Saturday, March 26, 2005
I'm going to start in 1890, for one reason. That was the year that the US "frontier" was officially closed. All the land stolen from the native aboriginals by right of conquest had been parceled out to the European immigrants. It is important to understand that this event reflected a COMPLETE change in conditions. We "hit the wall" in terms of available resource pool, and from that moment on the expansionist nature of the country had to change to one of competition for a share of a FINITE resource pool. Up until then, the US had almost open immigration policies and was doing almost everything it could to expand population as fast and as much as it could. In colonial days, it had even been illegal for unmarried persons to live alone, which was about as close as they could really get to legally FORCING people to get married and have kids.
For agrarian people, which was about 98% of the 76 million total population, having more kids, particularly more SONS, meant more hands in the fields in a few years, which meant MORE production, which translated directly into family wealth. Without agricultural machinery, farming was backbreaking-labor intensive. Women did not see being spared this as "oppression" of any form. While women did tend the chickens, the garden, and did all the cooking, the hard manual labor that was farming was mostly done by male muscle and horse or oxen drawn implements.
There was no national economy, everything was regional. Women did often take work in small manufacturing concerns outside the urban areas, particularly BEFORE their family grew to include enough sons to make the family prosperous. Transportation was limited and expensive enough that almost all goods were manufactured and sold on a regional basis.
An interesting side note here - The poorer immigrants, those without even the financial resources or social connections to settle westward where land was still to be had for the asking, worked in the factories and mines of the industrial and urban east. These were the "proles" of the late 19th century. The labor union movement and the women's suffrage movement competed for the attention of the social reformers. Mother Jones, the legendary labor organizer, was very outspoken in her criticism and contempt for the women's suffragists because she viewed them as privileged elites too spoiled to know how good they had it. Blue collar and lower socioeconomic-class women did not even embrace the first wave of feminism: they were too busy fighting to survive.
From 1890 to about 1916 can be characterized as "infrastructure building" - electric plants and distribution systems, roads, bridges, telephone and telegraph systems. In 1890, most of the country was still pretty isolated and, by necessity, self-sufficient. This will become an increasingly important point.
WW I jumpstarts economy
In 1917, the US finally got drawn into the European war when it became apparent that it was inevitable since US ships were being targeted. This was the first of 3 major agrarian to urban displacements which were to culminate in the suburbia of the 1950s, which spawned feminism and number of other social trends. A huge number of farm boys went off to join the army and fight the good fight and came back to the US to settle in the cities. Farmers replaced this lost muscle power of their sons with the new technology of farm equipment, much of it bought on credit, which was to lead to another massive agrarian->urban displacement beginning about a dozen years later when the economy collapsed and banks foreclosed on the mortgages and forced the farmers off their land. The enclosure which began in England about 1500, and was reversed from the mid-1600s to the mid-1900s by Europeans fleeing from the high population densities of Europe to the lower population densities of the US, came to the US in full and major force in the 1930s.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The war jump-started the US industrial machine as it stepped up to producing armaments and other war supplies. War is GREAT for an economy. This particular war was so ideological, spelling as it did the end of the great hereditary ruling elite houses of Europe, that was a great global morality play about the forces of good and evil. Democratic capitalism, US style, won. However, the war left a new ideological enemy firmly entrenched in Europe: the Bolsheviks and COMMUNISM. The US would spend the next 70 years shadow boxing with this bogeyman. This too will become important as we go along.
The victory of the Bolsheviks was bad news for the US labor union movement. Simple self-selection of who had undergone the grueling challenge of immigration had assured that self-reliance and independence were the real US religion. (one of these days I'll have to go into what this country did to the Mormons) ANY form of collectivism was frowned upon, and since many who supported the unions also supported the Red army, and were declared socialists, they were all treated as heretics by worshippers of the religion of US brand industrial capitalism.
This was also very bad news for the blacks, because their first refuge after the civil war had been the industries of the north which, under the grip of true Marx-style capitalists, weren't all that much better than slavery.
Like I said above, nothing like a war to stimulate an industrial economy. Coming out of war with our industry intact, a plentiful workforce which included many returning soldiers, ready markets in Europe, countries anxious to give us their raw materials in exchange for manufactured goods (since they had nothing else to barter), and a host of new war-inspired technologies, in the 1920s the US was on top of the whole damn world. Industrial capitalism was the solution to all the ills of the world. Just give us machines, raw materials, labor, and markets and we were ready to transform the whole damn world.
Floating in a sea of cash, a totally new concept got born: "disposable" income. That would have seemed like a complete oxymoron at any time before in history. Only the hereditary upper, or leisure, classes of Europe could ever conceive of having any significant amount more money than it took to eat and stay warm. Two major new industries were spawned as garbage bins into which urban workers might "dispose" of this unnecessary wealth: luxury consumer goods and entertainment.
Utopianism was real popular. "Labor saving devices" abounded and glowing pictures of the future got painted. Industrial capitalism was going to turn every citizen into an aristocrat. It would take so few hours per week to earn enough to live the life of luxury that EVERYONE would become a "Renaissance Man" (or woman). The arts would flourish, literacy would be universal, people would spend their spare time painting great art, and writing and acting in original plays, and reading and writing great works of philosophy, and yadda, yadda, yadda.
Not everyone shared this utopian vision. Some social critics foresaw a two-tiered world of haves and have-nots, with the have-nots living underground in the bowels of the city working like slaves and the capitalist and bureaucratic living above ground in all this luxury. "Metropolis" is a wonderfully realized silent film portraying this.
Other critics saw people losing their humanity - becoming interchangeable like the parts of the machines they spent their days operating. Charlie Chaplin was so biting and perceptive in his satire, such as that of "Modern Times" that he made MANY enemies and would find himself exiled from the US 25 years later for "un-American activities" and "communist sympathizing."
Aldous Huxley wrote the first dystopian novel of the modern era: "Brave New World" showing that all-consuming consumption might lead to a world where sex and reproduction were completely separated, children were reared in state-run facilities, and the population routinely narcotized itself. People laughed him off saying he was preaching gloom and doom. They were just having so much FUN.
But there was trouble brewing in paradise. Money was so plentiful that in a country long conditioned to subsistence level living, making do, making things last as long as they could be made to last, and doing without things they didn't need, once men reached a level of comfort just slightly above where they were used to living they ceased being motivated to work as hard.
Enter - Andy Consumer!
Andy was the composite everyman profile which the new science/business of advertising used to predict and shape the buying habits of the nation. And Andy had a WIFE, Mrs. Consumer! So, while Andy was away at the factory, advertisers waged psychological war on Mrs. Consumer to make her dissatisfied with her life as it was and make her yearn for more consumer goods which were the guaranteed key to happiness. When Andy got home from a hard day at the factory, Mrs. Consumer was just FULL of newly planted ideas on how they (she) could spend his money and JUST COULDN'T WAIT to tell him about them. And, of course, Andy wanted to make the "little woman" happy so, of course, he'd be just HAPPY to work those extra hours to buy her all those goodies she wanted.
And here is where the first of the seeds of the great feminist explosion of the 1960s and beyond were planted. Up until this time, life had been a full time occupation requiring the dedicated effort of BOTH partners. That was life. People washed their own clothes, cut their own hair, and were very much generalists in the occupation of life. Only among the affluent urban elite did women have the luxury of ruminating on their oppression and lack of rights. Agrarian women, and men for that matter, often lived so far from polling places that suffrage for either sex was a non-issue. But women did get suffrage in 1920. During the 1920s, the flagship feminist issues of the 1960s were in full evidence: sexual freedom for women, birth control, and greater freedom from social restrictions on their behavior.
The party lasted exactly 10 years. Speculation, over-extension, and the lack of expected growth in overseas markets once essential reconstruction of Europe was done, stalled the US economy and in 1929 over half the "wealth" in the country went "poof" almost overnight. The next 10 years were to be grim indeed. Capital dried up, banks failed and closed, unemployment reached 25%, millions of farmers couldn't make the payments on their farm equipment when their markets failed, the banks foreclosed and they were forced off the land into the cities to swell the already long bread lines. People became afraid of their own family ties as destitute relatives showed up at their door with no where else to go.
Here were the second, third, and fourth of the major social forces which would go into creating the 1950s and the explosive rejection of them of the 1960s and feminism: 2) massive geographic displacement toward the urban centers. 3) massive disruption in family and kinship ties 4) a pathological fear of failure and poverty which would later be mistaken for obsession with money and success.
And the fifth major force, which would later develop a symbiotic and incestuous relationship with the first, luxury consumerism, mass media was born. The generally miserable life conditions of most people made them crave escape to a better world. For a nickel they could escape for two hours into a perfect world where their every fantasy was fulfilled. Cinema in the 1930s was nothing but "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". The more UNLIKE the reality of their everyday lives, the better, so glamorous actors and actresses populated the silver screen, their fantasies and their dreams.
People had not lost touch with reality, yet. They still knew the difference between what they saw in the theater and the lives they lived outside it. The blurring of the distinction would come 20 years later when television invaded every home and sold them a lifestyle which it told them they COULD afford, if they worked hard enough. Movies had been popular enough during the 20s with the urban crowd, but the addition of sound in the 30s, and the desperate need for escapism, combined to make them a national social phenomenon. And this phenomenon would become the 6th major force which went into the social fragmentation which would be the legacy of the 1950s and beyond: mass culture.
Mass media spelled the end of true regional culture, and began a force of homogenization and conformity that would become crushing in the 1950s, provoke a reaction in the 1960s, and turn into a gender war by the 1990s.
One particular aspect of cinema which was one of those simple cases of happenstance being revised into malice was the use of cosmetics. Most of the early cinema actors and technicians had begun their careers on the theatrical stage. Heavy stage makeup had been necessary for the players to have faces at all under the harsh lighting necessary for theater. Classic theater, such as Shakespeare had actually developed a set of conventions which associated characters with a particular set and configuration of facial features. Any production of "Othello", for example, staged by people with classic theater training, will use a standard set of makeup elements for the title character.
Other conventions were soon established. How many vampire movies have you seen where the vampire is played in ANY WAY OTHER THAN the way Bella Lugosi played Dracula? Or when was the last time anyone played the Frankenstein monster other than the way that Boris Karloff played it?
Women in particular seemed to have a desire to emulate the "sirens of the silver screen", so there were thousands of Betty-Davis-Vamp clones to be seen. I think there is a very significant issue to be explored here that has to do with identity formation and explains the rapid spread and adoption of feminism. Kate Fillion, Deborah Tannen, Katie Roiphe, and others have all observed female identity formation and socialization characteristics which lead women to want to be alike. Cliques of girls will all dress similarly.
I contend that Naomi Wolfe's "Beauty Myth" could not have possibly been more wrong. Without the abdication of responsibility, absolute denial of the role of women's choice, and the demonstrated market appeal of "HE MADE ME DO IT" victimism, it becomes obvious that women, seeking to emulate and identify with the women on the screen, and coveting the sexual power they had to capture the attention of equally unreal men, cast themselves in those roles and replaced their real lives with playing out the scripts to those movies.
Since you seem to feel the need to make sure that men get equal blame, I think the effect on men started later but is no less significant. I can't count the number of young Marlon Brando or James Dean slouch-and-sulk-alikes that were around during the 50s and 60s.
But, just to give men a break, what attributes did those leading men of the 30s and 40s have, WITHOUT EXCEPTION? Answer: money, financial success, charm, and charisma.
My contention is that in the 30 year period between 1930 and 1960, that mass culture replaced real life and created a totally unrealistic set of expectation among BOTH MEN AND WOMEN regarding the lifestyle they were going to lead and the type of mate they were going to attract. And that during that period that marriage was completely redefined in a way that made it impossible to work in the majority of instances.
People did not make movies about boring stuff - they made movies that played on people's emotions. Romance and action, sex and violence, and the trappings thereof, are the staples of mass media entertainment. And since everyone sees the same things, they compare their lives to what they see and are vaguely dissatisfied. Into this void, consumer capitalism pours endless offers of instant solutions and magic pills. Forty or fifty years before, the "average" man might have seen a couple of hundred women in his lifetime, and the "average" woman about the same. Love was something that was expected to develop over time as people learned to trust and depend on each other. A farmer choosing a wife would look at her hands and ask whether she could milk a cow. A woman would look at how industrious he was, whether he was prone to drunkenness and fits of anger, and was he kind. That was how people chose mates.
I DO think that there has been a change in sexual behavior which will result in social catastrophe, but 60 years ago, not recently. And, as I have been verbose as hell in developing, that it was far from the only force. In addition to the 6 already mentioned, there is one more: the development and rise of "Big Government." None of the escapism of the cinema would have seemed so attractive had not so many peoples day to day lives been so oppressive in reality.
"Capitalism has failed us, socialism is the answer" came the cry. I won't go into all the ideological wars that got fought, but in the end the country opted for a great father figure and a modified hybrid of socialism and capitalism based on some new economic theories. One could call this "pump-primed" capitalism because it was dependent on government spending and taxes to make it work. The individual income tax, which was instituted at this time, provided the vehicle to extract capital from the pockets of individual wage earners which would never be returned to them. Government spending slowly dragged the economy upward, but it took another war to jump-start it again.
While the US was obsessed with first its success, then its own problems, the bitter drubbing that Germany had taken during the first world war, and the excessively punitive and humiliating conditions imposed on the German people for the mistakes of their leaders had been festering. A charismatic madman preached the gospel of regaining their national pride, and THEY LISTENED. There was also a petty tyrant in a funny hat over in southeast Asia dreaming dreams of world domination.
Once again, the country had a common cause, a reason to sacrifice, and a tangible goal beyond their next meal. The industrial machine kicked back into high gear. There was one madman running loose in Europe who really did personify evil, and one in the south Pacific who was nearly as bad. Once again, American boys signed on to fight the good fight. This was the last time the US would experience any sense of unity.
In one very real respect, WW II created the real beginning to the end of racism. I'm not going to get into an argument about how much residual racism there is, a hell of a lot of what we see here now is opportunistic victimism. I live in a completely integrated middle-middle-class neighborhood where people are not necessarily colorBLIND as much as they are colorINDIFFERENT. We still see each other as black and white, it just isn't significant. We're all just people. If only we could manage the same thing with feminist sexism.
Anyway, WW II was the most equal opportunity war to date. Both black and white GIs came back owing their very lives to members of the other's race. Some of them raised kids who marched together for civil rights 20 year later. It was the beginning of the end of complete acceptance of apartheid in the US.
Once again, the US rode in on their white horses wearing their white hats. WE were the heroes. WE won the war. OUR industrial technology. OUR determination and self-sacrifice. Industrial capitalism was VINDICATED. It WAS the WAY TO SALVATION.
While the war had caused us to make strange bedfellows with Stalin, as soon as it was over we could go back to him being our ideological nemesis. If there was one thing the war taught us, it was that we were more prosperous while there was a war going on than while there wasn't, so we contrived to be in, or on the verge of, war for the next 40 years. With Hitler dead and Hirohito history, the "bad guy" seat was open, so we put Stalin in it. While we weren't at war with him TODAY, we might have to do so on any given day, so we stayed at a state of "readiness."
By the early 1950s, were chasing commies all over the globe, and even here in our own country. We became the UN's junkyard dog, and went charging in wherever we thought any of those "dirty commies" might be hiding. Even though Eisenhower was a military man himself, he saw how the military industry had attached itself to the teat of tax dollars and was growing quite fat. He warned us about the "military-industrial complex" and was instrumental in establishing NASA as a civilian agency and preventing the militarization of space.
But wartime paranoia persisted and spooks were everywhere. The most crushing conformity requirements since the inquisition descended on the country. An accusation of "communist sympathizer" could ruin a career then, just like an accusation of "Sexual Harasser" can today. Spies were found, tried and executed.
The war produced the third major displacement and social fracturing of the century, and by far the largest, as well as setting the demographic trend that would dominate the rest of the century: suburbanization. Anxious to reward the survivors who had risked life and limb defending "freedom and the American way", the country provided them education, jobs, and low cost home loans. They just wanted those boys to be real happy, so they would see that it had been worth the risk of being blown to bits.
Where during the war there had been a labor shortage, technology, both industrial and agricultural, had boosted productivity so much that there was now an incredible labor surplus. Women who had been a mainstay of wartime industrial production were shooed out of the factories to make room for hubby and told to go home to make that new house he'd bought her comfy for him when he got home all tired from a hard day of work.
Of course, to make her life easy and pleasant and palatable, hubby would spend some of those wages on labor saving devices to make her life so much easier and drudgery-free than her grandmothers. Besides, it provided a ready market for all those washing machines and clothes dryers and other consumer products that those converted wartime factories were churning out.
Ah, life was sweet. With less than 2% of the population, the US consumed over 50% of its industrial output and nearly 95% of its energy. Of course, the "little woman" and the kids didn't have much to do except sit around and wait for dad to come home so they could make him happy, which was pretty difficult because deep down inside he hated the repetitive and boring work he did for 8 hours per day.
In less than 40 years, the life of the "average" American male had narrowed from a variety of skills and activities, every one of which was directly related to his life and survival, to doing essentially the same repetitive and meaningless thing 8 hours per day.
Men went crazy.
Suburbia in the 1950s was a fertile breeding ground for pathology. "Business" was conducted over the "3 martini lunch", and a 4th was just the thing he needed as soon as he walked in the door to unwind from a "hard day at the office." His wife, having spent her day devoid of any mental stimulation whatsoever and anxiously anticipating his return home, would pounce on him the moment he walked in the door with what were to her the most significant events of her day and were to him monstrously trivial. We have your basic "conflict of interest" brewing here.
Alcoholism was rampant, as was a deep and confusing cognitive dissonance. All this stuff that was supposed to make him happy, and he wasn't happy. Every night he would collapse into his "easy chair" and watch as television told him more things he could buy, any one of which would make him happy, therefor in the aggregate they should make him VERY happy.
All day his wife had watched the same boob tube, but with a brand of brain-pablum specifically tailored to her tastes and emotional preferences. The term "soap-opera" was coined to describe those cheezy contrived dramas that gave her a surrogate life and were supported by advertisements for household cleaning and laundry products, which everyone knew were a woman's primary concern because she wanted to continue to make hubby extremely happy so he would keep working to buy the stuff that made her happy. At least that's the gark that the television spewed into her brain every day.
This is the view of the world that Betty Friedan saw. And from this came...
"The Feminine Mystique".
(From the cover notes on a early copy of "The Feminine Mystique") -
"Today American women are awakening to the fact that they have been sold into virtual slavery by a lie invented and marketed by men." (emphasis added)
Friedan was fond of hyperbole and was very adept at using and twisting language. She likened the suburban housewives' boredom and lack of meaning in their daily lives to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. (Interesting now that some contemporary feminists are claiming that women suffered worse deaths than men did in the Holocaust. Women's sensitivity, and the greater power, depth, and significance of women's feelings has become well established in the cultural zeitgeist.) Also worthy of note was the fact that a disproportionate number of early feminists were Jewish. There is a cultural stereotype called the Jewish American Princess, JAP, of which Monica Lewinsky is a perfect example. Phillip Roth also wrote about this type in "Goodbye Columbus." Boredom and thrill seeking are indeed the bane of the JAP. As are kvetching, complaining, and making extreme statements simply for effect.
Friedan's work set both the form and tone of the feminist argument - "women... sold into virtual slavery... by men." Women were the victims of men. Women's own choices had nothing to do with it. Women had no free will. Men forced women to do everything that woman did, and women hated it.
The complete poverty and aridity of feminist thought is best illustrated in how, over the next 28 years, men selling women into slavery got escalated to men waging war on women. Susan Faludi took Friedan's well-worn plot, dusted it off, added updated statistics, and sold the same tired old nonsense as "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women."
For some unknown reason, what neither Friedan nor Faludi, nor thousands of women writers who came between and very profitably mined the tired old theme of women as victims of men, were able to see, or willing to admit, was that men and women were EQUALLY trapped in a world not of their own making and struggling to do the best they could under the circumstances. Faludi was right in one respect: between the early 1960s and early 1990s, relationships between men and women had deteriorated significantly and were characterized by a far greater degree of animosity than they had been 30 years earlier.
However, there have been a few women writers who viewed the war differently. Robin Blumner, writing in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times, puts it this way:
"What this comes down to is a group of militant feminists who have declared war on men and their sexual desires."
Erin Pizzey, founder of the first battered women's shelter in the UK, says:
"Men, realizing that they had been cast in the role of sexual monsters, retaliated."
Instead of the two vast and homogenious sexual armies portrayed by Friedan and Faludi, there are at least five separate and ideologically distinct groups lobbying to make their particular point of view into the majority view and have it reflected in public policy. For lack of any better terms, I'm going to call these 5 groups: the modified traditionalists, male and female, the progressives, male and female, and the heterophobic separatist extremists.
What women in general seemed absolutely unwilling to acknowledge was that in declaring war on men and their sexual desires, these militant feminists were also declaring war indirectly on the majority of women. And, most bewilderingly, they seemed to be enthusiastically joined and abetted by the majority of women who didn't seem to realize that they were participating in a war on themselves.
Men were completely unprepared for the bitter hatred toward them that boiled out of the women's movement. Furthermore, the behavior of women seemed absolutely schizophrenic. In her book on man-hating, "My Enemy, My Love", Judith Levine perfectly summed up this two-faced visage of women in the title of one of the sections: "private love, public hatred."
The message that men got from women was that we had a terrible debt to pay off, and that women intended to make us pay, and pay, and pay, and pay some more.
As Wendy Dennis observed, nothing was more indicative of the contradictions of this mentality than the woman who would bitterly and loudly complain about every aspect of men, then morosely wonder why she couldn't get one of these awful creatures to fall madly in love with her. Men would observe such women and the paradoxes in their behavior which they seemed incapable of either seeing or understanding and draw the conclusion that women were none too bright, dishonest to the core, and essentially selfish and exploitive.
Added to this was the frequently discussed notion that women were going to demand EVEN MORE of men.
So men indeed begin to retaliate. the two assets that men had and could withhold until they got what they wanted were the last two things that women seemed to want or need from men: money and committment. As the legal situation swung more and more against men, they became increasingly resistant to voluntarily submitting themselves to marriage.
The loss of family and social networks caused by the major displacements and social fracturing of the two world wars and the Depression, had two devastating results on the stability of marriage. The first was to destroy the oral tradition of transmission of cultural and life knowledge parent to child, or more accurately elder to younger. The destruction of the connection to multi-generational family and community networks deprived people of access to a vast storehouse of practical knowledge in the day to day conduct of their lives. As always, commercial capitalism stood by ready to profit from their loss.
The process that would eventually result in the mountains of garbage which were foisted on a confused and uncertain public in the form of "self-help" books which appeared by the millions during the 70s and beyond, began in full force with the work of Dr. Benjamin Spock. This P.T. Barnum of child development hawked himself as the ultimate expert on raising children. He was certainly not the first, child rearing how-to advice is almost as old as writing itself, but he was the first to achieve true mass acceptance in the newly developing phenomenon of mass culture.
He was also the first to fully exploit another emerging phenomenon of consumer capitalism: brand labeling, recognition, and franchising. Dr. Spock books became a brand by themselves, and his name itself began to have value. While his intentions were probably good, or at least benign, Spock established two trends, or cultural notions, which would eventually come to be applied in broad scale social engineering: 1) the art of child rearing could be reduced to a set of instructions much like a recipe, and 2) there were experts who understood how to raise children much better than the collective wisdom of thousands of generations of parents.
The first of these notions would eventually be applied in a wholesale restructuring of the education system in an attempt to implement the misguided notion that kids could be conditioned out of sexual differences. When the child failed respond to this re-structuring of personality in the desired manner, the failure was seen as lying in the child not in the theories which were being applied.
But, the far more destructive effect was to produce a reliance and faith in "expertise" which encouraged people to substitute the judgement of these "experts" for their own, and allowed the production glut of self-help books which put forth preposterous notions which were nothing more than personal biases represented as cultural panaceas.
The second devastating effect on the stability of marriage caused by displacement and social fracturing was to make make mating and mate selection an essentially capitalistic, or marketplace, process. There was a subtle but distinct shift from mate selection based on "who will make a good life partner" to "who will give the most and best of what I want?"
An odd sort of selection process began to take over the mating game. The regional and community based life which was characteristic before the urban and suburban migrations had been filled with social structures which would introduce unmarried people to potential mates. Extended family and social network matchmakers would either exploit existing opportunities or contrive ones to bring them together. Since there were always many other people involved, they always got to know each other socially before coutrship ever entered the picture. And if it did, there were be protocols to be followed. Mate selection was complex and often had as much to do with family as it did with the indivual. The character of other members of someone's family was most times an excellent predictor of his or her behavior.
Deprived of social networks which allowed low pressure low risk getting to know, an ever increasing level of aggression on the part of men was required. The general level of hostility that women projected toward men simply amplified this effect. The most aggressive men with the most bulletproof hides were the only men who put themselves in women's faces. And, not surprisingly, the women these men singled out to approach were the ones advertising their availability and interest in the most outrageous manner. As women became more entrenched in their passivive attractive strategy, all but the most aggressive men became invisible to them.
This both put an incredible burden on women who now bore the sole responsibility for finding herself a mate, but it also distorted the way they viewed the various aspects of themselves and their personalities. The female view of this is Naomi Wolfe's "Beauty Myth. The male view of this is epitomized by trying to tell a woman about what you find attractive and having her argue with you and tell you that you are wrong, then proceed to tell you what you think and what MEN find attractive.
By the early 1990s, the percentage of the adult population which was married was declining every year as divorce ripped through the boomer generation and the effects of that disproportionately large segment of the population more than offset the rate of marriage of the twenty-somethings.
As women became integrated into the workforce, they began to take on the characterisitics which men had years earlier which had made them less than pleasant spouses. These coping strategies with the stresses of careers did not mix well with developing the intimacy and cooperation necessary to create a successful partnership.
Back to Gender War, Sexuality, and Love
At first it was difficult to take seriously these graduates of Ivy League schools who compared their suffering the boredom of housework with the Cherokee Nation's trail of tears and the reign of terror which the KKK successfully waged against black Americans in the south. Yet there did seem to be validity some of the points they made. Media portrayals of women seldom showed them as anything but weak, dependent, and not-too-smart. Real barriers to women seeking careers and inequality certainly existed throughout society, so some of us listened as they made their case.
Their case, however, was not a compelling one. Much was made of the historical "oppression" of women in an attempt to apply the same constructivist, guilt by birth, principle that the more extreme black power advocates had sought to use to make people living today guilty of acts committed years before they were born. It didn't work. Most people with an IQ high enough to keep them out of an institution know that you cannot change history and that you must focus on the present in order to be able to change the future.
What really sunk their arguments, though, was that what they categorized as oppression appeared from the outside as privilege. The social contract implicit in marriage and the gender roles of the male as protector/provider and the female as nurturer/caretaker already seemed a bit biased toward women in the minds of many men and particularly in the minds of women who were mated to financially successful men. These women were actually more resistant to the movement than most men, fully realizing the privileged nature of their own posititions and that increased competition for the jobs their husbands held would be to their own distinct disadvantage.
However, liberalism, a deep dissatisfaction with society, and a widespread "we can change the world" "we can make it better" mentality among the baby boomers led to the belief that whatever valid points the feminists did make needed to be addressed. College age men particularly were not fond of a system that was sending thousands of them to Vietnam to become murderers or to be murdered in a war no one could explain or justify except to throw up the bogeyman of "Communism". "Don't trust anyone over 30" became the 11th commandment to the boomers and it was not difficult to convince them that the entire system created by their parents' generation was corrupt and needed to be replaced.
The materialistic obsession of the post-war era created an emotional scarcity which the boomers deeply resented. Having grown up with fathers who were most of the time physically absent working in some corporate job, and who were emotionally absent even when they were physically present, made many men of that era very receptive to the idea that existing gender roles were seriously screwed up and needed changing. Many were glad that women were taking the lead and looked forward to the day when all burdens and privileges were shared equally.
Many joined or enthusiastically supported the movement. Others adopted a "wait and see" attitude because there was a disturbing undercurrent to much of the rhetoric. From the beginning there was a pervasive hostility toward men and maleness, not just toward the rigid gender roles. The most vocal of the movement's leaders did not acknowledge that both genders were trapped by their socialization and that both genders had contributed to building that trap, but rather took the stance that it was something men had done to women. So called "consciousness raising" sessions were often nothing more than man bashing and women often came out of them broadcasting animosity toward men. One woman I knew spoke with great pride about the "very satisfying man hating sessions" that she was part of.
Men found this deeply disturbing because they didn't hate women and were bewildered by the fact that women seemed to derive such satisfaction from hating them. Men, in fact, were generally anxious to build a cooperative effort to change things, but very quickly learned that the major change that feminism seemed out to accomplish was not a balance of power; instead seeking only to gain power for women in spheres where men were perceived to have it while maintaining an absolute grip on the power that women already had. There was a distinct tone of "I'm gonna get you, suckka". Needless to say, most men were not anxious to participate in their own destruction so they were very selective in the portions of the movement they supported. Anything which seemed directed into making men into the underclass that women declared themselves to be was not supported.
Viewed from a historical perspective, what seemed at the time to be simply a tremendous tactical error on the part of the early proponents turns out to be an ideological flaw that is so core to the movement that its failure was inevitable. Men were far more receptive to the idea of true equality, more freedom of choice, and freedom from rigid gender roles than most women. They were perfectly willing to partner with women in creating the new conditions which would support long-term social change. However, all the energy of the movement seemed to be in the direction of creating more restrictions and rigidity rather than less. The validity of men's voice and of men themselves was never acknowledged.
It quickly became apparent that the agenda of the movement was not to elevate women, but to tear down men. Slogans such as "A woman only has to work half as hard as a man to be twice as good" (translation: men are so stupid and incompetent that even a half-assed effort is superior to their best efforts) and "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" (translation: men are completely irrlevant to women and have no place in their world) began to appear on T-shirts, coffee mugs, posters; everywhere you looked. Men were justifyably offended by such put-downs and trivialization of the challenges they faced. It made apparent that the entire movement was based on a colossal lie. Women weren't out to be men's equals, they were already convinced they were superior. So what were they after?
The answer came in the form of the Equal Rights Amendment. On the face of it, the fact that the amendment encountered such resistance and eventually failed seems incomprehensible. Such a common-sense reiteration of the growing body of Civil Rights legislation was superfluous, but hardly an idea which one would expect to engender such opposition, particularly with the momentum of civil rights in general. No, there had to be more to it than the fact that there were more people who didn't believe in equality than did believe in it. If this were true, the initial 1963 legislation which already banned discrimination on the basis of gender along with race, national origin, etc. would not have been passed.
What made people oppose it was the fact that is was superfluous. Since it added nothing to the legal framework, there must be more to it than met the eye. What most people saw in the efforts to get it passed was nothing but strong-arm tactics being used to shove down everyone's throats a hatred and fallacy based ideology. Thinking men and women everywhere simply looked at who was supporting it and how they were supporting it and "just said no". The movement was defeated by the very methods used to try to get it passed.
At this point in time, feminism was still completely elitist. Working class women whose hourly wage earning husbands did not bring in enough to cover the bills often worked in the same factories as their husbands. The notion that they would be "oppressed" by having a husband successful enough to make it unnecessary for them to b required to make a financial contribution to the expenses of living was laughable. Middle class women who did not attend college and were interested in being a wife and mother did not find the idea of being supported in that pursuit particularly oppressive either. Even college graduates who had grown up before the man-hating and bashing propaganda took over the public discourse found husbands who were not threatened by their desire to have a career, and the two-professional family became increasingly common from the mid-70s on.
Most women found, as one current book puts it in its title, that "Feminism is not the story of my life". Women in the lower socio-economic strata easily saw through the claims of oppression when they looked at the women claiming to be oppressed and compared their lives to the lives of men around them. "God willing we should be so oppressed" thought many of them. The mostly college educated, affluent, and privileged leaders of the movement did not listen to these women and align the movement with their concerns, but persisted in pursuing ideological purities which were not just irrelevant but often destructive to these women's lives.
The true agenda of the movement can be seen in a statement by one of its godmothers, Simone de Beauvoir, author of "The Second Sex", one of the bibles of the movement. Betty Friedan, author of "The Feminine Mystique" which is generally credited with having launched this so called "second wave" of feminism, said to Ms. Beauvoir that she believed that women who wanted to stay at home and raise their children should have the freedom to do that. Ms. Beauvoir replied: "No, we don't believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make it."
No matter how many times I read this statement, I still find it chilling. Ms. Beauvoir is proceeding from the megalomaniacal certainty that she, along with some undefined "we", know exactly how society "should" be, and that vision includes depriving women of freedom of choice. Thus does this so- called "woman's advocate" reveal a greater contempt for women than I have ever seen in any man. She stands ready to shove her vision of the "perfect world", based on nothing more than her own subjective feelings, down the throat of every woman in the world; using the power and authority of totalitarian government if necessary to enforce it.
Anyone who has read George Orwell's profoundly disturbing novel "1984" will remember the concept of double-think, which allows people to completely delude themselves about the nature of reality and which makes it possible to represent something exactly the opposite of its true nature. In 1984, seen from 1948, the Ministry of Truth deals with lies, the Ministry of Peace deals with war, and the Ministry of Plenty deals with creating artificial conditions of scarcity. Now we have a movement called "Feminism" which supposedly stands for more freedom of choice for women, which actually seeks to take away their choices and force them into a far stricter role definition that the system it seeks to destroy.
Thankfully, most women didn't fall for it.
The defeat of the ERA was devastating to the movement. It had been the holy grail and rallying point. Without a point of focus, the movement fragmented. Many women became disillusioned and dropped out. Many women who had been inspired to choose career over family had found that it wasn't as easy as they had thought to grab that magic ring of financial success and that the "man's world" of work did not have grass nearly as green as it had looked from the other side of the fence. The work was harder, the hours longer, the rewards more difficult to achieve than it had appeared when they read that a woman only has to work half as hard as a man to be twice as good. They found that the 60-70 hour weeks required to "fast-track" up the ladder left little time or energy for grand social causes.
Some were mature enough and had enough integrity to say "Hm, maybe we were a bit hasty in our judgements". Many realized that there had been more at work to motivate women to have children than the mythical "patriarchy" forcing women into the role of baby factory. We began to hear the term "biological clock" and saw women who just a few years previously had spat upon the idea of motherhood suddenly embrace it with the same fervor that they had previously dismissed it.
They turned to men and said "ok, guys we're ready now. Do your sperm donor and protector/provider duty."
Oops! Contrary to all the rhetoric about men, they really had been listening to what women had been saying and were seriously re-examining their own roles. Many were perfectly willing to jettison the old confining male stereotypes and become house husbands, despite the still highly negative social stigma attached to it. Many were also smarting from the years of man-bashing and took the stance "you made your own bed, now lie in it".
Social conditions had changed radically as well. After years of steady growth, the economy was forced to absorb an unprecedented number of new workers. In a ten year span of time the size of the US work force almost doubled. At the same time US industry was suddenly facing foreign competition and other pressures that it had never had to before. There were simply not enough jobs to go around, and particularly jobs at the high end of the socioeconomic spectrum. Where before a college degree had almost guaranteed a high level of income, it quickly became the equivalent of a high school diploma only 10 years earlier, barely the minimum entrance requirement.
(an interesting side note here. Most studies of the relationship between education and income made the mistake of confusing correlation with causality. Because there was a very strong trend for income to increase as education increased, the conclusion was drawn that education caused income. Better designed and conducted studies found that there was a factor that had an even higher correlation with both income and education that they had with each other: family income and socioeconomic status. Duh! More rich people's kids went to college than poor people's. And, duh, more rich people's kids became affluent themselves than poor people's. How surprising.)
Not only were recent male graduates competing with larger numbers of other men than ever before for fewer jobs than ever before, they were also competing with a significant number of women. In the 60s there had been an average of one promotion available for every 10 workers. By the 80's, when the biological clocks of boomer women were beginning to go off loudly, that ratio had increased to 1/30. By the end of the century it will likely be close to 1/50. The opportunities for men to generate income sufficient to be sole support of a family were going away.
Particularly since the expectations of material goods had risen significantly in that time. During the post-war period when most boomers were born the average new house cost about $15,000 and had a one car-garage. Cars themselves cost from $1500 to $3000, except for "luxury" cars which cost as much as $5,000 - $6,000. By the time they were starting families, the average new house cost $110,000 and had a 2-car garage. Each of the two cars to fill it cost $12,000 -$25,000, except for the "luxury" cars which cost $50,000 - $300,000. The price of entry to the "middle class" had increased 10 fold, while income levels had actually dropped in the previous 20 years.
"Not a problem" thought we silly boomer males, "women have been wanting to share equally in the earning of income, now is the time." Only everyone was in for a VERY rude awakening.
Men found out that women, despite all the screeching about how much they had changed, had actually changed not at all in any respect related to mating and dating. Despite the fact that women's real wages had increased significantly during a period when men's had actually declined, the majority of women still expected to marry a man both older and more successful than they were. The simple numbers of the boom made this impossible for women at the top of the income ladder, because there were simply a lot more of them than there were men a few years older. In addition, these affluent women were now occupying many of the upper income positions that males had previously held, so not only were they not available to men, depriving men of the means to make that level of income, but the demand for even greater affluence than the woman herself had achieved meant that the man had to be exceptionally successful in order to qualify. Needless to say, not many did.
Most men expected women to wake up to the unreality of their expectations and realize that they could not "have it all", that their ideological gurus had sold them a bill of goods, that Ms. de Beauvior's vision of society had indeed come to pass, and that they no longer had the choice to stay at home and raise their children, particularly if they did not scale back their expectations of income and material wealth. This certainly proves what women have been saying about men all along: men don't understand women very well.
Rather than face up to cold harsh reality, something they had never had to do when their male mates had been willing to shoulder that part of the responsibility of maintaining a household, they changed their anthem from "I am woman hear me roar" to "I am victim, hear me whine".
The cancerous ideology called feminism had not died out after the ERA failed, it had metastized into academia and government. While men had been busy killing themselves (literally) trying to keep up their end of the protect/provide bargain, the centers of higher learning had been churning out millions of young women brainwashed into thinking that they were oppressed and with their rage pumped up to a fever pitch. They had also turned out a nearly equal number of young men so beat down by the blame they had lived with for years that they themselves accepted it as truth.
Enter feminism "page 2" as Paul Harvey would say. In the 80s, man-bashing erupted like a volcano. Women's frustrations over the fact that their beloved ideology of "having it all" without working for it hadn't panned out boiled over in rabid fashion. Every problem facing women had a simple solution: blame men. If women weren't able to get the majority of the few promotions available and reach the executive levels in 5-7 years that it took men 10 - 15 years to reach, all the while working half as hard as those men, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that their expectations had been unrealistic; it was because men were "BACKLASHING" and building "GLASS CEILINGS".
If men were more realistic in their assessment of their own earning potential and understood the costs of maintaining the lifestyle to which women had or wanted to become accustomed and realized that they simply couldn't do it and as a result refused to make promises that they knew they couldn't deliver on, it was due to the fact that they were "Peter Pans" or "commitment phobic" or a man that a woman "loves too much". Of course it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the women themselves because everyone knows that women are powerless. The more power they had, and the more that men tried to give them, the louder they screeched that they had none at all.
By this time men were thoroughly fed up and were beginning to backlash in reality. Tired of adopting self-obsessed children who demanded the right to be not only equal mates partners in all decisions, but to dictate how the man should act, think, and feel, and lay immediate claim to half of whatever assets the man had managed to accumulate before she came on the scene, men began to require pre-nuptial agreements. Male rage began to boil out in the form of female bashing comics: both the stupid like Andrew Dice Clay, and the intelligent and literate like Sam Kinnison. Men lost one of their greatest spokesmen in his untimely death. Women were beginning to step back and take a realistic look at their expectations. Feminism was stalling again.
Clearly a bigger hammer was needed, and feminists already had one that they had been honing for years. The time had come to strike men in the area of their greatest vulnerabiliy: their sexuality. Mainstream feminism had long before given up any pretense of being about equality. Fairness and even intelligence had been completely dismissed in favor of the subjectivity of how women "felt". Virtually all the true inequities which had existed when the movement began had been addressed, remedied, and then some. Women had almost endless choices, men had almost none. The lies could be refuted by facts that most men and some women, those who had not repudiated intelligence for "feelings", could recognize.
Time to bring out the emotional H-bomb.
The one prerogative on which women had absolutely refused to budge was the right to be compensated for access to their sexuality. Men who did not initiate aggressively, remained alone. The more men listened to what women wanted and tried to remodel themselves into the desired ideal, the less women wanted them. Time magazine announced that the sexual revolution was over. All decent men who were not willing to pursue and lie to women in order to get them into bed, or did not make enough more than the woman to be considered a viable candidate as a mate, became invisible to women.
The bomb had been built in the early 70s by such female theoreticians as Susan Brownmiller and Robin Morgan and was called rape. Always a sticky issue, rape became so broadened by the work of these two women, and others, that all men were judged equally guilty of any rape because by definition only men could commit it. Brownmiller went so far as to suggest that all men were in willing collusion with all rapists, and Morgan put forth the preposterous notion that unless the woman initiated the sex it was rape. It was only a short step for the more extreme man-haters to classify all sex between men and women, regardless of who initiated it, as rape. The box was complete.
Having successfully severed the need for any kind of reality base by insisting that how the woman "felt" was how it was, any act of sex could be considered a rape if at any time in the future the woman had second thoughts. What's more, the severance from reality became so complete that, not only did it become unnecessary for sex to occur to be considered rape, it even became unnecessary for the woman to believe that she had been raped in order to pronounce that she had been. The rape zealots have redefined rape in such a way that in 3/4 of the cases where they claim women have been raped, the women themselves deny it. It is a weird echo of Ms. de Beauvior's statement that these rape zealots know how sex "should" occur and that women should not be given to the choice to engage in sex if they want to because too many would exercise that option.
Now the trap was complete. If a man did not initiate sex, he might as well enter a monastery. If he did, he was guilty of rape. If he simply gave up and masturbated to a girlie mag, he was STILL guilty of rape, due the anti-pornography efforts of an unholy alliance between the male-and-sex-hating fanatics and the religious right which had always been out to contain and destroy female sexuality.
Women did not respond any more sensibly to this new deprivation of their rights than they did to losing the right to be supported at home as a wife and mother. They responded in exactly the same way, they blamed men. If a man did not trust a woman enough to risk his career, reputation, and future on one night of sex with her, then he "feared aggressive women". If a woman's approach was so offensive and obnoxious that only the sociopaths that women seem to prefer over decent men would respond, then he was "impotent with latent homosexual tendencies". Male sexuality is on the verge of being criminalized and mind-fucked out of existence.
The final front of the battle to drive men and women entirely away from each other, which is the true agenda of contemporary feminism, is called "Sexual Harassment". Like rape this is a true crime and violation of a woman when it exists, but the definitions of it have been so expanded that almost any action toward a female will qualify. A six year old boy kissing a six year old girl, at her request, is now a criminal act. Rather than laugh at the insanity and absurdity of it, we should all be having nightmares about it.
Where does all this leave women? Alone mostly. Finding it just about as hard to get laid as men have for ages. Put in a position where, when they do decide to initiate sexual overtures, that they are more likely to have to resort to coercion than men to bring it about. And men are getting better about refusing all the time because feminism has so criminalized their sexuality and manipulated the definitions of rape and harassment that they will always be the one prosecuted even if it is the woman who is the aggressor.
When will women ever wake up to the fact that their beloved feminism is out to destroy everything they want, need, and love, and abandon the eternal victim role for true equality?
Back to “Gender War, Sexuality, and Love”
Well, as P.T. Barnum is famous for saying, never give a sucker an even break.
The truly sad thing is that the world has so many suckers in it, and that even those who don't fall for it get sucked in if enough other people do. Implicit in the name "FEMININE-ism", and the way it has been spun into a Trojan Horse for a wrong idea, is the notion that women were "one-down" while men were "one-up." In order to make things "equal" we had to lift women up and tear men down. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Like many men, when this whole thing started I thought that women had the better half of the deal already. They were born with social influence that I had to work my ass off to achieve, and the achievement of it was my life's purpose: my JOB as a man.
The remarkable stupidity of human beings, for some reason, kept a lot of people from seeing how neatly FEMININE-ism tucked itself in behind social beliefs and values which it claimed to be fighting - mostly the moral superiority and fragility of women. Men's sex drive and desire for women used to be merely shameful, now it has become criminal. A man who slept with a woman that he didn't eventually marry used to be just a cad, now he is a "date-rapist."
The destruction of society which feminists like Sum Bitch set out to accomplish required the replacement of old social constraints on sociopathic behavior by men with new legal ones. And, based on the primary myth of FEMININE-ism, i.e.that men, as a group or class, had more power than women did, those constraints were not applied equally to women. Of course not! FEMININE-ism could not possibly advocate anything which was against the interests of any individual woman, because FEMININE-ism is the advocacy for the FEMININE point of view, desires, and interests - regardless of situation, results, or consequences.
In short FEMININE-ism is about it always being the way that the woman sees it or wants it, not about equality, not about fairness, not about anything it claims to be about.
Anyone who falls for it is dumber than dogshit.
Back to “Feminism Deconstructed”
Back to “Gender War, Sexuality, and Love”
Feminism is based on false premises:
- that, historically, men as a group or class had more power than women as a group or class.
- that the very structure of social institutions reflected this and gave all men more power than any woman
- that what was true of any man was true of all men
- that all men were responsible, culpable, and shared the guilt for any and all bad acts by any and all men.
- that all women are inherently good and smart, and all men inherently evil and stupid
False premises cannot lead to anything except false conclusions. Actions and social policy based on these will not produce the desired results, but rather the opposite or totally unpredictable results.
The truth is that power within any society is not divided horizontally, but vertically. Society is a pyramid structure with the majority of people at the base of the pyramid, and progressively fewer people the farther up one goes. At each level, there was a subtle, complex, and dynamic balance of power between men and women.
From about the middle of the 2nd decade of life, through about the middle to end of the 4th, women have an inborn advantage in power based on the structure of courtship, the human mating dance. Men must seek and court women's favor in order to have an outlet for their drives to reproduce and continue the species. Women are able to demand resources from men in return for this outlet, which implies that they demand for men to compete with other men for control of those resources. The pea hidden under the rapidly moving shells of this sexual-power shell game is the fact that once men had these resources, they usually turned control of them over to women.
Now, women are being encouraged to compete with men directly for these resources, just like men compete with other men, as well as to hold on to the power to make men turn over the resources they have competed with other men, as well as women, to acquire. It will not work, and it cannot work - because it attempts to deny, refute, and change the behavior and preferences of the majority of women. First, it simply means that most men just have fewer resources to give to women. Competition makes it a lot tougher to get them. Second, the bar has been raised for women to expect MORE, while LESS is what is available. Women are disappointed. Boo hoo. Grow up and get over it.
While the short-term balance of power has shifted in women's favor, justified by always being able to refer to a distorted interpretation of history to prove that women of today deserve such an imbalance to make up for things "suffered" not by them but by their ancestresses, it will not and can not remain so for long. Men will find ways to get their power back - and the number one way has been to decrease women's power in the traditional ways that females have had power over men: in sexual interaction and in social pampering of women, also known as "chivalry."
As women invade men's former spheres of power, and demand equal share, so do men push back against women's traditional sphere's of power - personal, particularly sexual, relationships. When women bailed out of their traditional roles so did men. If women had no need of a man to protect and provide for them, they certainly didn't need commitments from men to do so.
Besides, commitments are only binding on one side - the male side. Women were encouraged to see marriage as a form of "oppression" and leaving it as a form of "self-expression." The more astute and intelligent among men thought that just skipping over the "oppression" stage and letting women "self-express" from the get-go made much more sense. Why cave in to a woman's demands to get married when she is going to come in a few years to hate the man for allowing her to pressure him to letting him "oppress" her? Makes no sense at all. But, then, feminism refutes the very existence of something like sense as "patriarchal" or "androcentric."
As women have gained power in the worlds of business and politics, they have lost it in personal relationships. The old traditional notions of male-female interdependency were equally binding on men and women, and when women broke those bonds they broke men's at the same time. Like the old Joni Mitchell song, "Big Yellow Taxi" says, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." The men who adapted early and well to the new visions of total equality (and uniformity) were perfectly happy to let women support themselves, AND the children. They gave women what women were asking for. It just didn't turn out to be what women wanted.
Men, damn fools that many of us are, first ignored feminism expecting it to go away and collapse from its own internal contradictions and refutation of reality. And, more than a few of them quite liked the idea of free, uncommitted, sex. What followed was an absolute orgy of pretense and counter pretense; lie and counter-lie; manipulation and counter-manipulation.
Today, many women are finally waking up to what they have lost due to feminism. And, more than a few are calling to have it back. Sorry, grrls - when Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, all the kings horse and all the kings men, couldn't put things back together the way they were, ever again.
There has been a fundamental change in social values. These values reflect the statistical average of the acts based on those values which result from billions of tiny and seemingly inconsequential decisions each day. A woman who decides to let man-bashing hate speech fall stupidly out of her mouth in an otherwise empty head, drops one more drop of poison into the well of relationships that everyone must drink from. A man who overhears her likes women just a tiny bit less. A man who might have otherwise considered asking her out on a date, decides that he really doesn't want to date a man-basher, so the opportunity for a positive interaction between them gets passed up.
Older men now tell younger ones "DON'T get married. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT." The anti-male bias in law which has been used to temporarily shore up the loss of social controls of irresponsible male behavior has been used so extensively against responsible men, that more and more they just avoid situations where they might be vulnerable.
And, as women get angrier and angrier over having to live up to the demands of the new world that FEMININE-ism has created for them, they just keep escalating their war on men and boys. And men just keep moving farther away from women, and liking them less and helping them less.
For more than 2000 years, Aristotle's erroneous medical theories, his false premises, led physicians to bleed their sick patients with leeches and instruments. The treatment itself became the cause of the disease, and more people died from too much doctoring than died from too little.
FEMININE-ism is bleeding the life out of society because it's premise is false. Maleness is not the root of all evil, as they say, any more than blood was the source of disease instead of vitality, but the root of at least half the good in the world. Women are not universally "the fairer sex", although they probably were more moral when society demanded of them that they be, but are are the root of at least half the evil in the world.
The result is that FEMININE-ism has blinded society to female evil and male good.
False premises cannot lead to anything but false conclusions. Blindness to evil makes one totally vulnerable to it, and blindness to good removes it from one's life.
The world as it really is:
This is the world that feminism wants:
Since its beginnings, feminism has enjoyed a false sense of legitmacy as a social movement. This was largely based on ignornance of the true purposes and agenda of the ideological hard-core which kept the movement from dying away.
A look at the prinicples and theory which are espsoused under the names of feminism and equality, will quickly reveal that the theory is not only anti-reality, but that its entire purpose is overthrow of the social order and substitution of a new revolutionary form.
It is extremely sad that women did not, and in many cases still do not, see the many advantages they enjoyed under the system now spat upon as "Patriarchy." The "de-constructionists" have had their way, and advantages and status that women used to be accustomed to receiving will not be available to the daughters of feminism. In its place will be bitter suspicion and deep resentment.
What some self-styled feminist spokespeople have had to say about feminism's agenda:
"And while your want for "civility" and counter-balance in the mass-mind appears sweet - I argue that this attitude, as it will mostly likely play out, renders societal progressiveness static." -- Sum Bitch
"I don't see "knee-jerk defensiveness" as regressive. Instead I see it as part of the Evolutionary process. Docile housewives one second - revolutionary freethinkers the next? Overworked and bitter fathers today - unshackled earth-loving philosophers tomorrow? No , the human thought process doesn't work this simply. The reactionary force is imperative to the movement." -- Sum Bitch
"The vibe I'm getting from you (or "reasonable" types) goes something like this , "Well, what's all this nonsense? We are nearing the pinnacle of progressiveness and it is now time to relax and start dividing the rations…" -- Sum Bitch
"At the very most you MAY be conceding that there are still some problems in our society but "feminism has outlived it's usefulness, it has become an annoyance." You may say, "Who cares about a few cents when men are working on dangerous jobs and being forced into war!" Or perhaps you're one of those who think feminism has its place - but somewhere where it doesn't get in the way of more important things. -- Sum Bitch
"Whatever the case, you seem to have little respect for feminism as a creative force, and it is here where I see feminism in a different light. Where you see feminism as a frivolous movement gone power-hungry in it's attempt to be granted equality in some idiot regime - I see Feminism as a revolutionary social deconstruction project. And though you may be convinced that women will fall for the same spoils of power that have driven once "visionary" men to idiocy (Mao, Stalin, etc.) I stand firm in the belief that once the female population synchronously rejects the neo-patriarchal order, the power structure as we know it shall crumble." -- Sum Bitch
"I feel that 'man-hating' is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them." -- Robin Morgan
( In response to Betty Friedan's comment that a woman who *wanted* to stay at home and raise her children should have the right to make that choice. )
"No, we don't believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make it." -- Simone de Beauvior
Well, grrls, thank feminism for taking that choice away from you.
misc. outrageous quotes by feminists
Back to “Feminism Deconstructed”
Back to “Gender War, Sexuality, and Love”
Misogynists are not born they are made.
Once, a long time ago when the world was young, I loved women with all my heart and soul. I grew up among strong competent women who understood that all living things need to be taken care of and will flourish if that happens. The men I grew up with knew that as well. Everyone knew that people must live and work together and find ways to cooperate and just deal with the inevitable differences that arise and keep them in perspective. They knew that people are not perfect, but that most of them try to be as good as they can manage. They took the measure of a person in wholeness, and if there was more good than bad to a person, they accepted that person's faults as being part of the package which was still valuable, if a bit flawed. After all, nobody really is perfect. We all knew that.
Then, something happened. And that something was called feminism. I remember the early days of the movement when it was called "Women's Liberation" which was a high sounding and noble cause in a country which is founded on a document which cites liberty as one of 3 inalienable rights that every person has. No one with a sense of fairness and an understanding of civics could be against women being liberated and treated fairly. And, there was also the promise that some of the ways men were being treated unfairly would change along with it.
And, as the old joke goes: if you believe that one, then I have some lakefront property in the Mojave Desert I'd like to talk to you about.
I learned very quickly that feminism wasn't about liberating PEOPLE from their previously too restrictive roles which were assigned to them based on the plumbing they displayed at birth, but rather was founded on a number of absolute falsehoods which had nothing to do with freedom, equality, or fairness. The fundamental premise that men had MORE power, not just a different kind of power and in a different area of society as a whole, but MORE power in a complete and absolute sense was something that I vehemently disagreed with. I could come up with thousands of examples of circumstances in which women had more power than men did. And in every example they gave of where men did have any power, I could easily point out the uneven distribution of power among men, and how a few men at the top of the wealth/influence pyramid had a lot of power, but that the vast majority of men had very little.
The strangest thing was that most of the situations in which I was being told I had or was exercising "power" seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. When I was a college freshman, one day I was walking across campus toward the student union. I reached the door about a half step ahead of a female student so, as I had been brought up to do, I hastened my last couple of steps and held the door open for her. Instead of the smile and nod that I had been used to in response to such simple acts of social courtesy, she flew into a rage and started screaming at me about how what a male chauvinist PIG I was, that she was perfectly capable of opening that door for herself and didn't need any g-- damned MAN to do it for her, and kicked me in the knee.
"Shock" is a totally inadequate word to describe my response.
I was at a loss to understand any of her reaction. She couldn't have been any more totally, completely, and absolutely wrong about my motivations and purposes. I instantly assigned her to the categories of "mentally defective", "hate filled", and female. Over the next several years, a lot of women joined her company.
A couple of years later, a woman that I was dating described her feminist "consciousness raising" group as consisting of "perfectly satisfying man hating sessions." Again, I was bewildered. I asked why she found hating me(n) so "perfectly satisfying". I don't remember the answer she gave, but she soon proved to me just how true that statement was of her. Like the knee-kicker in response to having a door opened, it seemed that anything and everything I did was proof that I deserved her hatred and rancor. At least 10 years later, she called me out of the blue to apologize. She said she realized that she had just gotten swept up in a group consciousness of hatred and had finally realized what had happened and that I had not deserved the bile she had spewed on me.
It was, I suppose, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but it was too little and too late. Because, by then I had encountered so many other women who acted in pretty much the same way that it had simply become part of my view of what women were. Somewhere, deep down inside, either hidden or proudly displayed, women hated men. Women came in a variety of sizes and shapes, most had breasts and female genitals, but they all seemed to come with a hatred and fundamental contempt for men. One woman I dated while Jimmy Carter was still president, spoke of "my hatred of men" in the same mattter-of-fact tone that she might say "my nose". It was just an integral part of her.
Needless to say, this presented me with a significant paradox and source of internal conflict. Being a healthy heterosexual male, I had the natural and universal desire that men have to have a love relationship with a woman. But, how is it possible to love someone that returns hate for that love?
So, over time I began to develop a wary distrustful posture toward women. I still dated them, but I had become so conditioned to expect hatred from them that I simply accepted it as part of the price I had to pay in order to be involved with one. My desire for a relationship was still strong, but was opposed by a distrust and unwillingness to let someone who hated me get the upper hand over me. Thus, in my mind the concept of "commitment" became one and the same as "trapped in a relationship with someone who hates me." I was indeed one of those men who "wouldn't make a commitment."
The worst part of this, for me, is that it blinded me to the warning signals of some truly sick personalities. The hostility which I had become accustomed to enduring from women became only a matter of degree - greater or lesser. And, with a baseline of being kicked in the knee for the courtesy of opening a door, and learning how "satisfying" man hating is to some women, I had no yardstick to sort out the seriously sick and deranged women from any of the rest. As a result, I ended up in some relationships that were truly horrible and very damaging to me. And, of course, each of these left scars which over time built up so much emotional scar tissue that I began to lose all the positive feelings I once had for women.
That is the personal side. And, I won't bore you with the details of all the stories. But, there eventually got to be so many that I developed the attitude that the question was not "whether" a woman would burn me if let her get close enough to do so, but "when" and "how soon" it would happen.
On the political side, things were just as bad if not worse. About the same time I started becoming the target of violent physical attacks by individual women for what I perceived as courtesy, I also became the target of vicious verbal attacks by women collectively - just for being a man.
I remember the first time I saw the slogan "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle", I knew knew my face had just been spit in. Men were not just useless to women, we were irrelevant. We had no purpose in a woman's life, and did not belong in her world at all. It was a message of hate, dismissal, and refutation. But, I also saw it as a warning of what was to come. It was like seeing clouds on the horizon, and knowing that it is time to get under cover because a storm is brewing. And, since it was obviously smearing shit in my face, it was going to be a shit storm.
Soon it became apparent that women could say any damn thing they wanted about men - no matter how wrong, no matter how hateful, no matter how unfair - and that was fine, but every time I stood up to that and said "no, that is wrong, there is another point of view" I'd get some little fem-bot harpy in my face shrieking the same old tired slogans, like a mindless Chatty Cathy doll, about how I was threatened by losing my power, wanted to keep women "in their place", was probably violent, and was a misogynist. The dull predictability and regularity of it all was only kept from being terminally boring by the shrillness and sheer vehemence of the attacks.
There is a belief among those who believe in magic that one must speak a spell 3 times in order for it to become binding and true. It took being called a misogynist a lot more than 3 times to become true, more like 300+, but in time it did become true.
I began to see women as vicious creatures whose only agenda when it came to me, or any man, was to see how much they could get from the man - then when he had nothing left to give because they had taken it all, toss him out with yesterday's garbage. In short - as nothing but users. Feminist author Wendy Dennis came out with a book in the early 1990s called "Hot and Bothered: sex and love in the 90s." Among many other astute observations in the book was that nothing was more classically typical of the state of male/female relations than the woman who complained bitterly about every aspect of men, then couldn't figure out why she couldn't get one of these awful creatures to fall madly in love with her. I had observed the same thing so many times that I had simply concluded that such women were simply not very bright. In stark contrast to the mythology of how socially adept women are, I was baffled that such women were so stupid that they didn't realize that no living thing will respond to such projections of distaste, contempt, and hatred with anything except return animosity.
I took to avoiding women, particularly groups of them, because I could never sit quietly and put up with the bashing and would always challenge it, which ended me up in a lot of fights and added greatly the count of times that I got called "misogynist." I noticed that women seemed to do it habitually, without thinking, and would confront my female friends over and over until they learned not to do it in my presence.
And, after 3 decades of listening to it, and hating it, and trying to keep the animosity which had been building in me over it - when the husband of a woman friend of mine (who had been very dishonest about her motivations for our friendship and had been trying to harass me into turning our friendship sexual) threatened to kill me and she said "I don't know why you are making such a big deal about it", I caved in and began to really hate women.
Most of the time this hatred lies dormant. I figure that the best thing I can do for myself and for women is to keep the contact I must have with them to a minimum, and to keep as much distance between them and myself as possible. It is rather like hanging a sign on a fence that says "Beware of VERY bad dog." Stay outside the fence, and everything is fine. But, come through the gate at your own risk. Leave me the hell alone and I will leave you alone.
Misogynists are not born, they are made.
I am still baffled at all the women who seem to expect men to live on a steady diet of hatred and man bashing, and somehow magically metabolize this toxic diet into "love" for women and a desire to see good things come to them. When I work real hard, I can make the anger cold and take no joy when bad things happen to women, simply regard it with indifference. When I hear a woman whine about being victimized, I simply tune her out and go elsewhere.
When a woman smiles at me, I think of an old ethic bashing joke - "What does a ______ say instead of 'fuck you'?" answer "Trust Me."
I will not allow most women in my house unless I have known her a long time and she is old enough to have escaped being infected with the plague of man hating or is escorted by someone I trust, nor will I enter theirs except on the same conditions. If I pass a woman stranded on the road, I will not stop to help her because it is as likely as not that she will be afraid of me. That's fine. She's a fish without a bicycle - I have no place in her world, nor her in mine.
Man bashing and man hating harms women, because it makes men hate them back - eventually. A puppy returns love for love, but if you beat it will eventually turn mean and will one day turn on you when you raise your fist or your stick (or the club of words) to hit it. Men are no different. When women talk about treating men like dogs, I wish they would. It would be an improvement. Most women treat their dogs far better than they treat their men.
Somewhere along the line, I went through a metamorphosis. I changed from a man who loved women and thought they were just about the greatest thing in the world, to a man who can't stand them, or anything about them.
I'm sick and tired of the lies that women tell about men, I'm sick and tired of their victim games, I'm sick and tired of hatred and bashing I have to put up with when I am around them. I am sick and tired of the arrogant contempt in which they seem to hold me and all other men. I am sick to death of the way that some of them feel the need to seek me out to piss me off. A couple of years back, at the funeral of my uncle, as fine a man as I have ever known, some woman felt the need to start a conversation with me as I sat with my private grief. She wanted me to agree with her that men don't ask for directions.
How could anyone be so stupid and socially incompetent? When men came up to me to talk, it was always with something like "Your uncle was a fine man", not "aren't men headstrong and stupid?"
Invariably, when I tell a woman about all this, she tries to argue with me and say something like "get over it", or "why don't you take the gender out of it?" In return I ask, "why the hell don't you women get over it, and take the gender out of it?"
I would like nothing better than to be left in peace, and allow women to enjoy the absence of my company which they find so annoying and unpleasant. Every day, a few more men got through the transformation and become like me. We don't get our guns and shoot a few women; we don't beat them up; because what women have been saying about us all these years is just flat wrong. But, there's no point in trying to tell women that because they have become so certain of their superiority that the best way to deal with them is to leave them to it, and the company of their other fishy friends
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I still remember the first time I saw the feminist slogan "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." It was clearly intended to be a gesture of spitting in my face and telling me how useless and irrelevant I was as a male. I was offended, angry, and hurt.
Now, nearly 30 years later, I have reluctantly resigned myself to the truth of that statement, if not its wisdom. For my entire adult life, the women I have known have been, without exception, selfish, self-centered and, in fact, word, and deed: self-obsessed. Over time, my intial generousity and tolerance have been all used up by the women who have used, exploited, and burned me in order to pursue their own personal short-term gratification. And, it certainly has not been limited to women with whom I have had supposedly "romantic" relationships: the women who have called me "friend" have actually used me in often far more unfair ways by expecting the same deference and pandering to their whims that they would expect in "romance", without the rewards of deep connection and intimacy which a male would reasonably expect in a romance.
The fictions of male power and privilege, and the paranoid delusions of "oppression", seem to have left most women with the attitude that men of today have some debt to pay off for all the mythological "advantages" that other men have "enjoyed." They have upped the bar on what they "demand" from man in order to have a "relationship" that even when a man has the ability to meet a woman's demands, he often has run out of motivation to do so. As a woman correspondent of mine put it "Women have forgotten how to treat men decently."
The ironic final outcome is that men who still put up with all the hostility and exploitation routinely practiced by women today probably deserve the contempt that women express toward them. Any fool who will keep putting up with it forever certainly deserves to be called and thought of as a *major* fool.
An increasing number of men my age are reaching the point where their own real needs have been denied and exploited for so long that relationships with women, of any kind, no longer seem worth the trouble. Who needs all the harassment and all the bashing?
It is a strange transition to go through. While I was brought up to show great respect and deference to women, and expected to pamper them, over the years I have had to adopt the attitude out of self-defense that the question is not *whether* a woman is going to burn me, but *when* and exactly *how*.
I have been preaching for years that this will be the inevitable result of all the misandry floating around in our culture. And, peculiar resistance of women to waking up to the fact that they can NOT hate men into loving them has left me with a very poor impression of the intelligence of the female of the species. I am particularly deaf to the laments of women who claim that they can't find good partners, as a result of years of watching women throw away one good relationship after another as they chased the chance to "trade up", and be so excessive in their demands and so unwilling to give that they just used up one man after another.
The fact remains that no amount of special laws can really affect the way that people feel and view things. Once men begin turning off to women in large numbers, which the fact that nearly 1/3rd of US men have never been married shows has already begun to happen, there will have to be a major shift in social attitudes to bring them back.
As it stands now, I have never had a woman bring anything really positive and rewarding into my life since I was a teenager. The personal, emotional, and financial costs of the relationships I have had, have been exhorbitant. Letting a woman into my life now seems like nothing so much as an invitation to tragedy and emotional chaos. There are no rewards, nothing but costs and they are quite excessive.
Invariably, when I express these views, women become defensive and start to demand recognition that "... not ALL women are like that..." Of course, it is to women's best interest to keep men willing to seek them out in the vain hope that they will eventually find a woman who is capable of thinking of something or someone besides herself. And here is where so-called "normal" women seem no less selfish than any other. If men turn away from women, then women will be left without relationships because they, as a group, have refused to budge from their power position and give up the power that the structure of courtship gives them as a result of the circumstances of their birth.
Men must still take all the risks, even though those risks now include jail time and complete loss of career, reputation, and everything a man might have worked his entire life to achieve. The older a man gets, the less worth taking all those risks a potential relationship becomes because the post-feminist attitude of "oppression" leaves them with the attitude that a man starts out owing them a debt he has to pay off.
After many years of this, women's emotional bank accounts get closed and their credit lines cancelled. At the first sign of unrelenting selfishness, women will usually find a man suddenly absent from their lives. Of course, women never look at the role their own selfishness played in all this. They simply continue to refuse to take any responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and blame everything on some shortcoming of the male.
The problem lies in the fact that motivation requires an occasional success to maintain. Over time, continued experience with such unrelenting users convinces a man that such self-obsession is simply characteristic of women and he is left with the choice of tolerating it if he wants to have women in his life. If he isn't willing, sooner or later he makes the mental transition from seeing women as potential allies to seeing them as likely enemies. Once this transition has occurred, changing back is unlikely. It is simply not possible to turn a pickle back into a cucumber.
I don't even have any compassion left for the women who claim to be "normal" because they have sat around in silence and enjoyed the perks that feminism has brought all women while cheering on their sistas with "You go, grrl" and refusing to speak out on behalf of the things that men do for them that they still enjoy. Yet, they are unwilling to budge on traditional female prerogatives of power. So, they still seem like users to me by expecting that men will still do all the work to make a woman comfortable and give her what *SHE* needs while his own needs are denied and negated.
Having reached the point where well into mid-life I have yet to meet a woman who understood the concepts of give-and-take, reciprocity, respect, and understanding, I have developed the skills to live far more comfortably without them. Just like a bicycle, the gears of my life can function smoothly for long periods with minimal maintance. As long as I don't have to clean off the slime left behind by some fish, life is on the whole, far less unpleasant.
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