Everything That is Wrong with Mainstream Feminism

Women controlling the military-industrial complex is not feminism, it’s toxic masculinity. The fruit of a sick valuing system that is poisoning our environment and risking nuclear annihilation, writes Caitlin Johnstone.

A ceremony for military women at at Arlington National Cemetery. (DoD, Alexander Kubitza)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Outlets like MSNBC and Politico have been excitedly running headlines titled “The military-industrial complex is now run by women” and “How women took over the military-industrial complex“. Apparently four of America’s five top defense contractors are now women, whose names I will not bother to learn or report on because I do not care.

These headlines are being derided by skeptics of the establishment mindset for the cartoonish self-parody of the corporate liberal mindset that they so clearly are, and rightly so. Pretty much everything in American mainstream liberalism ultimately boils down to advancing mass murder, exploitation and ecocide for profit while waving a “yay diversity” banner so that the NPR crowd can feel good about themselves while signing off on it. But the fact that these stories exist and have an audience can also be blamed more specifically on the failures of mainstream feminism.

A lot of men (and the occasional cultishly servile woman) like to bitch about the problem with modern feminism as though it is something that hurts men, threatens men, demonizes men, or robs men of their place in society or anything else they feel entitled to. This is all dopey nonsense which amounts to nothing other than a childish temper tantrum over men losing control over women that they never should have had in the first place; it’s people whining about losing their slaves. That imaginary piffle is not what is wrong with mainstream feminism. What is wrong with mainstream feminism is exemplified perfectly in a mass media parade celebrating the rise of women to the top of the most depraved industry on earth.

Playing Men’s Games

The problem that true feminism seeks to address is not that there aren’t enough women at the top of the corporate ladder, or that Americans refused to elect a woman to do the bombing, exploiting and oppressing in 2016. The problem has always been that we’re trying to value women with a value system created by a few very powerful men. By leaving in place the value system created by patriarchy (i.e. capitalism), we are now valuing women but only for their ability to play men’s games. Nobody has ever become a billionaire by being a mother, even the very best mother in the world, and nobody ever will because capitalism was designed by men, for men, to value men’s qualities. This has created a species-threatening imbalance because inequality is baked in to the system. When men reluctantly allowed women out of their house-shaped cages in the  ’60s, they did so on the condition that they would not change a thing about themselves. Women could play, but it was the women who had to change. As usual.

Germaine Greer. (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s interesting to go back to seminal texts like Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch” and see how much time feminists spent back then thinking about how women could be paid for domestic and child-rearing work. Fifty years ago, feminists of the time could easily see how financial abuse runs rampant through marriages because women don’t get paid for the majority of their work. They could see how if women were to ever be truly free, that had to be fixed. If you’re not getting paid, then you’re not able to leave, and if you can’t leave, you’re a slave. Despite all of feminism’s gains, today if you dare suggest that women be paid for bearing children, you will be jeered at. It was decided somewhere along the line that, fine, you can be a fake man if you want to, but don’t expect us to value YOU. Men refused to value women’s work, which is why most of it is still essentially slavery. And that was a crucial, planet-threatening mistake.

By refusing to value women and what skills they naturally bring, humanity continued to not value the meta work of the feminine. We continued to not value the health of our environment, the health of our social cohesion, the mental health of each other. By refusing to place a hard and fast value on cleaning, healing, networking, redistributing goods, disappearing problems, restoring, reusing, collaboration, happiness and health, we are strengthening all their opposites.

Many men will knee-jerk argue that they too are slaves to the corporatocracy, and that’s true. That’s what you get when you don’t change a valuing system that was created by slave-owners to distract their slaves from killing them and to keep them working anyway. That’s what you get when you insist everyone change to suit a system that was created by power to keep power in place. We laugh about how indigenous people were fooled into handing over vast swathes of their land for handfuls of shiny shells, while we hand over our labor, our land, our rights and our freedoms for paper rectangles, today.

True feminism doesn’t hold that the world would be better off if women ran things; shifting control from one gender to the other would change very little as long as the current valuing system remains in place. True feminism holds that all of humanity needs to change its valuing system to one which rewards feminine work as much as masculine, instead of only rewarding women when they succeed at climbing the ladder of the patriarchal paradigm.

Women controlling the military-industrial complex is not feminism, it’s toxic masculinity. It’s the fruit of the sick valuing system that is blackening our air, poisoning our water, filling the oceans with plastic, bulldozing the rainforests, and marching us toward the brink of nuclear Armageddon. True feminism means turning away from the toxic valuing system which elevates the most ambitious sociopaths and toward one which values empathy, collaboration, nurturing and peace instead.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. This article was re-published with permission.

94 comments for “Everything That is Wrong with Mainstream Feminism

  1. Robert Callaghan
    January 12, 2019 at 09:17

    *Fembot Socialists Run Deep State Military Industrial Complex* Think Rachael Madcow.
    Young lefties say race and sex are just social constructs so they can hate what they deny is real — white males.
    I’m told masculinity is toxic but…
    4 of the top 5 defense contractor CEOs are women. The 3 CIA top dogs are women.
    The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer and the chief overseer of the nation’s nuclear stockpile now join other women in some of the most influential national security posts, such as the nation’s top arms control negotiator and the secretary of the Air Force.

    Socialism, capitalism and communism do not work. Our addictions to these ideologies are 100 years old. They are useless in the context of emergency runaway hothouse mass extinction. It’s like a dick measuring contest when the Titanic is sinking.

    *How Women Took Over The Military-Industrial Complex* (now imagine if Hillary won)

    *Sisterhood of spies: Women now hold the top positions at the CIA*

    *Reporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support For Endless War*

    Madeleine Albright and the Clintons starved to death half a million Iraqi kids of medicine and food during the 90s.

    Hillary Clinton and Obama destroyed Yemen, Libya and Syria with media collusion.

  2. Stephen Morrell
    January 12, 2019 at 04:28

    I pasted below on Caitlin’s site; sorry for the repeat but felt some things needed to be said.

    To me, this is rather muddled article. Bourgeois feminism has always been concerned with the abstract equality of the sexes, and has a contemporary focus on the ‘glass ceiling’, which is telling for the rest of us in the gutter. The more radical bourgeois feminists, or so-called ‘socialist feminists’, have claimed that capitalism is an inherently ‘male’ economic system with its aggressive competitiveness and ‘winner-take-all’ ethos. And when some women rise to the top of the system it’s claimed they had sold out to the patriarchy, and in fact no longer should be considered women. But to mainstream bourgeois feminists such women are celebrated as examples of the glass ceiling cracking, ‘proving’ that capitalism is finally recognising and using women’s talents.

    One of the rallying cries for ‘radical’ feminists has been wages for housework. That this became quite popular in the 1970s isn’t a coincidence. Before then, the (typically) male breadwinner brought home enough income to support a family for the woman to stay at home and be ‘paid’ to endure the stultifying drudgery and social isolation of housework and child raising. Women were dependent on the male breadwinner. From the 1970s on, each working class household in most western countries could no longer live on a single income and have a modicum of comfort. This was brought about largely through the rollback of hard-won working conditions (continuing to this day), which began in earnest after the first oil crisis of 1974 with the whittling down of real wages and salaries via a strike of capital that caused simultaneous high inflation and high unemployment (stagflation).

    Women consequently were forced to go into the workforce (and were scapegoated for rising unemployment at the same time), but were still expected to continue performing the household drudgery. Today, on average it takes almost three breadwinners on a median wage/salary for a nuclear family to live above subsistence, yet the most ‘radical’ demand of ‘radical’ feminism remains ‘wages for housework’. That is, be paid to lead a stultifying existence in that modern-day prison house of peoples, the nuclear family. There is a deafening silence from feminism about the nuclear family, the chief prop of women’s oppression.

    The main problem with feminism, radical or otherwise, is that it can’t address the material needs of working women and therefore the woman question in its full scope. The woman question is seen purely within the framework of capitalism, and that the main dividing line in society is not a class one but a sex one. Around the time of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch (1970), another expression more often was used regarding the woman question: women’s liberation, and there was such a thing called the women’s liberation movement. And this is where the starting point for addressing the woman question should be, but it also indicates the extent of the rightward political trajectory since then that ‘women’s liberation’ is rarely mentioned in political discourse.

    Feminism’s roots in the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution, have not extended much further today than advocating equal rights with men. As in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), women’s equality boils down to how well married partners treat each other, plus having the same access to resources and opportunities as men. For working-class women, this boils down to equalising their oppression with working-class men.

    The first and most serious effort to conceive of women’s complete liberation was by a male, the utopian socialist Charles Fourier who recognised firstly that liberty can’t occur for anyone living in poverty. Fourier advocated reconstructing society completely to replace the nuclear family, to eliminate the division of labour between men and women. He regarded heterosexual monogamy as an extension of bourgeois property in the sexual sphere, and viewed the patriarchal family as inherently sexually repressive. He advocated the raising of children collectively without particular relation to their biological parents as part of his utopian plalanxes, and was for total sexual freedom. Fourier’s conception of women’s liberation remains just as relevant today as it was in the early 1800s, and Marx and Engels took much from him.

    A program for the true liberation of women can’t be limited to what today’s feminists deem fit. It must go beyond feminism because capitalism simply can’t provide the material basis for the liberation of women: socialised housework, restaurants and laundries, free 24-hour childcare, free education, free healthcare (including free access to contraception and abortion) and meaningful work for all. While the nuclear family is a key reproducer of bourgeois authority and values in the domestic sphere, it is also of paramount importance to the capitalist class as it ensures the transmission of property to its heirs. The necessary condition for the liberation of women is the replacement of the nuclear family, and that won’t occur this side of a socialist revolution, which is well beyond the pale for feminism, mainstream, ‘radical’ or ‘socialist’.

  3. Aerolotek
    January 10, 2019 at 10:51

    What a great article and what a fantastic sentence:

    “We laugh about how indigenous people were fooled into handing over vast swathes of their land for handfuls of shiny shells, while we hand over our labor, our land, our rights and our freedoms for paper rectangles, today.”

    If it only were paper rectangles, however. Nowadays it’s numbers on monitors. Less than nothing. Deleted with the push of an ENTER key. This is off-topic, but do pay attention to the corporate attack on physical money on behalf of digital glib globs.
    They don’t want anyone to enjoy any privacy whatsoever. They don’t want you to support your local street musician with a dollar. What they want – those ladies in the picture above, too -, is to chip you like a pet.

  4. Lutz Barz
    January 10, 2019 at 01:23

    rippa article. I have always had problems with men, blokes, sporty retards and all. As a male! I never could relate to anything male-ish. Ever. I tried being gay but that failed as well. But that was my genes. However the gay men had the best parties. And knew some fantastic independent women as well. Who were there because they were safe. They wouldn’t get cracked on. Great friends all. So my suggestion is of course to incorporate the gay as well! Champagne instead of cheap beer. The cultural change alone would be phenomenal.

    • JohnS
      January 13, 2019 at 04:28

      Try HARDER

    • Frankly Speaking
      January 14, 2019 at 18:00

      Completely irrelevant.

  5. A.R.
    January 9, 2019 at 21:58

    Not seeing how you can really blame the military industrial complex on something as narrow as toxic masculinity. Sorry, it’s just not that simple. Much of feminist literature is chock full of romantic idealism, noble savage egalitarianism, that bluntly never existed. Any serious scientist, who isn’t lying to themselves for some type of placebo activist mentality, will be frank with you on this matter- the dependency of humanity on wielding economic/military might to protect and plunder resources over time has been a way not only to survive, but to thrive as cultures- but since the enlightenment, and particularly the 20th century and the cold war, game theory and economic excesses have allowed us to entertain ideas of longer lasting peace like never before, if only cultural boundaries, clashes of ideas, and bad apples/distrust within the global ranks didn’t play a role. The idea that this is because ‘just men’ is a childish idea, or that this system is a system of ‘toxic masculine behavior’ is fuckin goofy- it is a system that developed out of the jungle- from our very evolutionary roots. All of these romantic idealists now, whom ironically are adopting puritan morality and christian rhetoric with their ‘woke’ and ‘redemption’ and ‘demanding apologies’ and ‘casting those out’ from communities, need to check themselves and realize they are the privileged ones doing all of this from their toxic masculine created air conditioning, and toxic masculine powered power plants, with toxic masculine built houses, with all of their easy access resources shipped by toxic masculine built and driven trucks and airplanes. Not saying we dont need to move on- we definitely do- but this is a deep, deep problem, beyond man or woman- it is our very neurochemistry, biological makeup- and just because we can all imagine happy places doesnt mean its easy to design them. I recommend someone like Dr. Ian McGilchrists work on the Brain hemispheres, more than I would any sociologist on these issues, simply because I think we as a species have to change how we are completely, man or woman, before things get better- after all, it’s a proven fact that women are almost always sexually drawn to men of higher social status, capable of protecting them w great economic leverage- doesn’t really help with the ‘toxic masculinity’ does it?

    • John
      January 10, 2019 at 03:13

      Wow! Amazing comment, spot on!

  6. The Man With The Magic Wand
    January 9, 2019 at 20:25

    Eden’s Apple

    Feminism isn’t equity or equality.

    It’s feminism.

    Run a feminist ‘seed’ or ‘flapping of the butterfly’s wings’ over time and see if equity is what you get.

    In order to get equity permeating society, you don’t start with feminism. You start with equity. Duh.

    Feminism-as-equity is a square peg, or, to be charitable, a square peg with the corners cut off– an octagonal peg– in a round hole.

    The military industrial complex is not ‘toxic masculinity’. It’s simply toxic, and what with women at some helms now. And that’s some people’s point apparently.

    Some women or so-called feminists don’t appear to want to change the so-called partiarchy. They just want ‘skin in the game’, like ‘getting the vote’.

    But as any anarchist knows, ‘the vote’ is skin in the game– a toxic game.

    Ditto with being bosses in the hierarchy, and wage-slaves and tax-prostitutes outside ‘their’ proverbial kitchens.

    Ditto with becoming CEO’s of four of the largest military corporations.

    Like we didn’t see that coming?

    But you may not see these things coming if you see reality through myopic or distorted lenses, like feminism-as-equity.

    Let’s be honest:

    This global industrial crony-capitalist plutarchy culture/society is a fool’s errand and is breeding the fools to run it– men and women and everyone else in between, alike– off the precipice.

    Good riddance.

    Hope you have a parachute.

  7. January 9, 2019 at 18:31

    a very apt analysis and to the heart of the matter : mainstream feminism.

  8. C. Kent
    January 9, 2019 at 12:21

    I am reading this and reminded of a nasty piece on John McCain I read a while back that I loved. It’s author lost to my memory, I google “just die McCain” and BLAMM it’s you! Well hoo-fucking rah, lovely to see you again my friend! I’d been checking Consortium News lately due to it’s apparent gravitas, now I get some kickyouras, nice. I could not be happier today, having discovered “orcification.”


    To the article, if Caitlin Johnstone were Sec of Def might we expect more, or less, drone war deaths of wedding parties? I’d say more, and less whining about it. The old trope “Absolute power corrupt absolutely” is not to my knowledge gender dependent. If a young Queen Elizabeth had met Hitler alone in an elevator in 1939 would she have had the balls to yank a baseball sized diamond off of her hat and cram it down his throat and choke him to death in the interests of world-wide value system adjustment? One would hope so. In my mind feminism is about successfully getting your own way when nobody is watching.

    • Lutz Barz
      January 10, 2019 at 01:27

      the british royals adored, almost publically the nazies. as well as many amerikans. and power depends on those who corrupt themselves. it happened to me! I got elevated. what crawled out of the woodwork simply astounded me. all men. no women got sucked in.

  9. January 9, 2019 at 12:08

    Thank you Caitlin Johnstone for your article. Fortyfive years ago I was one of 8 people carrying out Black White Awareness
    and covertly male female awareness workshops for a major company. Reflecting on that experience I concluded that the world would be a much better place when women stood up, spoke out and acted out their values and not the values of males. I believe you are absolutely right and that some of us are seeing that happen today albeit very slowly. There is no doubt in my mind the
    process is being slowed by women who advocate for patriarchal values and is being advanced by people like you. Thank you
    and the people who advocate for integrity, respect, equality, justice and peace.

  10. Silly Me
    January 9, 2019 at 08:47

    Based on their biological programming, women are more likely to strive for stability. While men compete, women form alliances. You can guess which side wins most of the time.

    Moreover, it is creepy that the average relationship lasts for seven years, women often make more money than men (a few years ago, it was 117% among professional s), and they also get everything after divorce. Women can accuse men without evidence and get rewarded, too.

    No wonder even the nuclear family has become obsolete.

    Sending women to work partly established that course, but it created competition in the worforce allowing for lower wages for everyone.

    Who benefited?

    • Lutz Barz
      January 10, 2019 at 01:29

      you poor person. so insular. in europe women had been working like for ever with the men. and the family did not suffer. but i guess you are amerikan. so it is different. just don’t globalise the local.

      • Silly Me
        January 10, 2019 at 07:19

        Nope, I’m from Europe. And you are from the Moon. :)

    • January 13, 2019 at 10:49

      what planet are you living on? Must be the self-pitying sexists of so-called “men'[s rights” advoctes. Your comment is NONSENSICAL

  11. January 9, 2019 at 03:27

    Thank you very much for this article.
    Maybe you are interested in one similar about NATO women, here:

    All the best.

  12. Lucas Dowd
    January 8, 2019 at 23:48

    I’m not disagreeing here just would like to know what “value system” we should replace capitalism with? Socialism? Communism? Or something completely new? Serious question.

    • OlyaPola
      January 9, 2019 at 12:06

      “Or something completely new?”

      Nothing is ever completely new since all phenomena contain decreasing half-lives of components of their lateral trajectories of development.

      Since their trajectories have been and will be functions of their lateral development no post/pre-existing form can be imposed on this lateral process without rendering such process linearly iterative (framed/restricted to oscillation within post/pre-existing forms) , or can be fully emulated through this lateral process since such emulation precludes transcendence of post/pre-existing forms thereby precluding lateral process (Mr. Fukuyama’s end of history refers).

      The component that often catalyses change is lateral (qualitative) perception of purpose.

      Evaluated practice suggests that the entry point with the greatest utility into lateral processes is purpose, and facilitation of ongoing lateral process facilitated through lateral trajectories derived and facilitated by tested/modified lateral strategies including forms to facilitate purpose – a process of continual lateral innovation.

    • The Man With The Magic Wand
      January 11, 2019 at 08:03


  13. Gregory Herr
    January 8, 2019 at 18:03

    Always good to read someone who understands what a “value-system” should value. My sense of “feminism” developed along the lines of humane egalitarianism.

    “Pretty much everything in American mainstream liberalism ultimately boils down to advancing mass murder, exploitation and ecocide for profit while waving a “yay diversity” banner so that the NPR crowd can feel good about themselves while signing off on it.” I love this bit of writing so much I had to repeat it. Thank you Caitlin.

  14. Kathy Gray
    January 8, 2019 at 11:21

    I learned long, long ago that women can be douchebags just like men.

  15. Racist ID Politics
    January 8, 2019 at 10:38

    A toxic cocktail to our democracy: superficial identity politics defended by political correctness.
    Skin color, ethnicity, and sex are more important than values and actions. So we read more of:
    “I Want A Woman President. I’m Not Afraid to Say So Anymore.”

    Criticism of values or actions is framed as discrimination like racism or misogyny.
    Defending racist and sexist Identity Politics by claiming that those focused on actions and principles are racist and sexist is oxymoronic.

    Similar obfuscation is Israel’s right-wing govt. reaction to BDS: Boycott Divest and Sanction.
    Violent, racist actions and values of an occupying government are ignored and defended by smearing accusers as hate groups as well as lobbying the US govt. to criminalize free speech.

  16. Branimir
    January 8, 2019 at 07:43

    Weak article. It basically doesn’t say anything. The Western Feminism is everything else but Feminism.

  17. Naclador
    January 8, 2019 at 02:42

    Wonderful piece! I will subscribe to THIS type of feminism any day!

  18. A. Einstein
    January 7, 2019 at 23:45

    Anyone who can’t figure out that those women are window dressing for arms manufacturers is very lame.

    • The Man With The Magic Wand
      January 11, 2019 at 08:06

      And they seem happy and willing to window-dress.

  19. Antonym
    January 7, 2019 at 23:26

    One aspect of what is wrong with mainstream Western (= captured) feminism is absent ATL and BTL so far: too little sympathy of this group for domination of men over women allowed in Islam in sharia law, freedom of movement, clothing etc.
    Must be because their neocon puppeteers are in bed with big Gulf oil sheiks.

  20. Deborah Andrew
    January 7, 2019 at 23:16

    Caitlin, If you have time, watch: “Madam Secretary” (not politics as usual). It’s a TV series that portrays a woman as Sec. of State with kinds of values you see missing in so many of the women who have ‘broken the glass ceiling.’ Like you, I find it somewhat mindless for women to want to be in the military, carry a gun, learn how to kill. Unlike many, I have not found that gender distinguishes. Rather, in my experience it is the moral character of individuals, regardless of gender, that among other attributes distinguishes one individual from another. Let’s single out the best individuals in our midst and support them and their efforts to create a better world for all.

  21. William M
    January 7, 2019 at 21:29

    Now that I have reached the age of 86 and look back on having had a wonderful marriage of 53 years , a marriage which had been something of a ” Love Story”, I feel a deep sadness for what I see taking place today. My wife has been gone for 10 years now and there has not been a day since her passing on that I do not think of her. She always said that I was her strength but she was my strength as well. A Love Story does not mean that two people can not and will not give each other a “hard time”, for that is a part of it too. Even so, we pushed one another to try new things, raised our sons to be respectful and the grandsons are good and kind men married to capable and productive women and they are wonderful fathers to their children.

    I have always disliked the term : “opposite sex”. In my mind, the sexes are not opposites, but rather complementary, which is to say the completion of one another, wherein each fills the voids of the other . Of course no one wants to admit that s(he) has any voids. I learned long, long ago that my wife and I might reach a consensus on any given issue, but that we used totally different paths of reasoning to reach that consensus. Sometimes we would find that these different approaches to problem solving when compared would give rise to a further, somewhat heated argument in itself. Even so, the love was always there. After all of these years I still wear my wedding band. I find myself to be surrounded by a loving, talented and creative family, each family member understanding this .
    By the way,we have never told anyone that she or he could not find love with a member of his/ her own sex. Let us rejoice that ther is love in our lives!

  22. Fred Hayek
    January 7, 2019 at 21:21

    If you don’t have money you can’t leave?
    Yeah, because divorce judgements never give a wife the husband’s money. Please. You destroy an interesting article with the failure to acknowledge that while summarizing Greer’s work.

  23. Tom Kath
    January 7, 2019 at 20:54

    Full marks to Caitlin for bravely tackling this highly divisive subject. In my view it is the fundamental one which is polarising western society far more than Trump, Brexit, and all the “Alt” movements, which are actually only symptoms or results of this battle between the sexes. (That battle itself is as old as time)
    I try to encourage people to see male and female as just PARTS OF THE ONE ORGANISM. In crude terms I describe this power struggle the same as that between arms and arseholes. Which is more essential, powerful, or which would you rather do without?
    When arseholes try lifting weights, and arms try excreting waste, the organism fails.

  24. Nathan Mulcahy
    January 7, 2019 at 19:11

    Spot on. To those who disagree, here is our prime “feminist”, gloating about the brutal murder of a human being she had helped orchestrate

    And then here is another “feminist” who thought that killing half a million Iraqi children was “worth it”.

    Lest anybody thinks that I am a chauvinist male – I support and have voted for Jill Stein. Stein is the kind of feminist we need and need to promote.

  25. Maxine Chiu
    January 7, 2019 at 18:34

    Similarly, I became disgusted everytime women became enraged because they couldn’t join the military….What KIND of woman (or man) would volunteer for this hideous profession?

    • Skip Edwards
      January 7, 2019 at 20:51

      As a USAF, Vietnam veteran, I am outraged, too. Why? Simply put, the military is the only route to so-called advancement in our country, be it man or woman. And, advancement in the corporate or political arena by women acting like men does none of us justice. Great article.

    • Maxwell Quest
      January 7, 2019 at 22:02

      – Those who plan to go into politics and therefore want a patriotic stint on their resume to improve their appeal.
      – Those who see it as an escape from poverty or the family farm.
      – Those who want to test their metal.
      – Those who see it as the only way of obtaining an education.
      – Those who are lost and need direction and structure in their lives.
      – Those whose family has a long history in the armed services and feel intense pressure to continue the tradition.
      – Those who are gullible enough to believe their local recruiter.
      – And the list goes on…

  26. Cassandra
    January 7, 2019 at 18:10

    Toxic masculinity? Women – in many cultures – have been part of the warrior class for millenia. Pathologizing gender is bullshit.

    The martial instinct, the martial call, is gender neutral, just as are empathy, collaboration, nurturing and making peace. They are not value systems, they are expression of the gods. Repressing, denying, the martial goddess in feminism – denying Athena and Artemis, to name two – is part of the problem. Disciplining the martial instinct – when, where, and how to use it, for DEFENSE – for both men and women, is much of the rest of the problem with US imperialism.

  27. mike k
    January 7, 2019 at 18:04

    The proper handling of sex and male/female roles in society will never occur until we create a culture based on unconditional love for all beings. Human culture based on selfishness is doomed eventually to destroy itself. To not understand this is to lack the key to understanding all our problems in getting along together, and how we can have a world without war or inequality – actually a utopian world inconceivable to those mired in the fatal illusions and ignorance we are presently enacting.

    It is sad that what I have just stated will be considered irrelevant nonsense by the overwhelming majority of the few who might read them. We are so inured to the stunted and miserable lives we are leading, that we accept our situation as “normal” or inevitable.

    • Maxwell Quest
      January 7, 2019 at 23:55

      Agreed, mike, but ‘unconditional love for all beings’ is a tall order at our current stage of development. There are still a great number of barbarians in the population’s developmental bell curve. Now, I hope you don’t mind if I piggyback onto your comment…

      I’m going to push this ‘irrelevant nonsense’ even further into crazyland for those few who may have an interest. The relationship between the sexes would forever be altered if they understood that, as the wheel of life turns, each person reincarnates sometimes as a man, sometimes as a woman. The psychic components for each sex are already present, one is active and owned as part of the personality, the other is subconscious and searches for a love-object on which to project.

      Ideas like these are not unique, and have been known by many through much of history. They can be found time and time again in ancient and modern books, but since they are disruptive to the prevailing power orthodoxies, they are kept far away from the public mind – even though it is now illegal to burn heretics, their ‘dangerous’ ideas still get the same treatment. One must painstakingly search them out, often first finding them masked in the sacred symbolism of alchemical texts, and eventually, when you are ready, in clear, plain, comprehensible language.

      • Peppermint
        January 8, 2019 at 09:29

        Maxwell and Mike
        None of what you write is in the realm of “crazyland,” for anyone who has seriously/earnestly searched religious and spiritual matters. And for those who practice what they’ve learned, what you write is sanity itself. Carry on…Peace.

  28. nondimenticare
    January 7, 2019 at 18:02

    “Mainstream feminism” is a misnomer if not an oxymoron and has been used, among other things, to lead us to our current identity-politics morass. Feminism and the demand for equal rights have been treated as identical of late, but as has been made crystal clear by people like Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, et al. — so many al. — they are not only different but opposed in many ways. Just as Johnstone says, the sexes can have equal rights to warmongering, polluting, even inequality through the meritocracy (both women and men being born on third base and thinking they hit a home run). An equal rights regime functions perfectly within the existing system. A woman president (as was suggested) might be in a position to change that system to incorporate feminism, not just equal rights to plunder, but she would have to be a stealth candidate. And we all know that stealth candidates have usually been most successful at moving the country to the right, viz. the Clintons.
    A first but essential step is just to recognize the difference – feminism and equal rights – so we can stop being fooled and manipulated.

  29. January 7, 2019 at 17:30

    This essay by Caitlin Johnstone immediately brought to my mind the graphic drawings perceived to be icons of today’s empowered females. I shuddered in disgust the first time I saw women depicted as ferocious, warlike attackers ( in skimpy uniform, of course)–the female Captain Marvel of comic books–roaring out for battle. I’m an elderly woman who has been a life-long feminist, and I abhor these depictions of liberated women. Evidently, they were created to support feminism; au contraire, they are inimical of it.

  30. January 7, 2019 at 17:28

    How do we fix this?

    On Unlearning Abjection (or in plain English, How to Fix this Hellified Mess)

    Happy New Year everybody! (and I got this idea on abjection from a Feminist, Julia Kristeva, so there you go)

  31. January 7, 2019 at 17:10

    I remember when this was Consortium News.
    How the hell does this nonsensical rambling get past the editor?

    Please get back to objective; well researched (and resourced); fact- based JOURNALISM.

    • mike k
      January 7, 2019 at 20:25

      Careful you don’t cut yourself with that thing!

    • Silly Me
      January 9, 2019 at 08:35

      I am seconding that…

  32. Paul G.
    January 7, 2019 at 16:43

    This has been going on for a long time, since the ’60’s; when liberal feminism’s idea of liberation was breaking the “glass ceiling” with little thought to the morality of what was past the ceiling. This process was exemplified by many in the feminist press who were, to put it succinctly, “bourgeois”. It ignored blue collar women, celebrating only the woman aspiring to the upper echelons. Their ideology was reactionary pretending to be liberal as they were essentially elitist merely putting more women in the ruling classes. They showed little interest in raising the level of women as a whole.
    Hillary Clinton exemplifies this woman. How many people voted for her just to put a woman in the White House; even though she was as much a war monger and corporatist as G.W. Bush; and as much a liar, though more polished, as Trump and quite crooked to boot.

    The women who broke into the trades and other traditionally male careers did it on their own without the cheerleading of mushy upper middle class liberals who were not interested in the aspirations of an electrician or an engineering student.

    On the other hand putting monetary value on family work is degrading and pecuniary. A family is a family because of love of each other and children. The compensation is personal, and now only the most socially retarded men don’t thoroughly share in familial duties.
    If there is divorce modern divorce laws, community property, child support etc. takes care of that.

    • Thomas Howard (@souphound1961)
      January 7, 2019 at 21:35

      excellent points. Best comment on this whole thread.

    • Paora
      January 7, 2019 at 23:08

      Agree wholeheartedly about the bourgeois orientation of most Western feminism, great to see a Socialist-Feminist perspective. However there seems to be a lot of confusion across the comments about the ‘wages for housework’ proposal. It’s not a case of the State coming down from on high and saying to husbands ‘THOU SHALT PAY THY WIFE THIS MUCH’. Most Socialist-Feminists envisioned a system funded from progressive taxation (of wealthy men and women) and paid to caregivers to support the ‘reproductive labor’ traditionally performed by women (regardless if the caregiver is female or not).

    • scanalyse
      January 10, 2019 at 16:36

      I spent +45 years studying and working with men because I chose to be an engineer when I was 15. I have been a feminist for as long as I can remember, and worked as a professional in my field of expertise.
      I reject a glass ceiling quasi-feminism where a woman serves as a symbol of progressiveness of some deeply flawed structure. Climbing to the top of an oppressive system only enforces this system. Equality and justice can not be achieved by playing the power game. The game itself has to be changed.

  33. January 7, 2019 at 16:40

    Hi Caitlin. I love your writing. It cuts through the detritus like a sudden spring storm. I’ve come across a few of your articles in the past and was always impressed with both the guts and the power of your prose. Always meant to drop you a note so this time I have.. Thanks and keep it up.

    Best wishes,

  34. DiaRear
    January 7, 2019 at 16:35


  35. Peter Loeb
    January 7, 2019 at 16:16


    To Caitlin Johnstone Whatever points you made, it was difficult and unpleasant
    to read them. It is hard to cite such an article to support its positions. Try

    Your main point, it seems, is the same as that made by many blacks.

    #Me Too is essentially flawed although almost no one dares to say so. While
    it addresses major points, it too often assumes the guilt of males while totally
    overlooking any role women might play.

    I believe William Shakespeare gave us a more mature view despite the
    fact that #Me Too was not a “movement” in the 16th century. See Sonnet
    # 129, “Th’expense of spirit in a lust of action…etc.”

    In sexual relations (to take the most obvious example) women share responsabilty. Women too lust, they enjoy copulation and so forth. When things go sour in a relationship they—like men—can be manipulative and can use
    their power to gain special advantage. So can—-and do—men. It is part
    of the human condition.

    As an advocate, I have long ago learned (at first to my surprise) that a female
    assistant to a Congressperson can be just as calculating as any male. That
    should have been more than obvious to me, but then I was younger and
    operated on inbred stereotypes. A woman, I thought, would be more ” under-
    standing” and so on and so forth.

    Criminal acts do not affect the above views. A crime is a crime. In addition,
    mistreatment is what it says. (This is not any different than what blacks
    and other minorities have experienced over the decades.)

    When I was younger I made love with a fury. I enjoyed it and so did she.
    These moments were precious and they were exquisitely beautiful.

  36. January 7, 2019 at 15:44

    The “no fly zone feminism,” the “enhanced interrogation feminism,” the “we came we saw he died regime change” feminism, the “humanitarian intervention” feminism, the “half a million dead Iraqi children is worth it” feminism is?—?only considered?—?‘feminism’- in the completely Orwellian world of the Western mass murder machine that is destroying the planet. When Gloria Steinem who had admitted she worked for the “CIA” at one point?—?(they are always “ex” CIA of course when caught in the act)?—?became the face of American feminism, the social justice, racial justice, anti-war, class consciousness, and environmental justice facets of American feminism all went out the window. American feminism was stripped of much of its true power to unite people across divides and create social change, and was intentionally reduced to the amoral in support of empire “glass ceiling” feminism that Caitlin so beautifully addresses in this post.


  37. January 7, 2019 at 15:38

    Thank you for your discernment on the nature of true feminism. This is exactly why I was so frustrated with my women friends who were going to vote for Hillary simply because she was a woman, ignoring what you have called “toxic masculinity.” Hillary was a hawk, a corporate elitist, who cared not a whit about empathy and cooperation. She was willing to win the primary even it if meant the DNC would screw Bernie Sanders. Women like Hillary and Nikki Haley are terrifying to me, even if they happen to have vaginas.

    • Peppermint
      January 7, 2019 at 22:00

      With you all the way, Adele. This column is so needed.

  38. peon d. rich
    January 7, 2019 at 15:36

    Glass ceiling feminism has suffocated the dynamics of womynist, radical feminist originality. H. Clinton, Feinstein, Pelosi, Eshoo, Condoskeeza, Albright, Whtman, Fulani, Streep, Haley, Cheney, etc., sell-out life, children, women (and men, but that is a lesser matter), and, most of all. the mother earth.

    It takes a bomber to raze a village.

  39. Broompilot
    January 7, 2019 at 15:36

    Excellent. And I would bet you have given voice to a lot of people’s thoughts. Mine for sure.

  40. mike k
    January 7, 2019 at 15:10

    “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” (My Fair Lady) Why should she? Given the mess men have made of our world, there are good reasons for women to want to be less like men. No wonder most men react so strongly to being criticized – the truth hurts!

  41. T
    January 7, 2019 at 14:58

    “Mainstream feminism”? Naa — CIA feminism is what it is and has been for a good half a century. And by the way, Greer was on the payroll, too (though she may not have known it).

    Note that they go on more about alleged misogyny in Russia than about abyssmal oppression in the oil sheikdoms or Latin American countries with right-wing governments…

  42. January 7, 2019 at 14:46

    It took a wonderful female journalist to take those”words” right out of my mouth, where had been waiting, not tacitly, for a long time to be written down in a so”eloquent narrative”after having gathered the erudity of time.

  43. Juno
    January 7, 2019 at 14:41

    As an old school feminist I love seeing this article written by a young woman who sees what the first wave feminists were fighting for “back in the day”. recognition of women’s work and worth. Thank you for speaking up.

  44. Tim Slattery
    January 7, 2019 at 14:03

    Well said, Ms. Johnstone. Your references to enslavement of women and to capitalism as a man-made invention are historically accurate. No man can tolerate enslavement, of himself or another, unless he believes that it isn’t slavery or that he has no alternative. The capitalist system, including, but not limed to, MIC propaganda, excels in illusion and bluff to keep men and women deluded or afraid to resist. The great challenge to feminists and allies is replacing capitalism with a viable economic system devoid of exploitation and oppression.

  45. Mike Perry
    January 7, 2019 at 13:58

    As far as democracy goes:
    Isn’t it tragic that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, is now built on the lie (that money is speech), and that this lie dictates that your government is now owned by the the richest of bidders.
    … So, are you are old enough, to be an owner of your government?:
    … And, are you man enough, to be an owner of your government?:
    … And, are you white enough, to be an owner of your government?:

    And, in the workplace:
    In 1843, five years before ‘The Communist Manifesto’, when Flora Tristan wrote her book ‘The Workers’ Union’. And, it was in this book, in which the phrase “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” was initially introduced. The phrase was soon popularized in English as “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”. Tristan, she was trying to create a different solution for the suppression of not only the proletariat, but for the working women as well. Flora was the first to connect the freedom of the working class with the advancement of women’s rights. Today, I would say that the stakeholder should be given precedence over the stockholder. The people who are most giving of their lives, like the employees, and the members of the local community, I believe that they are the true owners.

    “Fifty men run this country… and that might be a high figure.”
    Joe Kennedy

    • Peppermint
      January 7, 2019 at 22:04

      Thanks you for this post. Informative.

  46. Deniz
    January 7, 2019 at 13:40

    Doesn’t this serve to relieve women of responsibility for leading the MIC? Women are forced to fit into a toxic male paradigm of power because they are not financially rewarded for rearing children, which would be their preference because they are good and nurturing. Do you think if only Bill would have paid Hillary $100 K salary to rear Chelsea, that there would be no slave markets in Libya?

    I think it is more likely that women are not inherently good and men are not inherently evil. And when women receive access to the corridors of power and privilege, they are just as susceptible to the corruption as men. Good and evil are in all of our make ups. Human nature is closer to Yin and Yang rather than the pearly gates. fire and brimstone.

    I also think the MIC handlers are very aware of the cultural halo on women and when it is time to do their dirty deeds a woman is far more effective at keeping their hands clean than brutes like Cheney or Trump. Hilary with her public and private position is a glaring example of this, while Cheney can just grunt and wrap himself in the flag.

    Beyond politics, reinforcing notions that women are expected to be good and nurturing and cannot be selfish or self-centered, as men are permitted to be, only creates inner conflict for them as they are forced to maintain false public identities that are not consistent with human nature.

    • Deniz
      January 7, 2019 at 16:31

      Is the point of this article to make the claim that 6 of the most powerful women in the world who lead major war profiteer corporations are only doing so because ultimately they are victims of male misogyny?

      • Consortiumnews.com
        January 7, 2019 at 19:49

        As I read the piece, it was not to say women were better (an absurd premise), but that the embrace of militaristic women did not = feminism.

        • Deniz
          January 7, 2019 at 21:56

          Ms. Johnestone opines on a number of issues but seems to circle back to a toxic masculinity world, whether that is because of the elite male creators of the system or the weak men who must succumb to it. I found the absurdity to be that corruption is gender-specific; a notion that is not particularly unusual particularly amongst the many Hillary fans on the West Coast.

  47. Drew Hunkins
    January 7, 2019 at 13:34

    Corporate boardrooms don’t much give a rip if they lose a little bit of white male privilege. The whole goal is to keep the filthy lucre flowing. If by adding a few women and brown folks in order to appease the Anything But Class identity politics obsessed neoliberals and establishment media, so be it.

    We saw a similar version of this with Samantha Power, Killary, Nuland and some others running roughshod over Libya, Ukraine and Syria. And don’t forget, it took Colin Powell to legitimize the war on Iraq with his authoritative b.s. report to the U.N. in 2003.

  48. F. G. Sanford
    January 7, 2019 at 13:12

    Equality has new dimensions thanks to brave new world inventions-
    Labor saving cool devices can be had for modest prices,
    Breakthroughs in technology have conquered those passé conventions,
    Plastic products offered now resolve those bashful sacrifices!

    Ladies on recon patrol or or waging protest crowd control
    Don’t need to hide behind a tree, as slaves to their biology.
    They can throw grenades or fire, never leaving that foxhole,
    Armed with modern tools at hand you too can beat misogyny!

    Whether you are hunting bear or trapping groundhogs in a snare,
    This modern marvel works just great, forget your modesty – don’t wait!
    If you should feel the need to go this miracle you just can’t spare,
    It works precisely anywhere, no need to hold back that floodgate!

    So if you’re out there paving roads or packing freight for train carloads,
    And nature calls to spend a penny, every single Jill or Jenny,
    Needs a FUDD they’ve been endorsed: when there’s no access to commodes,
    The Army Public Health Command concurs the benefits are many!

    You don’t need a port-a-potty, frequent use is never naughty.
    So be just like those stand-up guys relieving under open skies
    No need to hide deep in the pines, avoiding stares or being haughty,
    When you’ve got your trusty FUDD*, you’ll never need to compromise!!!

    *Feminine Urinary Dispersion Device…and folks, I ain’t makin’ this up!

    • January 8, 2019 at 06:45

      As usual leave it up to FGS.
      For the uninitiated, Google: Feminine Urinary Dispersion Device and you can see what the GI issue for females looks like.

  49. January 7, 2019 at 12:58

    Perceptive comment.

    “True feminism holds that all of humanity needs to change its valuing system to one which rewards feminine work as much as masculine, instead of only rewarding women when they succeed at climbing the ladder of the patriarchal paradigm.”

    There are those who believe that and that already works with millions of families where the wage earner sees his financial gains to be shared. That the man receives the paycheck is irrelevant, its community property. That the system is abused, of course, but far less than the media and opinion makers describe.

    What needs to be recognized is just how hard it is to be a mother and many women like the idea of playing the role played by men. It’s easier. Would you want to meeting the needs of demanding children, and they are, or sitting at a desk where the stress and effort is far less. No brainer but fortunately many millions of women don’t see it that way and the are the glue that holds together the most important organization in the world, the family.

    Points about the predatory world for which so many women aspire is well taken.

    What’s the answer? Good question.

  50. Bob Van Noy
    January 7, 2019 at 12:56

    “it’s toxic masculinity”

    Thank you Caitlin. Politically, it’s a very effective wedge, practiced through time by the cynical likes of Richard Nixon’s CREEP either not known by contemporaries or not understood by the general electoral population. The practice of using a wedge issue is excessively Toxic to Democracy. A link below that explains the beginning of severe negative campaigning.

    John Pilger describes this beautifully in a 2016 article that I’ll link below. Start with the paragraph beginning with Propaganda is most effective:”.


    • Bob Van Noy
      January 7, 2019 at 13:00

      And the beginning of Organized negative campaigning:


    • January 7, 2019 at 14:15

      Bob Van Noy, great article by Pilger. Thanks. Goebbels was not alone. What is chilling is the confidence expressed by Bernays that we are putty in the hands of the like of that smarmy fellow.

      • Bob Van Noy
        January 7, 2019 at 15:01

        I appreciate the follow-up hermn. Yes, we desperately need a intense public exposure as to how Propaganda works and why it works, so that it can readily be exposed when it is massively used as a public opinion device. It’s not surprising that the collegiate background of many of the (CREEP’s) was marketing.

    • rosemerry
      January 7, 2019 at 15:21

      All of the link was interesting-thanks. I now know this site -Defend Democracy Press.

      • Bob Van Noy
        January 7, 2019 at 16:09

        Many thanks rosemerry.

  51. Bonny Marie Gloria Marilyn Clark-Smith
    January 7, 2019 at 12:23

    Essentially the most truthful writing on feminism I have read in the last 20 years. As long as. society keeps rerunning the same old patriarchal value. system nothing will really change. This valuation is rooted in capitalism , which enslaves the majority oon this planet, until humanity is eliminated one way or another.

  52. Jeff Harrison
    January 7, 2019 at 11:58

    The problem with modern feminism is the likes of you. You look at this situation from a very narrow perspective – hells bells, you want to buy further into the cash economy by getting husbands to pay cash for things that their wives do (never, of course, suggesting that wives should pay their husbands for things that the husbands do because obviously we don’t do anything). Here’s a newsflash, lady. Nobody, man or woman, gets paid cash for anything unless somebody wants to buy it. That’s what the cash economy is all about. You may be good with the idea that relations between men and women should be strictly a financial transaction but I’m not.

    The funny thing is that historically speaking what you’re whining about isn’t all that old. It really came about with the industrial revolution. In an agrarian society, most labor went unpaid. You didn’t get paid to raise the crops, you got to eat. Your wife didn’t get paid for the quilts she made, everybody got to be warm at night. The family unit would produce some degree of excess – the husband might harvest a few more neaps than they could store and the wife might make more yarn or quilts than they needed. That excess could be sold on the cash economy – an economy that was tiny compared to the non-cash economy.

    I have no problem with valuing male and female labor but how does one define the valuation? I have more than a sneaking suspicion that your valuation would ultimately come down to those little pieces of paper which, by the way, are not themselves unhappy.

    • rosemerry
      January 7, 2019 at 15:26

      A bit of thinking and reflecting, even reading would give you some clues. Over forty years ago a New Zealand MP called Marilyn Waring wrote a book called “Counting for Nothing” about unpaid women’s work in the home. It is not impossible to arrange financial matters so they are more equal in a family, and pretending women are “whining” and see only the money side is showing your misogyny and refusal to face facts.

      • January 7, 2019 at 17:23

        Unpaid women’s work in the home.
        I’ll still be chuckling over this come bedtime.

    • Devil's Advocate
      January 7, 2019 at 16:55

      Did you even read what you’re commenting on??
      Then again, judging by the ignorant nonsense you’re spewing, it probably wouldn’t matter if you did.

    • ML
      January 7, 2019 at 17:25

      I don’t think you are getting it, Jeff. The words you posted makes you appear very angry at women. For example: “The problem with modern feminism is likes of you.” “Newsflash, lady” – “you look at this from a very narrow perspective” “what you’re whining about..” etc. etc. Why so angry? Caitlin is absolutely correct here.

  53. mike k
    January 7, 2019 at 11:52

    Bravo Caitlin! And Amen! You have said what needs to be said to the bat shit crazy men who think they are entitled to rule society. Let women be women, for God’s sake!

    How is it that our Rulers have so cunningly concealed such obvious truths from the majority of us? Anderson’s tale of the Emperor’s clothes is appropriate here. Thanks Caitlin for once more shaking us awake.

    • Bonny Marie
      January 7, 2019 at 12:26


  54. Bill
    January 7, 2019 at 11:34

    What no mention of #MeToo?

    • Litchfield
      January 7, 2019 at 16:14

      And your point is . . . what, exactly?

  55. TomG
    January 7, 2019 at 10:22

    My Mennonite feminist mother (may she rest in peace) could not have said it better. She truly lived her life by the four values outlined in the conclusion and impacted everyone she knew. Great post as Ms. Johnstone shows insight and wisdom yet again.

  56. dfnslblty
    January 7, 2019 at 09:38

    usa will not arrive at a nonToxic status until Women achieve – through the system- positions of leadership/power from which to correct the system.
    The author’s final thoughts about sociopathic [I would add psychopathic] behavior are spot on, and to prematurely dis Women – rather than support the positive changes being ushered in – is counterproductive.

  57. John.
    January 7, 2019 at 08:04

    Thank you!
    I do not know how many times I have been shut down by the term “mansplaining” by White Liberal Feminists when trying to explain to them exactly what you are saying, then accused of participating in rape culture by not just shutting up after being accused of “mansplaining” actual feminism.

    This weaponization of IdPol by the neoliberals/neocons is sickening.

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