Feminists have had a doozie of a time over the last month of so, twisting themselves into logical pretzels to explain why the case of Tara Reade, former staffer to Sen. Joe Biden, and the case of Christine Blasey Ford, former acquaintance (maybe?) of Brett Kavanaugh, are so completely different. Most of these arguments have been mind-numbingly disingenuous, and they depend on one of two things: Either you are so blinded by partisanship that you’re willing to accept even the flimsiest fig leaf to excuse your hypocrisy…or you have such a short attention span that you can be convinced that the two cases really are dramatically different.
But in the pages of The New York Times this week, Susan Faludi tried a new approach, writing an essay under the astounding headline: “’Believe All Women’ is a Right-Wing Trap.”
Having had weeks to come up with an argument that would actually resonate, Faludi decided she would try a bit of historical revisionism to see if she can’t convince NY Times readers that they didn’t actually see and hear what they thought they saw and heard in the beginning of the #MeToo movement.
“The preferred hashtag of the #MeToo movement is #BelieveWomen. It’s different without the ‘all.’ Believing women is simply the rejoinder to the ancient practice of #DoubtWomen,” she explained. “Good luck finding any feminist who thinks we should believe everything all women say—even what they say about sexual assault.”
Of course, we don’t need that much luck, seeing as how Faludi admits elsewhere in her own essay that she’s “encountered some feminists who seemed genuinely to subscribe” to the Believe ALL Women version of the phrase.
Besides, eliminating the “All” doesn’t really make much difference, does it? Would Faludi challenge someone who tweeted, #AllBlackLivesMatter, and insist that they are twisting the phrase into a “right-wing trap”? The “all” is implied in the original, is it not? Or is Faludi prepared to argue that there are some black lives that simply don’t matter? We would very much like to read that essay, seeing as how it would be the last of Faludi’s career.
When Kavanaugh was hanging in the stocks, Biden himself made it clear: “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real—whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”
We don’t remember Susan Faludi – or a single other left-wing feminist – coming out to tell Biden that we should probably hold things like “facts” and “changing stories” against the accusers, seeing as how they are important elements in determining the validity of literally every crime ever committed in the history of the world. No, they championed his statement, and they gave Blasey Ford the overwhelming benefit of the doubt.
If the hashtag really is #BelieveSomeWomen, though, then maybe we’re on the right path forward. Unfortunately, we’re depressingly certain that the women to be believed and disbelieved will not be separated by facts and evidence…but by whose “side” their accused abusers are on, politically.