation of women and girls is somehow confined to Africa and the Middle East he is not only very wrong but is reflecting appallingly racist myths.
But, in a way, why bother? Why play this game the right and its entitled twits play? This absurd reductionist stupidity that one could so easily turn back on them and ask, for example, why anyone would talk about the irrelevant nonsense that Murphy wastes so much time on on his radio show when, you know, something so much worse is happening somewhere else!
We need to simply call it out for what it is.
Rex Murphy could not really care less about what Boko Haram and the Taliban are doing other than to use their actions, with no sense of the sick irony of this, to diminish and attack the feminist movement in Canada and the West or he would not make these ludicrously false analogies.
He is a right wing anti-feminist ideologue who fits rather nicely, by his simplistic attacks on the women's movement and feminism, into a world view entirely akin to those he claims to oppose.
If he wants to know what a portrait of a Canadian anti-feminist radical militant looks like, he need only look in the mirror.