The Other McCain

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Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism and the Ultimate Failure of All Feminism

Posted on | March 2, 2017 | 1 Comment

“We want to end gender inequality — and to do that we need everyone to be involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. . . . I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
Emma Watson, Sept. 20, 2014

In the fall of 2014, actress Emma Watson went to the United Nations to announce the “He for She” campaign, aimed at encouraging men to support feminism. The timing of this event was not coincidental, nor was it a coincidence that Ms. Watson was chosen to lead this initiative.

From age 10 to 21, Ms. Watson portrayed the heroic Hermione Granger in the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter children’s fantasy novels. Tens of millions of young people grew up cheering for Ms. Watson in movie theaters, and if anyone could mobilize youth in favor of feminism, she was the one who could do it. However, almost no one at the time asked the obvious question: Why? Or rather, why now?

Why had the United Nations decided to launch this project? Why was it considered necessary, in 2014, to “rebrand” feminism as a movement that men should support, with Ms. Watson as the spokeswoman? Why was the U.N. leadership concerned that feminism was considered “man-hating”? Why did six months elapse between Ms. Watson’s appointment as “ambassador” for this U.N. project and her September 2014 speech? Ms. Watson asserted that this was her own idea, because “my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word,” because feminists “are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive,” leading her to ask, “Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?” Had anyone ever said any such thing about Ms. Watson? Or did she have in mind someone else who might be affected by this negative perception of feminism? And if so, who?

 

A week before Ms. Watson’s United Nations speech, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at an event in Iowa, where she urged a crowd of 5,000 Democrat activists to “get excited” about the 2014 midterm elections that were coming up in November. Six years earlier, Ms. Clinton’s presidential campaign had been derailed when she lost the 2008 Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama, and political observers viewed her September 2014 return to Iowa as the first harbinger of her planned 2016 White House bid. “It’s really great to be back,” Ms. Clinton concluded her speech in Indianola, Iowa. “Let’s not let another seven years go by.”

Well, this timing was merely a coincidence, we are supposed to believe. You might be labeled a conspiracy theorist if you suggested that the former Secretary of State’s forthcoming presidential campaign was being so carefully planned that, in March 2014, the United Nations would have chosen the popular young Harry Potter” star Emma Watson to lead a project to rebrand feminism as “gender equality” in a speech six months later. This was merely a coincidence, in the same way that Wendy Davis’s 2014 campaign for Texas governor was a coincidence, and also, it was a coincidence that Beyoncé Knowles used a gigantic lighted “FEMINIST” sign in her performance at the August 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.

 

 

Many years ago, in the late 1990s, I had a very interesting conversation with an older gentleman whose involvement in the conservative movement dated back as far as the 1964 Goldwater campaign. This man was well-acquainted with the John Birch Society and its theories of a global communist conspiracy to subvert the U.S. government through a conspiracy of elite “insiders,” et cetera. The JBS has always opposed the U.N. as a threat to American sovereignty and, long before anyone heard of the billionaire left-winger George Soros, Birchers warned that tax-exempt foundations were part of this anti-American conspiracy. When I found myself talking to a longtime conservative operative in late 1998 or 1999, we were discussing the coordinated effort to protect Bill Clinton from the consequences of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Anyone who witnessed this operation at close range — as did I, as a recently hired assistant national editor at The Washington Times — had to be impressed by the evidence of a vast liberal Establishment in the media, in academia and in other major institutions, which waged a crusade to rescue Clinton’s presidency. Somehow, I remarked to this older gentleman, it looked very much like the kind of conspiracy the Birchers had long warned about.

“It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a consensus,” the man said. “All these people went to the same schools — Yale, Harvard and so forth. Liberals all read the same books and magazines and they have the same basic opinions. So they’re all working toward the same goals, and they communicate with each other and plan these things, but it’s not any kind of super-secret centrally coordinated thing like the KGB or the Comintern.”

This liberal consensus sometimes does look like a conspiracy, especially when we see leaked memos showing how the media, the DNC and the Clinton campaign all worked to help Hillary win the nomination and then tried to help her win the election. However, this just reflects the consensus among insiders that they were “on the right side of history,” and that after the first black president, now it was time for the first female president. This consensus — “I’m with her,” as the Clinton campaign slogan phrased it — was apparent among liberals almost as soon as Obama was re-elected in 2012. One key to Obama’s re-election was the claim that Mitt Romney and the Republicans were waging a “war on women,” and Obama won with the largest “gender gap” ever recorded by Gallup. Leveraging the Democrats’ advantage among women voters was an obvious strategy for the 2016 Clinton campaign, but one problem was that polls showed a very negative perception of Hillary among independent “swing” voters. Especially among blue-collar voters, older voters and married women, as Emma Watson said, feminism was “an unpopular word” with connotations of “man-hating.”

The key to overcoming this was to maximize support for Clinton among college-educated women and younger voters. Does anyone believe the effort at “rebranding” feminism that became apparent in 2014 was merely a coincidence? We have no clear proof that there was active coordination between the Clinton campaign and the United Nations (or Beyoncé), but as Hillary herself once said, if you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you know it didn’t crawl up there by itself.

So, what sort of feminism was Emma Watson promoting at the U.N.? A lesbian feminist blogger (phonaesthetica.com) discussed this in 2014:

Let’s clarify, once more, the differences between radical and liberal feminism.
Liberal feminism asserts that women’s liberation comes through equality with men, and therefore positions men as a benchmark, the “best possible case,” the default setting, the gold standard, the brass ring — if only to be respected like a man, if only to be paid like a man, or to be free to “choose pornography” or f–k anything that moves like a man. In liberal feminism, male is aspirational.
In liberal feminism, society itself isn’t broken, we just need to learn how to better exist within it — like men.
Radical feminism, on the other hand, understands that if you polish a turd, it’s still a turd. Radical feminism posits that the system itself is broken and the game is rigged. . . . Radical feminism is not concerned with appealing to males, or with making males feel comfortable, because radical feminists believe feminism should be a movement that prioritizes women, and that works to address and dismantle systems that contribute to female oppression — even when it makes men uncomfortable or angry, or divests them of some of their power. . . .
This Emma-Watson-at-the-UN speech has been making the rounds on the internets, and I finally had a listen. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything radical, anything revolutionary, anything that challenged the dominant paradigms. Which saved me from disappointment, because it wasn’t there.
Watson was at the UN to promote a new campaign, called “He for She” — which is basically about reassuring men that feminists don’t hate them and that they should care about things like child marriage and rape because, um, gender can hurt men too. . . .
Feminism should be unattractive to men, because men benefit from women’s oppression — from the theft of our labor as well as sexual and reproductive resources.

You can read the rest of that, but the real point is this: Feminism is about changing “society” — “the system itself” — and the difference between liberal feminism and radical feminism is basically one of attitude. Whereas the liberal feminist expects men to support changes to “society” intended to benefit women, radical feminists are openly hostile to “the system itself” and do not care about men’s reaction.

It’s like the difference between democratic socialists and Bolsheviks. All socialists are against private property and profit-making business, but democratic socialist sought to win elections and use the lawful authority of existing government to abolish capitalism, whereas the Bolsheviks advocated armed revolution to seize power. (Lenin’s The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky elucidates this distinction.) All feminists are in favor of “gender equality,” but the liberal feminist simply seeks to enact laws to “reform” the existing system, whereas the radical feminist believes “the system itself” must be destroyed.

However, liberal and radical feminism are both based on the same essential flaw, i.e., the collectivist premise that all women share a common interest as victims of male “oppression,” and believe that society may be changed in ways that will benefit all women, as a class. Yet there are at any given time, whatever the existing social system may be, some women who are more successful and happy than others. The interests of these women might be harmed by the “reforms” which liberal feminists seek to implement, and certainly successful women could be expected to oppose the kind of social destruction that radical feminists advocate.

The collective ideology of feminism disregards not only women’s differing individual interests, but also their different moral values. Most feminists are atheists, and reject Judeo-Christian religious morality. Traditional Christian belief defends marriage, while condemning abortion and homosexual behavior, whereas the feminist movement is anti-marriage, pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality. Feminists are against everything the Christian woman values most. Professor Mary Daly actually called the feminist movement “anti-Christ,” denouncing Jesus as a male supremacist “myth” (see “The Radical Theology of Feminism”). It can scarcely be expected that devout Catholics would support a movement that endorses abortion, nor can fundamentalist Protestant women be expected to support a movement that promotes homosexuality.

After the 2016 election, everyone noted the exit polls showing that 52% of white women voted for Donald Trump, but less attention was paid to religion. Of those who attended church at least once a week, 55% voted for Trump, whereas 62% of those who never attend church voted for Clinton. Trump got 56% of Protestants and 50% of Catholic voters, whereas Clinton got 67% among those with “no religion.”

The biggest problem with feminism, however, is that its ideology discourages marriage and motherhood (see “Anti-Marriage and Anti-Motherhood: Feminism’s War Against the Family”). All feminism is ultimately anti-male, viewing men as enemies who perpetrate oppression against women and benefit from unjust “privilege.” This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for feminists to reconcile their ideology with heterosexual relationships. Declaring that “marriage constitutes slavery for women” (Sheila Cronan, 1970), feminists have vowed “to destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family” (Andrea Dworkin, 1974), condemning heterosexuality as the “subjugation of women by means of a phallocentric sexuality” (Denise Thompson, 1980) because heterosexuality is “a socially constructed institution which structures and maintains male domination” (Diane Richardson, 2000).  The feminist belief that marriage is “slavery,” that male-female relationships are characterized by women’s “subjugation” under “male domination,” leads feminists to eschew such relationships, and thereby forego any benefit they might derive from having husbands and families. Thus, women who have husbands and children are living in contradiction to feminist ideology even if they call themselves “feminists.”

The more committed a woman is to feminism, the less likely she is to have children, and vice-versa, so that the feminist movement is at a distinct demographic disadvantage vis-a-vis feminism’s opponents. This has widespread consequences because, insofar as feminism “succeeds” (i.e., gaining social and political influence), it tends to discourage marriage and depress the birth rate,  so that fewer children are born overall, but an increasing percentage of children are raised in fatherless homes. In the United States, about 40% of children are born to unmarried women, and the overall birth rate is below so-called replacement level. Therefore, feminism’s “success” in America means that fewer children are born to American women, and more of the children who are born will grow up without the socio-economic advantages of a married-parent household. This demographic trend is simply unsustainable and, to quote Herb Stein, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Emma Watson supports “reproductive rights” — a feminist euphemism for abortion — and her hero is Gloria Steinem who is most famous for saying “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Why did her feminism “become synonymous with man-hating”? Because it always does, and maybe some day Emma Watson will admit it.




 

 

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