Is there a pattern here? Is sexual complaint being used to bring down left-leaning and Liberal-reformist artists and politicians?
Looks like it. For the tactic works very well ... It is all very unjust; and a question arises from it: Is feminism killing the Left, and why does it seem so keen to do so?
...The Strauss-Kahn Moment has arrived, and the question must be asked: has wowser-feminism gone too far?
He's got a point. The feminism that left-wing men supported to a man back in the 1980s is now being directed at leading figures of the left such as Julian Assange and Strauss-Kahn.
Here's another example of feminism at work. A conference of lefty type atheists in Dublin has led to online bickering after one of the female speakers was politely asked by a man if she'd like to return to his room for a coffee. Admittedly he did ask her in a lift at 4am, which understandably made her feel uncomfortable. But some of the feminist supporters are treating it as if it were a rape scenario which damns all of male-kind, whilst others think that it's a case of feminist overreaction.
The speaker was a woman called Rebecca Watson, who was asked by the unidentified man, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you really interesting and I'd like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?" She declined and he took it no further. But Watson complained that she had been "sexualised" and the lefty atheist leader PZ Myers then used the incident for a spot of male bashing:
There is an odd attitude in our culture that it's acceptable for men to proposition women in curious ways — Rebecca Watson recently experienced this in an elevator in Dublin, and I think this encounter Ophelia Benson had reflects the same attitude: women are lower status persons, and we men, as superior beings, get to ask things of them. Also as liberal, enlightened people, of course, we will graciously accede to their desires, and if they ask us to stop hassling them, we will back off, politely. Isn't that nice of us?
It's not enough. Maybe we should also recognize that applying unwanted pressure, no matter how politely phrased, is inappropriate behavior. Maybe we should recognize that when we interact with equals there are different, expected patterns of behavior that many men casually disregard when meeting with women, and it is those subtle signs that let them know what you think of them that really righteously pisses feminist women off.
Richards Dawkins, another leading figure in this group, then took the opposite view, that being politely asked for a coffee wasn't a serious form of oppression compared to what some women go through overseas. And from there the fight was on.
I've noticed for some time now that left-wing men are starting to turn against feminism. You can see it even in the men's rights movement, where left-wing men continue to support all the old causes but draw the line at feminism which they treat with unyielding hostility.
And I do understand why. After all, why be a left-wing man in the first place? You get treated as being part of an oppressor class and therefore as lacking moral status. The only reason to put up with this is that left-wing politics was supposed to a) free you of traditional responsibilities whilst b) creating a sexual utopia of casual sex.
In the 1960s the Australian left was sexually libertarian. At the time, the theories of the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich were very influential. Reich believed that problems in society were a consequence of the neuroses brought about by sexual repression. Therefore, it was a politically progressive act to cast off "bourgeois" morality. The generation that included Germaine Greer made a serious attempt to practise unrestrained sexuality as a means of changing the world (Greer later admitted it was a failure).
So for a time left-wing men did inhabit a world in which their female counterparts were readily accessible. That's what Bob Ellis is looking back to. But then along came feminism with it's theory of patriarchy in which men supposedly use rape and domestic violence to uphold an unearned privilege. Suddenly casual sex was no longer a way to create a brand new world, but was instead an instrument of control by which men oppressed women. Feminists began to focus on ways in which men might potentially commit acts of date rape. Interacting with such women became a minefield for men.
In such a culture what really is the point of being a left-wing man? You lose moral status for being a white, heterosexual oppressor. And the women you consort with are not only at war with their own femininity, and not only convinced that they are oppressed by men, but they might also unpredictably throw out an accusation that you have assaulted or raped or otherwise oppressed them.
So I understand why left-wing men are starting to abandon their support for feminism. What these men need to consider, though, is whether they are being realistic. They seem to want a society in which they have no binding duties, in which they have easy access to casual sex and which continues to be prosperous and secure. I don't think that's ever going to happen - even if feminism were to be discredited.
A society doesn't prosper by accident and it certainly won't prosper if the average man retreats to a position of no responsibility. That's why left-wing men ought not to have accepted the idea of white men, as a class, being oppressors with no moral standing. That amounts to an abandonment of society, whilst still expecting all the good things of society to continue along as before.