(Trigger warning: Yeah, from me. So it's bad.)
I take in a fair amount of information in a given day. It ranges from the absurdist to the terrifying, and all manner of points on a three dimensional grid around them. Late the other night, I happened to check in on Feministe, a blog generally dedicated to feminism and feminist issues.
Jill over there wrote a column on a piece by a gay man named Alex Knepper, a columnist for The Eagle, the award winning independent student newspaper of American University. The column is titled Dealing with AU's anti-sex brigade, and was published on the 28th of March.
Mr. Kneppler is described by students at the school as "conservative". He, however, says he is not. He does like to create conflict and stir the pot.
I read the post by Jill down to the point where she provided an excerpt from the article. At that point, I jumped to the article itself, and started this.
Let's see why:
One of the themes I've been seeing in most of my interactions with the "G" segment of the LGBT+ population which generally tends to have issues with trans stuff to some degree is that they often don't understand some basic concepts surrounding what is found on college campuses as "gender studies" or "women's studies" and the like. Now, it is not universal among all of the G segment, and I'm not talking about all of them -- just those that have issues with trans stuff.
That area of study up until recently was overwhelmingly filled with women in a collegiate setting, and for much of the existence of such courses have been perceived as somewhat hostile to men. This creates a reasonable possibility that part of the reason for the lack of understanding is that, well, they didn't exactly have any encouragement to learn about such stuff.
I was, apparently, laboring under the impression that they'd at the least made some effort to do so, or that at the least the current generation of gay men in a collegiate setting at present were a little up to date on such stuff. It was a false impression if I go by the article that Mr. Knepper has written.
Mr. Knepper appears to be somewhat hostile to the current activists in power in the wider community. He expresses a great deal of contempt for feminism, as well.
Some examples of this from his brief article:
What a sniveling bunch of emotional cripples! I have never encountered a more insular, solipsistic view of human sexuality than at this college. The rigidity of Pat Robertson has nothing on feminism.
...the goal of contemporary feminism and Gay Party activism is not to explain sex, but to abolish its passion.
Feminism envisions a bedroom scene in which two amorphous, gender-neutral blobs ask each other "Is this OK with you?" before daring to move their lips any lower on the other's body.
He also acts as an apologist for date rape, and blames the victim of such in a startling expression of sexism and misogyny that he earlier denies being:
Let's get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy's room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry "date rape" after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone's head and then later claiming that you didn't ever actually intend to pull the trigger.
Now, keep in in mind that this gentleman is a gay man, and it is not unreasonable to assume that he'd feel the same way about an encounter with another man.
In the comments section (which was closed at least once following publication of the piece) he says the following:
Believe it or not, this column went through about five edits to remove remarks deemed too inflammatory.
His ideas about feminism are established for him in the comments, as he describes here:
feminism is the flip-side of the religious right. Feminists envision women as powerless, fragile little dolls who will crack at their core with the flick of a finger. Imagine men sitting around, whining like you people do. This is an embarrassing setback for women.
I will point out that what he says there is *precisely* the opposite of the truth. And keep in mind that trans folk have a somewhat troubled past themselves with feminism, especially trans women - including some people he actively cites himself.
One of the worst comments he makes is:
You don't have a "right" to escape reality. If you are an anonymous, attractive young woman in a sexually-charged environment, you have tacitly agreed to sexual come-ons, at the bare minimum. And if you follow a guy to his room in such an environment, you shouldn't be surprised when he starts making out with you and squeezing your ass. In fact, you should probably be aroused.
That is, literally, blaming the victim.
He defends himself with the expected trope:
Actually, I know two women who have been raped and they each find the feminist descriptions of the traumatized woman to be insulting.
Which completely ignores certain realities and is also incredibly misogynistic. It's also the same things as saying something like "well, I know a couple gay people who think that the gay movement should just go away because they are embarrassing."
The only reason to introduce the idea that you "know someone" in a particular group is to cite them as a defense of your position, and the best and most cool thing about it is that they don't have to exist -- as we all have learned far too many times from the attacks made against us.
As you can probably gather, this very short little article got some people to feel some passion, and quite well. So much so that during the evening, someone vandalized the stands for the paper by taking them out of the stands and tossing them around, then tacking a poster above it that says there is no room for rape apologists.
I'm willing to bet it was a woman.
This was so startling an act of vandalism that it resulted in Amanda Hess interviewing him for the Washington City Paper. I will second something Amanda says -- free newspapers make money the hard way: by circulation. They count how many people take and how many are left. Messing up a stand like that does indeed have a damaging effect on the newspaper's ability to make money.
Now, lest one think that I'm saying all of this strictly from a woman's perspective, I will note that he mentioned cross dressing earlier, and cited it as part of his defense in the comments.
His response to Ms Hess when asked about this was:
"The entire concept of cross-dressing has no place within feminism," he explained. "[O]ne cannot 'cross' the line of something that does not exist."
She then asked him something else, and it's what got me moving:
Finally, I asked him if the "yin and yang of masculinity and femininity" is truly "what makes sexual exploration exciting," then isn't it kind of boring to be gay? "Certainly not," replied Knepper, who is gay. "Gay men--by which I do not mean the eunuchs who constitute the vanguard of so-called queer activism--are far more likely to understand that dressing one's boyfriend up like a girl and fucking his ass with a dildo is to feminize him. The feminine element of sexuality is not literally about being female--it's about surrender and submission.
That part bothers me, personally, because I see, in it, a huge degree of sexism, and deep and abiding insults to gay men in general. I am not, however, and never have been, a gay man. Except to the people who want to kill all the gays.
Now, what I'm interested in here is the reaction of the gay men who are readers here -- yes, even the ones who generally dislike me. I'd like to get their take on the things he's said, their ideas about the concepts he's raised.
And so I'm putting this up pretty much like this, without further comment by me, since I'm sure many folks have already made a determination about my views for me, much like Alex has by suggesting that should I go into a room with a guy then I'm consenting to sex.