Life After Feminism?


This is a response to questions raised by commenter “truepeers” in my previous post, Utopian and Parochial — Why Western Feminism Won’t Do.

¤ …the blogosphere is a reflection of our desperate cries to speak truth and live again with honour.

Yes, the blogosphere is a virtual community born from the failure of “real” communities to meet the need for authentic connection — that is, a connection shorn of the surreal demands of political correctness.

¤ …can you imagine men and women interacting in future in ways that will not further reduce men to undignified shrews.

Do you mean that the interaction as it is now emasculates men? It turns men and women into adversaries. Or rather, being based on scarcity beliefs, men and women scramble for perceived shortages in the public sphere.

¤ How can the phallic be self-sacrificing in productive ways, and not be reduced to participation in some PC blackmail in order to get, well, laid, or otherwise reproductively used?

It is damnably difficult to be authentic in the face of the demand for “correctness” — to maintain one’s sense of true self and not die of loneliness. In this, we are like every other generation, only the outward gestures have been changed and made more lethal(a young man I know hasn’t been able to ask girls out for coffee after class without being reminded that she’s not ready for a relationship. Drinking coffee is a relationship??). But your notion of “productive self-sacrifice” is illuminating. That is what both men and women do in order to bring forth the next crop…

¤ There has always been a code of silence in feminism on the question of how women treat women.

Indeed. It’s confusing for women, too. The betrayals and back-stabbing and humiliations are as rampant in the halls of feminism as ever they were in the cells of The Party. The secrecy of these misdemeanors makes them fester all the more. Individual women are left wondering what is wrong with me rather than what is wrong with the feminist worldview, the feminist utopian faith that any group of like-minded women will, of its very nature be egalitarian and non-hierarchical. Right. But this kind of posturing is patently silly, and the reason many women are vehement in their “I’m not a feminist…” declarations.

¤ How are we to raise the young girls in our families? Feminism, old and new school, combines to promise them everything, while not necessarily offering the corresponding reality checks.

There you have it. The utopian promise and the trivial prize. Feminism, mostly middle-class with lots of leisure time, looked at life in the public square as men had fashioned it and decided that this was the worthy goal. They designed a utopia based on what they claimed to despise. Theies is a copy-cat universe, not a different one. The ludicruous feminist “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” is the outcome of such stultified thinking, so pathetic it makes one look away in embarrassment for those who buy into this.

And don’t forget,girls need fathers every bit as much as boys do. Strong fathers produce strength in their children.In The Way The World Works, Jude Wanniski dubs the Democrats and the Republicans as, respectively, the Mommy Party and the Daddy Party. The Dem/Moms want all the kids to be happy and enjoy the fruits of entitlement. Maternal love flows to the neediest of her children and she is adept at making the stronger ones “play fair” with the less-fortunate in the family. The Republican/Daddy Party wants his kids strong and competent; to him their security lies in strength and stamina. The dispiriting studies of single-parent families, of the effects of divorce, of the pernicious sequelæ of problems of aggression, anomie and suicidal gestures in many latch-key children, are telling. Families have been sold a bill of goods concerning the ability or even need to “have it all.” How narcissistic is that?

¤ If language and religion began as a male-dominated institution, as I’m sure they did…

Pooh. Language is partly in-born and partly socialization. It has a window of opportunity, just like vision does (and hearing to a lesser extent). The rare cases of feral children who are discovered after the language window closes are never able to move beyond simple words and gestures — to the heartbreak of those who work with them and hope for them.

In some cultures there are male words and female words and gender taboos are firmly in place. Our culture displays this in the greater freedom it grants men to use either profane or publicly taboo words with impunity. Might this “greater language freedom” be a male prerogative in most societies? At any rate, creoles can arise spontaneously among children of diverse languages. An example is what happened in the Hawaiian Islands: thrown together by the vicissitudes of economics — e.g., the Portuguese, English, Japanese, Chinese, etc. families who came to there in search of work — the children quickly created a patois to which the adults had no access. Born of necessity, it worked.

BTW, early on Christianity had many feminine images/ikons in its spiritual life. The church as Sophia, the Holy Spirit as a feminine spirit,etc. The early gatherings of Christians were in the homes of women who had converted to this new idea.

¤ …the need for young men to engage the frontier between the language-bound community and the outside world of warring enemies and nature.

Well, that’s what the Boy Scouts are for. Seriously. And the attempt to harm this group by the pernicious ACLU won’t kill it by any means; a working group cannot be legislated or adjudicated out of existence. To the contrary, such attempts just make the Boy Scouts stronger. Having in the last few years shepherded a young man through his Eagle Scout project (he chose to do an oral history of the remaining WWII vets in his community)one could see that the male strength and demands made on this group of boys was changing how they viewed themselves and others. Despite attempts to marginalize the Boy Scouts they flourish. A healthy Red State phenomenon, one which includes a good number of Hispanic and African American children. Black and white may attend separate churches but their Scouts meet in integrated groups.

¤ …there is some truth in the idea that conservatives “welcome” the terrorist threat…

“Welcome” as in “apprehend and appreciate” that the terrorists’ outrages are born of impotence and envy? Cain and Abel all over again. The ongoing insane and narcissistic insistence that we play nice is a Blue State, Mommy idea. These people infest the State Department. They are the ones who hold candlelight vigils as a way to express their solidarity with those who would kill them. They read everything through the prism of innocent victimhood. They pronounce “forgiveness” of atrocities without consulting the victims. Their demand to remain bystanders at their own funerals beggars belief.

¤ But if men have it bad in this respect, arguably women can have it even worse.

No, we’re all in this together. But Freud was right: biology is destiny. Would that the feminists could accept this fact of difference, rather than attempt to silence whomever would put it forth for debate. There will be a post on this in the near future.

¤ The feminists may be taking over the humanities in the universities but if you were to send your young women to them, wouldn’t that be like giving them a prolonged initiation into a tribe with no reality checks, self-righteously reproducing the utopian dogma of the sisterhood?

Agreed. But that’s why I tiptoe away from people who send their children to these ghettoes. The gulf between our realities is so wide that no bridge is wide enough to span it. At some point, argument is a waste of resources.

¤ So how do we raise our young boys and girls to be worthy of each other in a world in which they are not simply consumers for the nanny state…?

You’ll be sorry you asked.

  • First thing to do is get rid of TV. Keep a VCR/DVD player and monitor on hand for worthy movies, of which there are many. The good films go almost immediately to DVD anyway.
  • Second, refuse to purchase name brand things without a good reason. “Everybody has one” is not a good enough reason.
  • Third, question any acquisition you make — all those gimmicks you didn’t know you needed until you saw them. Unless you work in emergency medicine, cell phones fall into that category.
  • Four, live below your means. But don’t tell anyone.
  • Five, give to charity unfailingly, not just in the heat of the latest disaster.
  • Six, do some kind of community work and make sure the children do also.
  • Seven, make sure your children are as musically and aesthetically and spiritually literate as they are with language.
  • Eight, make sure they learn another language with enough depth to compare it to their own.
  • Nine, spend time with them: listen, observe, respond, let them laugh at you. Read humor stories to them. Develop any silliness genes they might have.
  • Ten, and maybe most important for their safety, teach them to say “no” by permitting them to refuse you when it’s not a crucial matter. Believe it or not, a little one who can say “no” to Dad is a safer child, one who can refuse what strangers want because their critical faculties have been developed in their interactions with you.

The Ten Commandments of Parenting, as handed down from the mountain by Dymphna.

5 thoughts on “Life After Feminism?

  1. Thanks, as a father of a two year old and a one year old I enjoyed reading that. Unfortunately no girls though.

  2. Dymphna, i would like to add some observations based on the way I was raised.
    Chores are important. Give your child resposibility. Caring for a pet is the best, even if it is only a turtle. This teaches empathy, responsibilty, and observation.
    Treat your daughters and sons the same, as much as you can, no excuses, no gender stereotyping. I was raised with five brothers and the belief that i could choose any career is deeply basic to me.
    Don’t allow your child to be pushed early into adulthood. I’ve seen 10 year old girls tricked out like streetwalkers with thong underwear and make-up.
    Feminism is a lie. No one can have it all. Feminists place an unrealizable and unfair burden on working mothers. As soon as we stop trying to legislate biology, we’ll all be a lot happier.

  3. Yes, Summers lost altitude when he bactracked on his reasonable remarks. Do that with an adversary driven by doctrine and you’re gone. Feminists seem particularly blind to any view of reality other than their own. As I said, narcississtic. Here’s the whole point of the debate, a point that cannot be heard over the screaming fems:
    …when discussing the number of PhDs in math and science at Harvard, the relevant question is not “do males and females do equally well at math?” but instead “which gender tends to congregate at the very top one half of one percent in math?


    However, scream loud enough and people pay attention to the noise rather than the issue.

    jinni said:

    Chores are important. Give your child resposibility. Caring for a pet is the best, even if it is only a turtle. This teaches empathy, responsibilty, and observation.

    With the proviso that the child *asks* for a particular pet, I’d agree. And as long as the parent realizes how unrealistic a child’s promise will be. After swearing to ‘always’ take care of Henry the turtle…well, it’s hard to remember your promises when you’re six. Besides, empathy, responsibility and observation can come from anywhere–e.g., putting up with an ageing relative, doing community work, helping out with younger sibs, etc. Children need to know they can survive being bored. And they do best in an environment where their contribution is seen as necessary and important. We haven’t set that up too well in our culture and it seems to be getting worse as the time it takes to get credentialized has lengthened to inhumane levels. Thank God for IT–one of the few places left where what you can do is valued over what you have in the way of documentation.

    Treat your daughters and sons the same, as much as you can, no excuses, no gender stereotyping. I was raised with five brothers and the belief that i could choose any career is deeply basic to me.

    I’m not sure that’s possible–the “same,” I mean. As a mother, I was a different person to each of my children as each arrived in our family at different times. Growing up in a large family is a blessing, though, and knowing that you can choose any career is important.

    Equally important is the realization of the limits of biology. Unfortunately, Freud was right: biology *is* destiny. The Israelis learned this when they integrated women in fighting units. Our forces are running aground on the same shore in the Iraqi war.

    Women in a unit mess up the bonding that has to happen among members of a fighting unit. We’ve essentially got two genetically-driven behaviors here, agression and mating.They don’t mix. Or, rather, when they do the result is confusion and often violence, not to mention a vulnerable unit.

    Don’t allow your child to be pushed early into adulthood. I’ve seen 10 year old girls tricked out like streetwalkers with thong underwear and make-up.

    Every day brings new examples of this. What parent is letting a ten-year old make such decisions? It’s interesting that those who attain fame through being famous seem to be, shall we say…wardrobe challenged?? From the wife-beater t-shirts on the men to the tatty remainders on the women, definitely a deviant group.

    Feminism is a lie. No one can have it all. Feminists place an unrealizable and unfair burden on working mothers. As soon as we stop trying to legislate biology, we’ll all be a lot happier.

    You’re right. Fortunately, your generation is coming along, hanging on to that particular pendulum is slowing it down. Hope one of you gets elected soon and does away with Title IX sports programs and all the other trivial ‘accomplishments’ that have done so much damage to men and women.

    The original feminists would be appalled at what their descendants have foisted upon us.

  4. I discussed some of these points off line with Dymphna. I’d like to relate a further comment on the Summers silliness. I asked the opinion of a historian of science who said, well, there are feminine men, and masculine women, and whatever the bell curves, you cannot prejudge anyone’s capability based on average performance by sex, or uneven sex distribution among high performers. You just have to let kids compete and find where their talents lie. Reasonable, no? Except in military combat roles – I entirely agree with D. there. (This may be where the great crime lies in our universities today: the substitution of victimary logics and inflated grades for frank, intelligent and honest competition; the denial of reality checks can hurt people deeply. But this is always the crime. I imagine the denial of emergent reality is less a reflection of the “logic” of leftist ideology, than than the sneeking suspicion of the ideological that they would be revealed as fools if there were free and open in-your-face competition in ideas; but such competition could never be fully institutionalized; victimary ideologies thus become a self-reinforcing crutch. The pragmatic needs of the in-group generally overrule the need for truth about the system as a whole. So how, or should, we raise kids to risk ostracism in search of more encompassing paradigms that institutional in-players would prefer to ignore?)

    I asked my historian for an example of women doing well in an abstract, mathematical, and theoretical science, and she mentioned crystallography as a field where women were once prominent, a field largely eroded by the arrival of computers, I understand. So I wonder how accurate she was when she argued that crystallography was highly theoretical. She also mentioned that there used to be a career for women in research universities, as “computers”, i.e. doing routine calculations before the days of computing machines. They had a status comparable to secretaries.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d mention these observations, for while I believe that we are shaped by biology, we barely know how; and then there’s the whole other question of how we are shaped by language that needs much more attention, or liberation from the political correctness and social scientific silliness that dominates anthropology and linguistics departments…

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