Anders Breivik, Anti-Feminist MRA?
July 24, 2011 | Hugo Schwyzer | Good Men Project
As we absorb the shock of what happened last week in Oslo and Utoya, we’re also starting to get a clearer picture of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, now in Norwegian police custody. His manifesto, which largely consists of uncited work from a host of other right-wing thinkers, is now available online. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence gives us a picture of a man who is deeply troubled by multi-culturalism, by Islam, by modernity, by feminism, and by what has happened to traditional masculinity.
Breivik’s manifesto features an extended section called “Radical Feminism and Political Correctness,” cribbed uncredited from an American writer named Gerald Atkinson. The section complains “that the ‘man of today’ is expected to be a touchy-feely subspecies who bows to the radical feminist agenda.” Feminism’s aim, the manifesto continues, is to “emasculate” men, and render them “unwilling to defend traditional beliefs and values.”
This rage at women in general, and at progressive feminists in particular, runs through much of the long and unwieldy 1187-page text. It’s a rhetoric familiar to anyone who reads the writing of Men’s Rights Activists.
So are anti-feminists and Men’s Rights Activists directly to blame for the actions of Anders Breivik? Of course not. Most MRAs – perhaps almost all – reject violence and mass murder as a political tactic. To suggest otherwise would be an indefensible and tasteless attempt to capitalize on a tragedy. But to pretend that there was no coherent political component to the tragedy would be almost equally indefensible.
There’s no escaping the reality that Breivik has painstakingly sought to ground the rationale for his acts of terror in ideological necessity. Judging by the manifesto he compiled shortly before Friday’s horrific rampage, he saw himself as a white knight standing up not only against liberal values, but against feminism and for an endangered traditional masculinity.
It is telling that Breivik targeted a Labor Party youth camp filled with young activists who were deeply committed to the very things he despised. The Norwegian Labor Party has long stood for greater rights for women; the Party’s “Women Can Do It” Project became a template for encouraging women’s empowerment across Europe. That empowerment, as far as Breivik was concerned, came at the price of the collapse of manhood and Western Civilization.
The mass murder of so many young people (of both sexes) may well have been his way of cutting down not only the best and the brightest of the future Norwegian progressive elite, but of killing off those who were personally and ideologically committed to the idea that men and women are radically equal.
Those who died at Utoya were not chosen at random. They were killed because of who they were and who they were going to become. Judging by the values of their parents and their party, these martyred young people were radically committed to pluralism, to progress, and to sexual justice. Those were the causes they gathered for on that little island, and those commitments were the reason they died.
About Hugo Schwyzer: Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website.
» » » » [Good Men Project]
Anders Breivik's chilling anti-feminism
To Anders Breivik, the 'feminisation' of the European male corresponds to the 'feminisation' of Europe itself
Wednesday 27 July 2011 16.00 BST | Jane Clare Jones | Guardian
Following much of the media's initial "fact-free conjecture" about the origins of the atrocity in Norway, we have since had to reckon with Anders Behring Breivik's own account of his motivations put forward in his 1518-page manifesto entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence.
Overlooked, however, in the focus on Islamism and Islamophobia's culpability for Breivik's pathology is the way his gargantuan manifesto presents multiculturalism as just one form of the "ideology" which "now looms over western European society like a colossus". This ideology, most often known as political correctness, has, Breivik tells us, several other names. One of them is cultural Marxism, and the other is feminism.
Breivik's introduction is entirely given over to a half-baked history of political correctness, "no aspect" of which, he tells us, is "more prominent … than feminist ideology". The PC-project is bent on "transforming a patriarchy into a matriarchy" and "intends to deny the intrinsic worth of native Christian European heterosexual males". But more than that, it has succeeded. The "feminisation of European culture" has been underway since the 1830s, and by now, men have been reduced to an "emasculate[d] … touchy-feely subspecies".
The antipathy to feminism – and women – threaded throughout Breivik's document is more than just incidental. The text is peppered with references to the pernicious effects of the "Sex and the City lifestyle, the propagation of sexual immorality (indexed by women's promiscuity), and the "erotic capital" women use to manipulate men. The degeneration of our civilisation is intimately linked to an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease and "emotionalism". Indeed, the danger of women's "unnatural" demand for equality is such that Breivik closes his introduction by claiming that "the fate of European civilisation depends on European men steadfastly resisting Politically Correct feminism".
A whole web of reasons are given for this conclusion, but two familiar constellations stand out. The first concerns feminism's purported sundering of the nuclear family and responsibility for a demographic collapse that opens Europe to Muslim colonisation. Too distracted by "having it all", western women are failing to breed enough to repel the amassing hordes. But, in their feminine naivety, they fail to realise that their comeuppance is on its way, their freedoms snatched by the invasion of the genuine oppressor. Barely submerged in this narrative – as in much cultural conservatism – is a profound anxiety about who controls women's bodies and reproductive capacities. In his concern to save us from ourselves, Breivik wants to drag us back to the 50s, limiting access to reproductive technology and discouraging women from pursuing education beyond a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, he suggests, we could "outsource breeding", and pursue surrogacy in low-cost countries or the development of artificial wombs.
This sci-fi fantasy of finally abolishing men's dependence on women's generative abilities is revealing. On the one hand, Breivik indicts feminism with causing our alleged "cultural suicide", both by encouraging reproductive treachery and also because women are apparently more supportive of multiculturalism. However, in another sense, Breivik's thought betrays an analogy between his monocultural nationalism and his veneration of a certain type of "warrior" masculinity, an analogy that revolves – as his manifesto's title implies – around the ideal of masculine independence. The "feminisation" of the European male corresponds to the "feminisation" of Europe itself. Our cultural purity is threatened by invasion from outside. Once proud, virile, and impregnable, Europe has been turned – Breivik suggests in Section 2.89 – into a woman, one who has submitted to rape rather than "risk serious injuries while resisting".
Unlike Breivik, we must resist the urge to make easy causal connections. No account of this man's background or beliefs about nationality, religion or gender can serve to explain his actions. His cool enumeration of technicalities about downloading the document, his careful inclusion of a press-pack of photos, the chilling reference to the sacrifices involved in its "marketing operation" – all this serves to exhibit an inhumanity which opens a chasm between ideas and action. Nevertheless, while the behaviour of Breivik must, and can, only be understood as insanity, we would do our understanding a disservice by accepting it as only that.
» » » » [Guardian]