Per Howards request.
Feminism's devolution from hoaxers
to whores Published November "So
was the feminist movement some sort
of cruel hoax?
Do women get less desirable as they
get more successful?"
Columnist Maureen Dowd posed those
questions in Sunday's New York Times
Magazine in an essay adapted from
her forthcoming book: Are Men Necessary:
When Sexes Collide.
Entertaining as usual, Dowd explored
her premise that many women end up
unmarried and childless because they're
successful by reviewing women's evolution
since her college days, which happen
to have coincided with my own. We
both came of age as women's lib was
being midwifed into the culture by
a generation of women who felt enslaved
by homemaking and childbearing.
Now, in the span of a generation,
all that business about equality apparently
isn't so appealing to a younger generation
of women, who are ever inventive as
they seek old ways to attract new
men. Dowd writes:
"Today, women have gone back
to hunting their quarry .
. . with elaborate schemes designed
to allow the deluded creatures (men)
to think they are the hunters."
Dowd, herself unmarried and childless,
wonders whether being smart and successful
explains her status. She observes
that men would rather marry women
who are younger and more malleable,
i.e. less successful and perhaps not
so very bright.
No one vets the culture with a keener
eye than Dowd.
Her identification of trends -- especially
the perverse evolution of liberated
women from Birkenstock-wearing intellectuals
into pole-dancing sluts -- is dead
on. But while she sees women clearly
as they search for identity in a gender-shifting
culture, she doesn't seem to know
much about men.
Men haven't turned away from smart,
successful women because they're smart
and successful. More likely they've
turned away because the feminist movement
that encouraged women to be smart
and successful also encouraged them
to be hostile and demeaning to men.
Whatever was wrong, men did it. During
the past 30 years, they've been variously
characterized as male chauvinist pigs,
deadbeat dads or knuckle-dragging
abusers who beat their wives on Super
Bowl Sunday. At the same time women
wanted men to be wage earners, they
also wanted them to act like girlfriends:
to time their contractions, feed and
diaper the baby, and go antiquing.
And then, when whatshisname inevitably
lapsed into guy-ness, women wanted
him to disappear. If children were
involved, women got custody and men
got an invoice. The eradication of
men and fathers from children's lives
has been feminism's most despicable
accomplishment. Half of all children
will sleep tonight in a home where
their father does not live.
Did we really think men wouldn't mind?
Meanwhile, when we're not bashing
men, we're diminishing manhood. Look
around at entertainment and other
cultural signposts and you see a feminized
culture that prefers sanitized men
-- hairless, coiffed, buffed and,
if possible, gay. Men don't know whether
to be "metrosexuals" getting
pedicures, or "groomzillas"
obsessing about wedding favors, or
the latest, "ubersexuals"
-- yes to the coif, no to androgyny.
As far as I can tell, real men don't
have a problem with smart, successful
women. But they do mind being castrated.
It's a guy thing. They do mind being
told in so many ways that they are
Even now, the latest book to fuel
the feminist flames of male alienation
is Peggy Drexler's lesbian guide to
guilt-free narcissism, Raising Boys
Without Men. Is it possible to raise
boys without men? Sure. Is it right?
You may find your answer by imagining
a male-authored book titled: Raising
Girls Without Women.
Returning to Dowd's original question,
yes, the feminist movement was a hoax
inasmuch as it told only half the
story. As even feminist matriarch
Betty Friedan eventually noted, feminism
failed to recognize that even smart,
successful women also want to be mothers.
It's called Nature. Social engineering
can no more change that fact than
mechanical engineering can change
the laws of physics.
Many of those women who declined to
join the modern feminist movement
learned the rest of the story by becoming
mothers themselves and, in many cases,
by raising boys who were born innocent
and undeserving of women's hostilities.
I would never insist that women have
to have children to be fully female.
Some women aren't mother material
-- and some men don't deserve the
children they sire.
But something vital and poignant happens
when one's own interests become secondary
to the more compelling needs of children.
You grow up. In the process of sacrificing
your infant-self for the real baby,
you stop obsessing and fixating on
the looking glass. Instead, you focus
your energies on trying to raise healthy
boys and girls to become smart, successful
men and women.
In the jungle, one hopes, they will
find each other.
Kathleen Parker can be reached at
email@example.com or 407-420-5202.
Copyright © 2005, Orlando Sentinel
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