Chad Perrin: SOB

9 March 2006

Women’s lib is doomed.

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 03:02

Okay, so the title of this might be a little overly dramatic. Women’s lib certainly faces some very real challenges, though. Unfortunately for the social liberation of the finer sex, its success is threatened on both sides — by both chauvinism and feminism.

On one hand, radical feminism is turning women’s lib into a laughingstock in the eyes of many. With lunacy going on like the shrieking anti-man agenda of a few radical, very vocal self-described feminists, equality and liberation for women is taking some damage along with its public image. If you want to ruin, or at least slow, a movement toward something good, offend the people that need to change. They’ll become more intractable, more stubborn, less reasonable. The more absurdly radical your stance, the more people sitting on the fence will find themselves leaning away from your position. This is what groups like NOW are doing for feminism. This is why feminism is to many very reasonable, very liberated women, a “dirty word”.

Things aren’t quite equal yet for women, and I don’t expect that gap to be closed any time soon. The way to close it is to treat everyone like equals. It’s not to lash out against people with whom one wants to be equal. Take people as individuals, not as groups. Characterizing “men” in general as some kind of patriarchal evil doesn’t help anyone except those who wish to characterize women who aren’t barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen as dangerous loons.

On the other front is a resurgence in chauvinism. So-called “traditional Christian values”, as opposed to secular equality influences, is seeing a lot of new support in the United States at least lately. In part, as already noted, radical feminism is doing this to itself by apparently doing everything in its power to alienate at least 50% of the population. Having an authoritarian theocrat in the White House is bolstering a lot of the barefoot-and-pregnancy crowd’s so-called “arguments”. Wimmin R born differnt! Dey shudnt git ta have careers! Gob wants ’em at home!

Without a President who got there largely by catering to the radical Christian Right, that lunatic segment of the populace wouldn’t be getting so legitimized. Sadly, they’re making a lot of very reasonable, intelligent, generally good Christians look pretty bad by association. I find this even more offensive than what radical feminism is doing because radical Christians are doing an even better job of making the associated reasonable Christians look bad than radical feminists are of making associated reasonable women look bad. Some of the writers of the last few centuries I respect most were Christian philosophers, but Christian philosophy continues to face the danger of being marginalized in the minds of secular academics as a result of the words and actions of a bunch of zealots.

. . . but I digress.

The point of this ramble is the liberation and equality of women. There’s one final problem with the survivability of it: social evolutionary forces. As women pursue careers, and decide to be something other than baby factories, they and the men who are attracted to them have less children. Meanwhile, the baby factories and their chauvinistic husbands are indoctrinating a new generation of chauvinists and baby factories at continuingly frightening rates. Educated, free-thinking people have lower birth rates. They may well get outnumbered to an effectively insurmountable degree again due to the mere fact of birth rates.

People often — usually, in fact — adopt the values of their parents for the most part. Latchkey kids and the Internet may be the only hopes for gender equality. After all, these days everyone is getting online, especially teenagers, and the people who write the best material online are usually people who aren’t backwards-thinking radicals. At least, they are such less often than many other demographics. The so-called “blogosphere” (what a lame term) is mostly made up of people who don’t question the ethical or moral equality of the genders, as far as I can tell, as measured in weight of opinion.

I only hope the likely increasing ratio of children of chauvinists as compared with children of people who recognize some kind of gender equality will be offset by increasing online presence of the population in general. In other words, the fertility rate of bigots might be offset by the fertility rate of free minds. It had better be — otherwise, the situation looks pretty grim.


  1. The selection mechanism against free-thinkers you outline above reminds me of what my Dad said about Europe after the world wars: most of the brave had been killed off.

    I agree that thought on the web is less managed by the moral right (which is a good thing), but unfortunately most of it wallows in the meaningless drivel of today’s petty passtimes. Present company excepted — gratefully.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 9 March 2006 @ 03:31

  2. Oh, man. Mocking the blogosphere is so neo-hip. ;( Why not do like I do, and ignore the entire thing?

    (Of course, I just say this because I read samizdata and they say blogosphere. (Yes, I’m kidding. (About the reason for saying that, not about reading it.) The real reason is still the neo-hip or whatever I should call them … the people who are annoyed at some level of hip or oh my horse this is just getting sillier by the second.))

    Comment by Snorre — 9 March 2006 @ 04:24

  3. Random off-topic comment:

    Why the heck does the ellipsis HTML character entity not display ellipsis points properly? To be perfectly precise, it should display the points with half-spaces between them or, failing that, with full spaces between them. Instead, it chooses the least correct way to display them — with no spaces.

    That’s why I don’t tend to use it, even though it’d be a lot easier than using nonbreaking space character entities to keep the points from being separated over a line-break.

    Comment by apotheon — 9 March 2006 @ 04:31

  4. I just read an article a few days ago that sort of pertains to the topic at hand. It cites a study conducted on marital happiness where they concluded that women who have “traditional Christian values” are happier than those who have feminist ideals. Of course, the Stepford wives were happy too….

    Here’s the article if you’re interested: Desperate Feminist Wives

    Comment by medullaoblongata — 9 March 2006 @ 08:40

  5. I wonder what such a study would show about the relative happiness of house husbands with professional wives.

    Comment by apotheon — 9 March 2006 @ 08:53

  6. Since you were wondering, here’s some info I managed to dig up:

    Men who have been househusbands most of their adult lives are 82 percent more likely to die from heart disease than men who have jobs outside the home. Although, the study also found that women in high profile jobs were 3 times more likely to have heart disease than ones in lower positions. The researchers attribute the stress of role-reversal to play a part in the findings.

    I also discovered a literature review for studies about fathers as primary caregivers. I found it to be an interesting read. A German study of 500 men found that those who were full-time househusbands were “largely disillusioned by their role” but those who worked part-time voiced “overwhelmingly favourable attitudes.” There seemed to be the opposite findings in a British study though.

    Anyway, here’s the link for that one:

    Comment by medullaoblongata — 10 March 2006 @ 05:21

  7. It sounds like a purely cultural issue.

    Comment by apotheon — 10 March 2006 @ 05:49

  8. Yeah, but. I started working fewer hours a year or so ago so I could spend more time with the family. It has helped my attitude. On the other hand, if I didn’t work at all I think I would go crazy. I love my family, but need to escape it sometimes.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 10 March 2006 @ 06:42

  9. I tend to think that a good balance is probably best for everyone. Traditional cultural values that are likely best discarded might predispose one to one lifestyle or the other more exclusively, just because of social pressures that might make personal preferences more socially stressful.

    That being the case, I guess saying it’s “a purely cultural issue” was a touch simplistic, but my underlying meaning still seems relevant.

    Comment by apotheon — 10 March 2006 @ 07:26

  10. Over our evolutionary history, our biology and other factors selected for certain cultural norms, and in many cases the ability to comply with those norms selected for certain individual traits. Thus, there may be biological reasons why following a cultural norm “works”. On the other hand, evolution is never “done”, so norms have to evolve as well. In our present time of rapid cultural change and diversity, it would seem that the ability to transcend cultural norms aids in survival — but I don’t think wholesale rejection of norms and traditional values does.

    I try to keep an open mind, which means that although I question everything, I have to be willing to admit that there is value in almost every viewpoint. Even the traditionalist’s.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 13 March 2006 @ 02:13

  11. Of course there’s value in tradition, else it would not have become a tradition. Tradition should never be rejected just because it’s tradition — but, by the same token, it is not the fact that it’s traditional that makes tradition valuable, so no tradition should be accepted just because it’s tradition, either.

    Comment by apotheon — 13 March 2006 @ 06:55

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