The feminist left finds itself in something of a pickle. For years, it has made common cause with a variety of sub-cults in the larger progressive coalition, but of late some of its allies have been flouting feminist expectations in ways that are increasingly hard to conceal or deny.
To understand the conundrum, it is useful to picture progressive feminism as preserved in its purest form. I speak here of the American college campus, on which, almost universally, liberal women set the tone and call the shots. Those males who violate the rules and taboos, or are even accused of doing the same, can be booted from campus quicker than you can say "due process."
So sensitive is the university environment it almost invites young women with emotional problems to cry "sexism," even "rape," as a way of garnering sympathy. By mandate, those cries are heeded and believed, and a "rape epidemic" is said to terrorize campuses. Observes feminist attorney Amy Lauricella in a recent Ms. Magazine blog piece, presumably with a straight face, "ISIS' treatment of Yazidi women as sexual slaves may seem far removed from fraternity or athletic team members' treatment of women as sexual objects for conquest, however the results are distressingly similar." This is, of course, nonsense. In reality, the college campus is among the safest and most secure corners on God's green earth.
The grass, as Ms. Lauricella implies, is not so green for women beyond the campus. By best estimates, for instance, some 60 to 80 percent of women illegally crossing the southern border are raped en route. ISIS soldiers buy women on sanctioned sex slave markets and rape them "to make them Muslim." In European cities, Cologne most recently and notably, Muslim refugees have publicly and unapologetically abused local women on an epic scale. Nor is this just a third world problem. In late-century Arkansas, for instance, the young Democratic governor serially preyed on young women, famously exposed himself to Paula Jones, and was credibly accused of raping a married supporter named Juanita Broaddrick.
The problem for feminists is that many of these predators, domestic and foreign, have a niche somewhere in the multicultural rainbow. Historically, when faced with bad behavior by their comrades, feminists have tended to conceal the evidence and attack those who dared reveal it.
Among their allies, for a complex of reasons, are illegal immigrants. So when Donald Trump said Mexico was sending "rapists" to America among other undesirables, they struck hard. In typical fashion, they denied the truth of what Trump was saying and denounced him as a racist - though, in fact, "Mexican" is no more a race than "American."
Trump, however, defied historical precedent by fighting back. "I can never apologize for the truth," he said afterwards. "I said tremendous crime is coming across. Everybody knows that's true." Everyone pretty much did. In his defiance, Trump made himself a serious contender. He also emboldened others to say the obvious even at the risk of being labeled a racist or sexist or worse.
The most unlikely - and easily the least progressive - of liberal allies worldwide is the Muslim community. Given this uneasy alliance, the German government labored desperately to preserve the illusion that nothing of consequence happened in Germany on New Year's Eve. But no "bad apple" theory could explain the mass abuse of German women by Muslim men.
At the risk of being called a racist once again - although "Muslim" is no more a race than "Mexican" - Trump and others like him have helped force the facts into the open. In the process they have embarrassed progressive women like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker who prefer their illusions to the truth.
Now former President Bill Clinton is being called out with increasing frequency for his history of abusing women, and his wife, candidate Hillary Clinton, is being called out for having enabled him. Progressive women are not used to this. As historical arbiters in the "war on women," they have long enjoyed the privilege of exempting friends and family from the conventions applied to others.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessary represent those of Headlines and Global News.
An independent writer and producer, Jack Cashill has written 11 books since 2000, nine of which have been featured on C-SPAN's "Book TV." He has also produced a score of documentaries for regional PBS and national cable channels. Jack has written for Fortune, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard. He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University in American studies.