Thursday, October 20, 2016

Feminism and Respect

Probably the saddest comment that I've ever heard was a feminist graduate student describing her female body as “useless.” Useless? How can it be useless? A female body can produce new life. What can be more useful than that?

A related claim is that many women are traumatized through wrongful sexual practices by men. That may very well be the case; but that is in no way the only way in which people can be traumatized. People get traumatized in war. People get traumatized in bad upbringing. People get traumatized when their families get shot or their countries get destroyed. Sex abuse victims do not own traumatization.

I have heard a feminist graduate student telling me that in traditional cultures women had more power than they do now, because they were in control of reproduction and sex. I have heard any number of others – strong, successful women – saying that feminism has gone too far. I have also known women who had no use for feminism at all. They wanted to be with a working man and stay home with the children. Which means that feminism, despite its claims, does not begin to speak for all women. It may speak for some; but by no means everyone and not even the majority.

Many feminists go on about equality; but they do not care about anything else. The question then becomes, equality – in what? Equality in nastiness? Equality in hideousness? Many women would not want that kind of equality at all. They would rather accept some inequality in order to have a more fulfilling existence.

Men and women have the sexual and emotional nature, which is gendered, and they have the intellectual and volitional nature, in which they are the same. Denying women the right to either is denying the woman half a life. We see this both with feminists who attack man-woman relationships and family life and the patriarchial men who believe that the woman's place is in the home.

Some women will want both careers and family life. Some will want one or the other. If feminists really do believe in women's empowerment and women's rights, they will accept the choices of all three. I have no idea which path my daughter will choose, and I neither urge nor discourage her in either direction. I also know of the potential problems that she would face in either situation. Women who choose family life and relationships are at a risk of violence. Women who choose careers are at a risk of nastiness in the workplace and viciousness from feminist and otherwise nasty women. I see no reason why one would be better or worse than the other. Both carry opportunities, and both carry risks.

Eminem had a huge following, and some of his followers were female. These girls have had it with emotional bullying by older women, and they chose violence by men over it. I do not believe that one should have to put up with either one or the other. Both are wrong. And in the situation of the gender war, we see everyone involved being taught to be jerks. And that makes the world worse for everyone. Which means that I owe it to my daughter and to the children growing up now to do what I can do to correct this state of affairs.

The solution is the opposite from what is advocated by each side. The solution is not ill will; the solution is good will. Teach men to be good to women, and teach women to be good to men. Not only teach it, but also reward it. Let men who are willing to be good to women get together with women who are willing to be good to men. And as they do so, allow them to set appropriate incentives within society.

There is only one workable solution to the gender war. That solution is mutual goodwill. I do not say love, as many people do not have experience of such a thing. I say goodwill, which is a conce[p that everyone should understand. If you are a man and you hate women, or if you are a woman and you hate men, have nothing to do with the other gender. If you do have relationships, do so with someone whom you can respect. And if you respect nobody, then go on your own.

Respect, of course, is another concept on which there is a lot of confusion. When I was younger I did not respect many people, but I do now. Respect is not something that can be coerced or demanded. Respect is something that is earned. It is valid to demand tolerance; it is not valid to demand respect.

In fact there is likely to be a negative correlation between people who are likely to demand respect and people who actually deserve respect. There are many reasons to respect a hard-working mother. There are far fewer reasons to respect some capricious college girl.

If the women in traditional cultures, as one of the sources listed above claimed, did have more power than do women now, then that is power that has been rightfully earned. They were mothers. They were grandmothers. They worked hard at what they were doing. These women did things that actually were worthy of respect; and whatever respect they got was completely merited. Whereas I see very little reason to respect women who know nothing but hatred and are horrible human beings.

Of course the venal behavior of Third Wave feminists has had all sorts of negative repercussions for women everywhere in the world. If you teach women to be jerks, it will only be a matter of time before some opportunist will come along and say, “See, we told you. Women are evil. Men should beat them and keep them in their place.” The feminists will not see the results of that; but all sorts of women around the world will, and have. A girl in the ghetto, or Middle East, or an American right-wing community, is being punished wrongfully for the sins of the feminists. The opportunists mentioned have part of the responsibility for that; the other part of responsibility belongs with feminists.

Gender war teaches everyone to be jerks; and that means that it is the problem and not the solution. The solution is the opposite of gender war: Goodwill between men and women. This is what should be taught everywhere – families, churches, academia, what have you. It is the only possible workable solution. And it is this solution that should be vigorously pursued by all sectors of society.


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