Since this is about the hijacking of feminism by capitalist propagandists encouraging consumerism which then would go on to become what we know as liberal feminism, individualism, choice and identity politics, I cannot help but feel it necessary to mention Edward Bernays, known as the “father of public relations.” In the 3-part documentary The Century of the Self, it states how Bernays thought people were incredibly stupid and gullible. He discovered that the strongest form of propaganda was to connect the product with people’s emotions and their sense of identity. This was accomplished with simple mottos and high-impact imagery that would appeal to people’s most primal drives on a subconscious level, and discourage critical thinking. By doing so, propagandists were able to sublimate people’s instincts and desires for political rebellion and protest – to “control the dangerous crowd.” If religion is “the opium of the people” and a people without desire is powerless, then I think an unhappiness resulting from constant greed and perfectionism results in powerlessness, too. Such a system does not promote freedom.
A fact of major importance is that his uncle was Sigmund Freud who had a major influence on psychological techniques used in advertising. And although Freud has been debunked on an intellectual or academic level, his ideas about hysterical, frigid, penis-envying women are used as insults by misogynistic men to this day. Those who support the sex industry complain that so many ads promise sex and give the illusion that there’s all this sex going on, only for buyers to be disappointed. Their gripe is not with the system perpetuating the idea that women are like sex vending machines, because they support the system. Instead, they put the blame on women for not putting out when they are given gifts or taken out to dinner. Somehow, they always end up projecting onto feminists and other women. Of course they support legalization of the sex industry with the flat-rate brothels because it means high-class prostituted women are not only afforded by the elites – politicians and white-collar men who they compete with for status and power.
Note that the sex industry is the perfect blend of consumerism and predatory behavior. Males are socialized to think of sex as a conquest, which makes them predatory. Framed with consumerism, woman becomes one more thing to get. This goes for autogynephiles co-opting legitimate transsexualism, too with the the acquiring of breasts, hormones, and SRS – another form of woman as commodity. Or surrogacy – a male having another female being his fetus incubator, so he can show the world the product of his sperm. Or plastic surgery, makeup and dieting – females are gender-conditioned to loathe themselves and their bodies by their peers which is enforced by male-dominated cosmetic and fashion industries, so we constantly “choose” to buy more products and get more procedures. The most recent are vaginoplasties, labioplasties and toe shortening.
Bernays came up with the idea of engineered consent. The masses were nothing but guinea pigs for social experiments to him, and the main argument from them is the appeal to popularity. Not only were people being conditioned to agree, but were kept ignorant about what they were agreeing with or agreeing to. In his little book Propaganda, Bernays writes this was done because people don’t have the time and energy to research about every little thing they were buying, propagandists – er, “public relations specialists” – would do them a favor by getting the information for them instead. They had the people’s best interests in mind, see? But by letting people see only what they wanted them to see, they were duping them while they believed they were making fully informed decisions. The book itself is propaganda, ironically enough.
Noam Chomsky wrote about a similar concept, manufactured consent, which focuses on the distortion of information by the media. It’s pretty Orwellian, considering that in the book 1984 the theme was that those in power could write history as they saw fit, and lead people to believe whatever they wanted, even statements that were completely contradictory to each other – hence, doublespeak. However, the solution is not to be consistent in the lies or lie to everyone “equally” but to do away with the lying altogether. Although lying can be said to be a survival mechanism (with denial staving off feelings of powerlessness of the victimized) it is the nature of the game when an artificial scarcity of resources is created. This is how you have people who slum poverty and romanticize oppression and sexualized violence.