Douchebag Decree: WTF, Naomi Wolf?

I don't have to tell you that this week has been a total Wikileaks shitshow. But would anyone have guessed that the honoree for Douchebag Decree: Wikileaks Edition would be famed power feminist Naomi Wolf?

Me neither. After all, plenty of media have taken the low road in theorizing about the convenient timing of Interpol's arrest warrant for Wikileaks head Julian Assange on two incidents of, as the official charges read, "rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion." From using facetious quotes around the word "rape" to referencing one accuser's CIA connections to making creepy jokes about the Swedish rape dismissal/descriptor "sex by surprise,"  it's a veritable douche parade out there in blogland.

But Wolf's supposedly humorous Huffington Post piece, "Julian Assange Captured By World's Dating Police," proved that, despite not knowing any more about the series of incidents that led to Assange's Dec. 7 arrest by Interpol than the rest of us (and perhaps knowing significantly less, seeing as how the sole source she linked to in the piece was Britain's Daily Mail), she was all ready to assert her feminist cred and use it to trivialize what could indeed be valid, actionable incidents of sexual misconduct. In her knee-slapping open letter to Interpol, she wrote "As a feminist, I am…pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That's what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!" and went on to write:

There is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately. I also have firsthand information that John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, went to a stag party -- with strippers! -- that his girlfriend wanted him to skip, and that Mark Levinson in Corvallis, Oregon, did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut -- even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.

Oh, Naomi, you's a funny lady! Wait, did I say "funny lady"? That should have read, "total douchebag"!

In the few days since Wolf's piece was published, there's been a wealth of excellent, smart, feminist responses, both to her piece and to the larger dicussions about the political opportunism behind Interpol's energetic pursuit of Assange. Feministe's Jill Filipovic, Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, and others have pointed out the obvious, but apparently too-high-concept-for-Wolf fact that, Duh, yes, the charges are politically motivated—but that doesn't mean they're baseless. It just means that they weren't useful to Interpol until now. (Recall that news of the accusations against Assange broke over the summer.)

Filipovic also took on the framing of the alleged incidents themselves with an astute analysis of the way media regularly characterizes women in sexual assault cases as sour graping, buyer's-remorsing sad sacks who can't stop themselves from falsely accusing men. Salon's Kate Harding responded to a media smear campaign alleging that not only are Assange's accusers sad sacks, they're apparently radical feminist sad sacks (the worst kind, dontcha know). And, widening the lens a bit, Laura Flanders wrote, at AlterNet

It seems we only care about women's bodies when there's a political point to be proved. Feminist lawyers had to fight for years for the Criminal Court to take rape in Bosnia and Congo seriously. Feminist journalists wrote for years about the treatment of women under the Taliban, but it wasn't until they needed to sell a war that US politicians cared–and invaded. Years later, Assange's organization ever-so-inconveniently leaked thousands of Afghan war logs and diplomatic cables about that war, and women's bodies are again the pretext for action.

But back to Naomi Wolf and her sniveling HuffPo piece. Some of you might recall that, back in 2004, Wolf wrote a long, detailed cover story for New York magazine about her experience as a Yale University undergrad 20 years before, recalling the night that literary critic Harold Bloom "sexually encroached" upon her. Wolf was doing an independent study with Bloom, and after she brushed off his "heavy, boneless hand" that was "hot on my thigh," he refused to meet with her in an academic capacity for the rest of the year. The result? Wrote Wolf, the incident "devastated my sense of being valuable to Yale as a student, rather than as a pawn of powerful men." And she went on to describe the guilt over not reporting it: "Every year, I wonder about the young women who might have suffered because I was too scared to tell the truth to the people whose job it is to make sure the institution is clean."

Wolf emphasized that the article wasn't meant to castigate Bloom himself, but rather to take Yale—and, by extension, other universities and colleges—to task for shoddy handling of sexual harrassment cases and for furthering a culture that prioritizes the reputation of academic luminaries over the safety and autonomy of students. But after the story made the rounds, she was, predictably, made the butt of a thousand snide comments, many by other women. The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum posited that Wolf's article represented the last gasp of an outdated victim feminism; at Slate, Meghan O'Rourke tsk-tsked her for "set[ting] back the fight against sexual harrassment." And fellow Yale alumna Camille Paglia, herself presumably unhanded by Bloom, stepped forward with a she-asked-for-it doozy, charging that Wolf, "for her entire life, has been batting her eyes and bobbing her boobs and made a profession out of courting male attention by flirting and offering her sexual allure." In other words, as has happened so many times before, the issues of sexual harrassment, abuse, and "encroachment" actually existing and being crucial to address from an institutional standpoint was drowned out in arguments about individual attention-seeking, victim-blaming, and catfighting.

So if only because she herself was so completely pilloried for putting forth a story about how institutional failure to stand behind gendered abuses of power has lasting effects, you might think Wolf would think twice about pulling similar moves on the women at the center of the Assange charges. Maybe Wolf's support of Assange, like that of many other self-proclaimed progressives, is so rock-solid that it's made her change her tune about the importance of speaking up. Maybe she feels that her own story of upper-leg molestation is much more credible, in the scheme of things, than the testimonies of the women in the Assange case.

But plenty of reasonable folks have pointed out that, with everything we don't know about this story, it's important to recognize that binary thinking is counterproductive. We can believe that Julian Assange is doing crucial work with Wikileaks while also allowing that he may be capable of violating a sexual partner's trust and consent. We can believe that political opportunism is at play in Interpol's pursuit of Assange without assuming that it's a total frame-up. And I hope we can agree—listen up, Naomi!—that victim-blaming, feminist-baiting, slut-shaming accusations in the service of a larger progressive agenda help no one in a culture where distrust of women in sexual harassment and assault cases is still deeply entrenched.

Awesome "Privilege-Denying Naomi Wolf" image from Bluebears.

Comments

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Great piece! this really

Great piece! this really needed to be said. I have been fuming ever since I read her piece. I couldn't really even believe it. She better come out with a full apology and make everyone believe it or she's done as far as making a living as some sort of professional feminist. Unless she wants to switch careers and become a professional idiot, then I think this was a great move.

I agree with Naomi on this one...

What sets women back in the fight to be taken seriously in a sexual harassment or abuse or rape case is not the Naomi's who have the nerve 20 years later and tell their story (oh how dare she???), or the ones who do it immediately and take the "slut rap" they will no doubt endure...

What sets us back is this very case... These women did NOT originally claim rape, they were clear that this was consensual sex from the beginning. They originally claimed the condom broke and they wanted the police to force him to take an AIDS test which he was refusing. He waited for over a month in Sweden begging to be told what he was accused of, he begged to be interviewed by police and to tell his story and didn't leave until they told him he was free to go and the charges were dropped because they didn't have a case against him.

MONTHS later they go back, get these two women to publicly state he "raped" them and this doesn't look like a political hit job to you??? With the US Government going on the air daily and stating they will "do anything to bring him down"???

I am the first to believe the woman (as the victim of 3 separate rape incidents including one where I was kidnapped and held for 3 days in captivity and included more men than I can remember from a college fraternity...). I know ALL the reasons we keep quiet. I see NO indication in any of the media on this so far that this was more than a few women with a legit beef (get the test!) who have been coerced into being a party to the destruction of the planet's corporations/governments stated public enemy #1.

I find the entire case disgusting. It's not the women who are actually abused and speak out or keep quiet like Naomi and I who make it so hard to come out.

It's the stories like this that are clearly fabricated and/or exaggerated that make it nearly impossible for the 1 in 4 women attacked annually to be taken seriously.

YOU GO Naomi for taking a stand for the TRUTH and not just buying the bull sh*t on it's surface...

"stories like these"

Did you read Naomi Wolf's piece? How is trivializing rape accusations taking a stand for the "TRUTH"?

Like Andi said, it is possible to hold both the US Government and Assenge accountable for unethical behavior.

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Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Oh bitch mag! How could she

Oh bitch mag! How could she of all people write such horrible things. I feel beyond betrayed. :( looked up to her previously!

OH FOR FUCKS' SAKE

NO.

That's not how it works.

When someone holds you down with their body weight and finishes even though you say no? Rape. When someone fucks you, without given consent, in your sleep, it's rape. HOW FUCKING DARE YOU question their stories without knowing the details?

Useful info: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/12/06/some-thoughts-on-sex-by...

I AM SO FUCKING SICK OFF THE ASSANGE FANS. I like wikileaks, but A. is not a messiah, he's just some dude who should stand fucking trial. It's up to the court to determine if he's guilty or not. And for the "he was set up" theories, foilhattery; wouldn't it be a ton easier to just plant some drugs on him while travelling?

Rational response.

How about if everyone actually reads the statements before they post and not rely on biased journalism in either direction. Assange consulted with both of them, the one girl let him stay with her another 4 days afterwards and threw him a party. The other "asleep" girl was mad that he did not have a condom but did not tell him no or to stop having sex with her. Look at the entire situation and stop basing everything on emotions and personal experience. Rape is bad, we all agree on that, but sometimes there are instances where it is used for political purposes. It is called a smear campaign and if you think that all of this is just coincidence and that Assange is just some anarchist rapist then im sorry. But fighting amongst each other and publishing articles that are obviously biased are not the solutions.

Consent?

From my understanding of the case, one of the women was asleep when he initiated sex with her without a condom. The other woman told him to stop having sex with her after the condom broke. It seems pretty clear that the sex was not consensual. Whatever the political implications of his arrest, there is no justification for claiming that the women were lying without any evidence for that. The politics of the situation make it obvious that if he were not so hated by governments internationally (especially the US), these charges probably would not have reappeared, and he would not be extradited. But those politics do not mean that the women are lying.

authority and discipline.

Go a bit further here: "The politics of the situation make it obvious that if he were not so hated by governments internationally (especially the US)..." HE should have not been having casual sex with his female supporters and volunteers. If he's concerned about blackmail and false charges, why didn't he control himself?

I have feeling that

I have feeling that everyone's "understanding of the case" is going to fit nicely with their previously held opinions on the subject.

You don't know what happened. I don't know what happened. Pretending like we do is a total waste of time. Nothing constructive can come from this conversation.

The end.

already constructive

Anonymous,
I disagree. I think this conversation has already been constructive. It WOULD be useless to try to decide right now, with the information any of us has, whether or not Assange is guilty or innocent of these sexual assault charges. But that's not ultimately where our discussion comes in. It IS worth discussing Naomi Wolf's strange, anti-feminist stance, and how it is especially troubling because of her proclaimed politics and her past experiences. It is also, I think, important to talk about how Assange probably would never have had to face these charges if the WikiLeaks explosion weren't happening. Let's talk about why THAT is! Why isn't the assault of women, even at the allegation, pre-conviction phase, thought of as a national security concern? Rape charges are much, much more than foil to a "larger" government investigation. The more we can DE-construct that idea, the more constructive we're being.

Well, annamatopoetry has

Well, annamatopoetry has already declared that a rape occurred and can't believe that somebody would have the audacity to suggest otherwise.

Looks like this constructive conversation is off to a good start. People will weight the facts in whatever fashion supports their previously held views. We'd be better off slamming our heads against the wall.

Speaking of constructive...

I just want to jump in here and remind everyone that this post is about Wolf's response to the Assange story. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic at hand, which is Naomi Wolf and her behavior (not about the details of the Assange arrest).

Also, Anonymous, I'll remind you that annamatopoetry said that "it's up to the courts to decide" whether or not Assange is guilty. Which it is.

Thanks!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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Read again. IF said events

Read again. IF said events occurred (as the women claim they did), according to Swedish law, it's rape. The thing is, if there's no trial, there no way to find out if he's legally guilty. I don't know if he is, I DON'T REALLY CARE IF HE IS, I want there to be legal, fair trial in which this is determined. What I don't want is asshats all over the internet saying that Assange couldn't possibly have committed rape because he's so awesome, that'd be no different than the high school football quarterback getting away because everyone cares more about him than the cheerleader he supposedly raped. And I fucking don't want the women to be ridiculed for daring to accuse him, because as the article says, this sets us back about six million steps.

Exactly...

Not only has the ante continually been upped as to what the charges actually ARE, it seems the CIA et al have stumbled on the one sort of accusation they knew would be potentially triggering to individuals and divide the Left. There's nothing the status quo loves more than when they can pit feminists against free-speech advocates, and this probably greases their machine better than a whole slew of anti-porn crusades. They're probably just kicking themselves that they didn't think of this one back when Daniel Ellsberg called out their shit.

Like the Anonymous poster above, I'm also a survivor of rape. I'll gladly scream for a rapist's head in any case I hear of, and the first one to screw with anyone who even attempts this crime with any of my friends or loved ones. I really really hate them. I just also am highly skeptical that Assange is one. I feel like they're hoping to capitalize on the pain of rape survivors to assassinate him and I feel a bit emotionally manipulated by the media right now.

I'm a bit on the fence on

I'm a bit on the fence on some of the charges; however, the allegations that Assange had unprotected sex with a sleeping woman, that he used physical threats in coersion with another woman are the allegations I find fairly clear-cut.

Having been molested completely against my will by someone I loved was pretty confusing. I never did make a report because I didn't even have the words to describe what happened until years later, when I'd gotten help with some of the psychological abuse I'd suffered over the 4 years I was with him. Mutual friends I have told to this day do not believe me, probably because I was weak enough to stay with him for so long.

So when I read about rape allegations in situations people consider complex, I think about my own confusion and inability to even describe to myself what happened until years later.

Yes, the charges are likely politically motivated. There may be a false allegation in there. However much a wanted man that Assange is, the facts reveal that at least in the US, false accusations account for somewhere around 1 percent of all filed charges (according to the FBI).

However, one false accusation among four-- one of which supposedly occurred when one of the women was unable to consent-- is not enough to discount the other three charges.

And regardless of whether or not Assange is guilty of rape (and the other charges of unlawful coersion), his attitude towards this situation, the accounts of Assange being more than a little bit of a slut, and what seems like his unwillingness to use condoms has given me the opinion that Assange is a chauvanist.

Then again, so was Thomas Jefferson. And I love Jefferson's prose, but I don't have to like him as a person simply because I like his work. Wikileaks has done a lot to reveal rape and sex abuse in war, but (even if he is entirely innocent of the charges) that doesn't give Assange a feminist medal of honor, does it?

Wolf has been a disappointment since 'The Beauty Myth'

That wasn't a great book, but it was a decent intro to feminism for the uninitiated.

This piece made me think of that horrible book written by Katie Roiphe back in the 90s called 'The Morning After'. You know, lots of women think they were raped, but they just regret having bad sex "the morning after". Which is basically what Wolf is saying in re Assange.

Bad sex regret.

The thing I absolutely hate about this is the attitude that if it isn't rape, it's fair game.
It's an attitude used a lot when someone is sexually targeted when under the influence. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's all fair, right, or even moral.

The rape-permitting culture we are in allows sexual predation. And while I can by no means prove it, I do believe that at best, Assange has become such a predator... at least from everything I've read/watched.

You lost me at "Daily Mail"...

...making her a the douchey monkey of the douche organ grinder.

yes and no

Agreed that Naomi Wolf's piece is problematic. I absolutely agree that sexual assault cases should be taken seriously. However, it's not uncommon that the law is broken or misused in cases where big political benefits can be reaped. The movie "Fair Game" (based on the non-fiction accounts of Valerie Plame and her husband) shows pretty well how governments can (and do) manipulate things.

If we're to keep an open mind on this and weigh the different possibilities, I think we'll come to the conclusion that, in this case, the accusations are probably exaggerated or fabricated. From reports I've heard, these charges were originally brought in August and Assange offered to go in for questioning, but then the charges were dropped.

There's a post from his barrister (lawyer), where he mentions that both women bragged about their involvement with Assange immediately following their encounters, which would certainly be atypical behavior for any woman who was assaulted: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/02/when-it-comes-to-assange-r-pe-case-t...
--I'm assuming the barrister wouldn't publicly claim that the women bragged without evidence as otherwise he'd be subject to libel charges.

In any case, the treatment of Assange (arrested without bail & threatened with extradition for being wanted for questioning) seems extreme compared to how similar cases are treated for non-celebrities.

Boo on Wolf for being so flippant, but I don't think her underlying belief in Assange's likely innocence is misplaced or ill-considered.

I think the reason these kinds of debates become so inflammatory so quickly is that sexual assault is horrible and commonplace and often not successfully prosecuted, but on the other hand, the idea of a false accusation, whereby someone's character is assassinated and results in unjust punishment, is terrifying. In a sense, unjust punishment of an innocent seems almost worse than the idea of failing to punish the perpetrator of a crime (given a situation where the crime has already been committed).

Sexual predation and inequalities are real and significant issues, but who would want to live in a society where simply accusing someone carries more weight than the accused's protestations of innocence?

First comment that didn't

First comment that didn't make me want to band my head against the wall repeatedly. It's a subject fraught with emotion (rightly), but the discussion needs to be measured and logical.

Andi, Thank you so much for

Andi, Thank you so much for writing this.

Pity Naomi isn't likely to

Pity Naomi isn't likely to see this, or many of the other great feminist responses to her recent douchery. My first red flag was when she publicly stated that she didn't read feminist blogs or participate in the online feminist community......
Feels like she checked out a long time ago.

Thank you for this entry. As

Thank you for this entry.

As a huge supporter of what Wikileaks is doing, this has been a serious crisis of conscience for me. So many progressive movements happen on the backs of women and feminism. Unfortunately, this is yet another. Notions of government transparency, accountability, and information freedom will be championed by "progressives," and in the process, those who dare to call the media on its repugnant handling of the rape issue will be steamrolled in the name of the greater good.

It reminds me of white men in the Civil Rights era, who degraded the feminist cause in favor of the anti-racism one. The patriarchy is all too familiar at setting up a binary argument in these types of cases. Thankfully there are outlets like this one that remind us that there are more than two options.

For me, the real crime in all this is the fact that institutions and authorities who couldn't have cared less before are now suddenly pro-rape investigation, now that it suits them. I am waiting with baited breath to see police departments flooded with resources to pursue all past rape allegations. I want every woman who was given some bullshit excuse by a police department as to why her charges weren't worth following through to now be informed that all rape charges will be handled as seriously as those leveled against Julian Assange.

Female agency and bodily safety is NOT a valid playing field for political games of chess!

Anyone remember a New Republic piece Wolf once wrote ...

... where she changed her mind about abortion while she was pregnant with her first child? I wrote her off after reading that self-serving essay back in the late 1990s. She unfortunately doesn't care what any of her other feminist peers thinks/says, and Jessica Valenti (in her blog entry this week at www.jessicavalenti.com) has every right to be concerned with Wolf not keeping up with what all the other feminists are doing online.

Bitchmedia is the TRUE "Fire with Fire." Thanks so much for taking this bold and brave stance in calling her out!

It's a shame that Wolf's

It's a shame that Wolf's attitude is so flippant about this. I don't have a hypothesis about what may or may not have happened with Assange and the women, and it's not my place to speculate (and frankly, it's frustrating to me to see people completely outside of this case declaring verdicts, since the only people who can make definitive statements are the ones involved), but it is upsetting to me that Wolf thinks that some rape accusations are a signal for fun sarcasm time. If everyone is so concerned with what happened, then send Assange to trial for rape and see if he's guilty or not. However, like you said, Andi, his work with Wikileaks and his attitudes and actions towards women are two separate areas of his life, and should be treated as such.

one more point...

...and then I'll stop.

I read this article right after I read the one right above by Kjerstin Johnson that deals with reality shows and stereotypes. In short, the idea of the shows Johnson talks about is that audience members make judgments about people on TV, saying, "I declare that person to be gay/not gay based on my personal definition and experience with homosexuality." And I feel like the same sort of deduction is happening here, with people saying, "I declare this person raped/not raped (or, conversely, a rapist/not a rapist) based on my personal definition of and experience with rape."

Anyway, yeah, Naomi Wolf. Boo.

Thank you

I haven't had a lot of time or energy to devote to this whole hot mess, and my feelings about it. I have been alternating between sadness and anger by what little I've read, though. And I remembered hearing about his accusations several months ago.

I don't understand why otherwise reasonable, thoughtful, experienced people cannot understand that nothing and no one in this world is all perfect, or all evil. Good people do bad things sometimes. And bad people sometimes do something good. I do not know this man Assange. I have never met him. I respect the work that he does through Wikileaks. But many many years ago, my mother gave me this wonderful advice: when someone tells you who they are, believe them.

He has often said that he is a bastard. He may be a bastard in the cause of something I see as valuable in terms of truth and justice. But that doesn't mean that I can excuse any of his other supposedly bastardly behavior.

Poor Choice of an Honoree and Not a Pop Culture Context

Not only was Naomi Wolf correct in the main thrust of her article which was that Interpol had much better things to be spending its time on, but it is sheer folly to suggest that articles in "pop-culture" blogs attacking defenders of Julian Assange can somehow be separated from the all-out dirty tricks style war being waged against all media and institutions even peripherally involved in defending or supporting WikiLeaks. It's worse when those attacks not only ignore the context (the attempts to stop WikiLeaks) of events but rely on reports in tabloids which themselves conclude that the allegations don't ring true. Cnn reported back on August 21st that "Sweden drops rape accusation against founder of WikiLeaks". Whilst arguments can be made for or against the truth of the allegations the context can not be ignored.

On Dec. 8th, 2010 Democracy Now's Amy Goodman hosted a roundtable discussion with Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Journalist John Pilger, and State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. The article and discussion were titled: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Endangered by Bail Denial in London; Still No Charges Filed in Sweden. In that discussion John Pilger pointed out that "the chief prosecutor in Sweden threw out the case, in effect, declared it ridiculous." On Dec. 7th, 2010 she had interviewed Glen Greenwald on the Arrest of Julian Assange and the U.S. "War on WikiLeaks".

Glenn Greenwald had written a Salon.com article titled: "Anti-WikiLeaks lies and propoganda".

As pointed out in articles in The Nation titled "First They Came For WikiLeaks. Then...", and; Jeremy Scahill Testifies Before Congress on America's Secret Wars - "Wikileaking Covert Wars", "It's the policy of covert action and the lies told to cover it up."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation published an article titled: "Information is the Antidote to Fear: Wikileaks, the Law, and You".

A Dec. 9th, 2010 NPR article is titled: "WikiLeaks A Free Speech Challenge For U.S.", and the American Civil Liberties Union had warned that "Prosecuting Wikileaks For Publishing Documents Would Raise Serious Constitutional Concerns".

All the stops have been pulled out trying to stop WikiLeaks from continuing to reveal secret wrongdoing including cutting off funds via Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, the denial of internet services and access to Amazon.com and access to Amazon.com and now collusion in imprisoning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and denying him bail. Apparently that's not enough.

Greg Mitchell refers The Huffington Post's separate mini-site devoted to Wikileaks as "not very up to date (ahem)" in the post "Blogging the WikiLeaks, For Thursday, Day 12".

I see no "slut shaming" evident in Naomi Wolf's Huffington Post blog nor do I see any evidence of "victim blaming". What I see is a poor choice for a "Douchebag Decree" in a magazine devoted to feminist responses to pop culture when the honoree is a feminist who wrote about the treatment of a principal in one of the biggest hard news stories of the this last decade - the censorship and abuse of power exercised in order to cover up complicity in torture, rendition, and covert wars for profit and empire. Hardly a pop culture subject.

I'm alarmed that so of much

I'm alarmed that so of much of the media (not just Wolf, though she's a surprising addition) has felt the need to bring the crime into it again and again. I do not know if Julian Assange raped these woman, and I can't say he didn't, either. That isn't why this story is important. The woman could very well be telling the god-honest truth, but it's the massive reaction by the Swedish Government that makes this bad news. It's the fact that various people have been trying to get the guy arrested for years, even though his actions involving Wikileaks are perfectly legal in most countries. I have to say it again: The woman aren't very important here. It's the sheer insanity of the larger war on Wikileaks and the free exchange of information on the net in general that people should be concerned about, not the usual slut-bashing or blaming the victim bullshit.

when is a public figure being

when is a public figure being accused of rape not 'bad news?' Didn't you know it's problematic for the left to ever admit they are fuckups too?

She always sucked!

Um, Maomi Wolf has always sucked!!!!!!!!!! I am glad people are realizing this now but come on, what good has that 'feminist' ever done for anyone? The Beauty Myth is the biggest piece of shit I ever read when I was 'discovering' feminism. If you ask me that books goes hand in hand with Cosmo and Paglia.

I agree

completely. Wolf has always sounded non-sensical to me WAY before this.

AND

I am also, once again, totally disgusted/apalled with 'liberals' refusing to acknowledge that 'left' leaning, radicals are also capable and commit sexual assault. It's OKAY to be fucking pissed about Assange while before you were an avid Wikileak fan. I am no longer going to follow their media source, as I take sexual assault very seriously.

Exactly

Intelligent people should be able to hold more than one thought in their head at once. The point of this piece, once again, was NOT to speculate on whether Assange did or did not commit a crime -- it's to point out that the media narrative around this story has quickly become depressingly similar to every other media narrative around rape and alleged rape. (That is to say, ugly and victim-blaming.)

If you have any doubt that that's what's happening, please read this piece from today's Washington Examiner, about how the names, addresses, and other personal information of the women involved in the case have been posted on the Internet, with ugly commentary from the man who did so:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2010/12/names-a...

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Andi Zeisler, cofounder and editorial/creative director

Comments Policy: Like to hear it? Here it go!

The Sources Sometimes Skew the Understanding

@ Monty: Had you actually read books by Naomi Wolf | The End of America, The Beauty Myth, Give Me Liberty, you would be aware that her feminist progressive viewpoint is not at all like those expressed by Camille Paglia or to be equated with Cosmo. In fact Wikipedia refers to Naomi Wolf as "an advocate of feminist causes and progressive politics" and uses the words "In contrast" when referring to Camille Paglia.

@ Andi Zeisler: You do realize you have posted a link to a right-wing publication whose columnists rail against "radical feminists" and claim "WikiLeaks vindicates George Bush"as a source for "what's happening", right?

Perhaps Bitch's readers can get a better idea of where Naomi Wolf was coming from in that article she wrote titled "Julian Assange Captured by World's Dating Police" by reading her more recent piece at the Huffington Post titled: "Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States". How many of the people calling her a douchebag are politically aligned with the list of people at the bottom of that piece when they call for Julian Assange's criminalization?

There is a very different viewpoint from the one presented in that right-wing link published in a Mother Jones article titled "What are Julian Assange's Sex Charges All About?" and the linked update from Reuters. You can read a more comprehensive account of how the four specific charges of sexual misconduct (not "rape") evolved after "STD fears sparked case againdt WikiLeaks boss".

How sad that politics and the desire to get WikiLeaks and its founder out of the picture has resulted in the use of the inflammatory cry of "rape" and the smearing of a progressive, feminist author and journalist, Naomi Wolf, with the false label of "victim blamer" as well. Tarring Naomi Wolf with what other people are reported to have done, revealing the names etc. of the women whose stories have been conflated with political motivation, when in fact that was not the intent of her article is just plain wrong.

Thinking back ...

... Camille Paglia used to "trash" Wolf prior to Wolf's New Republic essay I mentioned in my previous post (and I am not sure is online. It was from about the late 1990s). Since then she has, for the most part, praised her. Paglia is, to me (and I have read and fell asleep to some of her works) a sex-obsessed, self-centered blowhard who's mouth runs about 100 miles an hour. She frequently calls herself feminist while hating-on those feminists who disagree with anything she says in the same breath (except for Wolf). Paglia is as egotistical as Bill O'Reilly.

For the record, as a "liberal" type myself (I do not really like to label myself, but I am not a conservative at all, to put it mildly), I read right-wing publications, look at right-wing websites and look at "Feaux News" once in awhile to validate my arguments against them. All Andi was doing was looking at any viewpoints she could find to validate her arguments ... whether they be right-wing, left-wing, or something in-between. People are dumbing-down themselves by only accepting opinions and reading information about what they only agree with. Bitchmedia is neither left-nor-right. Just intelligent, nuanced feminist "fire with fire" (pardon the pun) discussions that are essential elements of the ongoing dialogue that is "feminist response to pop culture," not necessarily always liberal, nor necessarily always conservative.

What Naomi Wolf Is Talking About

This is what Naomi Wolf is talking about - the dirty tactics used to silence critics:

Watch this! Talk - Naomi Wolf - the End of America - Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot (47:47 on the subject of how, historically, democracies have been turned into oppressive dictatorships).