Posted on | April 22, 2014 | 42 Comments
Andra Peyser wrote a New York Post column about feminist reaction to Kirsten Dunst’s comments on marriage and motherhood. Having hashed that out at length a week ago — “Sex Roles: Me Tarzan, You Jane” — I’m not particularly interested in revisiting it today. However, I find myself puzzled by Ann Althouse’s dismissive reaction to Peyser’s column:
Andrea Peyser . . . asserts, in the NY Post, that “The sisterhood went psychotic.” Where? Where is this psychotic? Who is this “sisterhood”? There was [Jezebel's Gloria] Ryan, who was perfectly bland, more or less quoting bemusedly. There was one other “sister” in this outbreak of mass Dunst-induced psychosis, one Stacey Ritzen at a place I’d never heard of called Uproxx. . . .
The headline at the Peyser piece is “Dunst receives fury for feminine comments in Bazaar.” What pathetic pandering of the notion that women are crazy and overemotive! There’s really nothing to see here.
“Nothing to see here”? Evidently, Professor Althouse missed the reaction from, inter alia, Hayley Hoover at The Gloss (calling Dunst’s comments “a pile of problematic bullshit”) and Ariane Sommer at Fox News (accusing Dunst of “regressing to a 1950s archetype of womanhood”). So if there was not perhaps an “outbreak of mass Dunst-induced psychosis,” certainly the reaction was more widespread than the comments of Ryan and Ritzen.
Furthermore, since when is calling attention to the lunatic screeching of feminists the same as “pathetic pandering of the notion that women are crazy and overemotive”? Conflating these separate categories — women and feminists — is at the heart of complaints that conservative women have been making for decades, namely the tendency of the liberal media to present feminist ideologues as the spokeswomen for the interests of all women. (This tendency is paralleled by the way the media present labor unions as representatives of “the working class” and present Al Sharpton as a spokesman for “civil rights.”) What the women defending Dunst — e.g., Dana Loesch, Katie Yoder and Melissa Braunstein – are saying is that feminists don’t speak for them and their interests.
And thank God for that! If women let feminists speak for them, they must believe that the pinnacle of women’s rights is legalized abortion, all heterosexual intercourse is rape, and lesbianism is the only possible escape from male oppression. Insofar as feminist ideology has prevailed, the effect of its influence has been to send its disciples hurtling toward extinction by encouraging them to view the normal means of procreation with horror, as a cruel device of the patriarchy.
“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.
Feminism is ultimately an anti-human worldview. Ideologues who cannot see male and female except in terms of women’s oppression by the heteronormative patriarchy are hostile to every impulse — whether biological urge or moral precept — that would encourage cooperation by the sexes in the advance of civilization.
Contrary to the hopes of feminists for the past half-century, the vast majority of American women (at least 92%, according to Gallup) continue to be heterosexual. This is true even among young women who have been subjected to feminist propaganda their entire lives: Only 8.8% of women ages 18-29 identity with the catchall LGBT label, and many of those are likely bisexual (a trend encouraged by young men who enjoy threesomes). The Gallup poll’s relatively low estimate of the gay population angered some lesbian feminists (“farcical,” huffed Allison Hope), but irrefutable evidence of heterosexuality’s continued prevalence is hard to ignore: Despite media cheerleading for the “child-free” lifestyle, most women still aspire to motherhood; about 70% of women are mothers by age 30, and about 85% of women eventually become mothers, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Furthermore, many of the barren 15% are not “child-free” by choice: More than 10% of women reported “impaired fecundity (trouble getting pregnant),” a problem correlated with delayed marriage and postponement of attempted childbearing.
Overall, what we behold is that the actual lives women lead do not reflect feminist ideology. Despite feminist rhetoric about “empowerment” and “choice,” not all choices are equally empowered by feminism. Certainly there was no need to “empower” marriage and motherhood half a century ago, when most women were married by age 21 and women were statistically more likely to have four children than to have only two. From its inception, the radical Women’s Liberation movement (which has subsequently been labeled “second-wave” feminism) was concerned with advancing the interests of childless, unmarried women — and, indeed, with a particular subset of such women: “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice,” as Ti-Grace Atkinson famously declared.
Given the abundant evidence that women have in fact rejected feminism, the question that comes to mind is what would the lives of women — and in particular, the lives of young women — be like if two generations of Americans had not been hopelessly confused by an incessant bombardment of feminist propaganda? For while a majority of women have manifestly rejected feminism, this radical ideology has been so enthusiastically embraced by the intelligentsia that nowadays one seldom encounters any direct and articulate criticism of it. In academia, in the news media, in popular entertainment and in politics, the feminist worldview is so prevalent as to be nearly ubiquitous. Even conservative women who defend traditional marriage and motherhood usually do so in the language of “choice,” rather than speaking from the perspective either of religious authority (“male and female made he them”) or of natural biological urges (“Me Tarzan, you Jane”).
“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
– William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)
The result of pervasive feminist indoctrination — in schools, in the media, in movies and popular music and magazines — is that a majority of women have no intellectual champions willing or able to articulate their actual sentiments. Real women love real men.
Feminists may chatter endlessly in academic journals about the “social construction of gender roles,” but in reality most women are romantically attracted to (and erotically aroused by) men who are unapologetically masculine: Muscular, vigorous, assertive.
Normal women do not want men who are wimpy, passive losers. However much Scarlett O’Hara may enjoy chivalrous courtesy, it is not the indecisive Ashley Wilkes, but the passionate rogue Rhett Butler who arouses (and satisfies) her deepest longings.
Stigmatizing male sexuality as violent oppression, and denying the biological hard-wiring of women’s natural desires — “No woman is heterosexual” — feminist ideology aims to make normal women feel guilty for wanting what they want. If contraception and abortion are women’s most valuable rights, if marriage is oppressive, if “PIV is always rape” and pregnancy is a horrifying condition of victimhood, what are we to think of the woman whose desire is to be penetrated, inseminated and impregnated by her husband?
Feminists view such women with contemptuous pity, and their ideology has so pervaded our culture that women who want what all healthy women naturally want — the sublime satisfactions found in a “one flesh” union with a loving husband — are nowadays embarrassed to admit how much they want it. Lena Dunham’s apology for her heterosexuality was the tip of an iceberg of cognitive dissonance among young women: Their desires for marriage and motherhood are so widely stigmatized that they are afraid even to say that they want what they want.
Young men likewise have been confused by feminism. One reason so many young women complain about men’s aversion to romantic commitment is that feminism has led men to believe women actually prefer drifting along in vague “relationships.” Isn’t this what the Modern Independent Woman supposedly wants? Wouldn’t the commitments of marriage and motherhood interfere with her fulfillment of the feminist vision of professional careerism as destiny?
Whether or not the portrayal of Kirsten Dunst’s feminist critics is “pathetic pandering of the notion that women are crazy and overemotive,” as Professor Althouse says, many millions of women who share Dunst’s appreciation of traditional sex roles find that their preferences are seldom expressed by feminists. In other words, feminism is actually hostile to the interests of most women.
We have always known this, of course. Carolyn Graglia’s Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism is perhaps the clearest expression of the underlying conflict, and I have been recommending it to readers for many years. A lawyer by training — she graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1954 — she married her classmate Lino Graglia and both of them worked in the Justice Department during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. So much, then, for the commonplace claim by feminists that professional careers were off-limits to women prior to the advent of the Women’s Liberation movement.
Graglia keenly perceives that by the 1990s — her book was published in 1998 — the problem facing many women was that they had been deprived of the opportunity for marriage and motherhood that she had, a deprivation for which she blames feminism. Carolyn Graglia gave birth to three daughters who had no shortage of opportunity for careers (one a lawyer, one a doctor, one a teacher) but by the time they were in their 30s, only one of those daughters had married. And if you talk to young people nowadays, you find that this is by no means an uncommon situation. Whatever their difficulty in finding careers (or at least, jobs), young women are much more likely to complain about the difficulty of finding suitable men who are interested in becoming husbands.
Contrary to what Ariane Sommer may fear, there is little prospect of young women “regressing to a 1950s archetype of womanhood” for the simple reason that there are so few young men interested in, or capable of, embodying a 1950s archetype of manhood.
Yet almost no one is addressing this problem. Dr. Helen Smith’s recent book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters, is one of the few critical examinations of how the triumph of feminism has caused men to retreat from commitment and responsibility.
Of course, it takes two to tango (or, more to the point, not to tango) and no one can hold men entirely blameless for the current unhappy stalemate in the War of the Sexes. But there are no university departments of Men’s Studies where misogyny infuses the curriculum the way man-hating dominates the syllabi in Women’s Studies.
Whatever anyone says about the heteronormative patriarchy, it does not enjoy the prestige of endorsement by the intelligentsia. And this is a problem because what most women truly feel is not being given rational expression as what women think. In most cases, women are able to ignore the rhetoric of feminism, or otherwise all women would be angry Marxist lesbians. But insofar as women manage to pursue their normal and healthy desires, they do so with little or no support from those women who are presented in the media as spokeswomen for the interests of all women. As a result, these women — wives and mothers, and young women who aspire to become wives and mothers — lack access to a vocabulary that expresses their feelings, their beliefs, and their longings.
The young woman who dreams of her wedding day, the wife who looks forward to motherhood, the mother who cherishes time spent at home with her children — what does feminism have to say to these women, except to denounce them as deluded?
God’s curse upon Eve in the Garden of Eden — “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” — may seem a cruel fate, but what has been the effect of attempts to defy God’s will in this matter? Amid all the self-congratulatory feminist rhetoric about Progress and Equality, they still find no shortage of grievances to complain about. (Recently, they’ve alternated between screeching about “rape culture” and whining about the “pay gap.”) Are today’s young women really happier than were their grandmothers half a century ago? Or have feminism’s promises of Progress and Equality yielded a harvest of frustration, misery and loneliness that their grandmothers never imagined?
A Women’s Studies major is doing pornography to pay her tuition at Duke University: “Miriam Weeks’ parents thought she was a virgin before they learned she was doing porn.” Whatever problems your grandmother had, she probably didn’t have that problem.
“The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.”
– Sheila Cronan, 1988
“Male supremacy is centered on the act of sexual intercourse, justified by heterosexual practice.”
– Sheila Jeffreys, 2005
So say the feminists: Heterosexual intercourse is an expression of “male supremacy” and only lesbians are “fully feminist.” Their ideology declares that every normal woman is a victim of oppression and, by implication, the lesbians who molest teenage girls are actually “liberating” these girls from heteronormative patriarchy.
Is it unfair to call feminists the Psychotic Sisterhood? It is simply a statement of fact: They’re insane, and their war with nature offers women only Progress toward hell and Equality in damnation.