Activist Tarana Burke created the “Me Too” campaign in 2006.
In the fall of 2013, Americana artist Neko Case released her sixth studio record, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. The album’s lead single is a song called “Man,” in which the golden-voiced Case sings, “I’m a man, You’ll have to deal with me, My proxy is mine, You’ll deal with me directly.” Case is, of course, a woman, but she often writes songs from different viewpoints, and the aforementioned lines from “Man” perfectly encapsulate the cultural zeitgeist of the current Age of Trump, an age defined in large part by the resurgence of chauvinistic male dominance. This is an age when America elected president a man with small, pussy-grabbing hands and a gargantuan maw who stood as the proxy for a potent army known as the “Alt-Right:” a group of internet-sulking, white-supremacy touting, man-child dipshits with massive chips on their shoulders towards women. And the civilized world just had to deal with Trump directly.
Thankfully, at the start of 2017, women in the U.S. and throughout the world immediately began to contest the Age of Trump. In January, following the Orange One’s sparsely attended inauguration, an estimated 470,000 to 680,000 women descended on Washington D.C. in the Women’s March, part of a global phenomenon during which women of all backgrounds rallied in public spaces around the declaration that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.” This was the first shout in what became the year’s defining cultural theme: the absurd-that-it’s-still-radical-notion that women need to be listened to. By October, the social dam had burst, and a simple Twitter hashtag, #MeToo, embodied the seismic cultural shift that finally cracked the heretofore inviolable temple of societal male privilege. 2017 really was the year during which we (finally) started listening to women.
It’s America, 2017, and white supremacy is all the rage once again. But it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. When a certain boorish Manhattan tycoon announced his run for the presidency back in June 2015 on a platform of pure white resentment, the internet’s copious population of pasty, man-child nematodes crawled out of their literal and digital basements to voice their support for a candidate who vowed to give a voice to America’s most oppressed group: white males.
From the dankest bowels of the internet, on sites such as 4chan, Occidental Dissent, and the Daily Stormer, white supremacists celebrated Donald Trump’s unlikely presidential victory. Now, well into the first year of his presidency, they continue to stand behind their orange führer. This support was on full display on August 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, when various gobs of reactionary slime — including neo-Nazis, the Alt-Right, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederates, and gun-toting militia members — oozed together for a “Unite the Right” rally. While these various groups ostensibly gathered to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park, this event was actually a “coming out” party for a resurgent form of white-identity politics in America emboldened by Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency.
Plenty of historians have already written about the controversy surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces throughout the United States. But I’m going to emphasize another key element that fuels the white nationalist agenda: patriarchal gender oppression. Underlying all of the “pro-white” bluster and neo-Confederate ideology of the new crop of white supremacists is a deep contempt for female empowerment. The trifecta of patriarchy, misogyny, and gendered paternalism has been central to American whiteness for hundreds of years. Gender oppression is baked into the crust of white supremacy.