Sunday, October 21, 2012

Is Feminism Herstory?

It looks like 'Peak Feminism' has arrived sooner than I thought.   A survey in the UK by Netmums shows that only 1 in 7 young women describe themselves as feminist. The rate is twice as high for women in their fifties. Political feminism appears to have run its course as far as the younger generation of women are concerned.

This represents an interesting turning point. Women like Sarah Hoyt and Helen Smith are pointing out that political feminism has become an ideology intent on suppressing men, not achieving equality with them. Here's Hoyt:

The problem is that most of us don’t want to be equals.  And the reason for that is that most of us have been sold on the feminist creation myth of the great mother and the perfect society with men as the spoiler of paradise and the villain.  And most of us are stupid enough to buy it.  (Yes, I know men worshipped goddesses.  If you think that made the society feminist, you have birds in your brain and you probably also believe there’s some magical herbs that are as effective as the pill and have no bad side effects.  (No.  There aren’t.  There was a bush that had similar properties, but it went extinct in Roman times).  Societies that worshipped goddesses often demanded the most control over women and engaged in temple prostitution.  They also had a marked tendency to child sacrifice.  On the other hand, most societies worshipped both.) 
Also, most men are of course bigger than us.  Stronger. And there’s the whole historical inequity.  Just like the French peasants.  So we demand laws that favor us and more importantly we demand the blood of our enemies.  And we demand to be treated with a respect and a care that would have scared Victorian maidens.  We use the slightest thing as a weapon.  Because only when the oppressors are gone, will we be free. 
This was bad enough when it was the French peasantry.  But men are not some aliens dropped on the Earth from afar – they’re our fathers, brothers, sons and husbands.  They’re an integral part of what makes humans humans.  They’re not a monolithic group, just like women aren’t, but statistically they’re better abstract-and-visual thinkers and the people who are more likely to think outside the box, just like statistically we’re the socially-oriented people, more detail-specialized and better at cooperating. 
Society – a civilized society – needs both to survive and go forward. 
But women have been sold on males-as-the-boogeyman and therefore they see evil intention and coordination and conspiracy behind males’ being people.  Meet one abusive male, and you’ll go through life convinced that all men are like that.  Does anyone do the same when meeting an abusive woman?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve had bosses from hell in both genders.  So, why is only one accused of being “oppressive”? 
Because it’s the myth.  And it’s a myth the power-hungry people who took charge of the feminist movement (one that initially only wanted equality under the law) are happy to perpetuate.  It’s a myth every college, every entertainment gatekeeper cherishes.
Hoyt fears that the ideological pursuit of gender conflict - and the resultant glass cellar for men - will threaten the future of modern societies. She's right, of course. A political movement that started out to secure equal rights for women and men (the vote etc) has morphed into a movement that now wants to free women of responsibilities for the consequences of their actions (the collapse of the family in particular), with men (husbands, fathers, sons, and taxpayers) picking up the bill.

The worry is that Hoyt's warning is too late. The culture of narcissism that Charles Hugh Smith describes driving the world's economy to its doom is as much a consequence of third wave feminism as of financialization - though not that he sees it that way for now, anyway.

But perhaps a younger generation of women, no longer under the influence of the 'have it all/be what you want' solipsism of ageing feminist ideologues, will help pull us back from the brink.

Who knows, it might even happen sooner than you think.




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