Friday, April 3, 2009

Was feminism all bad?

One of my vices is to buy books faster than I can possibly read them. I also have the habit of reading multiple books at the same time (well, not at exactly the same time, but you know what I mean....). Right now I am reading The Feminist Mistake by Mary Kassian, Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity by Leon Podles, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan, I'm Fine With God...It's Christians I can't Stand by Bruce Bickel ands Stan Jantz, and The Appeal by John Grisham.

I also have piles of books just waiting to be read. Right now, one of those books is Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley. Ms. McCulley is a self-described former feminist who earned a certificate in women's studies in college and later rejected much feminist ideology after converting to Christianity when she was 30. Even though it seems to me that feminism still influences some things Ms. McCulley writes on her blog, I have appreciated many things she has written about there, so I have been interested to hear what she has to say about feminism in this new book.

Carolyn McCulley currently has a guest post on Candace Watters' blog titled Early Views on Marriage about the negative views of marriage espoused by early feminists, which is based on her book, Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World. In this post she makes the statement:

The first feminists pushed for legal changes that we all benefit from today. I am glad women can vote, own property, and earn an equal wage for equal work—just to name a few benefits!

I have also had friends who oppose much feminist ideology say similar things, such as they are glad feminism has given them the right to work and earn a living. As a single woman, I am glad I have the right to earn a living and support myself too. I just doubt that I would not have this right without feminism. Women worked outside the home before feminism came along.

Regarding suffrage, feminists seem to forget that historically many men did not have the right to vote either. I'm also not convinced that giving women the vote has been beneficial to the United States at all. Given the tendency of women to vote for greater government influence it is far more likely that my political point of view would be better represented if women, including me, were not allowed to vote.

When I read quotes like Carolyn McCulley's it seems to me that she believes that women would have no property rights without feminism. But, single women have had property rights throughout most of history. Additionally, as early as the 17th century in the United States, there have been laws which supported married women's rights to property by requiring married women to give their consent to any transaction involving what was their property prior to marriage before the transaction could be approved. I have also been unable to find any information that states that historically women were paid less than men for the same work.

So, I am not convinced that any of the "good" that feminism has brought about would not have happened if not for feminism.

What about you? Do you think feminism has brought any "good"?

19 comments:

Something Feral said...

I can't say I believe it has; I consider feminist theory to be merely a subset of Marxist ideology that substitutes women for the proletariat. As Marxist ideology has brought nothing but death and misery to the world since its inception, to expect an isomorphic ideology to bring anything else would be insane.

I'm enjoying reading your posts at EW's, and I'm backreading here. I don't read a lot of blogs that come from a feminine perspective, so it's refreshing. Keep it up. :)

Elusive Wapiti said...

I fail to see where feminism has any benefit whatsoever.

From a perspective of religious faith, feminism shows contempt for the Law of God. Moreover, it makes an idol out of a woman's desire for control. Those two points would be all I would need to declare feminism an evil to be opposed with all my might.

But since most do not subscribe to the same faith as I, that is if they have any faith at all, I must also tender secular reasons for declaring that feminism lacks redeeming value. You and Feral have hit already on some of the highlights: excepting suffrage, the supposed "rights" that feminism gave to women largely pre-existed feminism; feminism merely extended them. Universal suffrage, where a mob of men and women vote their factional interests to plunder and enslave one another, has resulted in the loss of liberty for all, as you mention. And I have shown on my blog that the "equal pay for equal work" canard works in favor of women, not against them...that is, men are paid less for the same work.

And it is not difficult to enumerate the rights eroded or lost due to feminism: due process, equal protection, privacy, property, free association, speech, keep and bear arms, forced labor, enforcement of contract, and right to life come immediately to mind.

Let's also not forget the negative effects of feminism on the condition of women and girls themselves: less happiness, less safety, more stress and more poverty.

So when one counts the increased rights for married women to exercise agency independent of their husbands and the mass delusion that is voting, when you counterbalance them against that which has been lost and is being lost, I think on the whole feminism--while a positive for a small segment of society--is a net negative for society.

PS that's an awful lot of books to be reading in parallel. Maybe you women can multitask after all :)

Something Feral said...

I admit, EW brings the thunder on this much more adeptly than I do, although I stand by the statement that feminism is a subset of Marxism, which constitutes a sufficient case for secular opposition; the Faithful enjoy the luxury of a larger hammer, which I do enjoy. :)

In hindsight, my study of geometry is making my writing a bit terse...

MarkyMark said...

Learner,

I cannot add anything to what SF & EW have already said; your post was good too. WRT women's suffrage, you also pointed out that men didn't have the vote for much of history, either. I think that universal suffrage is a bad thing; most of the people, men & women, are freakin' IDIOTS; they're morons who are lucky if they can add 2+2 and get 4 when they're done! Yet these are the folks who determine our future-nice...

MarkyMark

Roci said...

i don't care. Just talk about boobs again.

Jesse said...

Can't add much that the others haven't already articulated better. So no, feminism has not brought about any "good" for society. I agree that most of the things it is heralded for (property rights, more education for women, protections, etc.) were in place far before feminism came on the scene or were going to be in place. All feminism did was hasten the substitution of equal outcome for equal opportunity for half the population, and of course the encroachment of government needed to enforce it. I hardly think that's been a great thing for anyone involved.

Suffrage...don't get me started. But I think MarkyMark touches on a good point in that both men and women are generally unwise voters so even if women didn't vote I'm not convinced we wouldn't have a mess on our hands. People have figured out that they can vote themselves spoils at the expense of others, and when that happens on a large scale it signals the downfall of republicanism as we know it (or knew it).

Roci gets the prize for post of the day though!

Kathy Farrelly said...

I always enjoy reading what you have to say Jesse.
Your views are always very considered, fair and balanced.

I also appreciate you guys'(Roci and Jesse) sense of humour.
Hey what's life without a laugh or two, eh?

Learner said...

Feral,

Thanks, I enjoy what you have to say at EW's too. One of the other books I am reading, The Feminist Mistake talks about feminism being rooted in Marxism.

I hear what you are saying about certain studies ruining your writing. I often think my studies have not only decreased my common sense, but also have somewhat ruined my ability to have a normal conversation (what evidence do you have for that opinion of yours?!?)

Learner said...

EW,

You hit a lot of great points there.

I don't know that it is multi-tasking as much as it is limited attention span. Some of the books I read much smaller parts of at a time. Like the Church Impotent book, it is awfully chewey, with a lot of dense information.

Learner said...

MarkyMark,

Thanks. It is quite scary who we allow to vote. No wonder we are in so much trouble.

Learner said...

Roci,

Just for you; Boobs, boobs, boobs and boobs. ;)

Learner said...

Jesse,

As Kathy said, good points Jesse.

I agree that most of the things it is heralded for (property rights, more education for women, protections, etc.) were in place far before feminism came on the scene or were going to be in place.

Lately I have been thinking about this idea a lot. Where would we be today without feminism? Was it inevitable?

Something Feral said...

i⋅so⋅mor⋅phism: 2. Mathematics. a one-to-one relation onto the map between two sets, which preserves the relations existing between elements in its domain.

I checked the dictionary after I had posted, and there is no colloquial usage for the term. Used in conjunction with "subsets", it's telling. It's not incorrect, as the two are functionally the same (walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...): Men are the exploitative bourgeoisie, women constitute the proletariat and are encouraged to rise up and overthrow their oppressive overlords and establish a State to maintain the monopoly on power.

Essentially, it's a stronger argument than feminism merely has roots in Marxism, it is Marxism.

Learner said...

Essentially, it's a stronger argument than feminism merely has roots in Marxism, it is Marxism.

Feral, I see what you are saying. I didn't catch the difference the first time.

Ame said...

excellent ... all of it ... even the boobs :)

Learner said...

Ame, you crack me up! :)

Amir Larijani said...

Feminism has been an unmitigated disaster. Even the "benefits" claimed by feminists, were in play before Betty Friedan ever came along. If the best they can point to is suffrage, then their legacy is dubious against the backdrop of the abortion slaughter and its ramifications.

As for "equal job/equal pay", that is the biggest crock I've ever heard from their camp. Even the men don't enjoy "equal job/equal pay" in a free market.

Why is that? Some people are better negotiators than others. Some people are bolder in demanding higher salaries than others. Some people are more aggressive in their negotiating, and willing to dig in their heels.

I've seen studies that indicate that women--as a group--are not as aggressive at negotiating compensation as men are.

In my first job after a huge layoff, I found myself making only $27,000 per year. I was not in position to negotiate aggressively. I was over $10,000 below what everyone else (male and female) at that location--was earning at the same job and with similar level of experience--was making.

While I was able to negotiate myself better after 6 months, it was still a sobering assessment about what you may sacrifice if you are in a position of weakness at the negotiating table.

Learner said...

Amir,

There are lots of factors that explain the "wage gap" including lifestyle choices and risk acceptance. I also agree that negotiation is another factor.

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