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The Neo-Porn Feminists
Or, how the Left destroyed feminism.

Katy Perry

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It turns out that, in the rock-paper-scissors game of liberalism, “not judging” beats out “true female equality.”

The good folks at Politically Correct Central recently ran into a problem: Their incredibly useful “don’t judge!” mantra (which they have mercilessly hammered us with for many years now) ran into an obstacle: What happens when a woman willingly engages in the porn industry? Liberals, who once decried porn (and rightly so) as a male-dominated nightmare that objectifies women and exploits even its willing participants, have suddenly tiptoed backwards in the wake of Belle Knox, a Duke University freshman who gladly stars in porn films to cover her tuition costs.

What to do? thought the puzzled liberals. Standing against the sex industry would sound too “Christian Right”; also, criticizing the woman would effectively be siding with the frat boys who outed her — and, if there is any demographic we liberals hate, it’s male Duke students. (Remember the Duke-lacrosse case?) So, they concluded, let’s not be judgy.

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Thus we suddenly found ourselves clicking on bizarre headlines — and watching equally confusing TV segments — in which liberal pundits and writers suddenly were perfectly okay with an industry that is anathema to their alleged values.

But the debate over feminism — what it means, as well as who can claim the feminist label —​ had been steaming for quite some time and was bound to explode sooner or later. You see, along the way, feminism became an inconvenience for the Left. Case in point: Some of its favorite celebs, who could always be counted on to publicly slam the Right or Western values, were all too happy to behave in sex-object ways that would make even the worst Mad Men misogynist say, “Tone it down.” Madonna and Miley Cyrus come to mind.

Thus, feminism’s definition needed to be twisted, contorted, and —​ basically — changed. And change it did: It became so elastic that the rubber band finally snapped and no one knows what the heck feminism means any longer.

Enter poor, confused Katy Perry. The pop starlet rocketed to fame by singing about kissing a girl even though she is not gay or bisexual, thus falsely usurping LGBT sexuality for material gain; she parades around in dresses three sizes too small; and she obsesses over boyfriends — all behaviors that you would think would make a true feminist recoil in horror. But Perry, who had stated in 2012 that she was not a feminist, this week (at the urging of a publicist, no doubt) proudly declared herself one: “A feminist? Um, yeah, actually. I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now that I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.”

Huh?

Bless her heart, though — can we even blame Perry for her confusion? Should we not instead blame the Left, which has taken feminism from one extreme — man-hating, bra-burning hysterics — to another, in which rough, submissive sex on camera, in exchange for money, is now considered edgy and a breaking of yet another glass ceiling?

Belle Knox bemoans the “patriarchal” society at Duke, yet praises the (male-dominated, male-fantasy-tailored) porn world as “empowering” and something from which she derives “unimaginable joy.” Come again? And therein lies the ugly paradox of liberals’ so-called feminism. For every magazine issue with an article railing against objectivization of women as merely physical parts, there is a cover featuring a woman with her breasts popping out of a dress; for every woman who chants “Sistas doin’ it for themselves!” and “​We don’t need a man!” there is a woman shrieking at a divorce hearing that she is entitled to half of all her husband’s assets after only a few short years of marriage; for every feminist claiming that marriage is antiquated, there is another whose entire career was made possible by the man she married; for every Beyoncé op-ed about the need for wage equality, there is a lyric where her husband gladly uses the word “bitch.”

What happened to a solid definition of feminism, namely “a simple, pure belief in the equality of the sexes”? It has given way to the more useful notion of “not judging”: Nowadays, anything a woman does (provided, of course, she isn’t one of those pro-life nutcases!) is fantastic and worthy of acclaim — criticisms not wanted.

Feminists (whatever that means) may exist, but one thing is certain: They are not those who come bearing the title, be they “empowered” porn-star university students or pop divas. The warning “Beware of false prophets” has never seemed so necessary.

The “don’t judge” sentiment has wrought a shameless society, in which degrading acts are hailed as feminist. A 27-year-old American medical student is now auctioning off her virginity, hoping to bring in $400,000. A few short years ago, feminists would have railed against this; but now? Don’t judge! Don’t be a hater! This sentiment is routinely drilled into us via pop culture, e.g., Miley Cyrus’s “Can’t Stop” lyrics, complete with a reminder that “only God can judge ya, forget the haters!” (and even a shout-out to the females doing a line of blow in the bathroom). Gloria Steinem, where art thou?

Would we be surprised, at this point, to see an op-ed by a self-proclaimed feminist who argues that sleeping with her married boss for a promotion is “liberating” and “empowering”? These days, we should simply ask that if you tell folks you’re a feminist, you should at least have a rational definition of what that is. Or, rather, let’s not even bother: Liberalism already destroyed it. Feminism was just too inconvenient to keep around.

 A. J. Delgado is a conservative writer and lawyer.



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