If the fourth wave of American feminism rose, as we had confidently come to believe, on the same day that we elected Donald Trump, then how do we explain its sudden crash upon the soggy, slimy, spore-spotted stones bunched together by the Biden campaign? This was no common interpolation, no ordinary link in the chain, but the anticlimactic coda of a movement that once offered legitimate hope of revolution, only to succumb to the suffocating grip of the establishment. This slow snuffing out of the victim likely started fifty or sixty years ago, when academia claimed (in the absence of cause) feminism as its intellectual domain. That, of course, was the beginning of the ill-fated flight known as third-wave feminism; it was also the cue for feminists to abandon economic justice and to pursue an abstract “social” enemy. The lifeless beast slumbered until the dynastic Clintons were dethroned, an unparalleled political tragedy that proved sufficiently arousing to inspire aggression. This marked animation, in contrast to the tedium of the past several decades, was thought to be the dawn of a new era, but it was only the furious epilogue to the penny dreadful that our history will write.
Cheap, sloppy literature and party propaganda printed in garish, nauseating pink: such was the one product of American feminism’s fourth and final wave. The directed resurgence of feminist ire in the last several years, ubiquitous in the most powerful tiers of the corporate media, was always an elaborate marketing gimmick developed by the Democrats. Banal and superfluous for most of the 2000s, the Democrats received much-needed cultural relevance when Obama came upon the scene, only to be threatened with popular insignificance when Trump made his political debut. Lacking a compelling spectacle of their own, the Democrats seized a weathered, polarizing trend officially known as feminism and sold it to Trump’s dizzy critics. They advertised it as the sophisticated, high-minded, and grown-up alternative to Trump’s titillating sideshow, but its moral insincerity, in substance as well as in form, failed to escape the eye of discriminating customers.
No one could explain why fourth-wave feminists plumbed the murky details of Brett Kavanaugh’s college yearbook, but could not be stirred to investigate the extralegal business of Jeffrey Epstein. None of these self-proclaimed activists defended Tulsi Gabbard when she was lampooned as the goddess of 4chan, but to them, rugged sexism was the one conceivable cause of Elizabeth Warren’s disastrous performance. Under no circumstances could these moral philosophers understand why a civilized human adult would vote for Trump when he has been plausibly accused of committing rape—just as we cannot comprehend why they have agreed to vote for Biden, not only when he is plausibly accused of committing rape, but when these so-called feminists acknowledge the claim.