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feminism and testicles: steve kates on ‘damaged women’


RMIT lecturer Steve Kates wrote an opinion piece for the Quadrant blog last week called ‘The 47% majority’.

Kates blamed Obama’s re-election on the ‘cohort of damaged women’ and ‘social sciences know-nothings’.

‘Re-electing Obama has endangered our way of life and may even make it unsustainable,’ he wrote.

‘We are in dangerous times.’

What is worrying about Kates’ post is that he seems to have what author Van Badham called on Twitter a ‘pathological obsession’ with the sexual behaviour of young women.

It would be interesting to know what Kates’ female students and colleagues think of the following:

‘An important component of … the Democrat program is the bringing into the fold what I describe as “damaged women”. This is a relatively new phenomenon in politics which has existed in various forms before now but has emerged only recently as a formidable force for right of centre parties to have to deal with. It is a product of the feminism of the 1960s which unmoored women from their traditional roles but had as its most significant element the “sexual revolution”, a change in social mores euphemistically known as “sexual liberation” but which is anything but.’

Instead of sticking to critiquing the economic policies of the Democrats, Kates is all too happy to lash out at women – saying they have become ‘unmoored’ and ‘damaged’ as a result of feminism.

Maybe an economics lecturer who laments that the social sciences ‘produce little … in comparison with the serious producers of the world’ should stay away from feministic discourse. Unless, of course, he wants to make a fool of himself.

Which is where the following comes into the equation:

‘The most influential social philosopher of the twentieth century was Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Philosophy. You would have to be at least as old as I am to recall what a shock it was to read Hefner’s “philosophy” in the pages of Playboy back when I was about 14 in the 1960s.’

It’s great to know that a person shaping the young minds of tomorrow draws his social philosophy and views on women from the pages of a 1960s porn magazine. This is all a bit rich from someone who calls women who exercise their freedom to vote ‘damaged’.

‘Watching the Middle East burn and the American economy trashed by debt and deficits are irrelevant to such women whose anger is beyond all understanding, particularly for men of my and Romney’s generation.’

You know Mr Kates, you’re right: women’s anger is beyond your understanding. It’s beyond your understanding because you’re stupid.

You don’t realise that it is people like you (who think women want to see the Middle East burn and American economy ruined) that are a cause of such ‘anger’ in the first place.

If Obama’s victory hasn’t opened your eyes to this fact, I don’t know what will. But then again, why would my opinion matter? I’m just a damaged, social sciences know-nothing.

Lip readers, what are your thoughts? Tell us below!

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6 thoughts on “feminism and testicles: steve kates on ‘damaged women’

  1. I’m going have to agree with Tim: Kates isn’t endorsing Hefner’s philosophy, he’s condemning its influence.

    It seems Kates, like many others, thinks 60s sexual liberation was most of all an opportunity for randy, scruffy-haired men to use women — whether in images or in person — to satisfy sexual urges; it was not liberation but exploitation that resulted, in this view.

    Hence, he laments (with how much sincerity, I’ll leave up to you) “woman … have been psychologically damaged” by this hyper-sexualisation and this objectification, both lauded as liberating but both damaging in effect.

    How is this related to Obama’s election? I’m not sure. Neither, it seems, is he: He describes the “anger” of these women as “beyond all understanding, particularly for men of my an Romney’s generation.”

    What is he on about? Kates seems to think these grieved women, whatever the problems of debts, deficits and deserts, are determined to express their anger — the origins of which they seem to have no idea — by voting for a nominally left-wing party comfortable with reproductive rights.

    Kates doesn’t think these women want to see the Middle-East or the economy ruined; he thinks they’re more interested in ovaries and anger or something, and will fiddle with them while the world burns.

    I don’t know. My fluency in middle-aged white male has limitations. He throws a chicken sandwich in the soup by referencing a sing-song video about happy/sad young women of 29 and 31, respectively. No idea.

  2. The RMIT link page for him has been shut down; I’m guessing there are some angry small-l liberal women telling him what they think of his philosophy. Strangely, we can be angry (beyond all understanding?!) and still vote rationally against big business. Who’d have thought!

  3. He lost me completely when he equated himself with Romney. I can’t take anyone who seriously purports Mitt Romney as a valid alternative to Obama as President. Perfect he ain’t, but it was better than an obscenely rich, xenophobic, homophobic, economically illiterate, misogynistic, old white dude.

    • I really don’t think there’s any evidence at all for Romney being ‘xenophobic, homophobic, economically illiterate, misogynistic’. Actually from what I’ve seen of him he seems courteous and honourable. I’d consider voting for him if I were a US citizen.

  4. Pingback: Feminist News Round-up 18.11.12 | News | Lip Magazine

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