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Part I, by Leslie Loftis on November 14: Can We Rebrand Feminism?
Part II, by Susan L.M. Goldberg on November 20: Feminism Doesn’t Need Re-Branding, It Needs a Revolution
Part III, by Leslie Loftis on November 27: How to Overcome the Looming Feminist Collapse
Part IV, by Susan L.M. Goldberg on December 3: Brains Not Boobs: Re-Formulating for Feminist Success
Continuing the “What To Do About Feminism” series, I’m with Susan that we should aim to secure equal education for women, to be followed by equal opportunities. To that end, the video embedded above should be what modern feminism does.
Frankly, my root point in this whole series is that women still need to fight and women of the Right will have to be the ones to do it, feminist label not withstanding. This isn’t new. Susan linked to an insightful Camille Paglia article from 2008 about how feminist history has insufficiently acknowledged how much it owes to capitalism, the industrial revolution, and religion. Until the 1970s, it was a diverse movement. Any call to embrace feminism’s powerful history, must recognize that it was effective when it was diverse, and furthermore — how it was diverse — with women on the Right.
Feminism is all but dead now because when Gloria Steinem and her acolytes took over the movement in the 70s and expelled the Right, they ironically turned modern feminists from pro-woman to pro-man. Regardless of what they say against men or for women, they implicitly accept that the man’s ways are the better ways. We can see this in the “lean in” professional pressure to keep a man’s career timeline and our preference for beat-’em-up heroines. We ape men and then claim that we do it better.
That’s what reproductive control absolutism is about, negating biology so we can live like men. Even if one doesn’t think it foolish, it can’t be done. And I worry that the alliterative “brains, not boobs” buys into a little of this biology denial. We can and should stress education and opportunity, but we will always be at the mercy of our biology. The Mary Wollstonecraft who Susan quoted for the proposition that women only seek control over themselves? She died in childbirth. Control over ourselves will only come with knowledge and acceptance of our biology. As Camille Paglia put it in a passage I can’t currently place, any higher education women’s study program should require at least a course in female endocrinology. So in Susan’s “brains, not boobs” terms, I submit a more inclusive and realistic, brains and boobs.
I also think Susan makes a common and fundamental error about the culture wars:
The moronic War on Women has nothing to do with genitalia and everything to do with quashing the threat of female intellect. Instead of driving this point home, the right’s bullhorn is monopolized with shouts about the evils of abortion.
We aren’t the aggressors in the culture wars.
The right’s bullhorn isn’t “monopolized by shouts about the evils of abortion”. It seems that way because the media hypes any statement and ignores other topics. Not that our politicians are masterfully handling the issue, but we could go completely silent on the issue of abortion, and be accused of something sinister in the lack of noise. Abortion and “War on Women” rhetoric is simply one of the left’s most effective plays—although such issues seem to have a shelf life.
Jonah Goldberg has written on the culture war aggressors often. Ben Domenech has noted a potential religious freedom threat. The recent wedding cake case is but one example. I stumbled onto a typical slight the other day. Apparently iTunes thinks that Luke 2 is mythology. (See picture above) Or watch the Duck Dynasty and A&E story. We are on defense.
We are cast as the aggressors because it makes sense to the Left to do so. It’s actually projection. They habitually exclude any doctrine or practices they don’t approve of. As we’ve discussed, (language warning) feminists shun pro-life feminists, for instance. The left sees no distinction between acceptance and endorsement or assumes that acceptance requires endorsement, whereas for the right, acceptance and endorsement are separate issues.
Mashing the two concepts sounds nice, but in practice endorsement becomes the standard. When simple acceptance gets swallowed up then it is then easy to classify people as good or bad, which then leads to intolerance by those claiming to be tolerant. Besides the hypocrisy, it doesn’t serve us very well. If I had to approve of everything my neighbors did to be friends with them, then I would be very lonely and likely to hide rather than accept, confront, or reform uncomfortable truths about myself.
Lead by Example
While people still believe the legacy media, there is nothing that we on the Right can do about this culture war bullhorn problem but get on with the work that needs to be done. Some will eventually see that despite what they hear, we are the ones who are actually working for women. We will have to work harder, faster, and better and slowly erode the War on Women pundit pushers’ credibility.
That’s how we will “prevent our voices from getting lost in the echo chamber of the conversation.” We will use our actions more than our voices. We will lead by example rather than boss women around as the current high profile feminists do.
Women might find it refreshing. We are tired of being programmed. As Susan aptly noted about young women,
“[they]are petrified of an ideology – any ideology – that requires them to put another person’s needs above their own. They’ve been programmed out of motherhood and all that entails.”
I quite agree. When we have children, the shock hits. We realize, belatedly, that we have been programmed out of motherhood. We experience the lack of the community instinct to help each other because all of us, men and women, have gotten too caught up in our profession and technology. But I see women starting to look to each other for solutions. In this environment, leading by example can do a lot of quiet work. And it’s all we’ve got. Susan, if you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.