There is a Global War on Women, and Western Feminists are War Profiteers
The political Right at its worst moments wishes to bracket Christianity, go back before it to some pagan “natural” worldview of hierarchy and strife. That’s bad enough.
But the Left does something far worse, and does it all the time: It hijacks and perverts the Christian instinct to identify with victims and diminish their suffering. Then it turns that into an opportunistic strategy for seizing and holding power. The philosopher Rene Girard coined the word to describe this cynical method of weaponizing Christian impulses: Victimism.
The Victimist Apostles Creed
The worldview of Victimists, if they were to fully understand and articulate it, would run as follows:
We are fully aware that as citizens, even privileged ones, we cannot address every situation where human beings suffer. We cannot even avoid making hard choices that might (unavoidably, oops!) inflict additional suffering on some people, somewhere, somehow. As progressives, humanists, and futurists, we must make the proper calculations in order to maximize happiness in the biosphere for all its stakeholders, whatever their species.
We must strategically select the issues where we engage our compassion, to dovetail with those where it maximizes our leverage over the global economy and politics. This is rational altruism at its best. We must use — no, better, recycle! — the suffering around us to help us put our loving hands on the levers of power, so we can use them for Good. As John Lennon once, unforgettably, said, “Imagine all the people.”
That’s what we do here. We imagine people. That’s what it means to be a practicing Victimist.
Weaponizing the Weak
So whatever group the left selects as its strategic target of compassion makes the cut not because of genuine suffering or injustice, but because it has been identified as a potentially lucrative ally — rich in votes, or cash, or opportunities to manipulate and control people emotionally. That’s why leftists can weep real tears over hulking male athletes who wish to mow down girls on the rugby field or pummel them in boxing rings. Then coldly shrug as a majority of unborn black New Yorkers die in the womb.
Now you understand why Western feminists are busy denouncing the slightest protections for unborn children as a “war on women,” and eerily silent on the real, bloody persecution of women around the world. How many residents of Martha’s Vineyard, or writers for women’s magazines, are speaking up about what’s happening in Afghanistan? “What’s happening there?” you might ask, since it’s barely being reported.
More Islamist Than the Taliban
A resurgent ISIS inside Afghanistan has decided that the Taliban isn’t reactionary and misogynist enough, since it’s letting groups like mine (the Vulnerable People Project) protect schools for girls. Especially for girls in the persecuted Hazara minority group. So ISIS is targeting them with bullets and bombs. Read this and weep, from the Muslim news site Al Jazeera:
A suicide bomber has attacked an educational institute in the Afghan capital, killing at least 19 people.
As many as 27 others were wounded in the blast early on Friday, which occurred in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood of western Kabul, a predominantly Shia Muslim area home to the minority Hazara community, according to police spokesman Khalid Zadran.
“Students were preparing for an exam when a suicide bomber struck at this educational centre. Unfortunately, 19 people have been martyred and 27 others wounded,” he said.
Videos posted online and photos published by local media showed bloodied victims being carried away from the scene.
This was far from an isolated incident, alas. In the year since the Former Joe Biden’s catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, there have been at least 18 such attacks on Hazara in eight Afghan provinces, killing at least 222 civilians. Attacks have been aimed at mosques, a maternity hospital, buses and schools.
Where is the Squad? Out Trying to Close Pregnancy Centers
This chaos was unleashed by a direct decision of the Biden administration, and the violence specifically targets the vulnerable and disadvantaged: a disfavored religious minority (Shi’ites) of an unpopular ethnic group (Hazara) and especially women who seek education or advancement. Where is the Democrat “Squad” of righteous feminists on this vicious Islamist backlash targeting women?
Busy trying to enshrine abortion on demand through nine months of pregnancy in 50 states of the Union. They have their priorities, you see.
It’s not that such feminists are “America First.” They’re willing to pump abortion and crackpot gender ideology in foreign countries, too. And they’re equally deaf, dumb and blind to the suffering of women in America, when it doesn’t fit their power-seeking, ideological agenda. Otherwise, why would feminists seek to close down crisis pregnancy centers that offer willing moms free diapers and medical care?
Don’t Trivialize Our First World Problems
This opportunistic cynicism pervades the left as a whole, and feminists in particular. I worked on the award-winning film The Stoning of Soroya M. about the violent oppression of women inside Iran. As I marketed it, I naively commented to Iranian women’s rights activists that Western feminists seemed like a target audience. They sadly shook their heads, and told me they expected absolutely nothing from such people. I didn’t quite believe them, until I pitched the film to a highly ranked Western feminist.
She all but yawned in my face, and said that it wasn’t her policy to highlight foreign atrocities like honor-killing, sex trafficking, or genital mutilation. That might, she said, “trivialize women’s problems here at home,” the First World problems which fixate Western feminists.
Jason Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream. He is a film producer, author, activist and human rights worker.