Yiannopoulos, Trump and toxic masculinity

Hand with clenched fist - tattooed hate

In the past day Milo Yiannopoulos has had a speaking invitation to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) withdrawn, had a book contract cancelled and resigned from Breitbart, the media outlet that boosted him to fame.

Why now when Yiannopoulos has long been a racist, misogynist bully and provocateur? It happened because Yiannopoulos was found to have praised pederasty.

Conservatives embraced Yiannopoulos’ toxic masculinity. They dropped him not because he went too far, but because his views on pederasty threatened their masculinity.

Conservatives were willing to tolerate racism, sexism and brutality but drew the line at child sexual abuse.

Not exactly.

Conservatives embraced Yiannopoulos’ toxic masculinity, just as they embrace the toxic masculinity of Trump. They dropped him not because he went too far, but because his views on pederasty threatened their masculinity.

According to Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post ascribes Yiannopoulos’ embrace by conservatives as a result of his ability to generate liberal rage:

Yiannopoulos carved a profile for himself in the Republican Party not because he’s particularly conservative — he eschewed that term as recently as this weekend on Bill Maher’s show — nor because he offers a cogent political point of view or new ideas. He earned his speaking slot at CPAC because he pisses people off — liberal people. And that was apparently good enough.”

Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast offers his perspective on why conservatives fell for Yiannopoulos:

The invitation to speak at CPAC tells you all you need to know about the state of American conservatism and why it was so easily co-opted by Trumpism… Once arguably too wonky and prudish, today’s conservatism, judging by CPAC’s invited speakers, is increasingly crude, vulgar, and lowbrow.

Both are right: conservatives love to provoke liberal rage and conservatives are increasingly crude, vulgar and lowbrow. Both are the result of a toxic masculinity that has capture the Republican party.

What is toxic masculinity?

According to Wikipedia:

Toxic masculinity is a cultural perspective held by individuals which emphasizes the ideology and importance of men maintaining a dominant, aggressive, unemotional and sexually aggressive attitude, both collectively and as individuals…

I would argue that toxic masculinity is a reaction to fear of emasculation and that fear of emasculation is the driving principle behind the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency.

Trump’s political base is comprised in large part of white, under-educated, under-employed men. They are little different than their fathers and grandfathers, but whereas their fathers and grandfathers were admired as high wage earning providers, superior to others — indeed supreme — on the basis of race and gender, they feel like poor, unskilled failures. It’s hardly surprising that they feel emasculated by their loss of status and income.

Both Trump and Yiannopoulos respond to this fear of emasculation with a vow to return to toxic masculinity. That’s why Yiannopoulos was embraced for his racism, misogyny and bullying. That’s why it doesn’t matter that Trump is a pathological liar, incompetent and a narcissist. When Trump claims he is going to make American great again what his supporters hear (and what he means) is that he is going to make toxic masculinity supreme again.

Instead of hurting him with supporters, a tape of Trump boasting about “grabbing her by the pussy” didn’t dent his popularity and may have even increased it. Unbridled sexual aggression is an important part of toxic masculinity. Trump supporters feel emasculated by gender equality, by the gains of women within the workplace, by the fact that many women are no longer dependent on and forced to accept the abuse of male partners. “Grab her by the pussy” calms their fears about their own masculinity.

Unbridled sexual aggression by men against women is fine, but unbridled sexual aggression against male children by older men is most definitely not. These are people who are deeply uncomfortable about homosexuality and the unjustified fear of predation that goes with it. Heterosexuals are far more likely to be predators than homosexuals but the truth is irrelevant to those who suffer from fears about their own masculinity.

They ground their teeth and tolerated Yiannopoulos’ homosexuality and flamboyance because he was so much more threatening to liberals than to conservatives. But they cannot possibly tolerate his embrace of pederasty because it confirms their deepest fears.

Yiannopoulos didn’t go too far with his comments on pederasty, he went off script entirely.

Which brings us back to Trump, a sexual predator of women who has shown no predilection for abusing men. Liberals, journalists, just about anyone with any affinity for the truth has been gob-smacked by Trump’s utter incompetence and the fact that his supporters simply don’t care.

That’s because in every possible way — projecting a cartoon version of dominance, not backing down but doubling down when caught in a lie, devising drastic punishments for vulnerable immigrants, tolerating racism and anti-Semitism, supporting unrestricted gun rights and promoting violence and spewing threats — he’s dishing up the toxic masculinity that reassures his followers.

They trust him because he believes what they believe:

Trump can make dominant, aggressive, predatory masculinity great again.

  • fishcake

    Yes, my white boyfriend says other white people say racist things often, assuming that he agrees.
    Funny that I don’t really ever hear it, as a WOC, just feel it…

    • Cody

      Ya you aren’t imagining things and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • MaineJen

    Yes, white people do have a problem with racism. It’s subtle in many cases, but it’s there…

  • Pck

    Lordy Lordy Lordy, Trump is a racist, Milo is a racist, Pck is a racist and now dr Amy is a racist. What is the world coming to.

    And how about that Bill Maher – how is the looney left going to spin that one?

  • An Actual Attorney

    I’m done. I have been drawn to this site for years because of the amazing community of commenters. I’ve enjoyed the science, and the no bullshit allowed attitude.

    Amy, I’ve accepted that your combativeness is often a chosen persona to address the woo that hurts and kills babies and mothers. But the racist attitudes that you have displayed in these comments,and your unwillingness to even entertain the idea that in this sphere, where you are not am expert,you might humbly learn anything through socratic questioning, is just too much.

    I hope, maybe, Amy, you at least spend some time on the website of the Harvard Implicit Bias Project. You could start to learn.

    But I’m not sticking around to read the bs on the way.

    I wish all the commenters luck and healing and strength. And some of you have figured out my real name, and so I’ll see you on twitter.

    • Blah blah blah another internet denizen rage quits over some perceived moral failing.

  • fiftyfifty1

    So when Gay distanced herself from Milo Y it was censorship, but a month later when S&S does the same it’s “not a free speech issue”.

    I think Laurie Penny analyzes that way of thinking well:

    “The hypocrisy is clarion-clear: This was never, in fact, about free speech at all. It was about making it OK to say racist, sexist, transphobic, and xenophobic things, about tolerating the public expression of those views right up to the point where it becomes financially unwise to do so. “

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      • fiftyfifty1

        Ah yes, the same old “if you don’t feed the trolls, they can’t hurt you” scolding from somebody privileged enough to be safe from any real harm.

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/02/21/2005-just-called-i-think-it-was-a-wrong-number/

        • He throws bloody red meat to assholes, and thrives on their approval.
          This quote reminds of why I stopped reading PZ because it describes his style as well. He oversimplifies or misrepresesents an issue to give his readership a villain to go after.

          Part of Milo’s success is due to his ability to provoke reactions from his targets. His run ins with Kate Smurthwaite, Emily Grossman and Leslie Jones all contributed greatly to his infamy. Had they not responded to his juvenile antics, he would have been far less successful.
          I’m not arguing that trolling is not harmful, but ignoring them is the only realistic option.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I’m not arguing that trolling is not harmful, but ignoring them is the only realistic option”

            How are you so sure it’s the only option? When I was young, “Ignore the abuse, responding only makes it worse” was the standard advice given to children regarding bullies and women regarding harassment on the streets.Turns out it wasn’t true and the advice has changed.

  • MaineJen

    I wonder if Trump’s (to me) inexplicable popularity among white female voters (53%! WTF, ladies?) had anything to do with toxic masculinity? Are we looking at the “I don’t need feminism because…” crowd, or what?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Middle age white women have suffered a great deal in the past decade and that’s reflected in an increased mortality rate due to suicide and drug abuse. So many burdens fell on them when blue collar jobs disappeared and the meth and opioid epidemics got underway. I suspect that many of these women — who would also put themselves in the “I don’t need feminism crowd” — see what the economic dislocation has done to their spouses and partners and want to bolster their self esteem in whatever way possible. I think a lot of them held their noses and voted for Trump with the hope that he could create good paying jobs for their spouses.

      • Lena

        White women who voted for Trump are not victims. They did not hold there noses to vote for him…they enthusiastically supported his racism and xenophobia.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Obviously I don’t know every white female Trump voter, but I would agree with you about the ones I do know. They seemed pretty happily enthusiastic. Maybe not about the pussy grabbing, but about the wall and anti-muslim and anti-Black Lives Matter.

          • LaMont

            Yeah, the victim narrative isn’t borne out by the stats as far as I’ve seen – “bad times” are certainly *part* of why people are angry enough to vote Trump, but I know plenty of well-off white women who are straight-up pocketbook conservatives willing to sell out anyone else to save a buck on taxes. Actual racists, Christian conservatives, etc. At the very least, “white women have it bad” cannot be the main explanation because non-white women have it way worse and still managed to vote for Hillary in astronomical numbers. White women voted for Trump because they are largely disconnected from grassroots civil rights movements, isolated as they are in white bubbles. It may be part of the phenomenon but doesn’t distinguish well enough between the women of color who voted to trash Trump and the white women who welcomed him with open arms.

          • MaineJen

            I agree…the victim explanation may account for a small percentage of unenthusiastic Trump voters, but I think a much larger percentage of white women fall into the “good christian fiscal conservative” category…I mean, I get that it’s a pain to have to pay for health insurance if you make too much to qualify for the subsidies, but I can’t see it justifying voting for someone like Trump unless, deep down, you really are okay with racism and sexism. Or at least willing to turn a blind eye.

            Yeah. I have no sympathy left.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I think a much larger percentage of white women fall into the “good christian fiscal conservative” category.

            White evangelicals went 83% for Trump. Because apparently, racism, sexism, vulgarity, groping women and aldutery are excusable as long as you pay lip-service toward anti-abortion, and that overall is more important than actual, Methodism-in-action.

            Trump of course doesn’t give one rat’s ass about abortion, or any of the crap of the evangelicals. He has said in the past he is pro-choice. The only reason he cares about who he is putting on the supreme court is to appease his supporters. He doesn’t give a shit about it. But because he doesn’t give a shit, he doesn’t care if he puts an anti-abortion judge on the court, and the evangelicals lapped it up.

            Of course, abortion is not actually explicitly mentioned in the bible, and you have to provide your own interpretation to make it wrong. Meanwhile, adultery is explicitly said to be wrong (hey, it’s one of those ten commandments that christians keep wanting to post all over the place). So there’s the irony: someone who is a known adulterer, and therefore clearly violates the teachings of the bible, is acceptable to religiousites, whereas someone who considers abortion a personal choice, which does not actually contradict anything explicitly in the bible, is unacceptable.

          • MaineJen

            Christians, of course, will point out the fact that ‘god often uses imperfect messengers,’ like King David for example…it’s like you can excuse basically anything if it gets you what you want in the end.

            One of the many, many, many….countless reasons I abandoned religion.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Yeah, a middle school friend of mine was praising Jesus for Mango Madness’s win. Definitely one of her blinder spots. (I stay casual friends and avoid the topic because she and her family were really good to us when we were teens)

          • maidmarian555

            From what I can gather, the Americans in my Mum’s Jesus cult voted for Trump because they seem to think he’s going to bring about the end of days. Seeing as they’re all (obviously) going to be saved, they’re quite keen on what they see as the inevitable apocalypse. They don’t care about what the consequences are for other ‘sinners’ as we’re all going to die in a pit of fiery damnation anyway. Lovely people.

          • Roadstergal

            I keep having reason to post this:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/12/14/personal-character-public-figures/
            The evangelicals were already primed to no longer care about the ‘personal virtue’ of the president when Obama demonstrated every last shred of ‘personal virtue’ they had previously professed to care about.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’m not sure. If, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio had been nominated instead of Trump, would they still be claiming that personal virtue doesn’t matter?

            Fred reports a change from 2011 to 2016. But what was it in 2014?

            The purity of Obama may be the reason, but that blog post doesn’t show it.

          • Roadstergal

            “If, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio had been nominated instead of Trump, would they still be claiming that personal virtue doesn’t matter?”

            No. But they were primed, already, to put politics over their stated ‘virtue’ by Obama. It shows that any endorsement of Cruz or Rubio by virtue of their ‘personal virtue’ would have been disingenuous politics.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It shows that any endorsement of Cruz or Rubio by virtue of their ‘personal virtue’ would have been disingenuous politics

            Obviously, but I don’t think that is a recent development. They forgave Reagan for his infidelity and racism, but for Bill Clinton is was awful. GHW Bush called out Michael Dukakis for lack of military service, but John Kerry was a decorated war veteran and they attacked him.

            The support for personal virtue in 2011 was already disingenuous.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s a good point. If evangelicals really meant it, they would have stuck with Jimmy Carter.

          • StephanieA

            You perfectly described the white women voters I know. My sister voted Trump, because she has grown up privileged and lives in her own little bubble, completely oblivious to the fact that most people aren’t born into the circumstances she was. Many women I know voted Trump because he was the Republican candidate, and my state always goes red. It was kind of funny listening to my Christian friends’ attempts to justify Trump’s misogyny and racism. They will vote republican no matter who the candidate is.

          • Roadstergal

            Some were even enthusiastic about the pussy-grabbing. TDS showed footage from rallies with women with signs demonstrating enthusiasm for Trump grabbing their pussies.

            (Which rather misses the point. Saying you want your pussy grabbed is CONSENT, which is what Trump was explicitly rejecting.)

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          A person can be a victim in one setting and a perpetrator in another.

          • Lena

            And yet you choose to focus on white women’s victimhood instead of their complicity in oppression.

            I can’t believe I’ve been reading a blog of such blatant racist. My god.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Like I said, you owe me an apology for a vicious slur.

          • Lena

            Ah, you’re on of those people who think that calling someone a racist is a worse offense that saying or doing something racist. Of course.

            To paraphrase Ana Navarro: Oh, you think it’s a vicious slur? Well then I’ll say it in two languages–eres una racista. You are a racist.

            You think “racist” is slur…Jesus Fucking Christ. Go ahead and keep showing your ass.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    They dropped him not because he went too far, but because his views on pederasty threatened their masculinity.

    QFT. It’s fine to be publicly flippant about sexually assaulting or raping women. Shock jocks and other dim-witted self-styled provocateurs made that clear long before Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” tape. And, hell, being flippant about sexually assaulting or raping a 13-year-old girl would probably have been fine too. After all, Trump is alleged to have actually raped a 13-year-old girl, not just talked about it and we know how consequential that ended up being. (It wasn’t even widely covered in media. The statue of limitations had passed for a criminal case and the civil case was dropped because the now-adult victim was receiving so many threats.) But a 13-year-old boy? That’s just gay. Violence is fine, gay is not. I guess Milo thought that he could be the token gay hero of the Right and it worked for a while. But, as anyone could have told him, they were bound to ditch him eventually. Not because he believes that sexual violence and exploitation are just fine but because he thinks a that a man enacting those things upon a child of the same sex, rather than a woman or a girl, is just plain icky.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      What’s the line? Don’t get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy?

      Case in point…

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Today’s decision to role back protections for transgender students is another sop to those suffering from toxic masculinity. Transgender students in bathrooms hurt no one and nothing except the oh so fragile masculinity of Trump supporters.

  • Lena

    Not concerned about his free speech this time, Amy?

    I wonder why that is…

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Many book contracts have clauses that allow the publisher to withdraw the contract if the author violates them. Promoting illegal activity can be one of those clauses. That’s not a free speech issue.

      • Lena

        I can’t tell if you’re THAT cynical or just lacking in self-awareness, because you were pissed as hell that a woman of color decided to exercise her first amendment rights in responding to her publisher collaborating with a misogynistic racist transphobe, and yet you have the nerve to go on about how nobody had a problem with this misogynist racist transphobe until it became known that he’s fine with pederasty.

        Whiteness–it’s a hell of a drug.

        • I completely disagreed with Dr. Amy about the book publishing, free speech thing. I don’t think this article is claiming that no one had a problem with the troll before, though. Just that conservatives didn’t have a problem with him before the pederasty comments. Obviously a lot of people had issues with him and his views long before this most recent interview, including Roxane Gay.

          • Lena

            My point is that Amy clearly didn’t have all the much of a problem with him before this, considering all her outrage was reserved for Roxane Gay. And yet she cynically writes this post as if she wasn’t damn well in that category, in what is…what even is this? White-cis-het-splaining?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I don’t feel any different about him than I felt before. I am writing about the change in his erstwhile supporters feelings, not my own.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I think Lena’s point may be that you cried “censorship” when Roxane Gay pulled *her own* book from S&S. You said it would have a chilling effect, be a slippery slope and that it was wrong to take away his forum. But now S&S has pulled *his* book and yet it’s somehow not censorship because.. total speculation about the existence of clauses that may make it legal for S&S to do what they did, ignoring that it was 100% legal the entire time for Gay to do what she did.
            My guess is that you would also criticize the Berkeley students who tried to get his speaking arrangement pulled. But now the CPAC actually HAS pulled him from a speaking arrangement, you’re not taking them to task. Why the double standard?
            Keep in mind that Milo Y hasn’t even done anything illegal in this case. I went and watched these interviews. He says he enjoyed having sex with a priest when he was a teen, but in the end says he believes the age of consent should still be what it is. If this is an attempt to get his followers to have sex with underage boys, it’s pretty subtle, unlike where he got all his followers to threaten Leslie Jones with rape.

          • Thank you. I was trying to put my finger on why it felt off and couldn’t put it into words.

          • MaineJen

            1. Not getting your book published / getting your speaking engagement canceled is NOT censorship. No one is stopping MY from spouting his hateful rhetoric, but no one is obligated to provide him with a forum, either.

            2. I don’t think we should assume that Dr. Amy was “okay” with his rhetoric, even when she was arguing that it should be provided with a forum (which I don’t agree with, because I don’t agree that publishing houses are common carriers). There isn’t space on any blog to publicly denounce each and every hate-speaker in the US.

            3. The ‘white women are victims’ argument is wearing very, very thin…especially in the face of the blatant racism/transphobia/homophobia/antisemitism coming from the current administration. I have no sympathy left. “That’s how I was raised” is no longer an excuse I’m accepting.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I find his initials amusing. If anyone is selfish enough to deserve MY for initials, he’s a good choice. So’s the frat boy in chief, of course.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            side note pedantry: His actual given name is Milo Hanrahan, he was born and raised in Kent. He started using his Greek grandmother’s maiden name as an adult.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Even better! lol

          • Um, I’m agreeing with you and fiftyfifty1. I don’t think Dr. Amy was okay with his rhetoric, but I also think that Roxane Gay had every right to pull her book and that Milo Y was in no way, shape, or form having his free speech impeded by her actions- I applaud them as standing up for what’s right even at cost to herself.

            I am a pretty big proponent of intersectionality, so while I think white women can be victims, and often are, they are definitely not the worst hurt and in the world of triage, shouldn’t be a priority.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            And what about the African Americans and Latinos who voted for Trump?They put him over the top. How does that fit into the narrative of white people forcing Trump on everyone else?

          • There weren’t very many of them, and no, they didn’t put him over the top. Lack of voter turnout among minorities certainly helped, but it was white Christian men and women without college educations in Rust Belt states that put Trump over the top. You really don’t get to blame the 8% of African Americans and 29% of Hispanics who voted for Trump, when 58% of whites voted for Trump (85% of white evangelicals). Trump is white people’s fault, and I say that as a white woman.

            http://www.businessinsider.com/exit-polls-who-voted-for-trump-clinton-2016-11/#more-young-people-voted-for-clinton-but-that-bloc-did-not-include-as-many-voters-as-those-over-40-who-as-a-majority-voted-for-trump-2

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Had they turned out as they did for Obama and had no African Americans of Latinos voted for him, he would have lost.

            I’m not placing the blame on them; I’m pointing out that the narrative of whites forcing Trump on everyone else inaccurate. There are many other issues at work here besides race.

          • And I’m disagreeing with you. It is absolutely not fair to blame Trump on groups of people who, overall, had nothing to do with his rise. Race and racism are an integral part of Trump’s rise to power and we do no one any favors when we try to whitewash this.

            Is it fair to blame Clinton that she didn’t generate the enthusiasm that led to the turnout that elected Obama? I think not. Failing to stop the rise of a fascist is not at all the same as enabling or voting for that fascist- the blame really isn’t spread out on this one. It’s white people’s fault. It was white people’s votes that sent Trump to the White House.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The point is that the issue is complicated, like all serious problems. Accusing people of racism may feel good, but it isn’t true sometimes and it does nothing to address the problems of the people in need.

          • The issue is complicated, but racism is still a very huge part of the problem, and you haven’t acknowledged that. You’ve deflected, tried to blame minority groups, and generally not behaved well in this particular thread. Why is it so hard to admit that white people, as a general group, have a problem?
            I have not accused you of racism. I think the accusations have validity, though- one can have racist ideas, even unconsciously, and not “be a racist”. We are in the US and we are both white, upper middle class women- the idea that we wouldn’t be at least a little bit racist is actually fairly absurd. I think you’re being taken aback by some of your unconscious biases surfacing and then being called on it.
            So the real question is, where do you go from here? Do you acknowledge, think about, and try to change your biases? Or do you continue to insist that race has nothing to do with it when you get angry at a black woman for breaking a contract but don’t get mad at a publishing house for doing the same thing?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Because white people “as a general group” don’t have a problem with racism. They were willing to vote for a black man as president — twice — but not a white woman.

            If you think that criticizing a black woman is racism, then we have a problem but not with me.

          • Amy

            Except they weren’t. Obama won 43% of whites in 2008 and 39% of whites in 2012.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I don’t want this to get lost:

            DrAmy

            Because white people “as a general group” don’t have a problem with racism. They were willing to vote for a black man as president — twice — but not a white woman.

            Amy

            Except they weren’t. Obama won 43% of whites in 2008 and 39% of whites in 2012.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tRhC_QTpfY

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            43% means that a substantial proportion of white people were willing to vote for a black man. That’s my point.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            A 57-43 split in an election is a massive landslide. A true one (not a Trumpian version). In fact, it’s the same proportion that Clinton got, right? 42%?

            So 43% is a “substantial proportion of white people” but 42% is “not voting for a white woman.”

            You are blathering bullshit. You really are talking in circles here.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            How exactly is this discussion accomplishing anything other than allowing the sanctimonious feel even more self-righteous?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Holy smokes, Amy, you have a ton of FRIENDS here calling you out. You get caught in a Trumpian case of “alternative facts,” aka made-up bullshit. And your response is to call us sanctimonious?

            No, this discussion won’t accomplish anything so long as you refuse to consider what everyone is saying.

            We aren’t trolls here. We are your friends, and your supporters, and we expect better from you. We know you aren’t perfect and there have been things in the past where you have said some ugly things, but in those cases, you ultimately acknowledged your biases and moved on. Listen to what everyone is telling you here, instead of dismissing it as self-righteousness. That’s what the trolls do when you show them they are wrong. After all these years, do you have so little respect for us?

            You’re better than that. At least, we’d like to think so.

          • Who?

            Feature comment.

            Dr T, big fan. But you’re just wrong on this. If what Roxanne Gay did was censorship (it wasn’t, btw) then so is what S&S did.

            And as an outsider, the fetishisation of free speech is creepy.

          • I think that criticizing a black woman but not a corporation most likely run by white men for the same action is potentially problematic. You’ve lost a bit of context in the arguments here.

            Obama’s election is not proof that white people don’t have a racism problem. His election is proof that an exceptional black man is not so held back by racism that he can’t succeed, and he faced a LOT of racism during the campaign and his time in office.

            Look, 58% of white people in the US voted for a man who is unquestionably racist, sexist, and generally omnibigoted. Even if they aren’t personally racist (something that is definitely possible), they just can’t be arsed to consider that a character flaw so severe as to render someone unfit for office. That’s a problem.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            So does that mean I can criticize you for anti-Semitism since I’m Jewish?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Has Feminerd applied a different standard to evaluating your behavior than for someone else (much less someone who isn’t Jewish)?

            You seem to be not understanding the criticism. It’s not just that you criticized Gay for her actions, but that you don’t criticize S&S, for example, for doing the same thing. The question being asked is, what’s the difference? You have tried a lot of special pleading, but it’s not holding up all that well.

            It’s kind of like the Mother Theresa example. What would you call someone who claims that pain is a gift from God and withholds medication as a result?

            If it’s a midwife treating (predominantly) privileged white women, you are appalled. But when it’s MT treating Indians, you approve.

            What’s the difference, Amy?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No, she assumed that when I criticized Roxane Gay I was criticizing her for her race instead of her actions.

          • No, I actually wondered why what Roxane Gay did was so much worse than what S&S did. As I have repeatedly said.

          • I would be a rare breed of self-hating Jew if so. Have you seen any evidence that I, personally, am anti-Semitic?

            I really don’t even know where that question is coming from, honestly. I’m asking you why you think white people as a group don’t have a racism problem, when the available evidence suggests otherwise. I’m asking why you seem to have different standards for Roxane Gay and S&S- what is the determining factor on why you’re upset with Gay but not S&S?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            It’s because you and others injected race into the discussion and insinuated that my criticism of Gay shows that I am a racist. If criticizing someone who is black is a sign of racism then criticizing someone who is Jewish must be anti-Semitism, right?

          • Well if it isn’t that, what is it? We have asked and asked and asked, and you haven’t responded even a little bit. I was much more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt before I saw your deflections and anger at Lena. We didn’t inject race into this discussion. It was always there, it’s just one of the privileges of whiteness to get to ignore it most of the time.

            No one thinks you have some racist ideas because you criticized a black woman. People are wondering about it because you criticized a black woman for doing something that you then defended when a corporation did it. If it’s not about race, what is it about, Dr. Amy?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand: there’s a difference between an author and a corporation and that difference has nothing to do with the race of either one. We can disagree on whether an author should or should not do what Gay did, but to try to make it an issue of race is a vicious response to an argument about how to handle offensive speech.

            It’s also intellectually lazy.

          • Wouldn’t a corporation have a larger responsibility to abide by their contracts? Wouldn’t breaking a contract be of bigger issue, and much larger free speech concerns, when done by a corporate entity with significant power and money as opposed to when an individual breaks a contract? Why do you think what Roxane Gay did is worse than what S&S did?

            Why is there the double standard, Dr. Amy? Just saying “authors should keep their contracts but corporations don’t have to” isn’t nearly enough.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Who says they broke the contract? He may have violated terms of the contract. Unless you are already a successful author, book contracts are unbelievably one-sided. Basically the author has to deliver but the publisher has all sorts of outs.

            Also, my argument about Gay has nothing to do with her contract. It’s all about how to handle offensive speech. I’m uncomfortable with handling offensive speech by pressuring publishing companies because a lot of stuff I believe — including racial equality, feminism, gay rights, transgender rights — is considered offensive speech by those on the Right.

            My standard is whether liberals would be comfortable with someone on the Right using marketing power to suppress publication of left wing speech they consider offensive. If we would — and I certainly would be very upset at the idea of Right wing authors using market power to interfere with the publication of Left wing authors —then we shouldn’t condone doing it to them.

          • So I want to figure this out. When an author harms no one but herself by breaking a contract in order to make an ethical, moral stand, you don’t agree with it. But when a publisher, on what is likely a very flimsy legal context or none at all, breaks a contract and refuses to publish a book, you’re okay with that? Even though the publisher has significantly more power than any author, and even though the author hurts herself to make a point and the publisher harms another? Even though if there is any impact on free speech by either action, it’s the publisher that is infringing far more than the author?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I didn’t say any of that. I feel like I’m having one of those arguments with a lactivist who insists that just because I don’t think breastmilk has massive benefits then I must be anti-breastfeeding. I criticized the action of a black woman and you (and others) insist that I must be anti-black women.

            I would have had the exact same reaction if a white man did what Gay did. It has NOTHING to do with her race and gender no matter how much you would like to pretend that it does.

          • I really wasn’t making that assumption. It was one possibility of a lot of possibilities. Of all the authors who have pulled that sort of thing, though, and there are a number, what made you pick Roxane Gay (who I had honestly never heard of before- she’s not a mega-best-seller, though obviously she has a following) to illustrate your point?

            And why, in that particular piece, did you focus on free speech, when using one’s personal clout to shape the market is in fact what free speech is about, while corporations using contracts to bludgeon people is or can be an actual infringement of free speech?

          • Who?

            But how is what Gay did different from what S&S did? Both exited contracts they no longer found suited their needs and/or values. The former is likely to have some financial cost to bear, the latter probably not.

            In your interpretation, the former-who is the weaker contracting party-is a free speech wrecking bad guy, the latter-the stronger contracting party-is a good guy. That’s where I get lost.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “In your interpretation, the former-who is the weaker contracting party-is a free speech wrecking bad guy, the latter-the stronger contracting party-is a good guy. That’s where I get lost.”

            Yep. The weaker party can do no right and the stronger party can do no wrong. The stronger party can give a neo-nazi a quarter million dollar megaphone and the stamp of legitimacy and that’s just fine. (Later they can censor him for having the temerity to admit that he has messy feelings about his sexual abuse history and that’s just fine too.) Meanwhile, the weaker party stands in solidarity with her sisters, at significant cost to herself, and she gets trashed: she’s a censor, a fool, a vain virtue signaler.

            And the people in our society who have all the power and can do no wrong just happen to all be white. And the people who have little other means to get heard than self-sacrificing boycotts, happen to be overwhelmingly black. What a coincidence.

            But I don’t see it! What do you mean white privilege? Who, me?

          • Cody

            Okay but let’s be honest about what people really thought about Obama. One group of white people thought he was a secret Muslim and that he was born in Kenya and flat out thought he was inferior for the colour of his skin. The other group saw him as a bit of a “magical negro” that is so popular in fiction. That’s still racist, it just looks different from what white people are used to thinking of as racism.

          • I like to think I was in neither group, but yeah, there was a lot of both going on. Obama was never going to wave a magic wand and make everything better- honestly, I voted Clinton over him in the primary! He turned out to be a really good president in a lot of ways and did a bunch of stuff I didn’t like also, but that’s par for the course for a president. His election absolutely does not mean the end of racism forever.

          • Cody

            II think it’s important for white people to consider these things though even if they try and come at every day life without bias (I’m generalizing here, and I have no idea whether YOU specifically are white or not). We all need to think critically about what’s driving our perspectives.

            “I voted for Obama so I’m not racist” is just like “I’m not racist, I have a black friend.”

          • I agree with you. I am indeed white, but I have spent a fair bit of time thinking about this and also listening to people talk about it. Jay Smooth is actually someone who taught me a lot- I don’t always agree with his videos but I usually do.

          • Cody

            For me, it’s been many indigenous speakers who have opened my eyes. There are some powerful voices speaking in Canada right now and people are starting to listen.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yep, Obama constantly had to tiptoe around race,even with his supporters (the white ones that is), both before and during his presidency.

          • fishcake

            Voting for Obama doesn’t absolve white people of racism

          • Amy

            I agree with you. Saying that it was POC who put Trump over the top? Should we say that Jewish people put him over the top, since about 25% of them voted for Trump?

            Any way you slice it, every demographic group EXCEPT whites (men AND women) rejected Trump by huge margins. Of course there were a few people in each group who did vote for him– but he won due to the white vote.

          • fiftyfifty1

            If the election had only allowed white voters, Trump would have won handily. If it had allowed only African Americans and Latinos, Clinton would have won in an absolute blowout. Black women voted for Clinton 96%. And Latinos, you do know that a lot of them a white, right? The families of Cuban businessman may vote Trump, but otherwise Latinos voted overwhelmingly Clinton.

          • fishcake

            Wow

          • MaineJen

            There are a lot of different ways to look at any issue. But *in what world* could we possibly blame Trump on African American and Latino voters? White voters clearly didn’t see his racism and misogyny as enough of a problem to dissuade them.

            Don’t forget that he lost the popular vote by a wide margin. It was a handful of white voters in a few key states who put him over the top.

          • I’ve been trying to figure out how to reply because I really do think you have a good point. Read what fiftyfifty1 wrote below- she sums up my thoughts very well.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Are women of color immune from criticism for their actions?

          Why are you so sure I criticized Gay’s actions because she is a black woman? What have I ever said that could be construed to support that interpretation?

          If you can’t come up with anything, you owe me an apology.

          • Lena

            No, I do not owe you an apology. The fact that you’re more outraged by Roxane Gay exercising her first amendment rights than you are by a racist misogynist transphobe getting paid to spread his hate…the fact that you show more compassion to white women who voted for Trump and see them as victims rather than active and enthusiastic participants, while excoriating Gay for refusing to collaborate with Milo’s publishers? That tells me everything I need to know about you and how you view women of color.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I think you do owe me an apology. I’m NOT more outraged about Gay than Yiannopoulos. I was outraged byYiannopoulos, but still think that Gay mistakenly opted for a tactic that can be used against her with a chilling effect.

            I’m on the same side as you are and if you can’t see that, there isn’t much I can do about it except feel disappointed.

          • Lena

            Here’s the thing…you dedicated more space and time on this blog to complain about Gay’s actions than you did Milo’s. Whatever moral issues you have with Milo are purely theoretical, while you deeply felt that Gay’s actions are wrong. I know this because of you’re own actions. You don’t get to claim that you’re outraged by Milo but then spend the bulk of a post and comments complaining about Gay suppressing someone’s first amendment rights and worrying about other S&S authors. You don’t get to claim well-intentioned thoughts while shitting on marginalized groups in your quest to defend first amendment rights in a case that in no way impeded on those rights.

            So, no, I don’t owe you an apology. Go try you White Feminism bullshit on someone else.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Says the woman who called Mother Theresa a turd.

            I guess you have one standard of conduct for yourself and another for everyone else.

          • Lena

            HAHAHA! Since I doubt you’d remember me specifically, I have to assume that you hurriedly searched through my comments here for something you can use against me, since you have nothing to defend yourself with. But since you brought it up…

            Why yes, I do think a woman who deliberately withheld medical care from the sick because she fetishized pain in others, all the while seeking the best medical care for herself, is a turd. Also, someone who was surrounded by poverty and illness and yet chose to point to abortion as the reason for all suffering? A turd.

            The question is, why don’t you feel the same? Oh, that’s right. Theresa was white, “serving” impoverished brown people, so of course, in your eyes, she was a wonderful person. Facts be damned.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Enjoying wallowing in your sanctimony and self-righteousness?

          • Lena

            Think people don’t notice how you refuse to answer pointed questions when you get called out on your nonsense?

            Nice try.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Enjoying wallowing in your sanctimony and self-righteousness?”

            I really don’t read Lena that way at all. She’s making some important points.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Mother Theresa WAS a turd. At least according to your standard.

            Jeez, since when do you suddenly have respect for those who proclaim that suffering is a gift from God? Who uses that as an excuse to deny medication?

            When a midwife does it to privileged white women, it’s an outrage. But Mother Theresa does it brown-skinned lepers, she’s a saint?

            Yrah, maybe Lena is on to something.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I’m on the same side as you”

            No, not actually on the same side. Hasn’t it struck you that those who practically make a fetish of Free Speech Rights are overwhelmingly white and privileged? The same people isolated from the daily effects of prejudice? Women of color are on the total other side of the tracks. Hate speech will never be theoretical to them.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “clauses that allow the publisher to withdraw the contract if the author violates them. Promoting illegal activity can be one of those clauses”

        But isn’t that a form of suppressing free speech? Sodomy used to be illegal. Until last week, if you lived in Florida, a doctor talking to a patient about gun safety was illegal. If you had written on your blog that you thought Floridian doctors should still talk to their patients about guns, then your publisher would have been justified in pulling your book?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          No. It’s a contract.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “No. It’s a contract. ”

            Exactly! When S&S pulled Milo Y’s book, it wasn’t censorship, it was just a contract.
            ….now go ahead and apply that same logic to Roxanne Gay!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Why are you so sure I criticized Gay’s action because she is a black woman? What have I ever written that would support your insinuation that I wouldn’t have made the exact same criticism of a white man if he had done the same thing?

            If you can’t think of anything, you owe me an apology.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Where have I ever said that you criticized Gay because she is black? Where have I ever insinuated that you wouldn’t have made the same criticism of a white man?

            I owe you no apology. You owe it to yourself to read more carefully.

        • Azuran

          But isn’t free speech the protection from government censorship (and as much a people think otherwise, even that is not without limitation)?
          A private company, deciding they either don’t want to do business with you from the start or stopping a contract they feel you violated isn’t really a free speech issue. It’s just business and their own freedom to decide with whom they want to get associated with.

          I guess, technically, yes they could pull your book if you promoted sodomy and it was illegal. (Some argument could possibly be made that since the law isn’t applied anyway it’s not a good enough reason. But that’s more a legal argument than a free speech one.) Although I doubt anyone would actually do that, as it would probably result in huge negative backlash.

          As for Milo’s publisher. Personally I think the publisher just saw the shitstorm headed their way and decided to bail and used this clause as their way out. But it’s their right as a private company.

      • Who?

        No. Just no.

        Dr T I have all the respect in the world for your work around homebirth, parenting and the many other things you take an interest in, and this community is wonderful.

        However.

        A contract can stymie free speech. My own contract of employment is explicit about what I may and may not say in the course of my employment, and outside it as well. If I were to breach that contract, there would be some financial consequences for me, some professional consequences, and likely some future employment consequences. Of the latter, some but not all would likely be negative. Every contract of employment I’ve ever had is the same.

        Allowing S&S to hide behind their contract-which you mention below is likely to be heavily skewed in their favour due to their market power-is to miss the point.

        Let’s pretend for a moment that Roxanne breaching her contract was a disaster for free speech.

        If that’s so, allowing huge corporations to write unbalanced contracts in a free commercial market, and then exercise their rights under them with impunity and without being called on it, is just as much of a disaster. Going on to then dismiss that activity as not a free speech issue just doesn’t add up.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          It has nothing to do with Gay breaking her contract. It’s about attempting to use market power to control the dissemination of speech that you find offensive. You may not agree with my interpretation but it has NOTHING to do with Gay breaking a contract.

          • Who?

            I’m not understanding what is it about for you?

            To be clear, I’m not in love with right of free speech as a concept. To demand in its name that someone remain commercially associated with a person they despise is grotesque. Such insistence may even have the effect of limiting the first person’s right to free speech, depending on what the contractual relationship is with S&S. Are we caring about that?

            I won’t be a bit surprised if this is all forgotten as a bit of bad taste before the end of the month, and within six months Milo is the hero of fundamentalist christians, being as he is another sure sign of the rapture.

    • Why the fuck is everyone still getting caught up on this?
      I think it’s more about settling old scores than furthering debate.

  • Sean Jungian

    Just to pass it along, I can’t recommend the “5 Calls” app strongly enough. It has made it so easy for me to call the appropriate representative for my state and gives me a list of issues to choose from. If you’re not using it, I highly suggest you start, it only takes a few minutes per day and they track calls much more closely than e-mails or letters.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/5-calls-debuts-what-may-be-the-easiest-way-to-call-your-reps-yet/

    • MaineJen

      Yay! Thank you.

  • KQ Not Logged In

    Toxic Masculinity is my biggest fear and anxiety with raising a boy. I used to joke that boys are easier than girls, because you just have to teach them to “not be an asshole.” But that low bar seems impossibly high now.

    • J.B.

      Teaching any child to “not be an asshole” is the best goal.

    • Sean Jungian

      Me too, KQ, particularly being in the backward, 30-years-behind, redder-than-red state that we live in. But you lay the groundwork for that EARLY and you don’t let up! We were having age-appropriate conversations about LGBTQ rights and consent and sexism and racism from almost the time he could talk. And I don’t put up with any bullshit from his friends, either, if they talk out of line, they hear about it from me. My house, my rules, and my rule is tolerance and understanding.

    • Merrie

      I still think it’s easier to worry about raising one boy to not be an asshole than to have to worry about what all the different assholes are going to try to do to my daughter and to raise her to try to deflect them.

      • Kq

        I’ll definitely give you that. But I’ll add my fear that he will be deemed a predator due to something stupid as a teenager and be listed for life.

        Parenting sucks sometimes…

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    The youngest girl known to have had a baby was 5, according to wikipedia. Apparently, no one bothered to find out who the father was. Just because a kid is capable of creating another baby doesn’t mean she or he is old enough to have sex. But then Milo is an idiot and an a-hole; we already knew this.

    • Squirrelly

      FIVE?! Oh my, I just googled this. I just learned that precocious puberty is a thing. Poor kid had a double whammy then – first to have a rare medical condition and then to be abused, probably because of it 🙁

    • MaineJen

      The prevailing theory is that her own father was the perpetrator. If I remember right, he was held in jail for a while, but they had to release him due to lack of evidence (remember, no DNA testing back then). The child was SO young that they’ couldn’t get any kind of coherent/reliable statement from her as to “how” this had happened; she may not have even understood enough to connect the two events ( the rape vs. the pregnancy ). SO sad.

  • It’s notable to me that they tolerate and wink at the notion of adult men with underage girls, shrugging off Trump’s previous sexual comments about underage girls, including his own daughter, his intrusion into a dressing room with underage girls, his sexualization of a ten year old girl, and the lawsuit against him for allegedly raping (forcibly and repeatedly) a 13 year old girl in Manhattan with a friend of his who is a convicted child rapist.

    That’s fine, boys will be boys.

    Suggest that an adult man could have a romantic/sexual relationship with a male child? The very thought is abominable.

    • Roadstergal

      They don’t care about him harassing and threatening trans people, because they aren’t trans. They don’t care about him harassing and threatening uppity women, because they make sure their women aren’t uppity. But they were teenage boys once!

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        In addition, trans people and uppity women threaten their sense of masculinity. They fear them and the hate is a result of that fear.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I agree. I mean, normalizing GBT men (in particular) means that they can’t run around claiming to be the “real men” any more. And uppity women? Infringing on realm of the “real man.”

          Can’t have either of them happening.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
    • Gæst

      On this blog, every time I see “CPAC” my brain tries to correct it to “CPAP.”

    • MaineJen

      And Bannon too.

  • Sean Jungian

    And we’ve seen this happening all over the country, with anti-Semitic white supremacists emboldened more and more. You should see the comments on my local news’ FB page (I live in a crimson-red state) they aren’t even pretending not to be racist, sexist, and all-around deplorable anymore.

    • Roadstergal

      Trump’s electoral college squeaker of a ‘victory’ has emboldened the assholes.

      • Sean Jungian

        Don’t you mean his “overwhelming mandate”?? I love that Republicans are being hammered at home right now, keep it up!!