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Feminism

Righty: Women are designed by nature to bear children and nurture them. You can’t fight anatomy, but the feminists like to think they know better than God. (Did it ever occur to them that most women are happy staying at home to raise their kids?) The women’s movement has been a disaster for Western societies: upsetting the natural division of labor that existed for thousands of years, creating a glut of qualified talent in the job marketplace, unleashing an endless wave of anger and contempt upon innocent men, and — worst of all — transforming women from charming, eager-to-please helpmates into bitchy, belligerent, foul-mouthed adversaries. The shrillness is deafening. No wonder so many American men are looking for Russian mail-order brides.

Lefty: We should all bow down and thank the farsighted sisters who had the cojones to stand up for women’s rights. For thousands of years women had been the slaves and playthings of male brutes: routinely forced into submission as domestics, denied basic human rights, kept barefoot and pregnant throughout their prime years, and cruelly deprived of meaningful careers. Women are able and entitled to perform any work that men can do, and they should sue if denied the opportunity. Women must take control of the educational process so that they can be steered into science, engineering and other traditionally male-dominated fields. We must radically reshape our patriarchal, phallocentric system so that women can prevail over the male power elite and its rapist mentality. The fight is not yet finished.

The New Moderate:

Feminism, like most other isms, is a good idea gone berserk. Who could deny, forty years ago, that women deserved to be taken seriously? That they needed to be liberated, at least a good part of the time, from mandatory domestic drudgery? That they were entitled to pursue distinguished and remunerative careers without having to choose between work and family?

So far, so good. Any man of civilized instincts would have been receptive to such a movement. Most of us hadn’t realized how systematically we had been taking women for granted as personal assistants and bedtime snuggle-bunnies. We simply needed to have our eyes opened.

The feminist leadership opened our eyes, all right — and then proceeded to gouge them out. As with most “progressive” movements, the extremists commandeered the vessel. What a shrill, venomous and repellent lot they were! What bilious, over-the-top hatred they spewed at the hapless male of the species! Men were oppressors, exploiters and rapists — from the cradle, of course. Gender differences were merely a patriarchal social construct imposed upon society by insecure males. (Of course, men were evil and oppressive — but other than that the sexes were identical.)

What did these man-eaters think they would gain by savaging the very people they needed to persuade? If they hoped to alienate an entire generation of men, they probably succeeded. The vituperative rhetoric droned on for upward of thirty years — enough to turn a reasonable moderate like me into a cranky adversary. I grew weary of the incessant man-bashing, the automatic denigration of everything male. I resented having to feel guilty about crimes I never committed.

The real revolution had already taken place during the late 1960s and early 1970s, as women enrolled at formerly male colleges, graduated from law and medical schools in vastly increased numbers, and routinely entered the workforce as well-compensated professionals. So why did we require another thirty years of divisive rhetoric? Why, even as we entered the new millennium, were overheated feminists still calling for the elimination of “sexist” words like history?

My theory is that some people thrive on anger, as long as it’s focused on an object outside themselves. The radical feminists essentially used men as lightning rods for their hostility; we absorbed their destructive energy and rendered it harmless. Harmless to the feminists, anyway. I have to wonder, as should most men, if serving as the recipient of all that negative energy has been hazardous to my health.

But men weren’t the only victims of the feministas. Women who chose to stay home and indulge their maternal instincts were derided as ninnies and counter-revolutionaries. (Amazing how a movement of, by, and for women habitually rained contempt on feminine traits and values.) And many of the women who manned the barricades to enter the workforce began to wonder if their brilliant careers were worth the price: ridiculous hours, grinding stress, estrangement from the home front, sacrifice of personal pleasures… in short, an empty emotional bank account. Women were beginning to hate their jobs as much as men always did.

It should always trouble a moderate soul when a good idea goes berserk. (Think of the French Revolution and its bloody excesses, or the abuses of Commie-hunters during the McCarthy era.) In the future, we New Moderates have to guard against the perversion of fundamentally sound principles by rabid ideologues. When the extremists take command of an otherwise worthy movement, we should make every effort to dump them overboard. We’re more important than we realize.

Summary: The women’s movement was a worthy cause dominated by strident ideologues, who led it astray and used it as an excuse for relentless man-bashing.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Taliesin Knol permalink
    January 9, 2010 4:06 am

    Yep, lack of moderation. But what possible rationalr could a feminist have come up with as to how they ended up subservient to a bunch of stupid guys? Of course, being etremists, they needed no rationale, because thinking was hard. They unwittingly (best use of thet term ever) went from extreme domestic servants, to the polar opposite. SHEEPLE!!!

  2. joanne permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:20 pm

    “ridiculous hours, grinding stress, estrangement from the home front, sacrifice of personal pleasures… in short, an empty emotional bank account”

    Exactly! A good friend of mine and I have had this conversation several times. What we’ve come to think is that the “feminist” movement hurt women far more than any gains made. Since I gave birth to my child (who’s now 15), all I wanted to do was be his mom…to stay at home when he was little, maybe work part time while he was in school or volunteer at his school when he got older. Unfortunately – and I really think thanks to “feminism”, we could not afford to maintain our household with one income. As such, I had to give up parts of something precious, which can never be regained – my son’s childhood.

  3. Cindy permalink
    September 1, 2011 9:27 pm

    Joanne..seriously??? Guess what! I don’t want kids. Thanks to feminists…I don’t have to have them. NOT EVERY WOMAN WANTS TO STAY HOME. And you think only parenting is feminine?? I also know women with children who love them and give them quality time but realize they give more of themselves to their kids by being whole people…I also know women who want nothing more than to be moms…they know themselves and do a great job.
    So you think as a woman who enjoys her career I shouldn’t get a job or raise because you stayed home? I support a woman’s choice to stay home OR work OR do both..but don’t blame the feminists because you are miserable. And to the author of this article..you are hiding some serious sexism behind your so called “moderate” position…women are only fulfilled if they are “feminine” and at home? Maybe one reason so many are burned out is because men never stepped up? Women STILL do most of the parenting and household chores, even in two-worker homes. Please. Don’t blame women because you pay lip service to equality, but want women to maintain 100% of their “traditional’ roles. OH, and the revolution is FAR from over….

    • July 23, 2012 5:29 am

      Um Cindy? Did you perhaps read the article correctly?

      He was referring to feminists that have gone too extreme or joining the revolution for the wrong reasons, due to your response, it seems that you haven’t met one. I have, and trust me, they are as extreme as the article describes.

      I’m all for women’s rights – being a woman myself, but I have seen strains of feminism gone wrong.

  4. arebath permalink
    September 19, 2011 8:45 am

    This has got to be one the best case-in-point posts I’ve ever seen.

  5. Ami permalink
    December 12, 2011 2:12 pm

    Women should be entitled to the same careers for the same pay as long as they are willing and able to do it. PERIOD. The key phrase is “as long as they are willing and able to do it”. Feminism did NOTHING to address the behavioral differences between men and women in the workplace. Women have been FAR more abusive to other WOMEN than MEN EVER have! The consequence of this has been women making it bad for other women…and men – sick of their garbage are reluctant to let ANY qualified female “break through the glass ceiling”. Conversely, there are a WHOLE BUNCH of women whining about not breaking through the glass ceiling or getting the corner office, even though they’ve done MINIMAL to deserve it. Nowadays the excuse is “we have kids”. Huh??? Wasn’t that supposed to be “bad” thing to want during “revolutionary feminism”? I still don’t understand why any woman thinks a company is going to pay her $150K a year when she “must pick up Joey by 6 pm at the latest or the daycare center is going to charge extra”.

  6. Surprise permalink
    April 6, 2012 5:15 am

    Mr. Bayan, your “moderate” stance on current feminism isn’t really all that moderate. Sure there have been radical feminists in the past who have claimed that all heterosexual sex is rape, and that men are monsters (I’m thinking Andrea Dvorkin and Catherine McKinnon), but most feminists today, I think, simply believe that women, like men, should enjoy equal political and legal rights, and be able to pursue their individual talents and aspirations, whether in the home or in the workplace. I’m such a feminist. Have you really encountered many feminists recently who are viruntly anti-male? I live in San Francisco, have friends who are lesbians (and I presume feminist, although it’s never come up), and haven’t found them to engage in incessant man-bashing. In fact, like me, they seem to be very fond of male friends and male companionship.

    Joanne mentioned that she believes that the “feminist” movement hurt women far more than any gains made. I have to agree with Joanne that women entering the workplace damaged families’ ability to survive on one income; however, I don’t know to what degree feminism pushed (or allowed) women to enter the workplace, or to what degree rising expectations for more goods and services in the consumer culture were to blame. Certainly, more women taking well-paying jobs meant less men taking well-paying jobs, and being able to use that salary to support a family. Was feminism alone in causing that? I doubt it. Was it the primary cause? Possibly. But, even if it were the primary cause of women entering the workplace, it was not the main reason for the leveling off of Americans’ wages and benefits.The seventies and eighties were when we began to see overseas outsourcing and automation of well-paying jobs. Now, men who supported families had to not just compete with American women for jobs, they had to compete with people abroad having few economic resources or political rights.

    In addition to believing that women as well as men ought to be able to pursue their dreams within or outside the home, I think our economic and political system ought to be designed so that families can raise 2-4 children (replacement population) on a single income. If it did, in many (but not all) of those families, the father would work outside the home, and the mother would take care of the house and children.

  7. Surprise permalink
    April 6, 2012 5:25 am

    Mr. Bayan, your “moderate” stance on current feminism isn’t really all that moderate. Sure there have been radical feminists in the past who have claimed that all heterosexual sex is rape, and that men are monsters (I’m thinking Andrea Dvorkin and Catherine McKinnon), but most feminists today, I think, simply believe that women, like men, should enjoy equal political and legal rights, and be able to pursue their individual talents and aspirations, whether in the home or in the workplace. I’m such a feminist. Have you really encountered many feminists recently who are viruntly anti-male? I live in San Francisco, have friends who are lesbians (and I presume feminist, although it’s never come up), and haven’t found them to engage in incessant man-bashing. In fact, like me, they seem to be very fond of male friends and male companionship.

    Joanne mentioned that she believes that the “feminist” movement hurt women far more than any gains made. I have to agree with Joanne that women entering the workplace damaged families’ ability to survive on one income; however, I don’t know to what degree feminism pushed (or allowed) women to enter the workplace, or to what degree rising expectations for more goods and services in the consumer culture were to blame. Certainly, more women taking well-paying jobs meant less men taking well-paying jobs, and being able to use that salary to support a family. Was feminism alone in causing that? I doubt it. Was it the primary cause? Possibly. But, even if it were the primary cause of women entering the workplace, it was not the main reason for the leveling off of Americans’ wages and benefits.The seventies and eighties were when we began to see overseas outsourcing and automation of well-paying jobs. Now, men who supported families had to not just compete with American women for jobs, they had to compete with people abroad having few economic resources or political rights.

    In addition to believing that women as well as men ought to be able to pursue their dreams within or outside the home, I think our economic and political system ought to be designed to encourage families to raise 2-4 children (replacement population) on a single income. If it did, in many (but not all) of those families, the father would work outside the home, and the mother would take care of the house and children.

  8. Rathwana permalink
    January 31, 2013 11:44 pm

    You are in Righty’s camp with regard to feminism, which is a vital global movement to secure universal human rights for women and girls. The extreme voices among us are marginal and relatively few. As long as we live in a world with rape (including in the United States), attacks on women’s reproductive freedom, bride burnings, wife beating (including in the United States), Taliban extremism, female genital mutilation (including some cases in the United States), sex trafficking of women and girls (including into the United States), unequal pay for equal work (including in the United States), child marriages and more, we will need feminists and a robust international feminist movement. How sad that the author of Words That Sell is selling right wing stereotypes about feminists and feminism in this blog post.

    • February 2, 2013 12:37 am

      Rathwana: The global movement to secure women’s rights in benighted corners of the world should be separated from the women’s movement in the U.S. Sure, there are benighted corners of the U.S., too, where women are still exploited and brutalized by men. (Of course, it often works the other way, too.) No decent man would oppose the right of women to live free from harassment and violence. In fact, any decent man would bristle at the oppression of women, especially in the Muslim world.

      But I was addressing the educated middle/upper-middle class women’s movement in the U.S., which was the face of feminism from the late ’60s until at least the turn of this century. (The plight of women in Islamic countries has captured our attention only during the last decade or so.)

      You were never on the receiving end of all that shrill feminist rhetoric, so you can’t really judge what it was like for a man to live with such humorless rancor in the atmosphere for so many decades. It wasn’t pleasant, I can tell you. I think the women’s movement has impaired relations between the sexes by attempting to minimize or even erase the charming differences between us. No more flirting at the office, no more chivalry, no more mothers looking forward to opening the door when the kids come home from school. Too many teenage boys and young men have become aimless underachievers, probably because they sense that they’ve been robbed of their traditional identity. Women are straying from marriages as soon as they feel bored or ready for the next great adventure in their own “Eat Pray Love” saga.

      Something vital has been lost, and I think it will take a while for us to assess the damage.

  9. February 14, 2013 1:43 am

    I have never experienced seixsm at SAC and I do not think that women require special treatment to protect their rights, though my major is female-dominated and I would be interested in learning if women in different majors that are male-dominated experience seixsm.Although women have come very far, I think it is still necessary to study feminism, especially to break down stereotypes. I have been taught in college that a “feminist” at its most basic definition means that one believes men and women should have equal rights. However, because of the stereotypes associated with feminism, there are few men and women who would admit to being feminists, even if they agree whole heartedly in equal rights. I therefore think its important for all students to study figures like Virginia Woolf in order to fully understand such concepts and to demolish preconceived notions.Aside from resistance to the term feminism, I do not think experience at the SAC depends on gender or that there are legitimate difference between how men and women are treated here. However, I will always be grateful to one professor who had a dress code during seminar our freshman year because it made me realize that women should not dress to impress their male classmates, but to look appropriate in a professional setting and to therefore be respected. I realized through her policy that the media brainwashes even intelligent women to value sex appeal, and that this can potentially harm a woman’s success.I don’t think preferences should be given to ensure that there is a diversity of genders because I think the statistical gender representations that occur reflect our changing society. I think in some ways the feminist movement caused our culture to compensate for the opportunities women missed out on for centuries, and this has resulted in a rise in women’s performance in school / higher education, and a decline in men’s participation in higher learning.Overall, I have not experienced that St. A’s represents degrading gender stereotypes. I find that people tend to be down to earth and not concerned with conforming to how the media typically portrays gender roles. I think the acceptance toward gay, lesbian and transgender people also conveys a widespread tolerance of sexual identity and individuality.I don’t think gender issues need to be reflected in the curriculum because I do not think it is a problem on campus. I think the Woolf section of the Sophomore humanities program sufficed because it provided a brief history, the opportunity for discussion and debunking feminist stereotypes, but it did not overwhelm students with feminism/ gender sphere issues. I think overwhelming students can sometimes have the opposite effect and cause them to be resistant.

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