02 Sep Feeling the Failure of Feminism
Did women get what they bargained for?
With the passage of 19th Amendment, 90 years ago this month, women in the U.S. were given the right to vote. The media has been full of stories of the numerous celebratory events and pundits have been eager to give their analysis of whether or not the goals of the original feminists have been met. United Families International would like to weigh in on the topic and give you our analysis of “The Legacy of Feminism.”
The “feminism” that drove the Women’s Suffrage movement could be viewed as one of America’s greatest success stories. But modern feminism has deviated from the lofty ideals and moral underpinnings of its predecessor. Indeed, the goals of contemporary feminism undermine and contradict those of the early feminists. One commentator has called feminism, “the most socially destructive movement in modern times.” We will let you decide if feminism has delivered on its’ promise of equality and empowerment for all women.
Hyper-Sexualization of Society
It is widely known that the vast majority of young women today reject the label of “feminist.” One of the more interesting articles to surface during this month’s feminist media push was one entitled: “Outraged Moms and Trashy Daughters,” where a mother laments that her daughter eschews the label of “feminist” while embracing an MTV culture and a cosmetic-surgery-attained standard of beauty. Hugh Hefner, of Playboy Magazine fame, would be proud!
“I’m so deeply pained to see where women are today and how girls—and I mean girls—are being groomed to believe their purpose in life is to be sexual beings that please men,” says Nancy Vonk, the mother of a 16-year-old daughter.
The first question that comes to mind is: “What did feminists expect?” Feminism’s goal was to remove all sexual barriers and make women equal to men—including being equally promiscuous. When standard notions of sexual propriety are shunned as antiquated and marriage is something women might do after they’ve already had sex, the path to men’s attention–that age-old need that not even feminism could beat out of women—lies in being sexually attractive and sexually competitive.
Age of the Rogue Male
A recent Harris Poll reveals that eight out of ten Americans believe that women today are treated with less chivalry than in the past. “Chivalry has been one of the victims of the fight for women’s equality,” states P. M. Forni, Johns Hopkins University. “It became the assumption in society that women did not want to be treated in a chivalrous way, because it meant they were singled out, thus enforcing the stereotype that women were weaker…”
Far worse, as feminism broke down all sexual barriers and demanded an unrealistic “equality,” the worst part of the male behavior—and the worst males–were rewarded. Males who have no other use for women than to use, violate, and abandon them are not restrained—by women or by society. Marry women? Why? Even many men who adhere to the old standard of male/female interaction seem to misunderstand the meaning of masculinity and are lost in a malaise of ineffectual dating and ineffectual career seeking. They, too, are following the feminist template.
Equality in the Workplace
Somewhere along its path, feminism morphed into something dedicated to the assumption that there are no inherent (i.e. non-plumbing) differences between the sexes. This led to the conclusion that any gender-difference in politics, academia, or the workforce must be due to prejudice and discrimination. You may have heard the statistic that women make just 78 cents for every dollar that is earned by a man doing the same job with the same responsibilities. In 2009, the U.S. Labor Department contracted with CONSAD Research Corporation to put that statistic to the test by reviewing more than 50 existing studies as well as a new economic and statistical analysis of the supposed “wage gap.”
“CONSAD found that controlling for career interruption and other factors reduced the pay gap from about 20 percent to about 5 percent. Data limitations prevented it from considering many other factors. For example, the data did not permit an examination of total compensation, which would examine health insurance and other benefits, and instead focused solely on wages paid. The data were also limited with respect to work experience, job tenure, and other factors.
The Labor Department’s conclusion was that the gender pay gap was the result of a multitude of factors and that the “raw wage gap should not be used as the basis for [legislative] correction. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.” (Hiding the Truth about the Pay Gap Between Men and Women)
Feminism appears to have not been able to change the fact that women prefer different types of work--being a librarian over a garbage collector, jobs where they have more control of their time so as to be with their children. Of course there are exceptions! But for the most part, women want positions that don’t require nightshifts, large amounts of travel, or high amounts of physical labor or risk. In short, women are not always doing the same job as males and employers and the marketplace recognize that difference.
Feminism’s push to make women equal to men by insisting that they take their place in the workplace has not been a friend of the family. In spite of media claims to the contrary, the research contains numerous examples of negative impact to children and the breakdown of the marriage relationship that occurs when women work outside of the home, particularly when working more than 20 hours a week.
Disintegration of Marriage and Family
Radical, or what is sometimes referred to as “second wave” feminists, believe that marriage is the playground of patriarchy for the oppression of women. They have concluded that motherhood is a primary obstacle to the empowerment and full equality of women. Both traditional marriage and full-time motherhood had to go and an entire restructuring of society had to occur. You see the results of their effort all around you: a divorce rate that has increased by 80 percent since 1970, 40 million children affected by divorce, more than 50 million women living alone, spiraling rates of STDs, and 1.3 million abortions a year in the U.S. alone.
There is a feminist mantra of “I can do it myself!” This attitude also includes the bearing and rearing of children and the jettisoning of the normative understanding of family. Husbands and fathers seem to be superfluous to many women, particularly those who choose to bear children out of wedlock. Yet females have not lost the need for a companion, a father, or a breadwinner.
As men who would fulfill those roles no longer take their place, these women increasingly turn to government for support. They are the greatest supporters of government subsidies and are angered when the taxpayer isn’t eager to give enough support to daycare, government health care, even school lunches. In short, they choose to have the government become their husband. What radical feminists seem not to realize is that by exploding the family, they are destroying the very institution that has protected and provided for women over most of human history.
One of the most tragic results of second-wave feminism is the notion that the only way to achieve full equality is to be able to have “total control of their body.” They have been successful in convincing women that the only reason that they are not now “oppressed chattel is because they can legally kill their unborn children.”
Some feminists have gone so far as to say that you are not a woman unless you support abortion rights–consider the feminist response to 2008 Vice-Pres. candidate Sarah Palin. “You have to lift their skirts to find out if they are women. You sure can’t find out by how they vote!” opined Democrat Representative Janis Sontany. Translated: If females don’t support abortion and other feminist objectives they surely are not women.
United Families International’s efforts at the U.N. are largely dealing with radical feminists and their dangerous and unhealthy focus on empowerment of women. They do it to the exclusion of what might be necessary for the health and sustainment of other segments of society—namely men and boys. Their intense and relentless efforts to legalize abortion around the world have resulted in 42 million abortions per year.
It is important to acknowledge that there are real and substantial inequalities and gross mistreatment of women in various parts of the world; those need to be addressed as quickly and effectively as possible. But second-wave feminism has lost its way. One commentator has suggested that feminism is losing favor in the public eye because it focuses on “problems that hardly exist…while spending precious little energy on issues that indisputably have a negative impact on women.”
Feminism began to lose its credibility when it demanded men and women are not different in any substantive way; that in order for women to be equal they have to be the same as men—same interests, same ambitions, same outcomes. The whole point was for women to gain respect as women, not to get everyone to respect women because they’re just like men.
The end result is that radical feminism has only led to more difficult lives and other forms of abuse of women. The mistreatment of women seems to be on a continuum; and with second-wave feminism, the pendulum has swung too far.
There is vast body of social science data attesting to the importance of both men and women in the preservation of society. It is, ideally, together that the proper preparing of the next generation of noble citizens can occur. The masculinity of the father with his ability to lead, protect and provide gives great strength and physical security to the home. The femininity of the mother as the nurturer, the heart of the home, provides the emotional security that allows the habits of the heart—the civic virtues to be perpetuated. In parenting these equal, but different roles work together to provide balance and security.
Representatives of United Families International are, this very week, in the United Nations negotiating rooms doing all in their power to keep the feminist pendulum from destroying the natural family as the basis of society. Please join us in this effort.