I went to a reading by Brett Easton Ellis recently where he mentioned, without a hint of apology, that he was a misogynist. He said it the way someone might say that he was a vegetarian or an atheist.
I was confused at the time about what that said about me, being someone who reads, watches and observes everything from a feminist perspective on one hand, and a die hard Brett Easton Ellis fan on the other. But I was left with the same feeling of confusion after reading American Psycho and thinking it was THE Great American Novel. It’s refreshing to have someone come right out and say that he hates women. Misogyny is so prevalent and so something no one in his right mind would admit to, it reminded me of a moment of truth I once had with an AT&T service rep where he said, “Do you really think any of the other phone companies will be any better?”
After the Supreme Court threw out what would have been an epic class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit against Walmart on the part of its female employees this week, our Supreme Court justices effectively conceded, that though Walmart may be misogynistic too, they too have no need to apologize (in the form of monetary compensation). After all, misogyny is a business practice in which pretty much all monolithic corporations engage. Walmart has no more claim to screwing over women than McDonald’s has to inventing apple pie.
But unlike Ellis, Walmart isn’t refreshingly misogynistic. Walmart tries to hide its misogyny with a little sunshine logo and “save money, live better” tagline, whereas the company’s actual logo should be a white man’s hand evilly stroking a cat. Walmart looks the other way when 1.5 million female employees bring up sex-based discrimination complaints, and then defends itself in court by claiming that said discrimination was not institutionally sanctioned. Walmart cares about as much about bettering the lives of consumers as oil execs care about bettering the environment for their grandkids. The company’s inauthentic display of political correctness is one that Ellis himself might refer to as “Empire” (and the equivalent of Ellis wearing a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt).
I don’t recall ever shopping at Walmart, and I will continue not to, but as evil and hypocritical as Walmart is, it isn’t the enemy any more than any other company that refuses to fairly pay and promote women. There is a base level of misogyny in corporate America that’s larger than any of the individual corporations that comprise it, and because discrimination against women is accepted as the culture, it has become unpunishable by even our highest court.