Posted on | February 28, 2014 | 67 Comments
Just to refresh my memory, I’ve spent the past few days re-reading Susan Brownmiller’s feminist memoir In Our Time. You have to be a hard-boiled, strong-minded conservative not to be outraged by Brownmiller’s account of the extreme workplace inequality that once typified her own field, journalism. And the implicit assumption — this is one of those premises that the Left smuggles into arguments, hoping no one will notice — is that inequality is unjust and unfair.
The fact is that, at the time of the feminist revolution, nearly all adults were married. The median age at first marriage in the 1960s was about 21 for women, about 23 for men. The birth rate was high, the average woman had three or four children, and so the normal situation — the circumstance of the typical American adult — was that Mom was home with her children and Dad was working to support the whole family. Dad’s paycheck was the family’s entire income.
It was a man’s world, baby.
From our perspective in 2014, therefore, it seems completely shocking that women in journalism — an “enlightened” field, dominated by liberals — were consigned to subordinate roles, so that Newsweek, for example, mostly employed women as fact-checkers, and NBC News had only one woman as an on-air TV reporter.
This was the perspective of Brownmiller and other female journalists who joined the Women’s Liberation movement in filing discrimination lawsuits against news organizations in the 1970s.
However, the perspective of the unmarried childless career woman was statistically abnormal at the time and, in point of fact, is still abnormal: Most women will marry and have children and, whether they work outside the home or not, it is in the interest of married mothers and their children that their husbands be able to earn enough to support them — what some have called the “family wage” concept.
If you have read Caroline Graglia’s Domestic Tranquility (and God knows, I have seized every opportunity to encourage people to read it for the past six year), you know that feminism was not really about women vs. men, it was about career professional women — the single and childless — against wives and mothers. In case the underlying significance of this is not clear, I’ll tell you that on page 6 of In Our Time, Brownmiller reveals that by 1968, she had already had “three illegal abortions, one in Cuba and two in Puerto Rico.”
Abortion and contraception — the Contraceptive Culture — are integral to the professional ambitions of a certain percentage of women, a percentage that is certainly larger now than it was in 1968, but it is only feminist ideology that claims the interests of the childless unmarried professional career woman are coterminous with the interests of all women, and which insists that every example of statistical inequality is evidence of discriminatory unfairness.
You have to be blind or brainwashed not to see the fraudulence of this argument, the claim that women benefit collectively from the privileges that feminist “fairness” provides to elite women. The truck driver’s wife has no stake in this game of “discrimination” played by professional career women. That is a self-interested game played for the benefit of the college-educated career elite, and the vast majority of American women don’t give a damn what percentage of Fortune 500 executives are female.
Once you recognize feminism as the attempt of an elite group of women to advance their own narrow interests by representing them as the collective interests of all women, the claims of “unfairness” and “discrimination” appear in a different light. Most women are not trying to climb the corporate ladder at a Fortune 500 company and yet the grievances of such career women are the engine that drives the constant reiteration of the formula “inequality = injustice.”
And this is where the Marxist origin of feminist ideology becomes highly relevant. When I describe feminism as the ideology of man-hating socialist lesbians, I’m not joking. Sure, there are heterosexual capitalist women who call themselves “feminists,” but if you examine the biographies and ideas of the women who contributed most to the development of feminist ideology, you cannot help noticing the preponderance of Communists and lesbians. For example, feminist “consciousness-raising” was directly borrowed from Marxism by two “Red Diaper babies” (i.e., children of Communist Party members), Kathie Amatniek and Anne Forer, the latter of whom explained to Brownmiller:
“In the Old Left, they used to say the workers don’t know they’re oppressed so we have to raise their consciousness. One night at a meeting I said, ‘Would everybody please give me an example from their o0wn life on how they experienced oppression as a woman? I need to hear it raise my own consciousness.’ Kathie was sitting behind me and the words rang in her mind. From then on she sort of made it an institution and called it consciousness-raising.”
This idea that every misfortune and disappointment experienced by women can be attributed to “oppression” by men is an analog of the Marxist concept that every problem of industrial workers — the proletariat — was the fault of the capitalist bourgeosie.
In other words, there are no coincidental, individual or random problems, but rather every problem is viewed as the result of deliberate, collective, systematic oppression — “class struggle,” in the Marxist idiom — and the challenge of the revolutionary vanguard is to inform the oppressed that they are, indeed, oppressed. That is to say, the oppressed must have their consciousness raised, which is what the entire academic field of Women’s Studies is about.
Conservatives recognize that the Marxist viewpoint in economics is an error, based on the false assumption that economic activity is a coercive zero-sum game, where the wealth of the rich is derived by imposing poverty on the exploited toiling masses. “We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one,” as Ronald Reagan famously said.
Yet in recent years, it seems to me, conservatives have ceded the premise of feminism’s quite similar argument, so that people calling themselves conservatives are eager to make a “me, too” claim that they’re also in favor of equality, without bothering to examine the meaning or consequences of “equality” in this context.
Marriage is, or at least it should be, based on voluntary cooperation between men and women. If mothers wish to raise their own children, rather than outsourcing the care and education of their offspring to others, then their husbands must be able to earn an income sufficient to provide for the whole family. In such a family-oriented economy, men will be more likely than women to participate in the wage-earning work force; the consequence of this will be that men, on average, will have more years of continuous job experience; as a result, men will, on average, earn more than women and be more numerous in the ranks of management; and the resulting statistical inequality is not systemic unfairness, but a consequence of choices made by individuals.
In the past half-century, the “family wage” system has broken down even as divorce has become widespread and more than 40 percent of children are now born to unmarried women. Are these unrelated phenomena? Is this coincidental? I think not, and neither does Helen Smith, whose book Men on Strike is all about how social changes have harmed men.
All of this is mere preamble, however, to the latest zany ideological excursion by the woman Maetenloch calls “Everyone’s Favorite RadFeminist.” Yes, Radical Wind — she of “PIV is always rape, OK?” fame — has graced us again with her enlightened views:
That’s because the central cause of women’s impoverishment isn’t impersonal and institutional, but comes from men individually stealing from women in their individual homes. The owner, husband, master, stealing from the woman’s own pocket. I only realised how literal it was quite recently. This is the primary pattern of women’s crippling poverty. It became clear to me after hearing story after story of women being ransacked to the bone by their own husbands or boyfriends, it was typical of every abuse story I’ve heard of – these men systematically stealing their salary, signing credits, debts or mortgages in the woman’s name, binding women in suicidal financial situations or reckless business plans, stealing women’s property, flats or houses by signing it in their (the man’s) name, taking siege of the woman’s flat or house and refusing to move out, spending women’s income on drugs, cars, expensive restaurants, gambling, prostitution or whatever their pet fetish is, controlling access to their bank account, or systematically sabotaging their access to work, income or property in any form, by moving her far away from her work, wrecking her chances to find employment in any way possible, sabotaging her relationship with her employer, or finding ways to cut her benefits for childcare, preventing her from using the money she has for herself, etc, etc. The list is endless.
You can read the whole thing. Ask yourself: What kind of men is she hanging out with? This is the simplest explanation for why feminism is a left-wing phenomenon. Left-wing women hang out with left-wing men and left-wing men are selfish jerks.
Sic semper hoc.
By the way: Planned Parenthood will spend $16 million in the 2014 election cycle, because . . . equality!