Thursday, August 26, 2010

The problem with feminism and someone to celebrate instead

Today is "Women's Equality Day" -- it also happens to be the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the franchise (the right to vote).

I'm not so sure it is a day to celebrate. I don't suppose most of us want to give back the right to vote, even when we are presented with the choice between dumb and dumber. Nor do I suppose that most of us who necessarily earn a paycheck for working outside of the home are disappointed that we make the same as our male colleagues for the same work and the same experience. Although I do have to make a point here of saying the "wage gap" between men and women which we *still* hear about is largely a feminist accounting trick which disappears when you consider the time spent on the job on an ongoing basis (men tend to work more overtime than women) and the overall years spent on the job (women take time off to bear and raise their children - a very good thing!).

Aside from a few legal victories, I have to wholeheartedly agree with Dorothy L Sayers when she said, approximately fifteen years after we got the right to vote over on this side of the pond, that feminism had largely outlived its usefulness and that, if it went ahead, it would do more harm than good. And she was right. The problem with feminism, as with all "progressive" movements, is that they seldom know that to which they are progressing. In consequence of this, they don't know when to stop.

I had a short FB conversation (on a friend's FB page) with someone I don't know. Here is her response to my caution about celebration the day:

As one who proudly lived through and reveled in the feminist movement, I find it difficult to understand the vehement opposition on the part of younger women.

I didn't mean to pick a fight so I called a halt to it after a few rounds. But really -- reveled? proudly lived through? Are we walking about the lies of Betty Friedan? The shared narrative created by Consciousness Raising groups? So, I responded in part:

Perhaps it is because the few children that feminist had have found that husbands make better fathers than Uncle Sam, contraceptives are a bad bargain, practices like co-ed dorm bathrooms and bedrooms and the co-ed military leave women physically vulnerable to men who are stronger, even when they are drunk.

And it's true. Even if some of the legal victories are worth celebrating, the social consequences are not. Since Betty Friedan created her "problem with no name" poverty has become feminized, consisting largely of female-headed families with no father in sight. The sexual promiscuity enabled by widely available birth control has led to newer and more terrible and more frequently occurring sexually transmitted infections. The list goes on. On the FB page, I also responded with a short reply about how OCP affects a woman's judgments on the intangibles and that she takes more sexual risks, choosing men as partners she wouldn't normal choose and then closed by saying I would rather be rescued by a 6'2" 190-pound male firefighter who passed the tests under the old standards than the 5'7" 130-pound woman who passed under the new standards which have been lowered as a result of, ahem, equal rights.

That's the problem with progressive movements. They never stop with what they initially fight for. If I saw a 6'2" 190-pound female firefighter with broad shoulders coming to my rescue, I wouldn't worry so much. But not enough women were passing under the old physical standards so they had to be lowered. The same has occurred in policing and the military. Equality is never really about equality, it's about bringing men down where women cannot (and, honestly, should not) compete. Her response to my final word, after the usual blather about respecting my opinion, was this:

What troubles me is educated women casting judgment on other women, whether it has to do with their choice and/or number of sexual partners or casting doubt on a woman's ability to do a job she has trained to do. No one travels through this life unscathed by a bad choice or difficult decision. We should be applauding others rather than casting doubt on motives or ability.

Now, first of all, I did not judge any woman or her sexual choices, whether number or quality. I simply outlined one of the consequences of OCP -- something that is well documented in the literature. This points up one of the problems of feminism/progressivism/liberalism. Consequences translates to makiing an improper judgment. Though I know the concept is terribly over-used, the truth of the matter is that ideas *do* have consequences. However, progressives demand not only equality, they also demand a pre-determined outcome as a result of their ideas. Life just doesn't work that way when you have the wrong anthropology, the wrong philosophy and most especially, the wrong theology.

Instead of revelling in rebellion, why not celebrate someone who gave her life to the ones no one else cared about. A diminutive woman who had the courage to stand up to Bill Clinton and tell him the truth. A woman who gave her life to mother the motherless, even though she bore no children of her own. A woman who persevered through many a long dark night and smelly, germ-laden, hot and humid day.

Instead, I plan to Celebrate Mother Teresa's 100th Birthday


Megan said...

Kamilla, thank you for celebrating Mother Teresa's birthday. My SIL and her family are missionaries in Kolkata, just streets away from Mother Teresa's home. Ministering to women who have been enslaved by prostitution is unbelievably difficult work, but infinitely more powerful than any feminist's response to suffering could ever be. Mother Teresa should be every girl's hero.

Travels With Uncle Sam said...

I think that in many jobs now, everybody (men, too) gets what used to be a "woman's wage," as companies have lost the commitment to pay a man a living wage, figuring his wife can always work, too. That's equality! Seems like we shot ourselves in the foot with that one.