Feature image courtesy of Molly Adams
Note: I have cited but not linked to any Breitbart News articles or alt-right blog posts in an effort to keep their commenters away from Autostraddle and to avoid giving them traffic. You can easily find all the cited articles in quotation marks via Google.
The first man who threatened to rape me came from Breitbart News. The first man to tell me I “wasn’t rape-able” — months before Donald Trump used that line of defense against sexual assault allegations — came from Breitbart News. The first man who sent me a picture of my head photoshopped onto the body of a bloodied, dead lesbian TV character came from Breitbart News. It doesn’t take much. Mention misandry, advocate for women’s rights, call out sexism or homophobia or transmisogyny; they’ll find you.
Maybe a tweet or a post gets picked up on white supremacy subreddit or an MRA subreddit or a neonazi subreddit. If you’re a woman and you speak out long enough and loud enough, you’ll bridge that small gap between Reddit/4chan and Breitbart.
Steve Bannon, the man who made Breitbart News what it is today, is an anti-Semite and a white supremacist; that, alone, should disqualify him from a position in Donald Trump’s administration. It hasn’t. Last weekend, Trump announced that Bannon will be his chief strategist and senior counselor. Every major media outlet has covered why Bannon is a horrifying choice to be “equal partners” with (the also grossly under-qualified) Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who will be serving as Trump’s chief of staff. Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren and dozens of other lawmakers, activists, and anti-hate groups have spoken out against him.
I agree with them, of course. I also want to talk about the threat Steve Bannon poses to queer women, specifically.
The Assault on “Political Correctness”
“I like to call someone a raving cunt every now and then, when it’s appropriate, for effect.” – Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart, The New Yorker
Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart believed political correctness is one of the tools that the left — mainstream media, Hollywood, liberal politicians, academics, the music industry, etc. — is using to bring about a Marxist revolution. It’s a conspiracy theory Steve Bannon bought into completely when the two met in 2005, and when Breitbart died in 2012, Bannon took over his empire to continue his legacy. Bannon’s core belief is that the the United States and western Europe are trapped in a war of “national identity” vs. “globalism.” To Bannon, the United States’ national identity is straight, white Christian men (and women who know their place).
Anyone who tries not to oppress, insult, harm, or exclude marginalized communities with words or actions — which is to say: a person who is politically correct — is Steve Bannon’s enemy, an agent of “cultural Marxism.” He scoffs at the idea that marginalized communities are oppressed. “They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator,” he sneered a few years ago.
His hatred doesn’t stop at non-white, non-Christian people. His contempt includes anyone who calls out oppression against women and LGBTQ people as well.
But Milo Yiannopoulos Is Gay!
“Only rich, well-educated, well-connected heterosexual white males have the required detachment and lack of emotional connection to the issues at hand to make the right calls.” – Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart
I’ve seen Conservatives argue that Steve Bannon can’t be a danger to gay people because Milo Yiannopoulos, his right-hand man at Breitbart, is gay. You know, the same Milo Yiannopoulos who graced the cover of Out magazine just a few months ago. In their Breitbart explainer, Vox writes that Yiannopoulos is faithful to “Andrew Breitbart’s maxim that politics is ‘downstream from culture.’ The real war, Yiannopoulos believes, isn’t about immigration policy — it’s about freeing cultural institutions from left-wing, ‘politically correct’ bullies.”
Yiannopoulos is the guy who brought the alt-right to Breitbart. In addition to all the racism and xenophobia the movement includes, the alt-right is as anti-woman as it gets. Yiannopoulos has called feminists “a cancer.” He mainstreamed Gamergate and gave a voice and a platform to the “men’s rights activists” who were terrorizing women in the video game industry because they felt like women were taking over game development, character representation, and video game criticism. Some of Yiannopoulos’ most famous headlines include: “Feminist Bullies Are Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart” and “Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?” and “There’s No Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.”
This week, Queerty chased down some of Yiannopoulos’ most provocative and dangerous writing about gay people.
“Dear Straight People: I’m Officially Giving You Permission To Say Gay, Faggot And Queer”
“Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time To Get Back In The Closet”
“How Donald Trump Made It Cool To Be Gay Again”
“I’ve Worked It Out: Isis Is A Gay Death Cult”
Like Bannon, Yiannopoulos believes that white Christian men deserve to be at the center of culture and in the most powerful political seats in the world.
Women With Husbands
“Feminists want to be raped.” – Alt-Right blogger Matt Forney
Conservatives will also point to Bannon’s adoration of Sarah Palin and say it proves he’s not a hardcore misogynist. However, in a 2011 interview that’s been making the rounds again this week, Bannon explained the specific kind of woman he supports: “There are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”
Bannon is a master propagandist. Andrew Breitbart once called him the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement.” (As a compliment.) The core aim of propaganda is to force a false dichotomy between an in-group and an out-group, a tactic Bannon extends to women as much as he does to Jewish people and people of color. Feminists are pants-wearing dykes who don’t have families and don’t love their children; they want to destroy America. Women like Sarah Palin, who would never take up the feminist mantle, have husbands and families and are therefore allies, patriots, and Real Americans.
In addition to his personal views on women, and the domestic violence charges his ex-wife filed against him, and his record of calling a female employee a “bimbo” whose opinions needed to be “rammed down her fucking throat,” Bannon oversaw Breitbart’s merger with the alt-right and hand-approved all the misogyny and homophobia that marrying-of-minds required.
Radio Talk Show Hosts Are Reading Breitbart Every Day
“You’re not prepared to allow an enemy within . . . to try to tear down this country?” – Steve Bannon to Donald Trump in a 2016 radio interview
Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General, said in 2015, “Radio talk show hosts are reading Breitbart every day. You can feel it when they interview you.” That was apparent every time Trump opened his mouth on the campaign trail this year. When mainstream journalists transcribed portions of his speeches or posted video clips from his rallies, it was like reading word salad or listening to gobbledygook. But it didn’t matter that a majority of Americans laughed at Trump’s bizarre rhetoric; he was speaking the words, phrases, and conspiracy theories that were familiar to the Breitbart readers who formed his base. Breitbart pulled the alt-right into the Conservative conversation and Trump pulled Breitbart into the mainstream.
Steve Bannon loves systems of white supremacy; he believes they are essential for the survival of America’s “national identity.” And with the help of the alt-right and Milo Yiannopoulos, he has empowered the white men and women who seek to validate not only their racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, but also their misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia. Equality, to Steve Bannon, is oppression; and “political correctness” is a weapon wielded against him.
There’s no way to overstate how dangerous it is to have Bannon whispering directly into Donald Trump’s ear every day like a Disney movie villain. Not only because he represents a horrifying, Hilter-like view of the world, but also because he has manipulated our national discourse so thoroughly that his solution to people experiencing hate — if you don’t like it, leave — is becoming the default position of the internet, the gathering place for minority communities, the entire world’s main source of information.
I don’t know how not to cry in anger right now so I’m just going to say thank you Heather, and also that Dykes from Seven Sisters sounds like a group of folksingers whose albums I would definitely buy.
Which is, not to minimize or normalize how fucking terrifying any of this is.
Yup! Although of course it’s a crack-up that the worst insult he can think of for women are college-educated + don’t want to fuck him/men.
As a student at a Seven Sisters college… Some sweatshirts, etc. for your perusal: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/sevensistersdykes/
Yep, horrifying. Thank you for slogging through this, Heather, and for taking precautions against trolls. I’m going to call government officials now.
“Editor’s note: I have cited but not linked to any Breitbart News articles or alt-right blog posts in an effort to keep their commenters away from Autostraddle and to avoid giving them traffic. You can easily find all the cited articles in quotation marks via Google.”
Thank you for this. And thank you for wading into this ocean of shit in the first place. I hope you have some nice soothing cat videos to watch to cleanse you brain.
Reading this article makes me slightly disappointed that viewing online content inevitably financially benefits its creators/distributors. I mean, mostly I really like that– I’m glad if reading articles on Autostraddle helps Autostraddle to get ad revenue. However, I wish I could go and see firsthand what Breitbart is like without my page viewing giving them a single cent.
It’s a shame that you have to spend your time educating us on which sick dirtbag Donald Trump is giving power to in his organization but thank you so much for taking the time, Heather. As a matter of fact, thank all of you at autostraddle for doing the truly TOUGH work. It makes me feel icky and want to cry almost everyday to think of what new assault on my rights will happen day-to-day but you guys and this community give me the strength to fighthe, donate and volunteer!! I look to this site for facts and a place to just relax and be myself and you guys provide them both so perfectly so from the bottom of my heart Thank You Heather!
Just in case you’re interested in wearing the label dyke from a Seven Sisters school like I am… https://teespring.com/sevensistersdyke#pid=369&cid=6513&sid=front
Bonus, part of the proceeds go to the Trevor Project
https://shop.spreadshirt.com/sevensistersdykes/ these are also options! and the proceeds go to the Trans Lifeline
This is a great article but I have to point out how deeply inappropriate the phrase “Judeo-Christian” is here, not only because it is almost always inaccurate and dated, but especially in light of Bannon and Breitbart’s well recorded and virulent antisemitism, which you even reference in this article. Call a spade a spade and say Christian.
Thank you for your feedback. I’ve updated the post.
Thank you, Heather. I find the term grossly inaccurate and offensive. It’s ignorant at best and anti-Semitic at worst. :(
This was truly nauseating to read; I can’t imagine what it took for you to write it, Heather.
Also, is it possible to internalize (and proceed to vomit out) self-hatred and homophobia to a greater degree than Milo Yiannopoulos has? I don’t even know if I’m more mad at him or genuinely sad for him.
I’m really sorry about that. It was a dumb oversight on my part and I don’t want it to detract from the message of this article. Bannon is absolutely a foul and loathsome hardcore anti-Semite.
I’m so disappointed with the current state of affairs in my country. I feel like immature males are leading the entire rhetorical discussion with trolling and memes as their weapons of choice. We deserve so much better in this country and we deserve an intelligent discussion that considers viewpoints fairly and equally based off of merit, not how funny they are. I grew up being taught to bunch people into groups arbitrarily and avoid thinking too hard about the real issues. The danger we face today is from people who are greedy, afraid and ignorant of the rest of the world. It is truly a dangerous combination, but we cannot allow ourselves to sink to their level.
Bannon has been very successful at influencing and manipulating trump (which is kinda easy, since he is a moron) – Washington Post just had an article (with examples from bannon’s interviews of trump) of how he manipulated trump into giving certain answers during interviews… he literally pushed trump into joining with his agenda.
The government will just lie and lie, and when things goes to shit (because they are amateurs who have no clue nor any care) they will just blame everyone else.. and their supporters will believe and support them – dictators around the world have large followings.
I do wish there were (a lot) more outrage that Putin stole the election. He had great success with his plan to put the Putin-friendly guy in charge. So many people are going to die (especially in Syria) because of this. Read up on Aleksandr Dugin, if you want to know what Putin is following. Their goal is a russian empire.
I am not saying I think the western civilization will end.. but I truly believe this is how the beginning of the end would look like. I am from Norway, and I really – really – hope you guys will save all of us.
Oh hell. I just read up on Aleksandr Dugin. I need a drink :( Preferably before the bombs fall.
I’m not sure I agree with the notion that America has to save us all. From the first nominations we’ve seen this will probably end up being the worst nightmarish government a modern democracy ever had. I think, for the next 2 to 4 years (it has to end then…) they’ll have to save themselves first, and fight for rights that should never be threaten in the first place. Equality, the freedom of choice, to love and ultimately to be its own person. And we’ll all have to fight with them.
This is important work, Heather. Thank you for slogging through the muck.
It’s time for a rebranding of ‘political correctness’. If ‘PC’ means ideological censorship of free speech, then the shutdown of any acknowledgment or discussion of racism is the highest form of political correctness, just as white supremacy is the most dangerous kind of identity politics.
At this point I just can’t wrap my brain around WHY it is so damn hard to convince these prejudiced humans that WE ARE PEOPLE TOO AND WE MATTER! We matter! WE MATTER! How hard is it to just accept that even if someone is different from you, that their lives matter just as much as yours? I just don’t get it. I will never ever understand.
Also apologies for the bad grammar, I’m just very emotional rn.
<3 <3 <3
Yep. This is our country, too. And we won’t let them forget that.
Thanks for writing this Heather. It’s necessary to have it all in one place, clearly laid out.
That said, it made me cry. I can only imagine how you felt.
And thanks for specifically highlighting his anti-Semitism. Sometimes anti-Semitism is not mentioned, or even dismissed, and that is scary because I feel like my natural allies don’t even acknowledge my danger, so how could they stand with me? So thanks for putting it there.
This, plus Flynn’s anti-Semitic retweet today, have me terrified.
Oh, and, you know, plus all the anti-Semitic things white nationalists have felt emboldened to do all year.
There was a story that came out recently that said that Trump is usually persuaded by the last person he talked to…it scares me to no end that that person will likely be Steve Bannon.
On a more personal note, I’m sorry that you had to experience that abuse, Heather, and I’m immensely grateful that you persevered in spite of it.
Heather, we love you. You are brave and brilliant and wonderful.
I wonder how long before the Southern Poverty Law Center designates the Trump administration as a hate group?
This is shaping up to become a ship of fools that will quickly run aground.
I want a t-shirt that says, “This is not normal”. Thank you for all your hard work, Heather. You and your colleagues here are truly appreciated and our lifeline.
The term “Alt-right” normalizes these misogynist, racist, butthurt fuckboys that want to make their miserable lives better. Let’s call it like it is, Male White Supremacy. They have stolen the Presidency, but not for long.
Heather, great article. I will continue to support and follow you.
Ok, that’s all I got in my tank for now. Gonna go cry myself to sleep.