This rant begins by introducing an individual by the name of Petra who will be referred to throughout the book. When the author was 21 years old and traveling in Europe he met a young German woman by the name of Petra. The author then carried on a two-week affair with Petra while traveling through parts of Europe though they were unable to speak to each other because of the language barrier. At the end of the two weeks there was a pregnancy scare. In response to this Mr. Ellis states, "On the trip she had just ‘hoped’ she couldn't get pregnant while leaving it for fate to decide. From this experience I learned that you cannot that trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12)
Several weeks after Mr. Ellis returned to the United States, Petra came to live with relatives in Connecticut. Plans were made for Petra to come and live with Mr. Ellis in Ohio during the summer. When she arrived with greatly improved English Mr. Ellis discovered that Petra was actually a radical feminist. Petra made it her mission to indoctrinate the author in radical feminism. The affair disintegrated when Petra refused to engage in sex with the author when he disagreed with her feminist ideas. Ellis states, “A the time I didn't understand that her opinions were emotionally grounded, and I tried apply my male logic to her ideological assertions. I wanted to teach her how to analyze and reason. She would have none of it. I never told her what to think or believe, I just challenged her. That only infuriated her.”(p.13)
Some of the issues Petra demanded the author’s agreement with included:
-Women should be granted jobs in fields where they are underrepresented, even if they were not qualified.
-Women should make at least as much of men in all lines of work even when men are more qualified or more experienced.
-Alleged rapists this should be sent to prison on the word of the alleged victim alone.
-It is wrong to use words such as chairman or freshman or to refer to females as girls and not women.
In response to this attempted indoctrination Mr. Ellis stated, “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" (p. 15)
At the end of the summer Petra returned to her relatives in Connecticut. The author stated "... our whole relationship was based on a big misunderstanding. But then, I suppose that's nothing unusual" (p. 15) The author reports that even though it was a difficult summer he didn't think it was a complete waste. "Had it not been for her endless stream of irritating drivel, I would still have only a vague awareness of feminism. I had just been presented with the vision of the future insanity of women. Little did I know Petra’s irritating drivel here would turn out to be prophecy." (p. 15)
The author has many good points regarding the feminist ideas that Petra expected the author to agree with. The ideas Petra attempted to convince the author of which I detailed in this entry are illogical. Part of the deficit in logic is due to the broad generalizations that some of these feminist ideas put forth. Generalizations such as the idea that women have been oppressed by men for thousands of years and so are now deserving of preferential treatment above men. But then, broad generalizations are often illogical.
Unfortunately, Mr. Ellis repeats the mistake of many feminists by using broad generalizations as well. For example, “ From this experience I learned that you cannot trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12) I suppose this is true in some cases, however, it certainly is not true for all women. Mr. Ellis, however, is correct in thinking that all adults should be responsible for their own bodies.
Or “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" I wonder though, does it really always come to that? If a woman was looking for a "yes man" Mr. Ellis is right, that would not lead to a healthy relationship. I think one of the good things men and women have to offer each other are our differing perspectives on issues.
As I've mentioned previously, hyperbole is often used when discussing a subject that one is passionate about. I suppose any expression described as a "rant" could likely contain some hyperbole as well. When hyperbole is used to express ideas there are dangers on both sides of discussion. Many women who read this may react to the hyperbole thinking, "But I am responsible for my own body, this guy is full of it." which is not going to predispose her to listening to his other ideas. A man who reads this may develop the opinion that, indeed, most women are untrustworthy, and only want a "yes man" which can lead to the inappropriate judgment of the feminine gender as a whole.
Nonetheless, as a woman, when I read a broad generalization in this book I am trying to consider if, in fact, I too am guilty of the sorts of things Mr. Ellis tends to accuse women of. I think it is a good idea to ask myself, “Do I tend to only associate with people who agree with me?” Or "Am I willing to listen to others' ideas without mentally planning how I will refute them?" Hopefully I can learn from this and share what I learn with you.