KATHLENE M. writes:
The criticism of the masculinized Olympic women reminds me of a recent personal incident: My 90-year-old mother-in-law, who is one of the original diehard feminists, asked me if I was watching the Olympics, especially the women’s sports.
I replied, “No, not much.”
“Why not?!” she demanded to know, waiting for an opportunity to pounce as usual.
“The women look like men!” I answered.
Her retort was “What’s wrong with that?! Why shouldn’t women be like men?!”
All I could do was shake my head and not answer. (I’ve learned not to respond if I want to save myself from being bullied.) As an original diehard feminist born in 1920, she believes that women should have full equality with men, and she resents most of the men she’s had in her life, including her father, her late husband, and even to some extent her current husband (my husband’s father).
Strangely enough, she doesn’t seem to like her own sisters too and any women who doesn’t meet her criteria, including any woman whom she deems “ugly” (she berated Chelsea Clinton years ago for her appearance). She has never had her own children (she’s my husband’s stepmother) and supports homosexual “marriage” of course.
This is off subject but did you see that Nancy Pelosi claimed that she saw the spirits of various suffragettes at the White House years ago? Here’s what she said:
Well, one suffragette is alive and well at age 90 and she’s part of my family!
A significant number of the women of your mother-in-law’s generation, and the women before them, were passionate feminists, a fact which has been largely obscured by the occurrence of World War II and the ensuing prosperity, which both had the positive side-effect of reinforcing traditional sex roles.
It’s important to bear this in mind. As a social movement and ideology, feminism can’t be understood if seen as a product of the 1960′s and not in the larger historical perspective. It began to emerge as a serious cultural influence in the late 1800′s. The fact that women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries lived what appear to us traditional lives does not contradict this. The ideas and assumptions of an influential few were undergoing profound changes.
This is why a woman in her thirties today may find herself at odds with her grandmother or her deceased great-grandmother. The idea that feminism is new or avant-garde is laughable. Feminists don’t represent the cutting-edge. They represent the long-existing establishment. One of my great-grandmothers on my mother’s side, whom I never met, is said to have openly despised men. She was a feminist.
We have to dig feminism up by the roots. That means going back to the beginning.
—– Comments ——
Excellent insight from you, as usual. My mother-in-law has been quite the education for me. (By the way, she self-identifies as a Republican.) I realized, as you pointed out, that feminism has deeper roots than I suspected. My mother-in-law may despise men, but she sure needs men to give her bank account and personal health a boost. She has successfully advised at least one female friend to divorce her husband (and she tried unsuccessfully to drive a wedge between me and my husband years ago), but she has hung on to the bitter end through two marriages so she can reap the rewards. She claims she is self-made through her former career and her own intellect, but she has also relied on the men in her life to enrich her circumstances.
She has successfully advised at least one female friend to divorce her husband (and she tried unsuccessfully to drive a wedge between me and my husband years ago), but she has hung on to the bitter end through two marriages so she can reap the rewards. She claims she is self-made through her former career and her own intellect, but she has also relied on the men in her life to enrich her circumstances.
Feminists often take an active delight in destroying the marriages of the people they know. Misery loves company and they want their hatred of mankind to spread. A happy marriage undermines everything.
“Why shouldn’t women be like men?”
Well, if you truly believe that women are inferior, as many feminists seem to believe deep down, then women should make themselves as mannish as possible. How ironic it is that a movement called feminism despises femininity.
One question: Weren’t the original suffragettes from the upper class and thus well-off because of their husbands? My upper-class mother-in-law is very judgmental of other women’s social status. She is more supportive of an educated upper-class working woman than she is an uneducated lower-class working woman. She is often derogatory toward the latter group. Isn’t this at odds with the feminist philosophy?
Oh, darling, I love you. This is such an important insight.
I think it helps to understand this phenomenon if we see feminism as, in part, a way for high-status women to gain access to high-status men. I’m not offering this as a complete explanation, but it clarifies a whole lot.
A major reason educated feminists value work and career is because it puts them in close contact with men at the upper level. This is an often unconscious motivating factor for them and their parents. Parents fear not pushing their daughters toward success. After all, how else will they find a man to marry?
The lower class working woman has the feminist’s scorn because she is not married to a high-status man and cannot show much for all her drudgery. At the root of all this is materialism and a love of things.
Diana M. writes:
“, a fact which has been largely obscured by the occurrence of World War II and the ensuing prosperity, which both had the positive side-effect of reinforcing traditional sex roles.”
Don’t forget the Depression. The formative experience of my parents was the Depression, and after that WWII (in which my father served) was a pale second. His younger brothers fought in WWII, and were younger, so the priority was reversed. But the Depression also had the effect of retarding the effects of radical feminism. Hard to believe given today’s obliterated landscape, but the Depression had the effect of making family bonds stronger. Sure, there were exceptions, but for the most part, people stuck together.