As defined by Daphne Patai, a phenomenon of various intellectual progressive
communities, such as college campuses
, especially those with strong ties to gender feminism
. Put in a nutshell, this means that homosexual
) relationships are championed, and heterosexual ones are strongly discouraged. Women who seek male company, admit to enjoying sex with men, and/or express a desire to have long-term relationships with men are often stigmatized in both the classroom and general social life as being everything from being regressive
to masochistically sick, while men who express an interest in women, talk about sex or any but purely reproductive
partnerships are considered to be nothing short of rapists, either "potential" or actual, leading to conflicted feelings among the heterosexual majority.
One eyewitness to this phenomenon recounts the day that she announced to her department that she was getting married. Uncomfortable silences followed. In contrast, a woman who (otherwise straight) who talked about taking up with another woman as a domestic partner was warmly applauded. Less visibly, male academics have been routinely branded as sexual harassers for such minuscule offenses as not reading a book a (female) student had recommended, offering a pregnant woman a supportive compliment, and using the term "manhole cover", even if the "victim" did not believe at the time that they were being harassed. Misandry is so rife on some campuses that some female students have banded together to shop at the local grocery at certain times when no male staff are visible. One man of my acquaintance was made to feel so guilty about his gender that he decided that he was a non-operative transsexual, only to collapse into celibacy when he found he could not reconcile his sexual feelings with nonoppression. I have heard women (by no means naive) discuss Mapplethorpe's photographs with affection, only to hear them speak in outraged terms about a billboard of a woman in a bikini as having "visually raped" them. Other examples abound.
Mostly, this view is rooted in lesbian separatism, which holds that only "woman-identified women" have the moral fortitude to define what liberation is going to mean to all women, whether identifying or not, the recovery movement notion that there are no degrees of pain or victimhood, merely pain and victims, and the idea that since men are basically aggressors, and women basically obliging, that any tender feelings between them are at best a delusion masking oppression. A certain tit-for-tat attitude among gays and lesbians is also rife: if they can be made to feel sick, different and unwanted in the greater society, it should be fair that they can and should be arbiters of human nature in the smaller sphere of intellectual progressivism, whether their notions are applicable or not. "Different voice" feminism, which holds that female stereotypes are not only true, but an advantage, is another factor, if only indirectly: since It flatly contradicts the theory of equality feminism, it too draws on feminist misandry, if only to distinguish itself from conservative notions of women as "the angel in the house". By reinterpreting "submissiveness" as "cooperation" and "domesticity" as "nurture", and holding that these have nothing whatsoever to do with their relationships with men, these gender feminists are able to draw the cozy picture of a woman-centered world, where women are unburdened by the effort of having to change a hair or to excercise authority, while men are transformed into distant providers of sperm and bad examples, if they haven't redeemed themselves by becoming hairdressers and interior decorators.
The prognosis for the future is that this notion will inevitably collapse under its own weight, and common sense will prevail, but not without a struggle. Too many lawyers, academics, and therapists have espoused this theory for it to simply dry up and blow away. On the other hand, it's tough to fight against peoples' sexual urges, no matter who they feel attracted to.
As the commercial said, it's not right to fool Mother Nature.