Dear President Obama,
Last week you became the first commander-in-chief to declare yourself a feminist. Using Glamour as a podium, you called on all Americans — men in particular — to become feminists, and even boasted about having taught your daughters to expect the men they love to be feminists.
You’re free to call yourself anything you like. But you’re not free to lie to the American people.
You wrote that 21st century feminism “is about the idea that everybody is equal.” That is not what it is about. Twenty-first century feminism is a left-wing ideology that insists American women are oppressed by men and by societal constructs (marriage and motherhood, namely) and as a result need government to liberate them.
That worldview may sit well with you, but it fails to resonate with the majority of Americans.
I can see how you’d fall for the “women are victims” meme given that, as you pointed out in your article, you never had a dad and thus had no model for healthy masculinity. Most women become feminists as a result of having had absentee fathers or unhappy mothers who fed their daughters a steady diet of negativity about men — which clearly makes them feminist prey.
That’s what feminists do: feed off women’s unfortunate circumstances by insisting they’re victims rather than fully competent agents capable of managing their own lives. Then they devise a government-financed plan to “help” said women, pretend the plan is a benefit for society, and give it sympathetic labeling to make the policies sound benign — such as “early childhood education,” “reproductive rights,” etc.
Equal pay for equal work is another example of a seemingly innocuous plan. In fact, your insistence that women are discriminated against because they “make 77 cents for every dollar a man” is specious at best. For one thing, equal pay for equal work has been U.S. law since 1963 and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Second, there’s a perfectly good explanation for why women don’t make as much money as men. No man or woman rises to high-income ranks on a forty-hour week. Any successful doctor, lawyer, business executive, or even politician has spent years working nights and weekends, bringing home briefcases bulging with work and serving clients or customers in a steady stream outside of office hours. These folks have paid a big price for their career and financial success. For any man or woman who chooses that life, there is plenty of room at the top.
Indeed, women who remain single and childless, stay in the labor force, and work long hours earn more than men.
It is only married men who make more than married women — because most women freely choose to take time out to care for their children, or they choose to cut back their hours, or they refuse to take the dangerous and unpleasant jobs men take to support their families. That you don’t like these choices is beside the point.
Besides, if it were true that businesses get away with paying women less than men for the same work, then employers would hire only or mostly women. Would they not?
Or are you suggesting male employers are so threatened by women they would rather bring in less revenue just so they can pal around with other men? Because that’s pretty much what you implied. “We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women,” you wrote.
Men are not threatened by the presence and success of women. On the contrary, male employers go out of their way to incentivize women to remain at work after the birth of a child. But they can’t make women stay, nor should they.
And nor should you. After all, Mr. President, someone has to rock the cradle. And I, for one, am grateful for mothers who do.
I’m sorry you’ve been conditioned by the women in your lives to see this choice as a bad one. Referring to the time when your children were young, you said you were often away from home for work and that because of your schedule, the “burden” of caring for your girls fell to your wife.
Newsflash: most Americans don’t view taking care of their children as a burden.
According to “Necessary Compromises,” a report from Public Agenda, most parents of young children feel they are responsible for their children’s care “and few voice resentment about career or financial trade-offs they may make during their children’s early years.”
It’s only feminists who are mired in resentment. They resent that most women put family first because it keeps feminists from succeeding in their goal to have women running the world.
That’s no exaggeration. Just last year Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said this to Gwen Ifill: “People ask me sometimes, when will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is, when there are nine.”
So before you talk about feminism as a mindset that any normal, fair-minded person would adopt, you might tell the American people exactly what it is you’re asking them to support.
Oh, right: you can’t do that. Otherwise not enough people will jump on board.