Look at me. I mean, who would want to be me? If you look at the men who are writing about feminism, they toe the line very carefully. It's almost like they take their cues from the women around them. Men are afraid of women's anger. It's very hard for men to stand up to women's anger.
Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, "They are afraid women will laugh at them." When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, "We're afraid of being killed."
When I was starting college, I told my Uncle Bobby (who is a pastor turned professor) that I planned to major in theology/philosophy. As was typical, he asked me what I planned on doing with my degree. I told him I wasn’t sure, but that I felt called to some kind of ministry.
“Well, you know what you gotta do,” he replied, with a slight smile, “Is you’ve gotta take a couple of years off, go get really addicted to heroin, and then come back to the church. You gotta have a good story.”
"... even more so than despising his ideology, I despise the culture that enabled him. I despise the TMZ of feminist media that “reports” our issues and sells us a lip gloss version of our politics and gives space to people like him so that he can shit on us and tell us how we should take it in the face while he puts Women of Color in “their (our) places”. This is how White Supremacy works and I am pointing all my fingers at Jezebel and xoJane and The Atlantic and every other publication that paid him to publish his repulsive opinions. The shame is on each of you and not merely on his cock shots or pathetic sexting. The shame is on every editor that thought selling women like Blackamazon or brownfemipower (or even my fucking self) for page clicks was a worthy trade off. Each and every one of those editors that knew what he was, how he acted and how his misogynist racism operated behind the scenes has played a part in this. And you get to “represent” feminism. You are the filters of who gets published and who doesn’t. You are the ones that hold the doors and set the agendas. The dick pics are also on you. You helped create the monster, now I hope you enjoy the money shot."
In our first conversation on Saturday, Hugo talked at length and without much interruption or prodding from me about his poor mental health. This was after his family had taken his Twitter account from him. He told me that he lied to his parents when he took my call by telling them that he was talking to a medical professional of some kind. Hugo went through a lot of the same information he’d already provided to other media outlets he’d reached out to in order to complete his “scorched earth” strategy of tearing down his facade in order to rebuild. He said that, contrary to reports, he didn’t actually try to commit suicide because “I know how to commit suicide.” He said he wanted and to be put in the hospital but didn’t want to sit through the boring committal process. So he went to sleep with the help of about 30 pills and woke up a dozen hours later. Hugo said that an L.A. Weekly reporter called him while he was in a haze and it was then reported that he’d tried to kill himself.
Our conversation Monday settled a few questions – if you want to believe him. “I’m definitely clear I want a divorce,” he said adding that his wife with whom he has two children is torn between reconciliation and divorce. I asked then, if she wanted to forgive him, why wouldn’t he let her? “I’m just not cut out for monogamy,” he said, [...] He finally laid everything on the table and told her that she needed to go get tested for STDs. “The fact that she might still want to be with me, I don’t know if she’s masochistic or what,” he told me.
Hugo wasn’t worried about those types of criticisms from non-feminists like me. “The ones who do see [the deeper flaws], you can marginalize them. You can just roll your eyes at them.”
And then the bombshell for me: “It’s about having Game.” “I took Game to the feminist world,” he said at one point. Hugo said he made fun of Game as presented in the “Manosphere” because he was a natural at it.
Jezebel’s Coen let Hugo go in April 2013 because, as he said, “I wasn’t getting the page clicks I was before.”
Inside info: Hugo Schwyzer has emailed me directly to offer suggestions for how I should write about what a monster he is. It made me want to throw up. Actually, I won't tell you what it made me want to do, because my kneejerk reaction was incredibly violent, for some triggering reasons I won't go into here.
Because I personally believe that Schwyzer is now trying to construct a new redemption narrative that he can rebuild some semblance of a career on, I am extremely resistant to do what he has literally asked me to do and play along by writing up a piece about how terrible he is and how he totally "fooled" me, thereby keeping him at the center of the conversation and sustaining his media frenzy.
I think the phenomenon around Schwyzer’s popularity should be looked at from a prism rather than a single lens. For a start we have what I call “corporate feminism,” which is corporate media that is more interested in page clicks and viral content than in long-term political change or political organization. This is a relatively new phenomenon (probably Jezebel was the first site to start this trend). Up to that point, feminist blogging was part of or a companion of political activism or people interested in women’s studies so there was always a political component associated with blogging/publishing.
With the advent of “feminist mass media” (meaning sites that use feminist ideas or politics but target a wider audience than the initial niche), the main goal was never change or political action but profits. Schwyzer fit very well in this environment because he was inflammatory and “polemic” in the sense that he sold himself as “controversial,” which is like the holy grail of page clicks and publicity. So of course these commercial outlets embraced him. It didn’t matter whether they agreed with him or not, he brought in page clicks and that’s their main purpose: to make money out of page clicks.
Second, he is white, cisgender, male and affluent. All of these conflate to make him the “expert” in whichever field he picks. It’s not just that he has the influence to insert himself into spaces but his entire culture socialized him (and us) to accept him as an “expert.” This is at the root of what feminism has ALWAYS critiqued, the patriarchy! He IS the patriarchy and he infiltrated feminism because we are socialized to accept that white men “deserve” to occupy spaces.
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