Feisty Femmes and Great Guys

Donna Laframboise Liberates Man from Feminism

Donna Laframboise has been attacking feminism for years in her writing. But now, through the device of her popular website, her overblown, simplistic rhetoric is starting to find an audience. Similar to companion recidivist thinkers Camille Paglia, Katie Roiphe and Kate Fillion, the Toronto based journalist Laframboise claims to be a feminist, and is perfectly happy to accept the advances that feminism has brought her. Nevertheless, she is engaged in tearing down everything feminism stands for – all while saving men from “man-haters”.

Her ideas about the current state of feminism form the dubious crux of her website. It is on the site that Laframboise, among other things, compares the women’s movement to the 1917 Communist Revolution in the Soviet Union.

“The end result [of the Communist Revolution] was that millions of peasants were deliberately starved to death because they were seen as standing in the way of progress. The end result was that tens of millions more Soviet citizens were condemned to horrible deaths in work camps because they were suspected of insufficiently ‘toeing the line’ politically.”

She goes on to claim that the feminist movement has seen a similar descent: From lofty ideals to redundant and arbitary punishment by the feminist thought police.

Since Laframboise started the site last August to promote her book, The Princess at the Window: A New Gender Morality, she has added three sections: ‘Feisty Femmes and Great Guys’, ‘the Pink Kink Catalog’, and ‘Censor Scan’.

Feisty Femmes and Great Guys is dedicated to Laframboise’s on-going denial of violence against women. The section contains stories of women who save themselves from attackers and men who save women. In a recent interview, Laframboise argued that she is trying to provide a different view from the one propagated by the media, which she claims doesn’t allow her to write about feminist issues from this perspective.

“Feisty Femmes and Great Guys was just an idea that I hadn’t been able to write about,” she says. “Those [media] stories tend to focus on women as victims and men as violent beasts.”

Laframboise, a former Toronto Star columnist, put forward the same ideas in a long July 26 feature running off the front page of the Globe and Mail’s Focus section. In the piece, she claims that the women’s movement wildly and inaccurately demonizes men. As she writes:

“In addition to the intolerance, extremism and anti-male hostility that plague the women’s movement, sloppy arithmetic and skewed data are other reasons its credibility is now in freefall.”

When speaking to her, she advances similar arguments:

“We have this day, December 6, where we remember the violence. But we don’t have a day to celebrate acts of heroism, many of them performed by men.

“There are a lot of cases where women have stood up to aggressors. Women can be heroes too. I wanted a forum to remind people of that, as a counterbalance to the ‘women as victims, men as beasts’ stereotype.”

Laframboise needs little prompting to talk about her crusade to save the men of Canada from the feminist movement, and to reassure the cowering males of the country that not all women are like those icky types worrying about rape, harassment, discrimination, equal pay and abuse.

“The women’s movement is very hostile to men. I’d like to start a site that’s called Male-Friendly Feminists. The message is that ‘I’m a feminist and I’m for equality, but I don’t support the anti-male stuff.’ ”

Laframboise also uses her forum to talk about how women like reading about spankings, bondage and fetishes. Her Pink Kink Catalog documents examples from romance novels of these kinds of sex, and uses the opportunity to attack one of Laframboise’s favourite targets: “anti-pornography feminists.” Women like to read about violent sex, she says.

“I call myself a pro-sex feminist. There are people who have very, very problematic attitudes to sex, and have been pretending they’re the only feminists.”

And if women can read it, she says, men should be able to see it. For Laframboise there’s no difference between pictures and words. She doesn’t think there should be any distinction between women’s romance novels and men’s pornography. She just wants “equality.”

And so her Censor Scan section takes up the cause of Penthouse, and how parts of it are blacked out by Canada Customs.

“It just happens that men like to look at images more and women like to read. Penthouse is being seriously censored at the border. You can’t even say spanking in Penthouse. I’m a very big fan of Nancy Friday. Her books, including Women On Top, have all sorts of politically incorrect fantasies. But if you print one of them in Penthouse, it wouldn’t get across the border.”

To remedy this terrible injustice, Laframboise’s website offers a look at what is missing from Canadian editions of Penthouse. But Penthouse is the only example of censorship that she examines. She ignores the way gay and lesbian material is singled out by Customs officials. There is no dialogue about child pornography, and no debate about hate speech. Despite sitting on the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Laframboise dismisses those issues.

“I don’t think there’s a real debate about child pornography,” she says. “I think everyone’s against child pornography. When it comes to hate literature, there’s more debate.”

Apparently, Laframboise thinks the fact that Penthouse has some black marks in it is a more important subject for debate. But, one suspects, people are probably not that concerned about Penthouse being censored. So what’s the point of the Censor Scan section? Is Laframboise adding to a much needed debate about censorship in Canadian society? For her, the issue is just another anti-male tragedy to be laid at the feet of the women’s movement. A women’s movement that is now unecessary.

“Long-held convictions about female inferiority have all but evaporated during our lifetime,” she writes in the Globe and Mail. “The belief that women are equal to men and deserve the same opportunities now dominates the way our society thinks about gender. Feminism has triumphed.”

In the world of her own little website, if nowhere else, that’s clearly true. This is the ideal site for men. It’s produced by a self-proclaimed feminist – so they can feel sensitive for visiting it. And they can be happy because this self-proclaimed feminist also believes that the “triumph” of the women’s movement means that feminists should just shut the hell up. Here, men can not only see the uncensored parts of Penthouse, they can receive validation before they head off to surf the net for porn that Canada Customs can’t get anywhere near.

Donna Laframboise’s website: http://www.razberry.com

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