Camille Paglia on #MeToo: Women need to ‘draw the line against offensive behavior’

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It’s sort of perfect that on one of the rare occasions when Camille Paglia crawled out from under a rock, she ended speaking at a New York Times’ sponsored-event, in a discussion moderated by Andy “I Exploit Women & Make Them Seem Like Hysterical Caricatures” Cohen. These photos are from last year, soon after most people had f–king canceled Paglia for being a Trump supporter (or a sympathetic critic of Trump) and Deplorable apologist. I had a realization last year that Paglia, despite her intellectual white-feminist bona fides, actually sort of believes that women are subhuman, or she believes that angling herself as an anti-woman contrarian provocateur is somehow helpful to anyone, anywhere. She should absolutely get a job writing for the New York Times’ opinion page, because that’s how profoundly bad her takes are.

Anyway, Camille Paglia has some new thoughts and The Hollywood Reporter gave her the space to vomit out her thoughts about #MeToo and sexual predators. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

The #MeToo era in Hollywood: “The big question is whether the present wave of revelations, often consisting of unsubstantiated allegations from decades ago, will aid women’s ambitions in the long run or whether it is already creating further problems by reviving ancient stereotypes of women as hysterical, volatile and vindictive. My philosophy of equity feminism demands removal of all barriers to women’s advancement in the political and professional realms. However, I oppose special protections for women in the workplace. Treating women as more vulnerable, virtuous or credible than men is reactionary, regressive and ultimately counterproductive.

Women are the ones who need to stop predators at work: “Complaints to the Human Resources department after the fact are no substitute for women themselves drawing the line against offensive behavior — on the spot and in the moment. Working-class women are often so dependent on their jobs that they cannot fight back, but there is no excuse for well-educated, middle-class women to elevate career advantage or fear of social embarrassment over their own dignity and self-respect as human beings. Speak up now, or shut up later! Modern democracy is predicated on principles of due process and the presumption of innocence.

You don’t have to be a good person to make good art: “Indeed, as I demonstrated in my first book, Sexual Personae, the impulse or compulsion toward art making is often grounded in ruthless aggression and combat — which is partly why there have been so few great women artists.”

Something about “African-American dance”: “The modern sexual revolution began in the Jazz Age of the 1920s, when African-American dance liberated the body and when scandalous Hollywood movies glorified illicit romance. For all its idealistic good intentions, today’s #MeToo movement, with its indiscriminate catalog of victims, is taking us back to the Victorian archetypes of early silent film, where mustache-twirling villains tied damsels in distress to railroad tracks.

Something about cell phones: “Many young people, locked to their miniaturized cellphones, no longer value patient scrutiny of a colossal projected image. Furthermore, as texting has become the default discourse for an entire generation, the ability to read real-life facial expressions and body language is alarmingly atrophying. Endless sexual miscommunication and bitter rancor lie ahead.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

We don’t really have to debate every single point, do we? Can we just call her garbage and move on? Fine, I’ll say some stuff: “Treating women as more vulnerable, virtuous or credible than men is reactionary, regressive and ultimately counterproductive.” Clearly, she hasn’t listened to a g–damn thing about #MeToo. WOMEN ARE MORE VULNERABLE. We’re not “acting” more vulnerable or asking to be “treated” as more vulnerable, women across nearly every industry are truly vulnerable, put in precarious positions day after day, week after week, decade after decade. Matt Lauer raped a woman in his auto-locked sex dungeon in the middle of Rockefeller Center, for the love of God! As for this: “women themselves drawing the line against offensive behavior…” Oh, good. Talk about regressive bullsh-t – it’s the responsibility of women to avoid being harassed and abused. It’s the responsibility of women to “call out” harassment and abuse in real time, or else never speak about it. When will it ever be a man’s responsibility to NOT be an abuser? When we will stop treating men like little babies who never learned how to NOT expose themselves at work?

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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27 Responses to “Camille Paglia on #MeToo: Women need to ‘draw the line against offensive behavior’”

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  1. Mira says:

    F this woman. Seriously. I am way too angry to form a coherent sentence.

    • KNy says:

      ITA. She is so damn awful.

    • Domino says:

      She infuriates me because she blathers. She doesn’t seem to listen in any interview I have ever watched.

      When you tell her most people have never heard of her, she is offended.

      Her picture is in the dictionary, next to narcissist.

  2. Kitty says:

    “speak up now, or shut up later” Bitch, please.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      A lot of MRAs and conservatives who are upset about #Metoo have been making the “Speak up now or shut up later” argument. What they really mean is ‘Don’t tarnish a man’s reputation and legacy over stuff he did to some female(s).’

  3. Darla says:

    She’s a joke. She wants to make you angry. Don’t play. What she can’t stand is being ignored.

    • Domino says:

      Lol yes. I wish I could meet her at some event, and then say “excuse me, who are you? I thought you were Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, I don’t want your autograph after all.”

      And then laugh endlessly to myself.

    • Danielle says:

      One of the original trolls.

  4. Des says:

    Ok, obviously she’s rage-inducing but – do you think so many women her age are saying things like this because they’ve never managed to enter the social/cultural space that women live in today? It’s like they worked so hard for one specific type of female freedom, they can’t see that their efforts gave rise to many other types of freedom which they never envisioned or championed or even understand. So they’re still living in some restricted area of their own making.

    I don’t know if the above makes sense but I’m trying to put rage aside and understand where they’re coming from because I’m so tired of being angry yet I can’t even afford to be tired of being angry.

    • Chaine says:

      Yes, it does make sense. I know exactly what you mean.

    • Anna Flynn says:

      I’m not sure if I understand what you are saying but it made me think of this: Women of her generation may be so used to accepting certain behavior from men that they cannot even fathom a society where men truly behaved differently. They’ve internalized it as natural and think women simply have to adjust to survive.

  5. Natalie S says:

    Old man yells at cloud.

  6. adastraperaspera says:

    I cancelled her when in grad school feminist studies classes in the early 90s. It’s always been so clear she exists only to disrupt. The fact she still gets publicity for her anti-feminist screeds is evidence of how sexist the system is. It’s a real shame that we rarely get to see a true feminist intellectual interviewed.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Yeah no real feminist takes her seriously.

    • Cayy says:

      Ditto, adastraperaspera. She thrives on controversy and being the anti-feminist feminist. It’s her shtick and she’s sticking to it.

    • Domino says:

      Yeah I think there was someone who knew her in high school and they said even then, she just always argued devil’s advocate. I find her really sad. What kind of life is that, when you love to argue for the sake of it. How do you get along with people?

      I am sure when the bank teller says nice weather, she has to tell them there is a 40% chance of rain later. Ugh.

  7. SusieQ says:

    As to her point that women need to call out abuse in real time, I’ve done that. Actually four of my coworkers did it with me, and my work still hired the freelancer who was harassing us all as permanent staff. We were all highly educated women (one even had a PhD), and we had the facts. We still weren’t believed. I left after a few months because I couldn’t deal with feeling like a hunted animal anymore. This harasser later attacked a student in an elevator. He still works there.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      That part of the interview about women needing to respond ‘on the spot, in the moment’ sort of reminded me of Trump swearing that the moment he heard gunshots in the school, he would have ran into the building to do something about it unarmed. Both sound like cases of wishful thinking on the part of out- of- touch public figures who want to sound heroic.

      • Domino says:

        Yep otaku fairy. This is SUCH A GOOD POINT.

        Like it was enough when I yelled stop, when I told men to never contact me again, when I told other people what had happened and then they promoted my harrasser to head of programs to advance and retain women. Everyone in the company laughed at the absurdity.

  8. Lady D says:

    I think she’s right about one thing. The masses will lose the ability to read facial expressions and body language if they continue to use electronics to communicate. I watched my son’s friends who are married, have an argument by texting. She was upstairs watching TV, he was downstairs playing video games. I couldn’t believe it.

  9. Lensblury says:

    Oh. My. God.
    Been done with her for a long time. She simply does not get it, and / or she hates women. No, thanks.

  10. Saks says:

    She’s ridiculous, always has been. I don’t know why people keep giving this rape apologist any sort of space in the media

  11. Bliss 51 says:

    When she writes about show biz, she’s entertaining. God, she can be so ignorant! Working class women have to worry about their jobs, true, but anything else above that? Middle class, educated women, upper class educated women, all women have to worry about their jobs/career and their lives.

  12. Mumbles says:

    “actually sort of believes that women are subhuman”

    Funny, when I read the opening sentence that Andy Cohen and her were appearing together, I thought, oh great, two people who hate women. So I found the assertion above very gratifying.

    Her assertion that it’s women’s faults for not reporting creeps to HR shows that she’s never had an office job. Very often, the offender starts with small gestures….looking too long at your chest, invading your personal space, a suggestive comment here and there. Most women don’t want to look like hysterical prudes so we seethe, but don’t escalate it, lest we be accused of being oversensitive or delusional. And it festers. Sometimes the bad behavior escalates, but even if it doesn’t why should any of us endure even the “small” stuff?

  13. Deering24 says:

    Ugh. Cool Girl, academic misogyny division.

  14. EOA says:

    Camille Paglia has always hated women. I am not sure why anyone thinks of her as a feminist. She’s not. She’s part of a generation of women who made their entire careers around the backlash to feminism.

  15. Peeking in says:

    I don’t know who she is, but throw this whole woman away, her entire being, just trash it. Ugh.