Some Men’s Rights Activists are blaming the positive media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner on the Jews. Yes, you read that correctly.
For several weeks, I’ve been carefully preparing an article on a childhood experience that profoundly shaped my worldview today: An act of anti-Semitic bullying that nearly cost me my life. Because June 6th marks the eighteenth anniversary of that event and the number eighteen happens to carry great symbolic significance in Jewish tradition, I set aside this upcoming Saturday for an essay that would focus on the spiritual impact this traumatic event has had on my life.
As fate would have it, the issue of anti-Semitism was brought to my attention a couple days ahead of schedule. For this I can thank the response of a section of the Men’s Rights Activist movement, or MRAs, to Caitlyn Jenner’s recent appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair. I am referring in particular to some of the regular commenters at Roosh V, one of the Internet’s most notorious misogynistic websites, who blamed Jenner’s growing prominence as a transgender icon on – you guessed it – the Jews.
While this isn’t particularly unusual for a site whose founder is openly anti-Semitic, the bizarre anti-Jewish rhetoric used by these particular MRAs was noteworthy not because of its seeming randomness, but because it ultimately reveals so much about the core insecurities that afflict fanatical MRAs… and, indeed, all members of hate groups.
The following is brought to you courtesy of David Futrelle’s feminist news site, We Hunted The Mammoth:
2015 is the year of the continuation of that same old sick postmodern cultural agenda rammed down America’s (and by cultural imperialism extension – the world’s) throats.
Unsurprisingly, executing that funny business are ruthless agents of Zion.
The Vanity Fair cover, with that quasi-ambiguous exposed crotch shown front and center in our faces was photographed by Leibovitz (notice how they couldn’t cover that thing in dress or skirt, as that would not make as strong trolling impact.) While glowing, indeed gushing article was written by Bissinger* (mother’s maiden name Lebenthal). The Vanity Fair magazine is owned by parent company Conde Nast. The chairman of Conde Nast is Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr. (mother’s maiden name Epstein).
From “Chateau Heartiste”:
There are those who have the nerve to call “confirmation bias” whenever I bring up the Tribe…..
“But but but, Vanity Fair is a publication full of Jews, so it doesn’t mean anything!”
Their running “Vanity” Fair is rather funny, considering that they tend to be as ugly as a mud fence.
We can start with the dominant theme in these comments – namely, the observation that many of Vanity Fair’s owners and employees (including the photographer who shot the Caitlyn Jenner cover, Annie Leibovitz) are of Jewish descent. Like many anti-Semites, the Roosh V commenters are unable to grasp the difference between a cultural product that happens to involve a large number of Jews and one that has an actual “Jewish agenda.” You rarely hear insinuations that a magazine cover or movie or television show that was mainly created by Protestants has a “Protestant agenda,” or (if you choose to define Jewishness as an ethnicity instead of a religion) that material created mainly by Italians has an “Italian agenda”… unless, of course, that product clearly promotes religious and/or political themes distinctly tied to those groups. Likewise, it is ridiculous to assume that if a lot of Jews are involved in a certain project, that automatically means they are acting in concert as Jews, instead of as a collection of professionals who coincidentally share the same theological and cultural background. Their Jewish heritage may subtly influence their sensibilities, of course, but it may just as likely have little to no influence at all; as with members of any other religious and ethnic groups, it depends entirely on the individual in question.
Of course, the big difference between Jews and other religious/ethnic groups is that the former have long been persecuted because of their disproportionate presence as notable figures in a wide range of scientific, artistic, political, economic, and intellectual fields. Yet the very fact that Jews are expected to be defensive about this is actually quite illogical. As the comedian Larry Miller once put it:
“Are Jews over-represented in all sorts of important fields? You’re damn right we’re over-represented in all sorts of important fields, but isn’t that an amazing thing? You might have thought over the years folks would look at the Jews and say, ‘These people are incredible and astonishing. Let’s be more like them.’ The actual response has been, uh, slightly different, more along the lines of ‘These people are too good at everything they do. Let’s kill them.'”
When you consider that anti-Semites who think along these lines are obviously motivated by deep insecurity (see how Adolf Hitler’s rejection from a Vienna art school ultimately inspired “Mein Kampf”), it suddenly makes a great deal of sense why MRAs would be predisposed to anti-Semitism. As psychologist Jack Schafer explained in Psychology Today, “Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people. Hate elevates the hater above the hated.” To validate the belief systems behind their hatred (and thus rationalize away their insecurities), haters will create groups, “form identities through symbols, rituals, and mythologies,” disparage and taunt their targets, and eventually find ways of attacking them – sometimes violently.
And make no mistake about it, MRAs aren’t ordinary haters: They are an officially classified hate group and have been responsible for acts of violence against women. Although there are a number of MRA subsets – just as there are different branches of neo-Nazi, skinhead, or KKK organizations – they are all linked by a common hatred of women. Whether its pick-up artist sites like Roosh V and The Red Pill or explicitly anti-feminist ideological groups like Return Of Kings and A Voice for Men, MRAs prey on sexually insecure men by blaming women for their real or imagined problems, such as not being able to convince large numbers of attractive women to sleep with them (a failure that many men view as emasculating), being cuckolded and/or forced to raise another man’s children, having their lives ruined in divorce settlements, or being falsely accused of rape (although some, like Roosh Vorek himself, believe rape shouldn’t be illegal). In the world of the so-called “manosphere,” women are depicted as inherently manipulative, dishonest, overly-emotional, and intellectually inferior to men. At the same time, they are despised for the perceived power MRAs insist they have acquired over men thanks to the feminist movement, a belief based on the erroneous premises that women have already attained equality with men (which is demonstrably untrue) and that modern feminism is either striving for or has already brought about a period of feminine supremacy. Not surprisingly, many MRAs want to return to the even more reactionary patriarchal hierarchies of the past, while other simply want to prevent any further erosion of the privileges they enjoy (but usually deny exist) as heterosexual men.
Needless to say, a movement fueled by male sexual insecurity is going to feel particularly threatened by a transgendered woman like Caitlyn Jenner. Not only does her increasing celebrity further subvert patriarchal gender hierarchies, but her appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair is a significant blow to the heteronormative ideals of beauty that are central to the MRA worldview. That’s why most of the comments on message boards like the one from Roosh V’s site focus on either depicting Jenner as some sort of grotesque monster (one commenter posted a GIF from The Simpsons marked with the caption “Kill it with fire!”; others chose GIFs of various celebrities retching in horror) or belittling her for being unattractive and thus, implicitly, without value. It is hardly a coincidence that this is the same tactic they employ against any woman they wish to delegitimize – or, for that matter, how the commenter “Corvinus” decided to put down Jews (a race that, for whatever it’s worth, has produced sex symbols from Andrew Garfield and James Franco to Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis).
Although the anti-Semites on Roosh V are wrong about Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the cover of “Vanity Fair” being the result of a Jewish conspiracy, I will confess that if such a conspiracy did exist, I would be proud to be associated with it. Jews have been the victims of unparalleled persecution for millennia, from the diasporas and pogroms of the pre-modern world to more recent atrocities like the Holocaust and anti-Semitic mass shootings in Latin America, Europe, or right here in the United States. If ever a group of people had a moral responsibility to sympathize with the oppressed, and to take a stand against those who bully them, it is the Jews. There may not be anything explicitly “Jewish” in the rise of Caitlyn Jenner as a transgender sex symbol, but in terms of the narrative of our cultural history, there is a nice poetic touch to the fact that so many Jews played a role in this development.
As for the MRAs, anti-Semites, and other haters of the world: Let’s just say that until they stop blaming their problems on others and honestly confront their insecurities, they will continue to find themselves on the wrong side of history.