Posted on | April 14, 2014 | 70 Comments
“You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s why relationships work.”
— Kirsten Dunst
“Feminists claim to be pro-woman, but they only support ‘correct’ choices and decisions.”
— Katie Yoder
“If you consider sexual desire and romantic love between men and women to be natural and healthy, you are not a feminist.”
— Robert Stacy McCain
Common sense has become extraordinarily rare in recent years, especially among the intelligentsia, who seem increasingly angry that reality refuses to conform itself to their abstract theories. The idea that women enjoy being women — and “need a man to be a man” to make “relationships work” — is such a direct contradiction of feminist gender theory that it’s practically a hate crime to say so:
Feminists are furious with actress Kirsten Dunst. She is being trashed online as “an insufferable person”, “kind of dumb”, and other harsh, expletive-laden phrases unfit for print. Her sin? During a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, Dunst dared to speak well of femininity, including the traditional role of a nurturing mother . . . In response, writer Ariane Sommer told Fox 411: “Being open towards being what is considered feminine at times: Yes! But regressing to a 1950s archetype of womanhood: Hell no.’”
Did you catch that? Sommer spoke of “what is considered feminine,” as if the categories “feminine” and “masculine” are entirely artificial. This is the fundamental feminist doctrine of gender as a “social construct.” If you reject that doctrine — if you think male and female roles are in any sense a natural expression of innate biology — you are not a feminist.
Feminists who speak of “a 1950s archetype of womanhood” intend it as a pejorative insult to an entire generation of women, and expect us not to resent the insult to our own mothers and grandmothers who were, in fact, entirely deserving of respect. When I think of my mother, my Aunt Barbara, my Aunt Pat and my beloved grandmothers, I certainly do not think of them as weak, helpless creatures, as Ariane Sommer would have you think of them. And what about my beautiful wife, the mother of our six children? Does that German bimbo Ariane Sommer suppose she can insult my wife this way and expect me not to resent it?
“There needs to be a modern approach to gender roles that is rooted in the reality of our day to day lives. . . . Women have fought too hard and too long for the liberties we are able to enjoy now and there still is a lot of work that needs to get done towards gender equality.” — Ariane Sommer
Well, shucks, ma’am, I don’t know much about the “day to day lives” of Maxim models — “the liberties we are able to enjoy now,” indeed! — but the reality of most women’s lives nowadays involves “a lot of work” toward paying the bills, rather than pursuing intellectual crusades for the utopian goal of “gender equality.”
Friedrich Hayek called “social justice” a mirage, and the same may be said of “gender equality.” It is a mirage, a will-o’-th’-wisp, a phantom goal whose pursuit is a fool’s errand because it can never be obtained. Worse even than that, as our laws and institutions are altered to fit the radical egalitarian plans of social engineers, attitudes and behaviors are altered in ways that actually make life worse for women, who are alleged to be the intended beneficiaries of the feminist project.
Efforts to eradicate the connection between sexual biology and social reality are couched in euphemistic jargon — “a modern approach to gender roles” — that serves to conceal the nature and purpose of such projects. These intellectual phrases suppress our curiosity as to what the social engineers actually have in mind, and stifle skeptical criticism.
What problem do the feminists propose to solve? If we agree that there is indeed such a problem, is the solution proposed by the feminists likely to achieve its intended result? Or, alternatively, is it possible that the feminist analysis is mistaken both as to the nature of the problem and the best means of solving it? Could it be that the solutions proposed by the feminists might not only fail to solve a problem, which they have misunderstood to begin with, but also create new problems, resulting in a situation in some ways worse than the original situation?
“Believe me, sir, those who attempt to level never equalise. In all societies, consisting of various descriptions of citizens, some description must be uppermost. The levellers therefore only change and pervert the natural order of things; they load the edifice of society, by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground.”
— Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
Students of modern history can little doubt that advocates of liberal “reform,” no less than radical revolutionaries, have often created new problems through their attempts to solve old problems. The Law of Unintended Consequences is routinely ignored by would-be reformers, who never seem to consider that (a) some problems are inherent in human nature, (b) social behavior is influenced by a complex network of incentives, and (c) altering any existing system of social incentives may yield results that contradict the expectations of reformers, occasionally even surprising the opponents of reform.
Lena Dunham’s recent comment that it was a “huge disappointment” for her to realize she is not lesbian, for example, highlighted how cultural celebrations of Gay Rights have actually stigmatized heterosexuality in the eyes of many young people.
Feminist Heterosexual Guilt Syndrome is a consequence of radical egalitarian doctrine that no one predicted, but which in hindsight we can see as a logical result of feminist ideology and rhetoric. Likewise the controversy between radical feminists and transgender activists was little expected by adherents of either cause. The reason most people — including many of those who call themselves feminists — failed to anticipate these developments is because it has been a conscious strategy of feminists to conceal from the general public the radicalism inherent in their ideology. Mainstream feminism has only become “mainstream” because leaders of the movement and their progressive allies have striven to marginalize, at least in public debate, those radicals who insist on speaking the blunt truth about their beliefs and goals.
“Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice.”
— Ti-Grace Atkinson, 1971
“The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.”
— Sheila Cronan, 1988
“Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.”
— Andrea Dworkin, 1989
“Men have been creating ideologies and political practices which naturalize female heterosexuality continuously in every culture since the dawns of the patriarchies. . . . Female heterosexuality is not a biological drive or an individual woman’s erotic attraction . . . Female heterosexuality is a set of social institutions and practices.”
— Marilyn Frye, 1992
“Male supremacy is centered on the act of sexual intercourse, justified by heterosexual practice.”
— Sheila Jeffreys, 2005
What further explanation does anyone need? Catherine MacKinnon, Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, Dee Graham — one could extend the list to include dozens of names of feminist activists and academics who have insisted all along (a) that equality for women required overthrowing the patriarchy, (b) that heterosexuality and patriarchy are inextricably connected, and (c) that therefore female equality was ultimately synonymous with lesbianism.
We are “Slouching Toward Angrogyny,” as I remarked last year, in large part because conservatives have refused to “interrogate the fundamental assumptions” of feminism. Why are so many people willing to believe, for example, that taxpayer-funded contraception is the essence of “women’s rights”? How has the avoidance of motherhood become accepted as so vitally necessary that no one flinches at the bloodthirsty vehemence of pro-abortion spokeswomen?
“I don’t want a baby. . . . Nothing will make me want a baby. . . . “This is why, if my birth control fails, I am totally having an abortion.”
— Amanda Marcotte
Such an intense horror toward the mere thought of reproduction — willful sterility as an expression of hatred toward babies — can only be described as unnatural. From the standpoint of science, sex has no purpose other than reproduction, and our bodies are biological mechanisms designed to accomplish that purpose.
That there are more than 6 billion human beings on this planet is abundant evidence of how efficiently our minds and bodies are organized toward the goal of reproduction, so that our sexual impulse operates mainly at the level of autonomic reflexes we are scarcely able to control. No matter how intellectuals may endeavor to persuade us otherwise, every molecule of our existence conspires to bring man and woman together in the act of procreation.
Isn’t this a wonderful thing to behold? What could a woman say to a man that is more romantic than, “I want to have your babies”? And what greater love can a man show a woman than to unite with her for this purpose, to conceive new life in her womb, and then to share the responsibility of bringing up their offspring together?
This beautiful and inspiring vision, however, is rejected by those like Amanda Marcotte whose unfeeling hearts have been poisoned by selfishness and whose minds have been corroded by hate.
Selfish hatefulness, however, rationalizes itself in the language of Equality and Progress, so that when Marcotte sneers her contempt for us lowly “breeders,” many share her disdain, believing such an attitude to be the height of enlightened sophistication. The intelligentsia think of themselves as Our Moral Superiors and, if we fail to acknowledge their superiority, this only proves to them (as if they needed proof) how hopelessly ignorant we are.
The intelligentsia will not hesitate to insult your mother, that “1950s archetype of womanhood.” If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mother, she will be likewise insulted by the intelligentsia for “regressing” to such awful backwardness. Babies are “time-sucking monsters,” Amanda Marcotte tells us, and no woman is deserving of feminist admiration if she prefers the domestic pleasures of marriage and motherhood to the world of professional careerism.
Ariane Sommer seems to consider “wife” and “mother” terms describing “gender roles” that are not “modern.” Quite modern herself, Ariane Sommer is 37, unmarried and childless, with no apparent prospect for “regressing” to marriage or motherhood. (A few years ago, she bought herself a diamond ring for Christmas.)
For a woman to be a full-time wife and mother undermines “gender equality,” because this arrangement presumes that for “a man to be a man,” as Kirsten Dunst said, he must have the ability to earn a living for the entire family. For him to have that ability — and thus permit “a woman to be a woman” by caring for her own young children — the man must have a relatively high-paying job. And if more men have relatively high-paying jobs, then women are not equal.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
Of course, this was not the only way Kirsten Dunst’s remarks offended the intelligentsia. Her quote was “a pile of problematic bullshit,” says Hayley Hoover, in part because it omits homosexuals: “[W]hen you use your public platform to preach old-school values as absolute law, you’re making it harder for people outside the traditional norm to live their lives in peace.” (Premise One: What celebrities say in interviews is preaching. Premise Two: Expressing a personal preference in such a context is “absolute law.” Conclusion: Kirsten Dunst is guilty of inciting hate crimes against “people outside the traditional norm.”) But these are the sort of flawed “arguments” we expect from young people (Hoover is 23) who claim to be engaged in critical thinking but have never studied logic.
The attack on gender roles and the war against heteronormativity, however, is not limited to 23-year-old bloggers.
“The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples.”
— U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, Aug. 5, 2010, San Francisco v. Schwarzenegger
What about science, Judge Walker?
Has science discovered nothing about the nature of male and female biology? Have the study of psychology, anthropology and genetics yielded no evidence to suggest that the sexual union of man and woman expresses an interaction of mental processes and physical responses that, wondrously complex though they may be, nonetheless resolve themselves in an impulse as simple as “Me Tarzan, you Jane”?
As remarkable as Tarzan’s passion seems — what is it about the mere sight of Jane that arouses this urge in him? — science must go to extraordinary lengths to explain why Jane does more than comply with Tarzan’s sexual demands. Indeed, she takes pleasure in the sensation of being overpowered and dominated by him. Jane is herself aroused by the knowledge that she has aroused Tarzan. A man’s sexuality provides a woman unmistakable confirmation of her own desirability. It is not entirely in a spirit of reluctance that Jane submits to Tarzan’s animal urge. Jane has urges of her own, urges she is powerless to resist, even were she able to resist Tarzan’s superior masculine strength. Far from resenting his greater muscularity, and the forcefulness it implies, Jane is thrilled by the strong embrace of Tarzan’s sinewy arms. Perhaps science can explain why Jane wants Tarzan as much as Tarzan wants her, so that she craves this experience of being wholly possessed by him.
No one can deny that cultural influences — the “social construction of gender roles” — can affect Jane’s sexual responses. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tales of Tarzan were set in the context of the Victorian era, when female sexual pleasure was often misunderstood and in many ways actively discouraged. How could civilized Christian ladies admit to desiring such a primitive carnal savagery? And how could a civilized Christian gentleman provide this beastly pleasure?
The taboos and constraints of Christian civilization were thrown off decades ago, and two generations of Janes have been “liberated” to enjoy the sexual search for their own personal Tarzan. But the disappointments of sexual modernity, while usually quite different from whatever disappointments Victorian ladies experienced, are nonetheless quite painfully real. Divorce has skyrocketed and out-of-wedlock births have reached 40 percent. Tens of millions of abortions have been performed, and innumerable cases of sexually transmitted diseases have been inflicted. The fairy-tale ending of “happily ever after” has become a cruel jest, as marriages dissolve into custody battles and restraining orders.
Developing amid all this upheaval — perhaps as cause, perhaps as effect, perhaps in some ways both — we find a new ideology of sex. Overtly hostile to traditional religious morality about sex, this new ideology is not, however, scientific.
All the evidence in the world about the benefits to children of a traditional family mean nothing to devotees of the New Sexual Ideology, which is quite specifically political in its orientation, viewing sexual behavior as a matter of “rights,” and obsessively concerned with equality to the exclusion of every other possible concern. Every discussion about sex, therefore, becomes freighted with this artificial weight.
If we attempt to discuss how things are, adherents of the New Sexual Ideology accost us with claims of victimhood, described as (a) the denial of “rights” and/or (b) apparent circumstances of inequality. And if we wish to discuss how things should be, proposed reforms are acceptable only if aimed at bringing about greater equality.
Ultimately, the New Sexual Ideology is an agenda that is totalitarian in its impulses, seeking to conform reality to fit its theory, rather than shaping its theory to explain reality. Facts or logic that contradict the New Sexual Ideology must be suppressed, and criticism must be shouted down — “Sexist!” “Homophobe!” — so that dissenters can be excluded from the public discourse. Yet nature cannot be silenced.
Lectures from ideologues produce confusion, and young people indoctrinated may not be able to understand what they want, why they want it, or how to get it. As much confusion as the New Sexual Ideology creates, however, autonomic reflexes are quite difficult to suppress: More than 96% of Americans are heterosexual.
What did that feminist say? “Male supremacy is centered on the act of sexual intercourse, justified by heterosexual practice.”
Yeah, we’re still swinging on a vine, baby: “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”