My colleague Leslie Loftis makes some excellent points in her latest response in our ongoing dialogue about revamping the feminist movement in America. Regarding the Lean In wing of the movement, Leslie is humorously spot on in her comment, “We ape men and then claim that we do it better.” However, I do take some issue with a few of Leslie’s conclusions: “That’s what reproductive control absolutism is about, negating biology so we can live like men,” and ” there is nothing that we on the Right can do about this culture war bullhorn problem.”
Leslie’s observations are illustrative of the Right’s ability to focus on the battles within the culture war (or, as Whittaker Chambers so aptly referred to them, symptoms of our cultural crisis) while completely losing focus on the war itself. My position is simple: We must focus, loudly, on the war itself and use the battles within to promote the facts bolstering the truth. To illustrate, I’ll begin by addressing Leslie’s comment, “So in Susan’s “brains, not boobs” terms, I submit a more inclusive and realistic, brains and boobs.”
The greatest challenge we face is the fact that American women, by virtue of the “War on Women” battle, believe themselves to be stuck in their gender. They can’t see themselves as anything but an on-screen goddess or, as Leslie pointed out in her original argument, a real-life slave to a corporation, to a marriage, to children, or to all of the above. Which is why I question her use of the fact that Mary Wollstonecraft died in childbirth. In this case I’m not exactly sure how that relates to rebuilding feminism as much as it plays into the left’s ideology of the ills of womanhood. Embrace your endocrinology for all it is worth, but don’t fall into the trap of believing that your body is a prison cell for which death is the only escape.
This is where the Right must acknowledge that the nomenklatura of cultural Marxists have done an amazing job of framing of the body as a human being’s only object of worth. We must also reason that truthfully, when you have no God and reject the concept of a soul and eternal life, you have nothing else to fall back on but the body. This demoralization has led to a variety of ideological misnomers, including the ultimate lie of the War on Women: the framing of the female body as a prison to be manipulated, abused, and ultimately destroyed.
Continue the cultural Marxist thread of belief and you realize the War on Women has nothing to do with pro-life versus pro-choice and everything to do with the fact that the Left views both women and men as carnal beasts incapable of making intelligent choices that suit the best interests of the state. The only equality granted by the war’s generals to women is the belief that they are insatiable sexual beasts, presumably just like men. Therefore, the government must be able to control what the individual cannot: their ability to reproduce. But the generals in the War on Women can’t allow you to know they think you’re a moron, so they come up with penumbratic rights to abortion and government-backed funding for condoms, birth control, and morning-after pills on demand, framing themselves as the heroes supporting your “civil right” to sex on demand.
Folks wondered why Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old college student, was allowed to become the spokeswoman for government-backed birth control under the banner of feminism. Why not? The disheveled, disorganized, unemployed academic demanding free birth control is the perfect illustration for the core argument driving the War on Women: You’re a brilliant female law student with a million responsibilities (*ahem* moron who can’t make good choices or control her body), so don’t worry; Nanny State is
in charge here to protect your rights!
“The real reason abortion is legal in America? The Left thinks you can’t control your own vagina.” Stick that slogan on a poster and see how many women re-think their feminist mantras. Or, keep getting caught up defending the “right to life” as the Left aggressively attacks women on the issue of abortion. The choice is simple: Allow ourselves to be trapped like rats in a cage in the frame constructed around us, or jump outside the frame, draw attention to it, and call it like it is. Leslie cites two great articles by Jonah Goldberg and Ben Domenech that address symptoms of the crisis, but never actually name the crisis itself. We aren’t confronting this issue or that case, we are confronting a Marxist ideology that aggressively frames the way our culture thinks about women, the Right, and everything else. We must call out this act of nomenklatura framing boldly and unequivocally without getting bogged down in case law or issue-based ideology.
The crux of my colleague’s argument is that pro-life feminists have been maligned in the mainstream media to such an extent that we must go about quietly doing our own work to promote the cause of female equality. This argument is both ineffectual and contradictory. It allows the mischaracterization of pro-life feminists to continue unabated. Moreover, it justifies the embrace of the stereotypical quiet, complacent female that bows in the face of injustice. But the number one reason why this strategy is unacceptable: It allows us to continue addressing the symptoms while the Crisis of Feminist Nomenklatura Framing continues, unabated.
Leslie writes “we aren’t the aggressors in the culture wars.” My response to that is, why not? Conservatism 2.0 conquered the Soviet Union — and conservatives, much like the Brits in 1946 who reasoned the war was over, got lazy. Culturally they succumbed to political correctness and all that Marxism entails, masked with a liberal face. Obama is in office. The masks are gone. Socialism is cool now. We must not allow ourselves to sit quietly while we are framed into an alternate reality that we constantly attempt to patch ourselves out of on an issue-by-issue basis. By all means, Leslie is right in that we must lead; I’m simply arguing that we must do it in an offensive, not a defensive, fashion.
The question becomes, how do we address the problem of Marxist feminist framing in a way that makes sense to a brainwashed generation? And how do we include all women, not just the ones with money and time on their hands? Mallika Sherawat and the Bush Foundation are great examples of what fame and money can accomplish. But, what about the unaffiliated and the unknown? With a bevvy of global community tools at our use (including the one you’re currently reading) we have the ability to reach across political and economic spectra with the truth. How do we present the truth effectively so that it makes sense to a world whose minds have been framed to think otherwise?