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OBJECTIVE:

To show an understanding of how structures/systems of misogyny and white supremacist result in violence against women, LGBT, and racialized communities.

Requirements:

Drawing from at least 2 readings from the course, and one film or video from weeks 8-12, explain the structure of gender-based or white supremacist violence. Use direct quotes only. Do not paraphrase.

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Describe concrete experiences of actual individuals and situate them in social structures. These structures include the criminal justice system (police, courts, prisons), media, education, the family, or the economy. Or, these structures also include dominant beliefs about identity categories of race, gender, and sexuality. Concepts such as misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, distribution of life chances (Dean Spade), rape culture, or hegemonic masculinity are some of the key terms that you can use in your essay (you need only one, but these are all options). 

MATERIALS:

You can use any film or video covered in the course and any of the recommended or required readings. Lecture slides also provide valuable information and should be scanned for relevant information (hint: if you discuss topics that are covered in slides but do not incorporate the information in the slides then this will impact your grade). You can also use any of the discussion questions as a starting point for your essay.

This is not a research paper. Do not add research materials unless you get approval from the instructor. 

CITATION STYLE & BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Write your essay in scholarly format using Chicago Manual Style citations (in-text or footnotes). Information for bibliographies is included in the syllabus. 

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

1. Include your name, student number, the date, course number, and the professor’s name on the top left of the first page.

2. Include a title for your work. 

3. Use 12 point Times New Roman font and double space your work.

4. Insert a footer or header with your last name and the page number. 

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NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research

ISSN: 0803-8740 (Print) 1502-394X (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/swom20

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto”

Stephen J. Walton

To cite this article: Stephen J. Walton (2012) Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto”, NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 20:1, 4-11, DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2011.650707

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/08038740.2011.650707

Published online: 18 Jan 2012.

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POSITION PAPER

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto”

STEPHEN J. WALTON

Volda University College, Ivar Aasen Institute, Norway

The act

On 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik blew up the office of the Prime Minister and other government buildings in the centre of Oslo. After parking the van containing the bomb, he drove to the ferry that takes passengers to the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden north-west of Oslo. Once there, dressed in a police uniform, he began shooting participants at the annual summer camp of the youth movement of the Norwegian Labour Party. Sixty-five people died on the island, four more shortly afterwards. Nearly all the victims were under the age of 24, the two youngest 14. A further sixty-six people were injured. Many escaped by swimming ashore, a distance of half a kilometre, and around two hundred were picked up in boats by holiday- makers from a nearby campsite. Breivik shot at close range with his two weapons for approximately an hour until he surrendered to the police, who arrived on the island 55 minutes after the first report of shooting was received. The following day, 23 July, Breivik admitted responsibility through his lawyer for the explosion in Oslo and the murders at Utøya. However, he denied guilt for these crimes, claiming that they were a political action necessitated by the real possibility of a Muslim take-over of Europe, assisted by the “cultural Marxists” of the Norwegian Labour Party, and by the party’s lax immigration policies.

The “Manifesto”

Before setting off, Breivik sent a document of 1518 pages to several thousand potential supporters of his cause. This document, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, is often referred to as Breivik’s “manifesto”. It is a

0803-8740 Print/1502-394X Online/12/010004–11 q 2012 Taylor & Francis

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08038740.2011.650707

Correspondence Address: Professor Stephen J. Walton, Volda University College, Ivar Aasen Institute,

Norway. Email: [email protected]

NORA—Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 20, No. 1, 4–11, March 2012http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08038740.2011.650707

hybrid text consisting of three “books”. These contain articles by others, articles by Breivik himself, tables of statistics, instructions to followers on how to oppose multiculturalism, discussions about how opponents are to be dealt with, of the order of “knights” Breivik adheres to, their organisation and decorations, instructions in bomb-making and tactics, and in the third book a substantial section of autobiographical reflection, as well as a diary leading up to the events of 22 July. The manifesto is easily available on the Internet.

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The contention of the manifesto is that Christian Europe is being swamped by Muslim immigrants and by the higher birth-rate of Muslims already here. This process is being encouraged by European multiculturalists, for whom Breivik’s term “cultural Marxists” is a synonym, as is “political correctness”. Norway is “perhaps the most suicidal of all Western European countries today. We are on [sic] the forefront in the propagation of ‘self-annihilation’ policies such as dialogue and appeasement toward Islam” (3.153). In Breivik’s future scheme, Muslims will be permitted to convert to Christianity and remain in Europe (3.10). This does not, however, apply to the cultural Marxists. “Patriotic militias must create and update execution lists containing the names of every single parliamentarian, journalist, NGO leader/board member and university lecturer/professor etc. who has supported and propagated multiculturalist doctrines” (3.124). These people, organised into a hierarchy of class A, B, and C traitors, must be killed before they can flee in the face of the forthcoming civil war. “I have no moral reservations whatsoever against participating or leading military operations against Norwegian Category A and B traitors as it is the most basic of human rights to defend your people against genocide”, Breivik concludes (3.153).

Issues of gender lie at the core of Breivik’s project. They are more than a strand within it. Several of the texts in the manifesto are written by the anti-Muslim blogger “Fjordman”. Breivik refers to Fjordman as his favourite writer, and it is clear that he has contributed immensely to Breivik’s reasoning. Breivik’s own ideological reflections are to a large extent a calque of Fjordman’s, whilst his original contribution lies in his schemes for implementing them. In Fjordman’s view and Breivik’s reworking of it, feminism, the Nordic model of gender equality, and the weakening of the patriarchal male rôle form the very basis of the cultural Marxist project.

In the introduction to Book One, Breivik paints an idyllic if hackneyed picture of life in the 1950s, “a good time [ . . . ] Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer work. Children grew up in two- parent households, and the mother was there to meet the child when he came home from school.” The descent from this utopia was engineered by the Frankfurt School’s lethal mixture of Marxism and Freudianism, and the critical practice of deconstruction. Women, having exploited feminism to achieve the privileged status of victimhood, set about penalising European men and bestowing privileges on other chosen groups of victims through policies of affirmative action. The destruction of religion and of sexual morality, together with the installation of consumer capitalism, were instruments in this régime. Fjordman prefigures these conclusions in his blogs “The Failure of Western Feminism” and “How the Feminists’ ‘War against Boys’

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto” 5

Paved the Way for Islam” (2.8 and 2.9). “Feminism”, Fjordman continues, “has greatly weakened Scandinavia, and perhaps Western civilisation as whole [sic]”. The only political party of which he approves, the so-called Progress Party,

2 has 70%

male voters. Muslim immigrants come into the “fellow victim” category and are therefore supported by women, especially “feminists [who] are passionate anti-racists who will oppose any steps to limit Muslim immigration as ‘racism and xenophobia’”.

The reflections on feminism and gender in Breivik’s manifesto can be sorted into three levels: The analytical, which seeks to explain the harm done to the Western world by feminist ideology; the programmatic, which accounts for how this harm can be reversed by a reinstallation of patriarchy; and the autobiographical, which depicts the author as an exemplary victim of feminism.

The harm done by feminism

At the analytical level, then, feminists constitute the “vanguard of PC, the same ideology that has blinded our universities to the Islamic threat” (2.10). Radical feminism infests television, where “nearly every major offering has a female ‘power’ figure”, it has lowered standards in the military and produced a decline in the enlistment of young men, women benefit from affirmative action in employment, whilst the ever-present threat of sexual harassment charges keeps men in line, further education is plagued by a proliferation of “women’s gender studies”, and “several European countries allow and fund free distribution of contraceptive pills combined with liberal abortion policies” (Introduction). According to Fjordman, many women who want to work have to delay having children because of the effect of high taxes and interest rates on their income (2.11), and the result is a reduction in the birth-rate of indigenous Europeans that threatens us with extinction. The present “Marxist social structures” have produced an annual Western European birth deficit of 2 million. Amongst the “charges against all cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites of Europe”, Breivik includes “the excessive distribution of contraceptive pills to European women, by allowing 500 000 annual abortions, by stripping aways [sic] mens [sic] rights and prerogative (as patriarch/head of the family) in relation to custody care, by criminalising physical disciplinary methods etc.” (3.2). The “fact” that “60–70% of all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists are women [ . . . ] partly explains why the gradual feminist revolution is directly linked to the implementation of multiculturalist doctrines”. The aim of the feminist cultural Marxists is not only to “want more benefits and rights for themselves. They want it all, and have more or less been awarded with everything they could ever dream of achieving. They now have complete matriarchal supremacy domestically and exercise substantial influence in politics” (3.89). In the setting of the “destructive and suicidal ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle (modern feminism, sexual revolution) [ . . . ] men are not men anymore, but metro sexual and emotional beings that are there to serve the purpose as a never- criticising soul mate to the new age feminist woman goddess”, as Breivik reflects in the long “Interview with a Justiciar Knight Commander of the PCCTS, Knights Templar”, i.e. himself (3.153). Feminism is, then, responsible for creating what Fjordman calls the “fatherless civilisation”, where women are sexualised, men are

6 S.J. Walton

infantilised, and no longer willing to defend “their” women against the Muslim invader who threatens them.

Thus there are two salient points in Breivik’s critique of feminism. Firstly, it revolves around the physical issues of sex, reproduction, and child-rearing, rather than issues around work and other forms of social labour. Secondly, feminism as an ideology and women quite concretely are held responsible for the collapse of Western civilisation.

Women as the enemy

At the programmatic level of the manifesto, Breivik advocates killing women. “The average cultural conservative is a lot more chivalrous than the average person”, he imagines, but notwithstanding this, “you must [ . . . ] embrace and familiarise yourself with the concept of killing women, even very attractive women”, since they not only comprise the majority of cultural Marxists, but also 20% of the police force, and will in any case “not hesitate to kill you” (3.46, a section entitled “Killing women on the field of battle—directly or indirectly”).

Breivik’s programme—“Patriarchy will be re-implemented” (3.82)—is inspired both by his own experiences as he recounts them and by an article by one Philip Johnson, which is reproduced in the manifesto. Johnson postulates that patriarchy is a “particular value system that not only requires men to marry but to marry a woman of proper station”. The common core of patriarchal systems is to ensure men’s investment in the next generation by ensuring the “stigmatization of ‘illegitimate’ children. One measure of the degree to which patriarchy has diminished in advanced societies is the growing acceptance of out-of-wedlock births, which have now become the norm in Scandinavian countries, for example” (3.82).

The re-implementation of patriarchy will not involve the wholesale reversal of “popular feminist laws”—whatever these are—since that would appear “despotic”. The “single most important regulation we have to change” is, however, to ensure that fathers in the case of divorce always get custody of the child and to “re-introduce the father as the authority figure and family head”, reduce the rate of “broken families” by 50%, and to strengthen men’s domestic rights. The second measure is to decriminalise hitting children as punishment, the third the abolition of no-fault divorces, which in a slip into incoherence he calls “no fault marriages” (3.83). Breivik further considers two sets of “solutions” to the task of raising fertility in an anti- matriarchal society. One set involves a “Conservative model—Back to the 50s— because we know it works” and consists of the discouragement of contraception and restricting its availability, a reform of sex education to emphasise that sex should only be encouraged in marriage, a ban on abortion, discouraging women from following full-time careers, and a media policy that ends the glorification of “Sex and the City- lifestyles”. The other set of solutions, which Breivik for no clear reason calls a “feminist/liberalist model”, involves a modernised Lebensborn system aided by in- vitro fertilisation techniques, with State-run boarding-homes for the products of this policy. Surrogate parents would be made available in low-cost countries. The parents in the boarding-houses “must be willing to invest at least 25 years” of their lives in

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto” 7

rearing children in order to avoid a separation that would be “catastrophic” for the child (3.89).

The “new mentality” of anti-promiscuity would be enforced through controls over the media and the reform of school curricula, the idea of romantic love “should be challenged and deconstructed”, and “excessive sexuality” revealed as disrupting relationships and causing people “to lie and cheat to achieve the pleasure of sexual gratification” (3.88). After the civil war, peace will be restored in part by “appeasing the extreme liberals”. Since Breivik supposes, not unrealistically, that they will not greatly appreciate his anti-sexual regime, he proposes the creation of at least one zone per country (“extreme Las Vegas style”) where moderate Marxists may enjoy liberal ethical and moral standards, unlimited access to alcohol, marihuana, and prostitution, unrestricted possibilities for artistic, sexual, and cultural expression, alternative schools, and uncensored media (3.138).

Women and shame

The third, personal, level of Breivik’s critique of feminism emerges from an extensive account of the author’s family background. This is itself ascribed the role as one of the driving forces behind his ideological trajectory. What follows is emphatically not an attempt to diagnose Breivik’s mental state. That is in any case a matter for the judicial system. The two psychologists who examined him in the autumn of 2011 concluded that he was psychotic both at the time of his crime and afterwards, is a paranoid schizophrenic, and is unfit to stand trial. At the time of writing, this decision is under review. The “manifesto” clearly contains elements of an autodiagnosis. Breivik describes his childhood and personal history in terms that support his notion of feminism as an instrument of family breakdown and the collapse of civilisation.

Breivik repeatedly refers to his “broken family”. His father, Jens, had three children from a previous marriage, his mother, Wenche, one, Elisabeth. They divorced whilst Jens was working at the Norwegian embassy in London. Jens married a colleague there, Tove. Wenche then married Tore, an army captain. Breivik stayed in touch with Jens and Tove, who tried, unsuccessfully, to get custody of him. When they later divorced, Breivik remained in contact with Tove, but has had no contact with his father since the age of 16. Jens has also broken off contact with his other children. Tore “now spends most his [sic] time (retirement) with prostitutes in Thailand. He is a very primitive sexual beast, but at the same time a very likable and good guy”. Breivik blames his “super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing”, with its “complete lack of discipline”, for feminising him (3.153). His father was “a modern feminised male figure”, a type incapable of preventing children “going rogue” (3.99). Divorce constitutes a universal aetiology in the manifesto: Even the well-known evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins is rubbished by making reference to his two divorces (3.151).

Breivik casts himself more generally as a victim of the late-modern sexual system. Our “once great ethical standards” have been wrecked by promiscuity, exemplified by Tore’s more than 500 sexual partners. Tore allegedly infected Breivik’s mother with genital herpes when she was 48. The herpes affected her brain and caused meningitis, and she is now incapacitated and in early retirement. She has, according

8 S.J. Walton

to Breivik, the intellectual capacity of a 10-year-old and has cost the State more than one million euros to treat. Breivik’s half-sister Elisabeth is said to have developed pelvic inflammatory disease caused by untreated gonorrhoea and chlamydia, caught from one of her more than 40 partners, 15 of whom, we are told, were Chippendales, “known to be bearers of various diseases”. Breivik’s conclusion is that “both my sister and my mother have not only shamed me but they have shamed themselves and our family. A family that was broken in the first place due to secondary effects of the feministic/sexual revolution” (3.86).

The link between Breivik’s ideological analysis of feminism, his programme for its replacement with restored patriarchy, and its aetiology in a personal narrative of suffering and loss to which he purposefully draws our attention, will by now be very obvious. Strangely, he claims the privileged victim status for himself that he so disparages as a characteristic of feminism.

3

Breivik’s narrative expresses a longing for manhood, denied by an imposed impotence. The adolescent Breivik he describes lacks, more than anything else, the power to elicit a consistently predictable response from the adults around him. His manifesto, and the crime towards which it moves inexorably, represents attempts to achieve this power. The crime is successful in the sense that it generates the punishment that Breivik repeatedly fantasises about.

There is no sense in the manifesto of its author overcoming his feelings of powerlessness through sex. Breivik refers occasionally to youthful erotic escapades, although only in general terms. Since becoming aware of his mission, sex, or any form of personal intimacy, has become impossible, he tells us. The mission demands abstinence in order that he not give himself away; at the same time he opposes sex in principle (he lists seven reasons for this (3.88)), is implacably hostile towards sexually active people, and sees sex only as a means of providing a nest in which children can be securely nurtured. The persona Breivik describes is one for whom all sexual assertiveness is highly problematic.

Breivik’s will for power displaces itself into a catastrophically violent act, prefigured in recurrent fantasies of exercising power over life and death, and the endless absurd division of people into invented categories whose fate the solitary author alone determines. The endless unwieldy graphomanic proliferation of detail, the uniforms, the medals for different ranks of Knight Templar, the architectural drawings of tomb designs, none of these intersect with any reality whatsoever. The sentence “A Justiciar Knight Operative wears epaulettes with a gold cross on purple background” exists only as fantasy, a form of self-referential irony, camp.

Shame and honour

Breivik asks (3.82): “Will the future of Europe be dominated by a Muslim or Christian patriarchy?” This question encapsulates the paradox of his project. There is a dialectical principle that if you oppose something single-mindedly enough for long enough, you will end up becoming it. In Breivik’s case, his “Christian patriarchy” resembles nothing more than a parody of jihadism. Indeed, there are points in the manifesto where Breivik discusses the possibility of co-operating with jihadists, over the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. He also reflects on how his knights

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto” 9

and the jihadists have common interests in carving up the world into separate, closed spheres that each will dominate (3.53).

The notion of honour derived from the ability to control women’s sexuality is an obvious point of contact between Breivik and the jihadist world-view and is perfectly exemplified by the discussion of his mother and sister. Similarly, honour accrues to men when they defend women presumed incapable of defending themselves. Women are in both cases subject to men, objects of male libido or a masculine system of protection, and if they act so as to make them unworthy of this protection, they may legitimately be killed.

Secondly there is the shared notion that, although sex is inherently sinful, other deeds can outweigh sexual peccadilloes to induce a state of grace. As Breivik puts it chillingly in his “log” for October-November 2010 as preparations for the act were under way, “screwing around outside of marriage is after all a relatively small sin compared to the huge amounts of grace I am about to generate with my martyrdom operation” (3.154). It is difficult to see how this differs from the theology of the jihadist suicide bomber.

The nadir of depravity and delusion in Breivik’s project comes in the form of advice to potential followers to have fun during preparations for murder and civil war. In particular, they should procreate:

We need a new generation who has been shielded from the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist indoctrination campaigns and we need brothers and sisters who parent these future European heroes. If you are not willing to sacrifice your own life, then I would strongly advise you to make babies and ensure that they will be willing to sacrifice theirs when the time is right. (3.153)

The appalling idea of producing children in order to send them to a death one is unwilling to seek out oneself must constitute the ultimate expression of a violently instrumental view of human life, and of moral nullity. Even jihadism has the residual dignity of self-sacrifice.

Breivik’s world is that of an unusually gifted and determined individual who can deal neither with the complexity of difference nor with the ineluctable divergence of human desires. His vision of society emerges directly from the psychopathology of his own clearly gendered trauma, and it is indeed expressed as a critique of our gender system. Anti-feminism and misogyny are no mere strands in a deluded and violent political philosophy; rather they lie, as I hope to have demonstrated, at its very core. Breivik himself insists that his family trauma informs and motivates his political philosophy. That is why feminists and cultural Marxists have to be eradicated whilst he is willing to let Muslims convert. The anti-Muslim diatribes in the manifesto are very obvious, and they have justifiably received much attention. They also connect with continuing public discussions around issues of racism, integration, and how to deal with hate speech. This has, however, concealed the depth and seriousness of Breivik’s anti-feminist rhetoric and the centrality of its rôle in his project.

If Breivik is now declared mad, the rest of Norwegian society is by definition declared sane. In one sense we risk a re-run of the Hamsun trial of the 1940s. Breivik’s crime was clearly politically motivated and directed against a political organisation,

10 S.J. Walton

its aim to destroy ethnic diversity and gender equality. Apparently he acted alone, but he did not emerge from a vacuum. Simply to declare him insane leads us into the dangerous fiction that he did.

Notes

1 I accessed it at http://www.kevinislaughter.com/wp-content/uploads/2083 þ – þ A þ European þ

Declaration þ of þ Independence.pdf. In this version the pages are unnumbered. Here I shall refer to

book and section, separated by a full stop, so that “2.13” for example refers to book 2, section 13. I

downloaded this document on 15 October 2011. 2 Framstegspartiet (FrP) in Norwegian. FrP is the only party in the Storting not to feature in Breivik’s list of

“Cultural Marxists/suicidal humanists/capitalist globalists” (3.43). He joined FrP as a 16-year-old

because “they were anti-immigration and pro-free-market”. He was a candidate for Oslo City Council for

FrP in 2003, a member of the party’s executive committee in Frogner, an affluent area on the western side

of Oslo, and vice-chair of FrP’s youth organisation for Oslo West from 2000 to 2003. He now sees FrP as

“part of the problem as they continuously give the Norwegian people false hope and thus contributes to

pacify them”, and he recommends that they join his “armed resistance” (3.153). 3 The claims about the medical and sexual history of Breivik’s family are taken from the manifesto and are

intended solely to illustrate its place in the construction of his rationale. I have no view as to their

accuracy or otherwise.

Anti-feminism and Misogyny in Breivik’s “Manifesto” 11

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