Recently I read in CounterPunch two feminist rants against men. Not all men, just white heterosexual men. It is not always easy for a male of my generation to understand what feminists are saying, but I try. One seems to be saying that women live in a society that puts in power men who believe that violence against women is acceptable. Elevating her accusation to a fact, the writer says that women should not have to prove their case when they bring sexual harassment and assault charges, much less prove their “personal validity to even be making a case against a man.”
Is the writer saying that any irate woman should have the right to inpugn a man with an unchallenged charge? Do men and American society believe that violence against women is acceptable? I think not, unless the violence is committed by police. Americans seem to accept police violence against men, women, children, the handicapped, and the family dog.
The other writer says women have to sell themselves to live. She, despite a degree from a prestigeous university, went to work as a stripper, lap dancer, and apparently as a prostitute. She blames men for her poor decisions.
To be clear, I sympathize with anyone who finds themselves in the position that survival requires the sacrifice of their self-esteem. This happens to people everywhere all over the world. It is not an unique experience of women.
The woman who was a stripper writes that “what I learned in the strip club taught me more about the realities of being a woman in the 21st century than anything else has done.” It was there, she writes, that she learned that her handicaps in life were her intelligence and sharp tongue, and “that while men dictated the terms of my existence, women were complicit in maintaining systemic inequality.” Complicit women, she writes, sliced off parts of her soul just as did men.
What caught my attention was her reference to “being a woman in the 21st century.” How different that is from being a woman in the pre-feminist era that I experienced. It was feminists who denounced men for putting women on a pedestal and worshiping them. The inculcated respect that men showed women, doffing their hats in their presence, standing when women entered the room, opening doors for them, helping to seat them at tables, never using a four-letter word in their presence, and never ever striking a woman, an action that would isolate a man and deprive him of male friends.
In my day, no one struck a woman. It was beyond the pale.
It was the feminists who said that putting women on a pedestal was the male’s way of disempowering women. What ignorant nonsense. The most powerful members of my family were my grandmothers, mother, and aunts. Little decisions they left to the men. The big decisions they made.
Feminists said that women had to reject the pedestal and come down into the male world and prove their worth. It never occurred to feminists that women had more worth and more power on the pedestal. Feminists taught women to be promiscuous. Cosmopolitian magazine taught women to find fulfillment in orgasm with as many sexual partners as they can find. A number of years ago I wrote about young men telling me that they would like to get married, but every woman they knew had been in bed with all of their classmates. They said they would feel funny having their friends at their wedding who had sexual experience with their bride.
Corporations contributed to worsening the position of women that feminists initiated. In my day women were protected by families being in the same place. Any man who abused his wife would be confronted by his father and mother, his wife’s father and mother, his and her grandparents, his brothers and sisters, his wife’s brothers and sisters, his aunts and uncles, her aunts and uncles, and by the cousins of both.
What the corporations did was to bust up this protective environment by sending its employees to some distant location where the husband and wife were isolated from family. Kids grew up never knowing their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, people they might see one or twice a year. Isolated from the normal support systems, families broke apart, and the divorce rate soared.
A society that lowers everything to survival and to profit destroys women and men. That is what feminists should be complaining about.
But feminism has succumbed to Identity Politics and can only generate hatred of men who find women appealing. Judging by the growth of homosexuality, there is a reduction in the number of men who find women appealing. Consequently, feminism is complicit in the destruction both of the status of women and of Western society.
Paul Craig Roberts