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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

What Brand of Feminism is This?


For those unaware, Russell Brand has recently been accused of “rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse.” I have no personal information regarding the validity of these claims.


Additionally, I support the idea of due process—the notion that government actors be required to follow certain procedures before they may deprive a person of a protected life, liberty, or property interest. Unfortunately, I’m well aware that this standard isn’t supported by all people.


In particular, even if Brand is subjected to strict legal scrutiny and is ultimately acquitted of these charges, the court of public opinion may rule against him. This could have devastating effects on Brand’s life and without an end in sight.


Those familiar with my blog likely understand that I’m not a supporter of the “believe women” movement, made famous through hashtag activism. According to one source:


“Believe all women” is a controversial alternative phrasing of the expression. Monica Hesse writing for The Washington Post argues that the slogan has always been “believe women”, and that the “believe all women” variant is “a bit of grammatical gaslighting”, a straw man invented by critics so that it could be attacked, and that this alternative slogan, in contrast with “believe women”, “is rigid, sweeping, and leaves little room for nuance”. However, Robby Soave writing for Reason disagreed with this interpretation, arguing that “#MeToo advocates demanded a presumption of belief for every individual who claims to be a sexual misconduct victim: i.e., believe all women”, noting that Susan Faludi of The New York Times admitted to having “encountered some feminists who seemed genuinely to subscribe to the more extreme interpretation of the hashtag.”


Here, I agree with Soave and reject Hesse’s framing of the matter. Inherent in the “believe women” slogan is the word “all.” For the sake of transparency, consider the following syllogisms:


Syllogism 1 –


Major premise: Believe women who report rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse.


Minor premise: Woman X reports rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse.


Conclusion: Therefore, believe woman X.



Syllogism 2 –


Major premise: Believe all women who report rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse.


Minor premise: Woman X reports rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse.


Conclusion: Therefore, believe woman X.


Hesse apparently supports syllogism 1 while denying that syllogism 2 retains the same meaning. Soave presumably argues that syllogism 2 is a distinction without a difference from syllogism 1. Consequently, both syllogism 1 and 2 are fundamentally the same principles.


Suppose woman X in either syllogism has ulterior motives—concealed meanings or intentions behind saying or doing something—such as monetary gain from a civil suit, notoriety as a victim, or some other perverse incentive for making false claims.


Is it unreasonable to consider that some women may behave in such a manner? Personally, I’ve met a few females (both girls and women) who have deliberately leveled false accusations against males (both boys and men).


Perhaps the most poignant legal case in recent memory of incredulous accusations resulted in Depp v. Heard. Even still, national feminist organizations supported Amber Heard.


A significantly astounding aspect related to feminist activism, in regards to believing women, is the inconsistency with which standards are applied. One imagines that Brand will be automatically assumed guilty, because women have accused him of wrongdoing.


However, where is the consistency in regards to Tara Reade and her allegation of sexual assault concerning Joe Biden? As is my stance relating to Brand, I have no personal information regarding the validity of Reade’s claims and I defer to due process.


This is because I take a rational, rather than emotional, position on this matter. I don’t merely “believe” an individual due to little more than an immutable characteristic (i.e., womanhood).


What brand of feminism, concerning a movement allegedly in the interest of equality, wouldn’t also support rational inquiry instead of unreasonably illogical solidarity? Let’s examine the “believe women” slogan, in syllogistic form, using Reade’s allegation:


Major premise: Believe women who report rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse.


Minor premise: Reade reported of Biden, “He went down my skirt, but then up inside it, and he penetrated me with his fingers.”


Conclusion: Therefore, believe Reade.


Although I don’t support feminist rhetoric and I reject the “believe women” mantra, for those who are quick to publicly convict Brand in the court of public opinion, at what point does your hypocrisy stop?


Preemptively, spare me the “rape apologist” label, because a case for rationality isn’t akin to support for criminal behavior. If you irrationally believe otherwise, that’s an iss-YOU, not an iss-ME.


To those people who have been wrongfully tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, and who want to know more about how not to self-disturb as a result, I remain available to assist. Likewise, to those of you who delude yourselves into miserable consequences associated with your illogical beliefs, I’m here to help.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



References:


CNN. (2023, September 17). ‘I absolutely refute’: Russell Brand denies allegations of sexual assault [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2023/09/17/russell-brand-sexual-assault-allegations-response-cnntmw-contd-vpx.cnn

Hesse, M. (2020, May 12). ‘Believe women’ was a slogan. ‘Believe all women’ is a straw man. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/believe-women-was-a-slogan-believe-all-women-is-a-strawman/2020/05/11/6a3ff590-9314-11ea-9f5e-56d8239bf9ad_story.html

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, February 9). Feminism. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/feminism

Hollings, D. (2023, September 16). Gaslighting. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/gaslighting

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2022, August 31). Iss-me vs. iss-you. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/iss-me-vs-iss-you

Hollings, D. (2022, November 10). Labeling. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/labeling

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, August 15). The steel man technique. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-steel-man-technique

Hollings, D. (2022, November 25). Victimhood. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/victimhood

Murray, J. (2023, September 17). A timeline of sexual assault allegations against Russell Brand. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/sep/17/a-timeline-of-sexual-assault-allegations-against-russell-brand

Tenbarge, K. and Rosenblatt, K. (2022, November 16). National feminist organizations break their silence on Amber Heard in an open letter of support. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/national-feminist-organizations-break-silence-amber-heard-open-letter-rcna56629

Villa, L. and Alter, C. (2020, May 2). What we know about Tara Reade’s allegation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her. Time. Retrieved from https://time.com/5831100/joe-biden-tara-reade-allegation/

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Amber Heard. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Heard

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Believe women. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Believe_women

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Depp v. Heard. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depp_v._Heard

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Feminism and equality. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism_and_equality

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Joe Biden. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Joe Biden sexual assault allegation. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden_sexual_assault_allegation

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Monica Hesse. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Hesse

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Robby Soave. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robby_Soave

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Russell Brand. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Brand

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Susan Faludi. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Faludi

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