Feminism’s False Promises
Today being International Women’s Day, it seems appropriate to write something on the subject of womanhood. Being the reactionary, right-wing dinosaur that I am I suppose most people would assume that I therefore am also some kind of female-hating misogynist; the truth is I rather like the fairer sex, both their company and as individuals in their own right. It is for that reason I consider myself to be an anti-feminist, because as someone who holds women in high regard I feel compelled to speak out on the tremendous harm feminism has done to the female sex in addition to society as a whole.
I can already sense the outrage building so pre-emptively I will make a few qualifications before going forward. I will certainly credit feminism for the good it has done. If we’re going to decide things by voting, I see no reason why women should not be allowed to do so the same as men. If someone has talent and skill for a certain trade or profession my meritocratic inclinations say they should certainly be allowed to pursue a career in such fields regardless of their gender. Everyone should be treated equally before the law. No one should ever be harmed, physically or otherwise, for the crime of being born a woman. On these particular battles I fully am onside with advocates of women’s rights and applaud heartily the victories that have been won in them over the decades.
All that being said, where feminism has gone wrong, especially in recent years, has been by going beyond to fight to give women equality to men and instead asserting that women are the same as men. To be blunt, they are not. Men and women are different, which is not to say that is somehow a negative (indeed it is a hilarious irony that for all their lauding of diversity the modern day progressive has somehow turned the idea that people can be different on some inherent basis into a kind of slur). It is the denial of this basic fact that I have the most beef with, and that the most harm stems from in my most humble opinion. The fallout of this is quite clear; survey after survey has discovered that there is a very clear split on life satisfaction along gender lines. Despite having a leveller field than ever with their male peers, women increasingly are quite miserable it seems. The reason for this is not patriarchy or some misogynistic conspiracy, but rather the inevitable consequence of this being the first generation of women to have grown being told that not only are they equal to men but absolutely the same as them in every way and that they should live their lives accordingly.
As a friend of mine once eloquently put it, feminism in essence tells women to follow the same life path as men: sleep around in your twenties and focus on your career, date someone seriously in your thirties, and get hitched (or just cohabit) as you approach the big four-O and maybe have a kid or two if you’re so inclined. While I have some rather serious qualms about men follow this life path (which I will go into in more detail on another occasion) it can prove to be functional enough, whereas for women there are several unspoken speed bumps. For starters it’s been well established by numerous studies that most women do want to have children at some point in their life. Whereas men can achieve this ambition practically to the day they die for the fairer sex this become significantly more difficult the older they become. Despite the impression given by the glossy covers of tabloid magazines heralding the latest unexpected forty-something celebrity pregnancy, the cold scientific truth is that having children becomes increasingly harder for women as they enter their thirties and almost a miraculous endeavor when over forty.
This of course assumes one can find someone to have children with. While both men and women both find as they grow older that a life of workaholic pursuit of career advancement actually is quite unfulfilling, women are at a distinct disadvantage as they grow older when it comes to the relationship department. Quite a few men still single in their later years often are so for a good reason, and those who are just unattached by happy coincidence are a pretty hot commodity and not just among women their own age. Fairly or not, a forty year old man can be considered both attractive and relationship material by a considerable portion of twenty-something ladies; the proportion of men in their twenties who feel the same way about forty year old women is significantly less.
The unfortunate truth is that you can’t “have it all”, however much that same mantra has been repeated for the past few decades, and by telling women that feminism has simply set many of them up for disappointment. That is not to say one can’t be single woman and obsessed with her career and still be a happy and complete person. For all that I laud marriage and children and monogamy, I admit I myself one of those individuals who seems to enjoy being single, and not in the sense that I’m some kind of tremendously successful player or pick up artist but rather in that I enjoy my own company and don’t feel much of a calling towards marriage and a family. If you’re also one of those people more power to you. For many people, however, family and a partner are something they want, and by telling young women they are somehow being traitors to womankind by choosing to prioritize those things while they are young instead of devoting themselves singularly to work and career feminists have gone their gender a tremendous disservice. A pet cat and an endless succession of dinners on the couch while watching television are a poor consolation prize to the many that have been and are being led astray by this false prophecy, as many have discovered to their own unhappiness.
So what is to be done? Perhaps we could start with some honesty. Recognizing that men and women, while equal, are not the same and therefore will have to make different life choices would be a start. The false promises feminism has spouted without challenge should be exposed as such so people can then be free to make genuine choices based upon the world as it truly is and not as some would like to see it as. Such a dialogue would likely be uncomfortable to some, but likely a relief to far more.