Regarding the energetic social media activity yesterday around the news that Allen Frantzen, a respected medievalist, has published a carefully crafted and hate-filled website that deplores feminism and is hostile to both women and men who believe in equality and refuse to continue a long, invidious history of denigration and violence: I am happy the social media discussion happened, heated as it has been. The issue merits heat.

We should be cautious about public shaming and bandwagonning, of course, but if you as a senior and respected member of my field of study are going to fill a website with hatred against women and inveigh against feminism -- the very movement that has made the field as I know and love it possible -- and if you are going to directly link your website full of verbal violence against women to a list of your scholarship that makes it clear that these are not two separate things, but that you are relying on the cachet of the latter to make the former seem learned or compelling, well then you deserve to be shamed publicly, because you are an embarrassment to the field. Outrage against misogyny is never a bandwagon (as if condemning vitriol against women is ever a quick fad, or fashionable, or lacking in thought!). Yes, it makes us uncomfortable to have to speak not only of the ickiness of scholars and perhaps scholarship we have previously valued. What's even worse is that what has unfolded is a symptom of a much larger problem. Not condemning it, loudly, allows that problem to continue.

Unapologetic misogyny represents a way of being a scholar too long excused and even normalized in the academy. If you read the social media discussion with attention you might have noticed the number of women who were not at all surprised by the news that a senior scholar would be so anti-feminist: they have too many battle scars to be surprised any more. What Frantzen published online and what many others say and do that aligns with his call to eradicate feminism is toxic to everyone, but especially to young female scholars who are that field's best future. They are the ones we need to make room for, and if it means loudly and publicly condemning misogyny and antifeminism whenever it erupts, sign me up for every departing bandwagon.
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