The Depp-Heard Verdict and Gender Equality

Within hours after the jury announced the verdict in favor of Johnny Depp, Heard’s media enablers swung into action. Their overwrought commentaries confirmed the intellectual vacuity of the movement they sought to defend.

The trial confirmed the fact that Amber Heard had engaged in repeated incidents of domestic violence: 

  • In 2015, Heard threw a vodka bottle at Depp, severing the tip of his finger.
  • Heard once burned Depp’s face with a cigarette.
  • On one occasion, Heard lectured Depp, "I was hitting you. It was not punching you. Babe, you're not punched... You got hit."

But the feminist commentators chose to not highlight these revelations, hint at the fact that Heard had been previously arrested for partner abuse, or reflect on the rigorous defamation standard that Depp had to surmount. Rather, their commentaries boiled down to a single hashtag: #BelieveWomen.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence not only whiffed on the evidence, it decided to do a rewrite of history:

“During the testimonies of witnesses, including but not limited to Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard, we witnessed in real-time an abuser gaslighting, a common technique used to manipulate others, specifically systems (e.g. law enforcement, courts) into misidentifying a victim for an abuser and an abuser for a victim…. What spilled out of the courtroom and into the media, including social media, was an abuser exerting control and manipulating the media and a loyal fan base to attack his victim on his behalf.”

The dishonesty of these editorials echoes an earlier report that documented dozens of domestic violence half-truths and lies. And it highlights the difficulty in confirming the veracity of any statement made by feminists about a broad array of topics: 

  • The feminist movement began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.” Wrong. It began when Marxist Friedrich Engels proclaimed that women were dually oppressed by capitalism and by their husbands.
  • “Domestic violence is caused by men’s need for patriarchal control.” False. Domestic violence is equally committed by men and women and is caused by a broad range of factors, especially alcohol abuse, marital breakdown, and the lingering effects of childhood abuse.
  • “Women suffer from wage inequality.” Nope. After controlling for the number of hours worked, work experience, and other factors, women are paid fairly for their work.
  • “Women are under-represented in medical research.” No way. An analysis of cancer studies revealed that 57% of all research participants were female.
  • “College campuses are awash in rape culture.” Wrong again. According to the Department of Justice, only six in 1,000 female college students experience sexual assault each year, a number that has fallen by half since 1997.

And then there are the claims made by leading feminists that are so absurd that they don’t merit a response: 

  • Hillary Clinton: “The future is female.”
  • Andrea Dworkin: "Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies."
  • Gloria Steinem: "By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of American women describe themselves as “feminist.” When so many persons fall prey to such falsehoods, it’s easy to predict the harmful social consequences. Notably, since 1990, the divorce rate has nearly doubled and the number of Americans embracing the institution of marriage has declined.

Fatherlessness has become a major social malady -- 19.5 million children now live without a father at home, placing kids at risk of an array of problems.

Feminism has nothing to do with “gender equality.” If it did, feminists would be out on the streets protesting because males have a lifespan that is four years shorter than women, boys are lagging in our schools, and 92% of occupational deaths affect men.

Fortunately, Americans are beginning to see through the carefully constructed narrative. A recent survey reported that a majority of younger Republican men and women now believe that “feminism has done more harm than good” in our society. In addition, majorities of all Republicans, as well as younger Democratic men, say that “men should be represented and valued more in our society.”

In response to the survey, Adam Coleman noted, “Today, however, we are facing a different wave of feminism, one that no longer seems to strive for equality but favoritism… The wave of feminism we are dealing with is far past just wanting a seat at the table -- it wants the table itself, and it wants men to sit on the floor.”

True, women now have a broader array of opportunities than in previous generations. But our country didn’t need a divisive, male-bashing, Marxist-inspired movement to accomplish that.

Edward E. Bartlett is a former university professor, and worked for 17 years for the Department of Health and Human Services.


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