What Feminism Did For Women: Made Them Men

Hey, it’s what they always said they wanted, right? How’s that working out for you?

Timotheos

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12 thoughts on “What Feminism Did For Women: Made Them Men

  1. Thanks for the straw man argument.

    Of course people identified as feminists really just wanted really racy bachlorette parties and maybe some lesbian-stuff. Yeah.

    That other stuff about wanting equal pay for equal work, wanting to be able to support their families economically after their husband either left them or died –that stuff was way down the list.

    It was the racy bachlorette parties that they wanted –nothing else. I recall Gloria Steinem and my Senator Barbara Boxer waxing eloquent about women having the right to have wild ragers of bachlorette parties.

    Can you just once address the issues instead of constructing a straw man so fragile that only 2% of people in the United States could actually agree with it and then representing that as much more representative than it is?

    Can you please? Can you fight fair? Won’t you? Please?

  2. I did read that post about Schlafly (but didn’t respond). I see non sequitors at best and straw men arguments at worst.

    For instance, this gem:

    “Feminism is incompatible with the private enterprise system because feminists propose government as the solution to every problem. But the feminists who proclaim their liberation from men always run to Big Brother Government as a replacement.”

    Huh?! You mean if the government works to prevent law breaking, the free enterprise system cannot exist? Are people who want 911 service all communists? Do you use the postal service? Oh my gosh -what is next?!

    Stamps are incompatible with Christianity because you can choose any stamp you like. This will inevitably lead to people thinking they can choose any god they like. And 31 Flavors –well, don’t get me started.

    See, I’m applying Schlafly’s style of argument to other parts of society and it’s just so easy –and so inane.

    But the harder thing is to argue against equal pay for equal work, argue against equal treament under the law, argue against the law allowing women to work, the right to take maternity leave, the right of women to hold jobs with great power in the private and public sectors, etc.

    But arguing against the former is more pithy, creates more response and so forth. But the reality is not so simple and not so easy to argue against convincingly.

  3. David & Tim:

    Far be it from me to impose myself into your argument, but it seems to me that you’re each talking passed each other, because you each have a different definition of “feminism.”

    There are two feminisms:

    1) feminism (with a small “f”) is a desire for men and women to be equal under the law. It is a movement which strives to create a society in which “all men (and women) are created equal.”

    2) Feminism (with a capital “F”) is a movement which seeks to not only create a society of equality under the law but also a lack of distinction between the two sexes. I would argue that this type of Feminism is more rare, and is more prevalent in my environment — academia.

    It seems as though the feminism that Tim most often refers to is “Feminism” while the one David means is “feminism”. Is it God-pleasing and good and just that women are held equal under the law? Yes. Is it God-pleasing and good and just that there be no distinction between men and women whatsoever? No.

    And furthermore, a lack of distinction between men and women is actually counter-productive to “feminism” — if there is to be no distinction between men and women, then why even have “women’s rights”?

    Karl

  4. Karl,

    Your clarification is really helpful and I think you hit the nail on the head with regard to our differing notions of Feminism and feminism, so to speak.

    I was troubled by the seeming reduction of women’s equality (feminism) to morally repugnant bachlorette parties as if this is the result if women are treated better in our society overall. With respect to feminism, I was raised in a single parent household and what I saw around me was that the purpose of women’s rights was to be able to earn enough money to sustain the household, to have a job with health insurance that covered dependents (like I was) and politically to see that this was understood among elected government representatives. That was the feminism I understood it growing up and it wasn’t a bad thing.

    The wacked-out feminism was/is out there, but mostly confined to tv, and corners of academia that are mostly ignored in society. I just hate to see that caricature purportedly represent a movement that has a lot of good aims, goals and accomplishments: maternity/paternity leaves, family/medical leave act, universal prenatal care and pediatric care, better pay for working women, better enforcement of child support payments and so forth.

    Yeah, there are the people at the extremes that wanted to by “womyn” and not “women”, but there aren’t/weren’t that many of them and there are less of them now in fact.

    The thing is that the Civil Rights movement in the USA did spawn a lot of thinking about Civil Rights and in the process society clarified that one should have equal standing under the law regardless of one’s race, sex, religion or disability. However, even with the Civil Rights movement, the single biggest predictor of poverty is whether one has a substantial disability or not, because if you do, unemployment is over 60% and poverty among the disabled is much higher than for the rest of society. In a sense, these are the least in our society, but it was the Civil Rights movement that improved the lot of the disabled. Rights for blacks and women somehow helped the disabled too.

  5. Karl’s right about who I’m referring to. Except David mentions Gloria Steinem and Barbara Boxer and seems to think they represent mainstream Feminism (or do they represent feminism?) *as opposed to* that freakish fringe group of womyn.

    What your examples, David, and the rest of the Feminist movement want is radical egalitarianism. We have long moved past equality into androgyny. Women are exactly the same as men. They can do anything and everything men do. But then there’s the self-defeating affirmative action. Women can’t make it on their own so they need help from the government (hence Schlafly’s quote, and your misunderstanding of it). The irony of it all is cringe-inducing. There’s no room for anything like a defense of a woman’s virtue. When women get sand-blasted by relationships where the men are just looking for sex, they have to deceive themselves into thinking that that’s what modern relationships are all about.

    David cited as the “harder” arguments: “But the harder thing is to argue against equal pay for equal work, argue against equal treament under the law, argue against the law allowing women to work, the right to take maternity leave, the right of women to hold jobs with great power in the private and public sectors, etc.” That all sounds nice and innocuous. But what do those things really mean? Maternity leave? As in military mothers leaving their still-nursing babies while they head to combat zones? And who argued that women shouldn’t be able to work? Talk about straw men. Is it the harder argument because no one ever makes it? And that’s not to mention all the people arguing that women can’t hold powerful jobs. Or perhaps you forgot the second part of the argument: that holding powerful, time-consuming jobs *and* being a mother are largely incompatible. (That should get the responses going.)

    But this is where Karl is right. The things you mention are, for the most part, goods. But they are goods which are already achieved and largely taken for granted. Those battles have been fought and won, and good for them. That’s not what Feminists want. They want sameness. They want it to be taken for granted that men and women are only different in anatomy (and we can fix that!). Why is it that in firefighting and military training men and women (who are said to be equal) are held to different standards? You better believe I’m “sexist” when it comes to who’s rescuing me from a burning building.

    One of Schlafly’s targets is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who thought (thinks?) that statutory rape laws should be done away with because they’re sexist, and they suggest a man has more responsibility for what happens than a woman. For people like her, there’s no such thing as chivalry.

    The point of this post is that the things that the Feminists argue for lead, logically and necessarily, to the garbage in the article to which I linked. Did they argue for wild bachelorette parties? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet that many of them would be happy with them because it shows that women are just as wild as men.

    You really should read the whole book, not just the excerpts that don’t include the defense of her points. I could post the defense, but it’s already between the covers of the book.

    Tim

  6. And another thing. While Karl and David both argue that Feminism is rare, I disagree. It may be true that those who explicitly push androgyny and sameness are rare, but the ideas pervade so much of what we do that we don’t even notice it anymore.

    You can’t even advance the notion that it is better for a woman to raise the kids and a man to provide for his family without being laughed out of the room. Forget the fact that maybe God designed men and women that way.

    And it’s always a little embarrassing to attempt the suggestion that women need protection and men need to give it.

    Or how often television portrays the man as the idiot we always knew he was. (Now I’m not arguing that men are not often idiots. And hey, Everybody Loves Raymond is hilarious. But we may have passed the point where we know why it’s funny. It’s kind of this vestigial awareness that we know men shouldn’t act like that, but we don’t know why.)

    The Feminist view of the universe may be far more ingrained in us than we like to think.

    Tim

  7. Tim,

    The need for government to protect either the weak in society or those who are mistreated does not reflect a moral or physical inadequacy on the part of those being protected.

    After all, removal of slavery in the USA does not mean that black slaves were somehow weak and unable to defend themselves. And it was wholly appropriate for the government to step in and do what was right on behalf of them. I should mention that the government had to step in to defend the rights of students who were at the beginnings of school integration in the south. Again, that the government steps in does not mean that the “victim” being helped is somehow less and is unfairly getting a “leg up”. In these cases, the government was stepping in to establish law and order where it was lacking. That is wholly appropriate for government to do.

    And the same goes for many issues that are considered “women’s rights” issues.

    You can disagree with the appropriateness of affirmative action. The issue with affirmative action is that those being helped face discrimination, much of it illegal and affirmative action was one of the chosen remedies for it. So it’s not like affirmative action evolved in a vacuum, instead it was chosen in the post Civil Rights movement as blacks had recently gained rights in law but not in fact.

    And if it is the place of men and leaders in our society to protect the weak and protect families, one could argue that they weren’t doing a very good job, which is why the Civil Rights movement happened in the first place. Had they been doing their job, it might not have been necessary.

  8. You wrote, “The need for government to protect either the weak in society or those who are mistreated does not reflect a moral or physical inadequacy on the part of those being protected.”

    See, “weak” translates as “physical inadequacy” for me. And I think it does for feminists as well. You clearly haven’t been fully indoctrinated into the feminist worldview!

    You also wrote, “You can disagree with the appropriateness of affirmative action. The issue with affirmative action is that those being helped face discrimination, much of it illegal and affirmative action was one of the chosen remedies for it.”

    If it’s already illegal, why can’t we just enforce the law instead of making up self-defeating legislation? The non-enforcement of existing law is a major part of the problem. The “need” for more law that requires enforcement, when the current laws aren’t being enforced, says to me that feminists want more than equal protection.

    You also wrote, “And if it is the place of men and leaders in our society to protect the weak and protect families, one could argue that they weren’t doing a very good job, which is why the Civil Rights movement happened in the first place. Had they been doing their job, it might not have been necessary.”

    Or one could argue that even if men and leaders (often the two were redundant) weren’t doing the best job, feminism let them *completely* off the hook of what they were supposed to do. Why? Because, if men know that they are supposed to protect women, and society knows that they are to protect women, there is a strong compulsion to do that or face the social and conscience-based consequences for not doing it. But when feminism comes along and says (and this is what they DO say) that women do not need protection, because to admit as much would be sexist and wrong, men certainly aren’t going to do their job then. You are certainly putting the best construction on the story (one might call it a false construction) when you attribute such lofty goals to the feminist movement. Perhaps in the beginning, the early feminists had noble goals–heck, most of them were anti-abortion. That is not the case today, and most of the goals of the early feminists have long been attained.

    For that matter, most of the goals of the later ones have too. Is abortion legal? Can women divorce their husbands just because they want to? Is lesbian sex viewed by most Americans as just as moral as sex between a married man and woman? Yes, yes, and yes. To what has the feminist movement been reduced? A shrill and vocal group of angry women whose sole causes seem to be abortion and homosexual “rights.” So much for lofty goals and equal protection. If you don’t believe me, look at the press releases or action notes for any major American feminist group (NOW et al.) and I think you will find me vindicated on this point.

    Tim

  9. When the government protects those who are either weak or are mistreated, that is the government enforcing equality under the law and that is appropriate. The government should assure that you are as safe in your neighborhood as a Colt’s linebacker that everyone is afraid to mess with.

    Also, Affirmative Action is a method of enforcing the “same rights” not “special rights”. Affirmative action encouraged the hiring of people in protected groups because they were at that time underrepresented. In other words, they were denied the “same rights” that others had.

    For instance, if you lost your job because of your religion and there was a federal policy to assure that this discrimination was alleviated, it would not be a special right. It would be a common right that the government was working to make sure that you were not denied. The people through the government have decided that it is not legitmate to deny rights and privileges based on race, religion, sex and disability. So, anything that restores what is expected is not a special right but in fact a common right that our government is sworn to uphold.

    We are a nation of laws not men as Gerald Ford eloquently stated. Your power and status under the law in this society comes from the rights given to you in the constitution and as the Declaration of Independence states, rights that you are endowed by your creator. Thus it our Founding Fathers believed that our creator has given people certain rights based on their humanity and that the government exists to protect those rights.

    Thus, the concept of the “weak” being defended by our government so that they are equal under the law has great precedent. You get your rights under the law in this nation, not by your gun, not by your talents, not by your race, status but by the Constitution.

    And this is a great accomplishment that has protected the privileged nearly as much as it has allowed the underprivileged to do better by promoting good order. It does this by asking those who are wronged to use the law and the government for redress, rather than force of will, which doesn’t promote good social order.

    So, during our Civil Rights movement, the people in those groups came to the government to ask for the equality that they believed they should have under the law. This is better than in other places and times where civil wars and civil unrest were the paramount ways of obtaining rights. In that respect, soceital change came more peacefully here in the US than almost anywhere on earth. And that’s remakable and better than most alternatives.

    It is one way our current laws are enforced!

  10. You wrote, “Also, Affirmative Action is a method of enforcing the “same rights” not “special rights”. Affirmative action encouraged the hiring of people in protected groups because they were at that time underrepresented. In other words, they were denied the “same rights” that others had.”

    I’m not denying that this was the intention of affirmative action for some people. That’s not how it seems to work in practice, however. Quotas don’t make sure that *equally qualified* members of an “underrepresented” class get jobs. They encourage employers to fill jobs with people who may or may not be as qualified as someone who does not fall into one of those protected classes.

    In practice, less-qualified applicants get jobs because they are, as you say, underrepresented. Instead of hiring the most qualified applicant, which may be a white male, the person with the qualifications unrelated to the job may get hired (sex, race, etc.).

    The road to discrimination is paved with good intentions.

    Tim

  11. My understanding is that Quotas in Affirmative Action were struck down by the Supreme Court back in the 1990’s. With that, Affirmative Action becomes a method of getting more diversity in the applicant pool. Technically, it is just as illegal to deny employment based on someone’s whiteness as it is their blackness. Though I think many employers misunderstand this.

    That said, I don’t disagree that there is discrimination against white males at times, and that is wrong and legally actionable. There still exists discrimination against people in minority groups as well, so it’s not as if the tables have turned completely. I agree that a lot of good intentions can still produce bad outcomes, which is why I’m glad the Supreme Court struck down quotas.

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