In a recent blog post on the subject of Lessing, TK Kenyon refers to all men (no distinctions made--cause we know all men are alike, right?) who don't like Lessing's writing or feel Lessing should not have won the Nobel Prize as: 1) Male chauvinist idiots; 2) Sci-fi hating snobs; 3) Devious misogynists; 4) Self-appointed literati; and of course, 5) Sexists.
The true sexist deceit being practiced here by TK Kenyon is obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than 20. NEWSFLASH: there are also lots of women who don't like Doris Lessing's sci-fi-ish work (see one of them at Powell's Books). Kenyon dishonestly pretends, for the sake of a rousing male bash, that only men are capable of disliking Lessing's work, but as a feminist sexist, her viewpoint is predictably absurd. Next, she jumps from this unsupportable conclusion to suggest a conspiracy of "male chauvinist idiots" who are attacking Lessing simply because they don't want to see a woman win a Nobel. Is this intelligent? Every time a writer wins a Pulitzer or a Nobel loads of critics come shrieking out of the woods to bitch about it. So what? But no amount of context or inherent foolishness of viewpoint will stop a TK Kenyon-like feminist from seeking publicity or pretending to take the moral high ground before her peers and admirers (just ask Nancy Grace).
Nevertheless, the first bit of comedy derives from Kenyon's comparison of Lessing to Vonnegut and how they both suffered similar "unfair" criticism regarding their sci-fi. Well, ummmm, there you go. Vonnegut suffered the same fate, according to Kenyon--and his critics, by definition, were not woman haters. Doesn't Kenyon contradict her premise somewhat when she uses this example? Yes? No?
Now, on to Carol Lloyd of Salon. In reference to the Guardian article on Doris Lessing, Carol savagely rakes Lessing over the coals for her viewpoints expressed in the Guardian:
On which imaginary planet is she residing? And what about domestic violence, rape and the scores of countries in which women are quite literally second-class citizens? As evidence of this ubiquitous male-bashing, Lessing recounts being in an elementary-school classroom in which a teacher was telling her 9- and 10-year-old students that wars are a result of men's innate violence. Yeah that's pretty stupid stuff, but ... can we really extrapolate on the failings of feminism from the silly comments of an elementary-school teacher?
Ok, well, the fact that Lessing did not specifically address domestic violence, for example, does not negate her viewpoint as expressed in the article. Carol Lloyd, rather than acknowledge the sexism inherent in second wave feminism, bashes Lessing for not seeing all men in the same light that she sees them--as abusers and woman beaters. Lloyd's dishonesty resides in the fact that she herself fails to acknowledge well-known facts regarding domestic violence, namely, that more mothers are guilty of child abuse and neglect fatalities in the home than fathers. According to the biggest child violence study in America conducted by HHS, women acting alone as child abusers comprise a far larger percentage of all perpetrators than men, 40 percent vs. 18 percent. Yes, that is correct. Hate to bring the wall down on you, Carol, but talk about power relationships? Why don't you complain about Lessing not addressing this fact also? Maybe because it makes women look bad and not men? But it makes no more sense to suggest that women as a whole are child killers than it does to suggest that men are woman beaters. Lessing was right to draw attention to the extremism of second wave feminism.
The second comical thing is the fact that Carol Lloyd, herself a sexist feminist, should fairly classify as a misogynist (as defined by Kenyon) simply because she finds serious fault with the writing of Doris Lessing. So as I noted previously, there are plenty of women who don't like Doris Lessing's writing. Other human beings who are not MEN don't like Lessing. Yes! I know them. And obviously, they're not misogynists!!!
Let's stop all this female redneck man-bashing. I agree with Doris. It's getting dumber and dumber and making everyone look like asses. Also, to TK and Carol, people should feel free to express opinions without being insulted. Debate is fine, but bashing is not.