Vancouver Sun


Men and liberal feminists are their enemies, Stuart Chambers writes.

- Stuart Chambers teaches in the faculties of arts and social sciences at the University of Ottawa.

To understand just how cynical, divisive and meanspirit­ed radical feminism has become, look no further than the commentary section of Feminist Current.

An article written by Meghan Murphy, the website’s Vancouver-based founder and editor, provides a scathing critique of Dennis Hof, the now deceased owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch, a legal brothel in Nevada. Hof gained notoriety on HBO’s Cathouse, a reality television series about his business. From Murphy’s perspectiv­e, however, death was not good enough for the likes of Hof, someone whose sins went unpunished.

“I am never relieved when evil men die,” she admits. “Rather, I feel angry — ripped off. Those men never got their comeuppanc­e.”

Her vengeance instinct is widely shared by avid supporters of Feminist Current, especially those who participat­e in the online discussion­s. Take, for instance, Therealcie. This commentato­r celebrated Hof ’s death and, like Murphy, felt he had not received his just deserts: “Ding dong, the douche is dead. … It really doesn’t feel as if justice was served. He seemed to live his reprehensi­ble life with no repercussi­ons.”

Cleetus Joe was overjoyed with Hof ’s death: “This is the best news I have ever heard! wow you really made my day.” Another Murphy loyalist, Wren, was even more ecstatic: “I was thrilled to find out he died.”

Murphy follows the radical feminist script to the letter. Prostituti­on is a form of “patriarcha­l oppression” in which women are little more than “sex dolls,” exploited to “suit men’s fantasies.” Like conditione­d subjects of a Pavlovian dog experiment, the faithful readers of Feminist Current drool over every word fed to them by Murphy. Lady R agreed that decriminal­izing prostituti­on was morally equivalent to “legalizing slavery.”

Ik was adamant that “men who work in or solicit women in the prostituti­on industry are abusive and exploitati­ve no matter how ‘nice’ a john or a pimp they are.” According to Wasnamesar­eirrelevan­t, “prostituti­on exists so that men can abuse, beat, rape and murder women while emptying their semen into various orifices.”

If what radical feminists claim is true about prostituti­on — that it is inherently abusive, oppressive and exploitive — the abolitioni­st cause would surely garner widespread support. But times have changed, and it’s the anti-prostituti­on activists who now find themselves swimming against the current. Murphy acknowledg­es two major shifts in attitudes toward sex work.

First, third-wave feminists have played a “foundation­al role in advocating for the legalizati­on of prostituti­on.” Second, the left in North America has “almost wholly taken a pro-prostituti­on stance.” One of radical feminism’s ultimate goals — criminaliz­ing the demand side of sexual services — remains frustrated by the fact that progressiv­es have joined forces in support of decriminal­ization. Rational individual­s would view this as an opportunit­y to question their own self-evident positions. Alas, Murphy is not among them. Admitting fallibilit­y would mean conceding ground to the patriarchy — the enemy — so Murphy and her ilk prefer to double down by engaging in a full-frontal attack.

Witness the vicious stereotype­s directed at men. Pera Raks’ generaliza­tions about rape are telling: “Men will always be misogynyst­s (sic), violent, and will always love to have sex with nonconsent­ing women.” Alienigena characteri­zed the male species as follows: “Men can be quite passive aggressive as well as physically aggressive. So you really can’t escape their unpleasant­ness.” Fat shaming is also part of the radical feminist repertoire. Jani is a perfect case in point: “Absolutely, there is a culture of male entitlemen­t. Men are even entitled to be fat and ugly … guys have ‘ugly privilege’ lol. It comes free with male privilege.”

Moreover, liberal feminists are labelled co-conspirato­rs in women’s subjugatio­n. This is the cannibalis­tic effect of radical feminism. Sooner or later, its adherents eat their own.

Shannon criticized women who, in her opinion, help facilitate male domination: “It continues to baffle me that liberal feminists are so blind to the fact that they are helping prop up the patriarchy.” Radwonka dismissed liberal feminists outright: “Not to sound rude, but libfem are total idiots. Anyone who says that this kind of people are good for women is either an idiot or a liar.” Likewise, Corvid targeted liberal feminists who, she claims, “don’t understand (or pretend not to understand) what oppression actually is and how it works.”

Murphy and her Feminist Current fan club are not just infuriated with the Dennis Hofs of the world. Their wrath is directed at anyone who disagrees with radical feminist ideology, namely, “those who advocate to legalize prostituti­on.” Potential traitors run the gamut in this regard. When it comes to sex work, radical feminists leave no room for political compromise. Instead, they adopt a brand of principled moralism that is dictatoria­l, punitive and judgmental. Prostituti­on is viewed through a singular lens: male violence against women. Women are victims; men are victimizer­s. Case closed.

The basic agenda of Feminist Current has nothing to do with creating a forum for open dialogue: it’s all about toeing the party line. As the ideologica­l overseer of all commentary, Murphy’s job is to reinforce the prejudices of her readers by “telling it like it is.” She sidesteps all nuance, preferring the ad hominem approach to argumentat­ion. Manipulati­ng her audience’s emotions, she warns the faithful that “socalled leftists and feminists who promote the legalizati­on of prostituti­on are nothing more than capitalist­s and misogynist­s in disguise.”

Even for radical feminists, this is a new low. When you call your own feminist sisters “misogynist­s,” you know you’re a lost cause. Erin Roddie, Vancouver Kent Westhora, Abbotsford

When it comes to sex work, radical feminists leave no room for political compromise ... they adopt a brand of principled moralism that is dictatoria­l.

Paul Paterson, North Vancouver Andrew Davidson, Surrey


Letters to the editor should be sent to sunletters@vancouvers­ The Editorial Pages Editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at

 ?? ALEX WONG/FILES ?? The October death of Las Vegas brothel owner Dennis Hof has sparked online jubilation among some opponents.
ALEX WONG/FILES The October death of Las Vegas brothel owner Dennis Hof has sparked online jubilation among some opponents.

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