I wrote this post on Friday night and decided to sit with it for a while to make sure these are thoughts worthy of sharing. While the man-hating culture has received more press recently--the Duke Rape Case being illustrative of the pervasive assumption of guilt when it comes to a white, privileged male (aren't all white males privileged?)--the women-hating nature of the modern Feminists movement gets less attention.
Over the last couple of years, I have read different feminist perspectives. Some women have softened the whole men/fish/bicycle stance. Some have not. What hasn't softened is the opinion many women have for motherhood itself. Motherhood, the essence of womanhood (a man cannot gestate, birth or feed a child from his body), receives hate by some feminists. I think abortion is a manifestation of that hate--sucking a baby out of a body is a gross violation of space, but it is also a symbolic murder of the mother as well. Creating a baby isn't sacred, it's an inconvenience.
In addition, according to this dogma, a woman who chooses to mother her children chooses the path of the slave. There is nothing noble about it. And while I feel far from noble cleaning a poopy diaper, taken as a whole, mothering feels substantively far more noble than any of my professional endeavors--my apologies to patients and clients. What I discovered, is that while I cared for someone else's children in the office, someone else was caring for my children. It struck me as a kind of insanity. I could go back to the office, once the kids reached a certain age. I couldn't go back to my child's experience at age one.
This brings up the questions, "What is your husband doing? Isn't he missing the one-year old, too?" My husband also sees patients. He works his schedule around to maximize family time, too. To state the obvious, though, my husband doesn't have breasts. He doesn't have oxytocin causing the let-down reflex. He is a father. There are biological differences. More on that below.
Yes, I painting with a broad brush, but so do the Feminists. An educated woman like me sells her soul and hurts society by not working in the wide, wide world, according to their view. I just wonder, what will society look like if only the dull-witted procreate and raise children? Or does that not matter because Feminism is all about fulfillment today....let the future world be damned. These same women give more care to the environment than they do the highest mammals that will inhabit that environment.
Mothering is not an easy job choice for someone who is educated and schooled in selfishness. It is difficult on so many personal levels, but the modern Feminist movement has injected more self-loathing, disgust and contempt for what is an essential, even existential profession. Rather than participate in a dialogue encouraging public policy to support families, rather than be evidence-based about the need for mothers and fathers in child development, rather than supporting and encouraging mothers in their choice, feminists foment the "mommy wars" to justify their own prejudices and choices.
The lack of flexibility in thinking demonstrates a religious stance, ironically enough. A woman must embrace certain dogma or she isn't worthy. I rebut these notions for personal and societal reasons. Personally, I'm tired of being treated like dirt for choosing children over my career (for now). Societally, the trend against caring for children, against having children and in the extreme for killing children is reaping horrible dividends. One of the worst is the current trend of objectifying children. As infants they are toted around like an Armani handbag. As toddlers, their lusts are indulged while their real needs for parental interaction are dismissed. As young school children they are dressed and treated like adults. The girls dressed like mini-sluts. The boys dressed like mini-thugs. Does Feminism see their part in this pornification of children? It's disgusting. Everyone wants the children to grow ups so fast because it is convenient for them. It doesn't matter that the child suffers a lack of childhood. It doesn't matter that children are lonely. It doesn't matter than children are exploited.
And what of women? Women reach middle age now and are "down-sized" now just like men. Over 40% of women aged forty don't have children. So sacrificing their biology in service to an ideology, a religion, works just fine. The religion is self. The altar is Feminism. In the end, will these women feel that their beliefs were worth it? I don't know.
Feminism in its originally form transformed American society and our society was better for it. I have a completely different relationship with my husband than routinely occurred a generation ago and my family and children are better for it. They actually interact and know their dad. They also know that their mom is a chiropractor and consultant (whatever that is). This flexibility and equality have made us all happier and healthier.
Feminism in its current form creates villains and victims. There are winners and losers. There is a right way and wrong way to be a woman and a man. Children are barely tolerable. In modern feminism, the only real woman is this woman:
single or married (as long as the guy does whatever you want), I.Q. north of 125, career-oriented until forty, rich, one kid, keep working, CEO, Congresswoman, leader, something "important"Essentially, the only real woman (save the childbearing inconvenience) is what has been described as a successful man in the Western world. And all along, I thought success for women meant equality--equal opportunity, equal rights, equal intellectual ability (the recognition of this). But no, success for women means sameness. And women have stooped to define success to be the traditional man's definition. How patriarchal of women.
So with that, here's the post. It's a bit strident. Oh well, you know us stay-at-home women, we can be that way.
Friday 2/2/07: Linda Hirshman is a male chauvinist. Her "Straussian-educated" opinions bubble to the surface of the public debate every now and then, and the opinions almost always blame women for not being more like men.
A woman (an educated, influencer-type of woman) should vote Democrat, stay in the workforce and push to the top leadership positions both in the political and professional world. This mandate means that women must deny part of her inherent feminine biology. I've addressed this before:
But if a woman chooses to breastfeed—for her baby and herself, the egalitarian thing goes flying out the window.Another point I didn't make there, but I'll make here: There is an assumption that motherhood in general can be accomplished by anyone. In addition, there is an assumption that each child can be parented by anyone as effectively as by the mother and father. Children are a sort of commodity that can be shifted around in different family situations, different child-care environments as an infant, toddler or pre-school age and it doesn't matter. Eh, children are resilient. Their early childhood proceeds apace irrespective of environment. Not only is early childhood development irrelevant, mothers (and fathers) are, too. She says, "Why would the congressmen she writes to listen to someone whose life so resembles that of a toddler's, Harvard degree or no?"
Breastfeeding is best for the baby. It is best for the mom. So much research proves it and more is coming. I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just accept that premise as fact.
But breastfeeding turns egalitarianism on its head. A man can’t do it. He can feed a baby a bottle of breast-expressed milk but that is not breastfeeding. It is bottle feeding breast milk. Not the same.
I happen to believe breast is best. The benefits economically, physically, psychologically, and nutritionally have such huge implications that the six-week leave thing seems absolutely insane. No other mammal leaves their offspring to be tended by others at so young an age (proportionately speaking). Children are flexible and malleable, but do we really know what we are doing to future generations by “out sourcing” such a fundamental thing as feeding and tending our children? (I lump tending in with feeding, because the physical act of feeding the child by definition includes tending them.)
Does a good feminist deny the biology in service to the egalitarian? Does she sell herself out when she submits to biology and stays home to nurse her child and later to care for her “private world” rather than nurse her own career and care for the “public world”?
What contempt for mothers (and stay-at-home fathers, too) in that statement. She does not just drip her venom there, either. Her new target is women who are "irrational" for not voting their progressive beliefs. Women are uneducated politically compared with men and she says:
Not voting for the principles you say you believe in is irrational, in the conventional sense of means/end rationality. So if a crucial subset of women believe liberally but vote conservatively, the substantive outcome -- say, the candidates they elect -- may be “like men’s,” to use Schmitt’s slippery phrase, but the process is the exact opposite.So a woman is uneducated and votes irrationally if she votes Republican whereas a man votes rationally because his vote is congruent with his (reflexive and conservative and close-minded--my editorializing) beliefs.
But I disagree with Hirshman's premise. While I'll concede her point that women generally are less politically-minded and politically-educated than men, I don't think their lack of education is swaying them to voting for (in her mind anyway) a simpleton like George W. Bush instead of John Kerry on irrational, emotional ephemera alone. Many of my regular readers are women and many of them complain when I write so much about politics. I do it anyway. Partly because I enjoy politics and it's my blog, thank you very much, and partly because I think the topic is important for women, too. So sure women, generally, seem less interested in the political.
Less interest and education does not equal, necessarily, ignorance about the themes of a Presidential election. For example, a woman might be more progressive about gay marriage, government programs (you say program, I say entitlement, potaaato, potahto), etc., but their overriding concern might be terrorism. In Ms. Hirshman's world, there is no room for a woman who prioritizes her political views differently from the staid, one-note feminist dogma. Progressive values, really important earth-shattering values, like gay marriage, climate change and more welfare should trump an issue like terrorism. That would be congruent. It's not possible to be both/and. A woman can't have put terrorism and Islamofascism first and still hold progressive values. It's not possible that while she holds so-called progressive values, she voted Republican because she deemed him to be more aligned with her logically thought-out views on the terrorist threat.
It's really the same old story. Blacks, women and other minorities do not count unless they hold all the cherished hackneyed dogma of their betters. Elites like Ms. Hirshman demand a purity of thought and action. And of course, if a woman were more educated she'd see things just like me. And, if she were Straussian-educated, she'd do things just like I do them.
Stupid, illogical women leave the work-force and care for their children. Stupid, illogical women vote for Republicans. And these stupid women are ruining it for all women. Insulting women is a fantastic way of building the modern feminist movement, by the way.
To be valid in Ms. Hirshman's world-view, I must be a perpetual whining and man-hating victim ala Amanda Marchott whilst out-muscling men in the work world or at least capturing power the manly way ( "Money is the marker of success in a market economy; it usually accompanies power, and it enables the bearer to wield power, including within the family."--Hirshman ignores the statistic that women, including stay-at-home women control 80% of the purse-strings) and voting Democrat ala Linda Hirshman. Ladies, your lack of diversity of thought shames the original feminist movement. And Ms. Hirshman, your rhetoric is women-hating to the core.
Call me a post-feminist woman--where I can be what I want to be without having some snobbish academic wrapping my knuckles if I disobey. And these women consider themselves open-minded? Please. They are the modern church ladies, and frankly I'm sick of the religion they're preaching.
Via Ann Althouse