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Question #85460 posted on 02/14/2016 7:02 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'd be interested in how you would summarize and respond to these two articles from July 2015. They're from Salon, a liberal publication.

Part 1
Part 2



Dear Meh,

First Article

The first article is really interesting. Salon interviews Camille Paglia, a controversial critic of many popular notions of modern society, about two topics, the psychology of men and rape victims, and the failures of feminism.


The first part of the interview is about Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby and how their affairs are viewed differently. She believes they are the same situation but Clinton got off easier because the Democratic party supports abortion so they thought he could do what he wanted in his personal time. Paglia also has the unpopular belief that women who are raped are not completely innocent nor should they be put on a pedestal for talking about their experiences. Her belief is that men who do these kinds of terrible things do them to fulfill a need that all men feel, the need to be strong, but those who abuse or attack women are really trying to overcome the fact that women have much more power than they (women) know. She believes that these kind of actions have led to feminists who simply "demonize" men and try to take power positions over them in the workforce and media and be men rather than being women. Also, feminists don't understand why they are unhappy with their family life since they have achieved success in the workforce and they treat their male and female friends the same. They are unhappy because men and women are not the same and need to be treated differently. 


I find the perspective of Camille Paglia refreshing. I don't agree with everything she says but it leans toward understanding others opinions on very controversial topics. Paglia's criticizes feminism a lot but defines herself as a feminist with this definition,

"I called my feminism 'Amazon feminism' or 'street-smart feminism,' where you remain vigilant, learn how to defend yourself, and take responsibility for the choices you make.  If something bad happens, you learn from it.  You become stronger and move on."

I like the way she tries to build up women as opposed to shaming and degrading men. I feel uncomfortable talking about feminism to a lot of women who define themselves as feminists because I think they want to challenge me rather than discuss the important topic of gender. I would feel much more comfortable talking about gender issues to someone who said they want to build up those around them, especially women, than one who thinks the patriarchy needs to be destroyed so that complete equality can happen. I also liked this statement about mothers,

"The old-style country women–the Italian matriarchs and Jewish mothers–they all understood the fragility of men. The mothers ruled their own world and didn’t take men that seriously.  They understood how to nurture men and encourage them to be strong–whereas current feminism simply doesn’t perceive the power of women vis-a-vis men."

It shows how women/mothers have the power to empower. I feel like motherhood is often looked down upon. It could just be a cultural thing, but even most women I talk to at BYU don't always say they want to be mothers when asked where they want to be in the next 5 - 10 years (I know they may not say that because some weird guys take that as a hint that they want to marry them or that marriage isn't a sure thing in the next 5 - 10 years but I know that more girls want to be mothers than say so). I think motherhood is extremely important and fewer people have more power or influence over the future of the world than mothers.

Second Article

I didn't find the second article nearly as interesting as the first one because it wasn't about ideals as much as it was about Paglia's specific opinion on a few political figures and religion.


She starts out defending religion. She is an atheist but she believes anyone who criticizes religion is ignorant of the good things in religion. Many young people are rejecting religion because it's not popular and they fill their need for life direction by using politics for their founding beliefs. The problem with this mode of thought is that politics applies only to society while religion has complex theories about eternal principles like life and death. She doesn't like Jon Stewart because young people got the news through his snarky filter. She said, "As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States." This causes liberals to think their point of view is the only rational one while anyone who thinks differently is not just wrong but corrupt. Trump is more of a comedian than a politician and Bernie Sanders is a typical 60's radical.


I like the way Paglia defends religion. She doesn't believe in God but understands that everyone is trying to figure out life and the purpose of religion is to make a better life for everyone. 

I'm not well informed enough to confirm whether or not her statements about Jon Stewart are true but they make sense. Unfortunately, I kind of like hearing news from that perspective from people like Stephen Colbert who try to give real news but make it funny and Paglia says that is a problem. I like emphasis she puts on hearing both sides of any popular political issue. I identify as a conservative but I like hearing the liberal points of view on difficult issues. I compare it to addressing difficult questions concerning the Church and its history. I don't shy away from them and when I get answers I walk away with a better understanding of my own beliefs. I agree with her that Trump isn't a politician and hearing her say he is a better comedian than most makes me wonder why he hasn't started his own sitcom yet (I probably couldn't handle more than a few episodes but I'm sure it would be very successful). As for Sanders, I didn't like her reasons for supporting him. He wasn't her first choice but she basically said she liked him for being a radical with ideals from 50 years ago. That doesn't jive with me but she does seem to favor European politics and Sanders is embracing European socialism so it shouldn't surprise me too much. 

Wow that was long. If you cared enough to read that whole thing, good for you! Air high-five!



Dear you,

Spectre summarizes the articles well, so I just wanted to step in and say that I do not like Camille Paglia, and I do not agree with a lot of her positions. She is very blunt about her unpopular opinions, but in doing so she comes across as very arrogant and somewhat condescending.

Her comments about rape were very offensive. While I agree that it's important to try to move past unpleasant memories like that, she seemed very dismissive of the physical and emotional trauma that accompany sexual assault. I also don't agree that women are responsible for a male sense of inadequacy or that sexual assault is a natural result of men fearing powerful women.

Besides those concerns, her tone in the two interviews was off-putting. The arrogance and constant references to her own writing made her seem desperate to prolong her own fame and sense of influence.



posted on 02/14/2016 7:39 p.m.
After rereading my response to the first article I felt like I should clarify that I do not agree with the way Paglia says rape victims can be at fault. Rape is very serious and victims of that crime should never be blamed.