Why have certain feminists refused to demand Bill Clinton’s resignation? For in his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky, he committed an act of “sexual harassment” that these feminists eagerly apply to other violators of it, whose resignation or termination from their jobs they demand.
Patricia Ireland, Gloria Steinem, and Catharine MacKinnon, to name a few such feminists, uphold as “sexual harassment” any male in a position of “power” in the workplace who has a romantic/sexual relationship with a female employee who is subordinate to him. To them, for example, if a CEO at a company merely dates his secretary, this constitutes his “sexual harassment.”
But if the CEO uses his only real “power” over his secretary if she refuses to continue dating him, that being his ability to demote or fire her, then a President’s “power” is incomparably greater.
In such a circumstance, the CEO’s “power” more specifically is his freedom of association (and dis-association), a right of every American. If freedom were upheld consistently, a CEO would have the individual right to fire an employee on any grounds, no matter how irrational his reasons. A President’s power, however, resides in government, the institution with the monopoly on the legalized use of physical coercion. That is, the power to fine, imprison, or execute.
Absent now are the charges by these feminists of “discrimination” and “misogyny” by men who have acted like or similar to how President Clinton has toward woman, including his wife. Instead, they continue to support him despite that he has violated a cornerstone in their “sexual harassment” inquisition.
These same “sexual harassment” inquisitors demanded that Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court, in 1991, be terminated, because he once allegedly asked Anita Hill for dates and told her a sexual joke when she was an subordinate employee of his. To such feminists, Hill’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee should have been automatically believed, apparently because, as they characterized it, she was a female employee and therefore “powerless” before her “powerful” male boss.
Most important, they regard such a “power” differential between employer and employee as that which heightens the potential of “coercion” the employer can use against his employee — or that it is itself coercion. Regarding the creators of the doctrine of sexual harassment, such as Catharine MacKinnon, Jeffrey Tobin of New Yorker magazine writes: “Their work blurred the difference between consensual sex and harassment, suggesting that sex between a woman and a man in the workplace almost inevitably entailed a form of coercion, generally from a man in a position of authority.”1
Yet these feminists still support the world’s most powerful man, who had a sexual affair with a “powerless,” female intern of his.
Notes Camille Paglia, a self-proclaimed “dissident” feminist, “The cabal that turned Anita Hill into a false heroine is now deaf, dumb and blind to sexist White House sleaze.”2
What causes this breed of feminists to hypocritically fail to impose on President Clinton the “power” differential between employer/employee that is an important offspring of their ever-broadening, arbitrary definitions of “sexual harassment”?
At root, such men as Clarence Thomas are, to them, contemptible and guilty until proven innocent because they oppose their government-backed policies, such as affirmative action based on gender; whereas President Clinton crusades for those policies. It is precisely because President Clinton at once both supports their various “causes” and holds the kind of “power” he does — that of government coercion — to enact them into law, that these feminists exempt him from their condemnation, smears and punishment.
These feminists create laws that shackle American freedoms, but, in part, disguise their irrationality by championing them as necessary extensions of laws that uphold a woman’s legitimate, individual rights, as the right to vote. Such manipulations have become feminism’s fundamental modus operandi.
As with their “anti-discrimination” laws that forces an employers to hire woman if, for whatever reasons, he chooses not to do so, the feminists’ law that upholds the “power” differential as “harassment” of and “coercion” against woman, seeks to obliterate consensual agreements between individual men and woman and to shackle his right to free association, so long as he doesn’t initiate physical coercion against others.
Their unwillingness to demand President Clinton’s resignation for his sexual affair with Miss Lewinsky demonstrates the pragmatic opportunism certain feminists will adopt if it allows them the “power” to force their ideology on others. This is not “empowerment,” but a lust for the power to legally initiate physical coercion against others.
1) Jeffrey Tobin, “The Trouble With Sex,” New Yorker Magazine, February 9, 1998.
2) “Feedback,” USA Today, December 18, 1998