The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

War Against Human Nature: Radical Feminism’s Anti-Maternal Rage

Posted on | August 23, 2015 | 61 Comments

(This afternoon, my wife and I will be attending a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, who is eight months pregnant with our second grandson. Because this places constraints on my time, the following discussion will consist of observations and assertions that are not fully supported by quotes or citations. It may therefore seem to some readers that this discussion is just me being an opinionated know-it-all engaged in “mansplaining.” Or it may seem that I am over-generalizing from anecdotal examples, as if I am offering a universal single-factor explanation of feminism, which could be thus refuted by citing counter-examples that point to other factors. However, this is not my intention. I have never contended that feminism is a one-size-fits-all phenomenon, and that is not what I’m trying to argue here. Instead, I am pointing to a certain distinct phenomenon, that has attracted too little attention in the study of feminism. Anyway, there won’t be a lot of links and quotes here, and I wanted to explain that this is simply because I’m in a hurry to get to that baby shower. Thanks. — RSM)

Guys often react to the rants of angry young feminists with a two-word explanation: “Daddy issues.” Having spent more than a year researching radical feminism, however, I always point out that many feminists have even worse “Mommy issues.”

You discern this, for example, in Andrea Dworkin’s account of her own youth. She didn’t much seem to mind her father, who worked very hard to support their family, but expressed contempt for her mother. It is easy to find similar expressions of anti-maternal resentments in the autobiographical writings of other feminists. Either the mother is presented as a pathetic figure — weak, ineffective, dominated or brutalized by the father — or else the mother is domineering and manipulative, trying to force her rebellious daughter to comply with a socially approved gender role that the young feminist rejects. From the daughter’s perspective, the mother’s life is unworthy. She rejects her mother as role model, and this refusal to emulate her mother becomes the emotional fuel of the daughter’s feminist politics.

How else can we explain Amanda Marcotte’s rage against babies as “loud and smell and . . . . demanding . . . time-sucking monsters”? If children are such a burden that she cannot be expected to tolerate them, what does this say of her mother? Was it stupid of Mrs. Marcotte to put up with loud, smelly, demanding Baby Amanda? Such a vehement rejection of motherhood — a profound and implacable hatred of children — strikes most people as so strange that we presume it must have very deep psychological origins. We need not disparage childless women, per se, in order to perceive something weird about the woman who angrily denounces the entire idea of motherhood as repugnant. Yet feminists quite routinely express this in extreme terms:

when people shame women who don’t want children it makes me so f–king mad
I have been told since I was a child, A CHILD, that I was going to be a mother because it is just expected of me because I am a female. And I’ve never in my life wanted children. I got so tired of hearing “your mind will change when you’re older and more mature and woman-like ” as if it’s a right of passage to womanhood to have a child and you are otherwise not a woman. Young girls are taught more of woman=mother than boys are ever taught that man=father. Even in play girls are taught to play with baby dolls and play house and to play nice and gentle and be nurturing while boys roughhouse and learn sports. They are raising young girls with the idea that children are always a part of the female experience.
Being someone who does not want children myself I have been called a child hater and told that I am less caring and loving than other women, almost as if I am heartless for not wanting to reproduce. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I was 14 when my mom started pressuring me to start thinking about kids in my future. Only 14! And that very next year I found out I was infertile and had no chance of reproduction anyways. I was supposed to be distraught and sad but I was honestly RELIEVED to finally have a way out of the social pressure put on me because it was that bad. . . .

That anti-motherhood rant got hundreds of notes on Feminist Tumblr, including this one:

Personally. I’ve never wanted children. I don’t want children. My parents are disgusted that I am in a relationship with a Man who can’t have children due to a vasectomy. . . .
I found out about a year ago that my body doesent work normally in a reproductive sense. And should I wish to have kids I will have to undergo expensive IVF hormone treatments to “Force” my body to ovulate.
Yet I still maintain. I don’t want kids.
I’m not the least bit maternal. I have no broody feelings towards babies.

Grant that there are mothers who are also feminists. Yet the more closely you pay attention to the feminist movement, the more you notice how this anti-maternal sentiment provides so much of the energy of activists. The fanatical devotion to abortion — or, I’m sorry, choice — is merely the tip of this psychological iceberg of rage. It is as if these women are in rebellion against the simple realities of reproductive biology, a rejection of their own womanhood that could actually reflect hormonal abnormality. Notice that both of the women quoted above declared a lack of emotional capacity for motherhood even before they discovered their lack of a biological capacity for motherhood.

Well, I could make a lot of other observations about this phenomenon, but that’s probably enough to stir the pot for now, and I don’t have time to write a lot more now. Gotta get ready for that baby shower.

UPDATE: Back from the baby shower. It’s really kind of weird to go from confronting feminism — constant anger and craziness — to just hanging around with normal young people. (OK, more or less normal young people, considering that we’re talking about my son and his friends.) There were seven women in their early 20s at this party, none of whom mentioned being oppressed by the patriarchy. Maybe they are oppressed and just don’t realize it? “False consciousness”?