Failure of the Feminists

Apparently, this week is feminism week. (Last week was homosexualism week.) Who knew?

Last Thursday the local lefty rag the Tucson Weekly hit the stands (it’s free, and worth every penny). I read it occasionally to keep an eye on the loony loyal opposition and see what the moonbats have to say, and I found this op-ed by local pundit Connie Tuttle quite amusing. So, over the weekend I sat down and wrote a rebuttal column and submitted it to the editor.

I just got my first rejection letter *sob*. I have gotten three letters-to-the-editor published there before, but this one required a more thorough job.

Right after I fired off my missive, I found this piece on the Curmudgeon’s Corner, The Feminine Mistake, and thought “Great minds….” I then ran across another feminism post by some big-name blogger, but I’ve lost the link.

Anyway, here’s my (regrettably rejected) response to Ms. Tuttle’s philippic:

There are None so Blind…

Connie Tuttle’s January 15 op-ed “Cosmetic Changes” is wrong in so many ways and right in so few. Connie decries: “The so-called accomplishments of the women’s movement are largely illusory and mostly cosmetic,” and holds as evidence the entertainment industry, women’s magazines, and increasing numbers of girls who believe they are too fat. This, she declares, means that society has not improved in any substantial way. No, she complains, the desires of the true-feminist visionaries were supplanted by the desires of the mere power-seekers who wanted “their share of the pie, rather than a new recipe for the pie.” (Was that a sexist reference to baking? I can’t tell any more.)

She goes on to describe her true-feminist utopia: “What these women wanted was a wholesale reshaping of society: a demilitarized society rather than one where teenage girls could be killed alongside their brothers; a society where people were placed before profits; where no child went hungry or without medical care, and where men and women shared their lives free of the generations-old notions of dominance and submission. What these women wanted was a re-telling of history, a new language and a cultural transformation that went far beyond admittance to previously all-male institutions.”

Really? All that? (And why does this description cause me to picture an unsmiling society, all dressed in matching drab gray but perfectly pressed tunics, all working in vast collectives with large, brightly-colored propaganda posters on all the walls? “UNITY!” “EQUALITY!” “JOY!”)

She continues, quoting former Pentagon adviser Daniel Ellsberg: “Perhaps women and their cultural values will save this country from itself,” and then states “…whatever he meant, the fact is women have not saved the country from itself (which is a preposterous idea).”

Why? I thought the true-feminist ideal was exactly that – to save the country, nay – the world, from itself. To reshape the society wholesale, demilitarize it, place “people before profit,” etc, etc, etc. Yet this is a preposterous idea? It seems we have a logical disconnect here.

Connie goes on to complain about how the failure of true-feminism has resulted in the horrible present administration, and anguishes over a female soldier willing to leave her toddler son behind, go to Iraq and serve her imperfect nation in the mistaken belief that she’s doing the right thing to protect her family and her country. No, Connie states, until both our daughters AND our sons are no longer willing to take up arms will we have made progress towards the true-feminist utopia.

“Blindly.” She did say “blindly take up arms.” But I think it is Connie who is blind, and her piece illustrates it. I grew up during the period Connie writes about. I was eleven years old in 1973 when Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs competed in a tennis match. I remember the rampant bigotry of that period when women stood up and demanded to be treated equally. I remember cheering when Billie Jean won, because in my pre-pubescent idealism it was obvious to me that there was nothing a man could do that a woman couldn’t. America was built on the idea of equality, but it was apparent even to a child that women were second class citizens, and that was wrong.

But I’ve grown up now, and things aren’t as simple as I used to think they were. Women and men, regardless of any idealism, are not interchangeable. I’m a step-grandfather now. I have two grandchildren, eleven months apart, one girl and one boy, and they could not be more different. My granddaughter is most emphatically a girl – interested in pretty clothes, make-up, art. My grandson is most emphatically a boy, interested in smashing things, going fast and getting filthy. They have both been raised primarily by my wife, who quit work to provide day-care while their mother tries to earn a living. My wife, no Stepford Martha Stewart, has not forced my granddaughter into the “feminine” mold, and she has done her best to rein in the excesses of my grandson. Mostly, though, she has done an exemplary job of teaching both children that they can do or be anything they want so long as they are willing to work to achieve it.

And I’ve awoken to the fact that men and women aren’t equal, we’re complimentary. Yin and Yang, as Connie said. Ignoring that and trying instead to force us all into some idealist equality mold could lead to nothing good.

Connie’s true-feminist ideal didn’t fail because of the false-feminists. It didn’t fail because greedy corporations co-opted the movement, patted the little ladies on the head and exploited them too. It failed because the true-feminist ideal ignores human nature, and her vision of utopia, like all utopias, was therefore doomed from the start.

Women have made progress as measured by the yardstick of choice. They can now choose to be and choose to do nearly anything they wish, including being fighter pilots or soldiers. (Yet there’s strong resistance to the idea of their choosing to be mothers and homemakers. Odd, that.)

Connie asks: “What kind of success can the women’s movement claim that justifies young mothers adopting the slogans and sentiments of war?” It can claim the success of reason. It can claim the success of involvement. Because it means that women have a real voice and a physical presence in business, in politics, and as in Connie’s case, in media. In LIFE. They have choice that was once denied to them, and that choice includes the right to look at the realities, weigh the options, and reject Connie’s true-feminist ideology with eyes wide open.

That’s not mere cosmetic change, that’s progress – for those able and willing to see.

UPDATE, 1/20/04: See? I told you it was Feminist Week. Meryl Yourish responds to a Daniel Pipes piece on feminism and muslim headwear for women.

It’s good to be on the leading edge of a wave…

UPDATE, 1/22/03: Another related link, this one from contributor Carey Roberts, entitled: When Family Dissolution Becomes the Law of the Land. Money quote

Fem-socialists, hell-bent on achieving a genderless society, are now scheming to repeat the same disastrous experiment in Western society. Naturally, they are hoping that you not hear the story of family destruction in Soviet Russia.

My comment about identically-dressed drones working in collectives was right on the mark, it seems. (Via Ipse Dixit.)

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