Thomas Wictor

You’re doing it wrong

You’re doing it wrong

When you reach a certain age, you have a lot of life experiences to draw on and use as a basis for comparison. I’m now at that point where I can say, “Kids today—” and be right. It’s not entirely the kids’ fault that they’re doing it wrong, but thirty years ago I was subjected to all the same attempts to control my mind, and I rejected them.

I don’t think I’m stronger or smarter than everybody else. Temperamentally I’m just not a joiner. I don’t trust groups. The price of becoming part of a group was always too high. They demanded that I give up my individuality, and I couldn’t do that. Though by most standards I’m a failure across the board, I can say that at least I never voluntarily surrendered my identity as a unique human being.

Today I discovered that there’s a campaign called “Who Needs Feminism?” People send in photos of messages or pictures of themselves holding signs that begin “I need feminism because…”

“Feminism” has become a loaded word. It means different things to different groups. My own definition is the one found in Merriam-Webster.

The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

In that sense the entire human race needs feminism if we’re going to have a world in which the potential for happy, fulfilled lives is the norm. But most of the world doesn’t believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. What are you going to do about that?

We went to war in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, a Wahabbist movement so retrograde that it bans music, forces men to grow beards, and murders women with impunity. The Afghans then chose—through the democratic process—to enact laws that oppress women to a mind-warping degree. The Shi’a Personal Status Law, for example, requires that women seek permission from their husbands before leaving the house, and it automatically grants custody of children to fathers after divorce. Rape and child rape are punishable by fines, not jail time.

We went to war in Iraq for a multitude of reasons, one being the idea that US security would benefit from spreading democracy. From a geopolitical standpoint the war was a success, since Iraq is no longer a deadly enemy of the US, our interests, and our allies. But the Jaafari Personal Status Law will soon pass in the Iraqi parliament.

Like the Afghan law, the Iraqi law will require Shi’ite women to get permission from their husbands before leaving the house, and it will give divorced fathers automatic custody of children. The Iraqi law also legalizes marital rape and allows men to marry girls as young as nine.

When contemplating nine-year-old girls being married to grown men, don’t you feel that the American “Who Needs Feminism?” campaign is a little superficial? We hear a lot about the income gap in this country. How about the life-and-death gap between women in the US and women in the Third World?

Also, the “Who Needs Feminism?” campaign is spreading disinformation.


That figure of 65 percent was wrong. The actual poll statement was “Women who wear clothes which show off the body deserve to be attacked,” and the number of people who agreed with it completely was 13.2 percent, while those who agreed somewhat was 12.8 percent, for a total of 26 percent, not 65 percent. The director of the government agency that conducted the survey resigned after the error was admitted.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say that 65 percent of Brazilians believe that women who wear revealing clothes deserve to be “attacked,” whatever that means. Do you honestly think an online campaign is going to change their minds? Is any philosophy whatsoever going to change their minds? Of course not. These campaigns are nothing but posturing and empty symbolism.

The majority of the people who take part in the “Who Needs Feminism?” campaign are mindless drones or preening narcissists trying to present themselves as morally superior. This is a very telling photo.


You stop shaving your armpits to get a reaction? Why on earth for? And I’m sorry, no amount of feminism is going to make some people suddenly love armpit hair when they didn’t before. It’s a preference. The hairiness of your armpits is devoid of moral and social content. If you think that everyone must agree with you that hairy armpits are wonderful, you’re as authoritarian as the phallocentric patriarchy.

Oh, for the love of—


Christ, he’s got the same glasses as the armpit woman. And he’s saying that he’s too stupid to junk his “gender biases” himself, so he needs instructors to tell him how to think. My bet is he has no idea what a gender bias is. Someone told him he has gender biases, and since he’s terrified of not belonging to a group—hence the glasses—he’s now publicly confessing his sins.

It’s a vehicle for self-aggrandizement, and it’s how cults and dictatorships function.

And finally, Ms. Mwah.


Of all the poses you could assume, puckering your lips as if preparing to bestow a giant smooch on me is the one you chose? You have great lips, by the way. Since you put them out there and arranged them as provocatively as you could, I’m going to compliment you on them. Besides, you don’t need feminism as much as you need an interior decorator. That elephant lamp is an atrocity.

These young schmucks are bowled over by their First World problems. They have no perspective whatsoever. Maybe it’s because I was born in the Third World that I despise this level of self-indulgence.

I had the great privilege of interviewing the legendary bassist Carol Kaye. The article was killed by my “visonary” editor, who lasted only three years at Bass Player. Kaye is a genius who breaks all the rules. Here—with only her pick and a four-string—she mops the earth with two bassists famous for their showy technical chops.

Kaye resolutely refuses to engage in the battle of the sexes. She finds it not only boring but insulting. As she told me, she’s a bassist, not a female bassist.

The world needs feminism in the classical sense, but we don’t need any more totalitarian ideologues trying to force their will on us. Ask the women of Afghanistan and Iraq. They’ll tell you.

If their husbands will let them.