Militant feminist Jody Allard is back at it. After writing a piece essentially calling her sons complicit in “rape culture” — and after I offered one of her sons an internship (he sent a resume, but then withdrew his request for an internship for unspecified reasons) — Allard has now written a follow-up attempting to explain herself. She wants to explain why writing nasty things about her children is not “abusive.”
First, she explains, people are misinterpreting the terms “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity.” She doesn’t mean that all men are potential rapists — she merely means that society promulgates the belief that women are to blame for “sexual violence and misogyny, while normalizing sexual violence and aggression.” She also says that “toxic masculinity” just means that society has visions of masculinity that are “toxic.” Yes, that’s much better, Jody. I’m sure your sons will be grateful for your clarification.
Then she moves on to her explanation about why she would invoke her own sons in attacking these pernicious structures:
With those definitions out of the way, it should be clear that discussing how particular men, even my children, absorb these cultural ideas is in no way “abusing” them.
Well, she did a bit more than that. Her original piece said this about her own sons:
I don’t feel emotionally safe with them, and perhaps never have with a man, but it needs to be said because far too often we are afraid to say it … Those little boys grow into men who know the value of women, the value that’s been ascribed to us by a broken system, and it seeps out from them in a million tiny, toxic ways.
According to Allard, though, she’s just educating her children … in the pages of the nation’s largest newspapers. “I encourage my sons to reflect on their own cultural indoctrination into racism, sexism, ableism, etc without shame.” Without shame? In the pages of The Washington Post, she wrote, “My sons are part of the problem.”
That’s not education. That’s public shaming.
She then reiterates her central contention: that men always make women feel emotionally unsafe, a bizarre accusation given the functioning relationships between billions of men and women in the history of the planet. But Allard contends, “The heartbreaking part is that even good men can’t be fully or completely emotionally safe for women, even when they’re our own flesh and blood.”
There’s no doubt that writing about this journey opens my family up to examination and criticism. However, it’s a bit absurd to suggest that my sons are the ones bearing this burden.
Except that they are. Which is, presumably, why one of her sons sent me a resume, even if he later withdrew from consideration.