Apparently Ms. Sommers (and a few like her) is smart enough to see that feminism’s success has not brought the matriarchal paradise we were led to expect, and honest enough to be uncomfortable about it; but she’s not ready — not yet, anyway — to admit to herself that this has been no accident. I can sympathise; the truth can be hard. But in the end, either we make the truth our first priority, or we do not. Any “philosophy professor” (according to her book’s flyleaf) should be clear on this point.
As it happens, I have her other book, Who Stole Feminism?, which I picked up when I was working at a newspaper. Haven’t read it, only skimmed, but from the title alone it is clear that the author still “doesn’t get it.” Not surprising — she’s hardly alone, and at least she’s making an effort. But exactly what is she trying to do? Is she really seeking the truth, or (perhaps unconsciously, as women will) hoping that a half-truth will confuse the issue enough to prevent the real truth from coming out?
The truth is, nobody “stole” feminism: it was never anything other than what it is now. The only thing that’s changed is that feminism’s overwhelming success has revealed its true nature to an extent seldom before seen. Indeed, never before has the entire male population of a major civilization been infant-circumcised: savagely tortured, mutilated and crippled, sexually and emotionally, by their own mothers. Truly, feminism is the “Society for Cutting Up Men.”
It is in the very nature of the female mind to want to “have her cake and eat it too.” (Remember “We want it ALL!“?) Ms. Sommers wants to keep the “good parts” of feminism while reforming the rest. It won’t work. There can be no such thing as “feminism lite.” The female appetite — for power, for possession, for solipsistic self-gratification (it is no accident that one of the most successful “women’s magazines” is titled simply SELF) — is in its very nature unlimited; either it is restrained, and we have (some measure of) civilization, or it is not, and we have chaos. Look around.
Imperfect as it was — and everything in this world is imperfect, can never be otherwise — the American Republic created by those awful “dead white males,” George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and the rest, provided the freest, most prosperous and comfortable life that any women have ever enjoyed in human history. I can remember, as a child growing up in the 1950s, we used to leave our family house’s door unlocked! Can you imagine anyone anywhere in America doing so today? Like it or not, in the bad old days of the “patriarchy,” most women were able to “walk down the street unmolested.”
That the America of the 1950s could have used a lot of improvement is certainly true. Unfortunately, however, instead of building on what we had then, women have used their newfound power — now that American men have been reduced to whimpering slaves — to destroy it. This was no accident, though neither was it exactly intentional. But because female power is fundamentally and overwhelmingly unconscious by nature, its unrestrained, unmodulated exercise could not have produced any other outcome.
The flyleaf of Who Stole Feminism? Says, “A group of zealots, claiming to speak for all women, are promoting a dangerous new agenda that threatens our most cherished ideals and sets women against men in all spheres of life.” This is well stated, but not entirely accurate. The agenda is by no means “new”; the “battle of the sexes” is as old as humanity. The modern “feminist movement,” merely its latest, most successful incarnation, is generally considered to have begun at the 1848 “Seneca Falls Convention,” whose "Declaration of Sentiments" stated:
“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.“
Does this not “claim to speak for all women,” and “set women against men in all spheres of life”? Exactly who, then, is the “group of zealots?” That this “Declaration of Sentiments” was a clever pastiche of the Declaration of Independence was not an accident: from the beginning feminism has always been a war against men, based on an absolute denial of the two sexes’ fundamental unity, whose ultimate object must be an absolute severing of the mutual ties of interdependence between them, in the Utopian hope that women will be better off in a world not “ruled” by men, wherein men are at least reduced to docile slaves of Woman’s will, at most (the logical conclusion) eradicated entirely. Make no mistake: both of these outcomes are possible; the first, indeed, has largely been realized. But is this really best for women?
And by the way, if, as the Who Stole Feminism? Blurb seems to imply, it is not a good idea to “set women against men in all spheres of life,” is it still good to do it in some spheres? If so, which ones? Who decides? (My guess is Ms. Sommers would nominate herself, and others like her, to wield that authority.) This is the problem with “feminism lite”: once you start such a war, how can it be contained in only “approved” arenas? When the female fights, Marquis of Queensbury Rules (the “male code” that women find so laughable) do not apply.
Nor is it an accident that the “founding document” of feminism is based on “sentiment” — not, be it noted, on reason. Actually, the entire history of humanity can be reduced to one struggle, between passion and reason: by which shall we rule our lives? Homo “sapiens” and Pan Troglodytes — the common chimpanzee — are 98+% genetically identical. The chimpanzee’s life is ruled by passion; human life, insofar as it may differ from that of the chimpanzee, must be ruled by reason.
The real truth, to paraphrase from the feminist declaration above, is this: “The history of humankind is a history of constant struggle with our own animal — i.e. chimpanzee — nature, having in direct object the establishment of some form of life not entirely ruled by blind, unconscious Mother Nature.” The sole reason for the historical “domination” of males in human culture is that males — because they are not so totally ruled by Nature’s imperatives as are females — are, on average, slightly more able to restrain the rule of passion in their own minds and lives, and thus slightly more able to devote time and energy to the development of reason, which alone makes possible the invention of what little we have that distinguishes human life from chimpanzee life. Including, inter alia, the “philosophy” whereof Ms. Sommers is a “professor” — and the very ideas of human individual worth, dignity and freedom which the feminists use to advance their appeals for evermore special privileges.
The real truth — the Big Secret — is that it is Woman who truly rules the world (this world, anyway), and that any idea of “equality” between the sexes is utterly nonsensical. How can the creature be considered “equal” to his Creator? But the irreducible paradox of life in this world is that in creating man, Woman has externalized that part of herself which offers her the most hope of escaping from the endless wheel of suffering that is worldly existence. Thus the instinctive pride a woman feels on giving birth to a son. Note that the universal image of Madonna and Child is of a mother and her son — not her daughter. If the latter, it would be meaningless, merely another turn of the wheel, nothing new, nothing different. The mother-son relationship is the beginning of everything that matters in our world; its relative health or pathology is the measure of the possibility of human progress.
This is the real reason for the “dominance” of men in human history: to serve women’s needs, both proximate (the invention of the washing machine, etc., etc.) and ultimate (the seeking and finding, through reason, of the means of liberation from the endless suffering of earthly life taught by men like the Buddha). As one honest woman, gadfly Camille Paglia, put it: “If the development of civilization had been left up to women, we’d still be living in grass huts.” (Note again: the feminist “Declaration of Sentiments” was adapted from a document created by men.) This is not a value judgement; it is simply an observation of reality.
It is worth noting that the feminist “Declaration of Sentiments” appeared concurrently with the Communist Manifesto (1848). Both are products of the same kind of thinking: superficial, short-sighted, earthbound, materialistic, utopian (from the Greek: ou-topos, “no place”) efforts to create an “earthly paradise” by forcibly moving the furniture around, without any effort to understand, much less address, the real causes of our suffering. It is not an accident that the century wherein women first began exercising overt political power (as distinct from the covert, total power they have always had and can never lose) also saw the greatest manifestations of collectivist mass hysteria (need we explore the etymology of this word?) — And mass suffering — in human history. Again, not an accident that the first and so-far only worldwide feminist convention was hosted in Beijing; feminism and communism are spiritual sisters. (I was not surprised to learn recently that Simone de Beauvoir, author of the feminist bible The Second Sex, was an ardent Maoist, who applauded the “Cultural Revolution.”)
If Ms. Sommers really is a “philosophy professor,” I would expect her to seek to understand a phenomenon by examining its essential principle, rather than wasting time on myriad superficial manifestations. The essence of feminism is inherent in its very name: it is concerned exclusively with women (Latin: femina), not with humanity as a whole. Feminism necessarily sees the sexes as at war — and why start a war if you don’t mean to win? Let us be clear: if it is to be war, then women cannot lose. Ultimately, in the game of life in this world, men may hold some of the cards, but women own the deck. But does one hand truly “win” by cutting off the other?
Now, it may be true that women could exist without men, while men certainly could not exist without women (“equality”?) — But what kind of existence would that be? In fact, a considerable number of species have taken this evolutionary path: they’ve simply stopped producing males, and now consist entirely of females. But they’ve also ceased to evolve; secure in their ecological niches, they’re dead ends.
An ex-lesbian once told me she gave it up because the exclusive company of women bored her out of her head. I’m a little slow; only later did I realize she was, rather clumsily, attempting to attract my interest. She went on to tell me how proud she was of her little son (conceived by anonymous artificial insemination), for staunchly maintaining among his preschool peers that fathers were unnecessary. What exactly was she trying to tell me, I wondered? What do women want, anyway? (Pace, Dr. Freud.) Sorry, not my type.
What do women want? Look around: what you see is what women want, because it is what they have made by their (mostly unconscious) use of their creative power. If the women of a culture want their men to be strong, physically, morally, intellectually, they will have strong men. Present-day American women want their men weak, indecisive, “sensitive,” easily controlled and manipulated, and that is what they have. So it has always been, in every dying civilization. If they want it different, they can have it different, but merely hating men for being what they have made us will not make any difference. It is, indeed, exactly how we have gotten to where we are now.
Yes, indeed, men are terribly imperfect. But, after all, where do men come from? I offer this bargain to any woman: when women are perfect, men will be perfect also. In fact, this is an ironclad prediction. Until then, however, we’ll just have to make do with what we have. That both sexes would be wise to tender more respect to the other is certainly true; but like everything else, this must begin with women. Very few women I know have any real respect for men — their own sons, every one of us. They treat us like the lapdogs whose ears and tails they crop to suit their sick fashion whims. They regard us with contempt while enjoying all the comforts of the civilization we created for them — from flush toilets to computers. Why value what you can always make more of — what, indeed, you have already produced to excess? Front men, fall guys, whipping boys and endless cannon fodder.
True, males exist to serve females’ needs; but we are also human beings. And even if we were not, the Golden Rule still applies; even an all-female Congress cannot “repeal” this Law. Now and forever, you get what you give.
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