Why you should never trust a ‘male feminist’, Hugo Schwyzer recap

I could also title this post ‘why third wave ‘feminism’ is barely worthy of the name’, since it was third wave ‘sex positive’ ‘feminists’ who gave him a platform in the first place.

Schwyzer became a gender studies professor by accident when he filled in for a colleague who was on maternity leave from Pasadena City College, a two-year junior college. With his Ph.D. from UCLA in British medieval history, he was hardly qualified. His only background was two women’s studies courses he’d taken as an undergrad at UC Berkeley. In the years since, he had done no research or scholarly papers on gender issues. But the college let him teach the class. Right away Schwyzer discovered that he enjoyed the attention from his young students, particularly the female ones. At the time, the mid-’90s, men who built their identities around championing equal rights for women weren’t exactly prevalent. Sensing this could work in his favor, Schwyzer began creating a persona for himself as a male feminist.

Schwyzer required his students, most of them minority women in their late teens and early twenties, to keep journals. He urged them to share their feelings, their family experiences, and their struggles with sexual identity. One student I spoke to thought this was a little unusual, but she said, “Hugo felt like a very safe person.”

In reality he used the journals to suss out potential sex partners, he told me. If a student addressed him as “professor,” he learned, she wasn’t interested. If she wrote “you,” she probably was. Within months Schwyzer began sleeping with his students—sometimes, he says, conducting several affairs at once. During one student lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., in April 1997, he says he had sex with four coeds, three of them at the same time. This was a period when he was also drinking heavily, abusing cocaine and prescription drugs, and swept up in a stormy relationship with a woman in her twenties.

Full article here


8 responses

  1. Wait… wait… you mean a man used his position to gain the confidence of women and then used them for his own sexual gratification?? Inconceivable!

  2. I know, this has literally never happened before!

  3. Chocolattruffaut

    I can’t stand that radical feminist bloggers are the ones being blamed for this scumbag’s popularity. It was libfem blogs like Jezebel and Feministe that welcomed him with open arms and gave him the opportunity to write articles. I saw a lot of radical feminist bloggers write about how dangerous he was, and when they tried to ally with WOC liberal feminist blogs (who were victimised by him), they were told to sod off since all radical feminists are rich white ladies that kill prostitutes and transwomen.

    Did you see Flavia Dzodan’s latest misogynist woman hating screed? She said she felt sorry for Schwyzer, but could never forgive “media whores” like Jessica Coen who supported him. She of course took the opportunity to blame radical feminists like Julie Bindel and Meghan Murphy just because of their politics. Aura Bogado took screen shots of Murphy’s Facebook page from over 2 years ago as “proof” that she was colluding with Schwyzer, but anyone with even basic reading comprehension could see those posts didn’t express any support for Schwyzer.

    Internet feminism is exhausting 😦

  4. Some times I really hate all the infighting, and wish we could concentrate on the common ground we share.

    Other times, I think there is no such thing as a unified feminist movement, and we have no more in common with liberal/’sex positive’ feminists than we do with MRAs.

    But there are still libfem writers like Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, who basically get it, but aren’t quite willing to give up on the magic of ‘choice’ and ’empowerment’ just yet.

    And there are brilliant bloggers like Next Years Girl, who started out as libfems.

    So, there is hope

  5. It’s so gross.

    This article helped me to recall that as a college freshman my final paper in a “human sexuality” class was an essay on my sexual history.

    Prof was a creepy male.

    God how f’ked these men are.

  6. Here’s another reason why you should never trust a male feminist (picked this up from a comment defending the recent Jian Ghomeshi abuse scandal):

    “As far as him “using feminism to pick up women”, so what? A friend of mine used to attend various left wing protests in the early 90s at the University of Winnipeg for the exact same reason. He found young feminists all hot an bothered after a protest were particularly primed for some wild sex. He had nothing but disdain for the protesters otherwise.”

  7. Yep! I can’t remember who said it first: right-wing men view women as private property, left-wing men view women as public property.

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