Anyone who hasn’t spent their life trained in gynocentric dogma knows the bigoted history of women’s movements. The women’s suffrage movement had strong prejudices against men. Even going as far as to join the white feather campaign in order to challenge men’s masculinity for refusing to sign up for the draft. There was also friction between the movements of women’s suffrage and black suffrage. Black women were not seen as deserving of the vote and were even told to stand in the back of the lines for many events. Women’s movements were very heavily focused on white women–as they didn’t see black women as human nor their equals. It was hard to tell who white women despised more, men or black people. It’s too bad they couldn’t have the best of both worlds. Oh wait, they could — black men.
Already seeing black people as inhuman creatures and men as a dangerous species, their hatred for black men was off the charts. This is highlighted by many statements feminists themselves touted. Elizabeth Stanton claimed “it’s better to be the slave of an educated white man than of a degraded black one”. She claimed that black men would be “despotic” if they were to be granted basic voting rights. Susan B. Anthony infamously stated that she would rather cut off her right arm before she ever works for, or votes for a negro–instead of a “woman”. Rebecca Felton, the most prominent feminist in Georgia, was a slave owner and white supremacist. Rebecca routinely referred to black men as “dogs”, “half-civilized gorillas”, and “beasts”. She advocated for more lynchings of black men and less funding towards their education. In fact, many women’s advocates, in the United States, were members of the Klu Klux Klan. Yes, you heard right, the Klan.
The Not-So-Invisible Empire: The fragility of white womanhood
The WKKK (also known as the Invisible Empire) rose to prominence in the 1920s, following the result of women’s suffrage. After white women had gained the right to vote, and turned their backs on the black women who fought with them, they became hubristic and considered themselves to be untouchable. The decorated ladies of the ballot box didn’t merely hold white feathers — they wore white robes, organized violent events, and chanted racist rhetoric to slow down the progression of the “uppity negroes”. It may have been contradictory for a gender equality movement to (hypocritically) shame anti-war men and look at black men as inferior. But, contradiction and hypocrisy has never been a threat to the feminist movement. The suffragists of the morning were the white feathers of the evening and the klan members of the night. One moment, they wanted society to remove gender roles so that men and women had a political voice. The next moment they believed men should “man up” for war, while considering black men to be the destruction of society. This did nothing to hurt their cause for women’s rights. Approximately 500,000 women were proud members of the Invisible Empire.
Klanswomen rationalized their involvement using the philosophy of womanhood. In their opinion, white women were the real women of society. They believed that women were helpless beings with sexual purity. And they needed the klansmen to protect them from the “scary black man” who posed a threat to their safety. Klansmen would have to become chivalrous and put great importance on the safety of their women. It was almost as if these women were seen as infants who could suffer physical damage from too many hurtful words. And if words were enough to cause them damage, imagine how scared they were of black men, who they viewed as the devil. The klanswomen had several influencing factors to get their men on board:
- 1. Sexuality/beauty — fear of rape was a driving factor.
They put emphasis on just how irresistible they felt white women were. They raised their children to believe that white women were the most beautiful people on earth. They would construct a theory that black men were hypersexual dogs, who couldn’t control their hormones. If black men were seen as hypersexual, they would clearly be urgent to have sex with the goddesses of mankind. This only cements the idea that they were in danger of sexual assault from black perverts ready to prey on them.
- 2. Violence/passivity — Another driving force in the movement was black men’s aggression and white women’s passivity.
They promoted this theory that violence was in a black man’s nature and that he could never create a decent society. Black men would eventually murder them in the future — it was inevitable. White women saw themselves as gentle individuals. If white men weren’t protective enough, they could be attacked by thugs at any given point. And to make sure black men didn’t challenge their theory, they would call for the bombing of churches and peaceful gatherings. Of course this is contradictory. Klanswomen were influencing their husbands to commit violence, while the Civil Rights Movement was calling for non-violent protests. They were organizing lynching events and calling for klansmen to go on killing sprees–not only on black men, but on black children. And, yet, these women saw themselves as harmless toddlers in fear of a violent revolution from black males.
- 3. Education — black men were seen as uneducated.
They would claim that black men were typically dim-witted. They couldn’t be seen as intellectuals, leaders, or educators. To make sure this theory had no threatening factors, the klan would attack predominantly black schools. The purpose was to intimidate them from educating themselves and destroying the perception of black intellect.
This fear of black men was so powerful, that it led men — even outside of the klan — to embrace extreme levels of nobility, in the name of protecting “their women”. And so klansmen terrorized schools, lynched citizens, fired guns, and threw fists. One moment, these women portrayed themselves as powerful deities who used their intelligence and courage to keep their country safe. But if they got into any trouble, they were helpless damsels who needed noblemen to save them from the scary black man. It was completely inconsistent and made no sense on any rational scale. But, of course, it didn’t have to. The intention wasn’t to be consistent. The intention was to destroy the status of the black male in order to build up the status of white women. Bigotry doesn’t require common sense, because bigotry itself is irrational
This theory would be used as justification for every discriminatory action taken against black men. America would barely invest any resources into black men’s education. Politicians ordered lynchings of black men who were accused of raping a white woman. And they fought, tirelessly, against the Civil Rights movement. Police officers brutalized black men with dogs, tear gas, and batons for daring to argue against their mistreatment. Society looked the other way. They shrugged off all of this violence done to black men, claimed that they “should’ve stayed in school”, and moved on.
As first world countries adopted the notion of the “scary black man”, they all reacted with incredible outrage. Politicians would run campaigns on stopping the dangerous negros and their harmful — dare I say “toxic” — masculinity. The media would portray them as illiterate and aggressive. The National Rifle Association (NRA) would stop black men from holding guns. White women would call for the heads of any black man accused of touching a white woman or even acting in self-defense (Emmett Till & Sam Hose). Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation. Tulsans burned buildings and massacred black men, in order to maintain the notion that negro males were not responsible business owners. Almost like a disease, this notion spread throughout different countries and society got on board.
Backlash: the fragility of black womanhood
The black community tried to fight back against the klan. But they found themselves desperate for solutions. Even large strands of the black population started to fall for the theory of the scary black man and the fragile white woman. It became increasingly difficult for black activists to get enough people urgent to join their cause. How could you get people to feel empathy for black men when they were seen as horrific villains you would run from in a slasher movie? Eventually, a candle lit up — they had an idea.
In order to get people on board, they shifted the attention away from black men. The attention transferred to black women. A group of black women referring to themselves as “black feminists” emerged after being consistently excluded from the original feminist movement. They recruited black people using forms of gynocentrism to portray black women as helpless victims in need of safety. They would point to the history of black women being sexually violated immensely during the period of slavery. They would point to white men who used them as objects. And they would speak about the intense violence they suffered at the hands of white women, while they were used as house maids. And without the excessive sisterhood of their women and nobility of their men, black women were in danger.
This is oddly similar to the belief of fragile white women. It portrays certain women as helpless toddlers. It puts pressure on men to fight against even the hint of a threat. Women and men would find themselves stuck in this box of persuasion. Black women would be taught to scream for help at even the hint of any danger. Black men would be trained to use their masculine aggression in order to protect them. Without any rationality, black men would get into the face of other men–including black men-for even the slightest reasons. Black activists would make speeches about how much danger black women were in. They would put heavy emphasis on how we have to treat them like queens, protect them from any danger, and remind them how beautiful they are.
The major difference between the theory of fragility of black women and white women is intention. The fragile white woman theory was used as a justification to fight against black men and ultimately the black community. The fragile black woman theory was a self-defense strategy used to gain a sense of urgency for black rights. Even then, the philosophies are incredibly similar.
This philosophy was helpful, yet harmful. This belief was heavily responsible for the recruitment and passion of black activism. This ultimately led to a lot of success in black protest. However, this set a bad precedent for men and started a chain reaction of what we see today. Eventually, large amounts of black women joined the feminist movement (which is an entirely separate conversation) and adopted that theory to get black men on board. Women’s fragility and supposed purity, led to society making more irrational decisions. It created a standard of men using their masculinity to mindlessly defend women. It also started to give women unhealthy boosts to their ego, which would lead to them displaying large levels of arrogance and dismissiveness to the very men who lifted them up in the first place.
The Patriarchy: White Women’s Slavery
After the success of the Civil Rights Movement, America’s attitudes on the black community had shifted, significantly. It was no longer the norm to have prejudiced attitudes towards black people. And society was starting to distance itself from the klan, which became a national embarrassment. What were these women to do? How were they going to continue to uphold the privileges of white women, while degrading black men? Simple Answer: the patriarchy.
The word patriarchy was originally used as a word to describe male leadership, be it in a group, family, business, government, etc. It was word neither good nor bad, but informal. Feminists took this word and turned it into an oppressive system, comparing it to white superiority and corporatism. They desperately displayed the struggle of sexual equality to the struggles of race and class. The purpose of this comparison was to make the feminist agenda seem more important and relatable.
The klanswomen who mourned for the days of slavery, now portrayed themselves as slaves of the patriarchy. The high-class tea sippers were now the dirt poor labor workers, fighting against the establishment. Their participation of hate could be traded in for justice. And, they were finally free to replace their klan robes with pussy hats and cheap picket fences. Using every possible cliché slogan, tactic, and rhetoric that other justice movements use. They considered themselves “one of us”.
The patriarchy became a get-out-of-jail-free card for white women to use for their participation in the klan. With little care in the world, they pointed fingers at the “white man” for all of problems in society. They framed justice as “the white man vs women, POC, LGBT, and the poor. This cements the idea that they were free from criticism and free from consequences for their previous actions, while their husbands were the perpetrators who deserved scorn. White women would be portrayed as women who were just going along with their husbands and had no voice in their relationships. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as they willingly joined the klan and even organized a lot of the events. But facts and morality were never of any concern to them. These same women (as explained earlier in the article) challenged men’s manhood for refusing to join the army. These women turned on black men throughout their struggle for suffrage. And, after using black women to get their voting rights, they brushed them to the side. So, if you think, even for a second, that turning on their men was a difficult thing to do, you would be wrong.
The Angry White Man is The Scary Black Man
If a black man walks around with a mask of a white person’s face, does that make him a white man? No, it makes him a delusional man. That’s the largest problem with this “scary white man” rhetoric. Despite all of these statements about lowering the status of white men–and raising the status of everyone else–black men are the ones hurting the most by America’s policies. That’s the intention of the fragile woman theory. This hatred of men is nothing but a disguised hatred for black men.
Black men still suffer inequalities in incarceration, education, and health funding. They still find themselves in fear of homicide and police brutality. They’re still portrayed as violent animals. Nothing has changed. It’s the same thing. This entire “stop white men” rhetoric was code word for “stop black men”. The “wife beaters”, “violent criminals”, “deadbeat fathers”, “drug abusers”, “rapists”, “super predators”. They were all used as dog whistle to play off of the fears of white women and the hatred against black men.
The “fight against white men” rhetoric is merely a slander against any injustices men go through. It’s just a batch of white women pointing the finger at their loved ones, like toddlers saying “he made me do it”. It completely ignores their willing participation in the subjugation of black people. It allows the affluent valley girls to wear chains around their neck and call themselves the new n-words (Bette Midler). It allows them to argue that sexism is a larger problem than racism (Women Are Never Front-Runners op-ed). And it gives them the comfortability to compare a kitchen to a ghetto (Gloria Bunker; All In The Family). They could claim that they were the true civil rights fighters, while watching black men suffer.
If anyone attempts to fight against these negative views of men, this could all be dismissed as another angry white man rant. Any fight against due process violations (title IX and #metoo) can be dismissed as white men wanting to rape women. If you want to point out the bias against fathers in a court of law, you’re clearly an abusive white man who wants the right to abuse their children. If you’re a parent complaining about the lack of educational investment for boys, you must be a white man scared of women advancing in life. Do you feel like getting fair sentencing in the prison system? Then you’re most likely a violent white man who wants to commit violence against women. While the prison, education, and healthcare system targets black men and benefits white women, any form of activism against this would just be dismissed as a group of angry white men ranting about their loss of power and privileges-case in point the irrational responses to the men’s rights movement.
And, so I come to the conclusion that the “angry white man” is just a substitute for the “scary black man”. It’s the same irrational theory that ignores logic and reasoning. Black men still being largely targeted and degraded. White women still put on a pedestal. There’s no fear of them losing those advantages, as they can use the word “patriarchy” when they run into a bumpy road. It’s all the same result with new wording–as it’s intended to be. “Women’s” empowerment indeed.