If you ever find yourself trying to explain or just understand the connection between white supremacy, the abstract phenomenon anti-racists sometimes use to describe societal unfairness, and white supremacy, the thing where neo-Nazis (rebranded or otherwise) get together to heil Hitler or Trump or whomever, look no further than the bizarre story of fashion models and other “conventionally attractive white wom[e]n” with online presences whose images are used, without their knowledge or permission, as white supremacist avatars.
With Brigadier General Ofek Buchris, an IDF officer convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault, set to receive a generous plea deal, many Israeli army veterans have taken to Facebook to protest. The most popular expression of protest entails individuals (men and women both) recounting minor infractions they engaged in while enlisted, such as unkempt hair, tardiness; a lost beret; a lost document; or talking back, followed by the relatively minor punishments they received (a fine, a suspended sentence, two days detention). The posts end with the hashtag “more than Buchris” (i.e., my punishment for a trivial offense was more severe than what Buchris is receiving).
It’s struck me lately that the American writer perhaps most deeply associated with White Male Writer-ness is one who made his name writing fiction about identity. Google “Philip Roth” and “white male” and you find an endless stream of essays that offer up Roth as a prime example of the white male literary novelist. As a prime example, that is, of the demographic of writers whose work gets the noble (if not Nobel) literary treatment, while any writer who isn’t a white dude gets dismissed as unimportant or merely political, and certainly not universal.
As the election recedes in the collective memory, and as Hillary Clinton gets remembered (called it!) as a you-go-girl abandoner of makeup, what’s left in the rubble is this trickle of feminism-caused-Trump takes. Or maybe not caused, exactly — what’s posited is more that Clinton’s loss invites A Reckoning, and thus an overhaul of feminism as we know it. Rather than coming to what would be the logical conclusion – that women remain oppressed, so much so that we still don’t have one measly female presidency – the consensus on the left and the right is that feminists screwed up. Maybe it should come as no surprise. The election demonstrated how little headway feminism has actually made in this country; feminism now finds itself the scapegoat of choice (well, one of them) in the election’s aftermath.