My niece, Kyra, is 4 years old. Like most 4-year olds, she says all kinds of hilarious things. A couple weeks ago, though, she said something that wasn't just funny, but (unintentionally) perceptive.
Talking with her mother, she declared: "I don't want to be a girl anymore. I want to be a boy."
"You want to be a boy?" her mother (my sister-in-law) replied. "Why do you want to be a boy?"
And Kyra said, "Because I don't want to have any babies."
After she finished laughing, my sister-in-law explained to her that she didn't have to have babies if she didn't want to. The story's cute, but it also struck me as somewhat profound: my 4-year old niece had summed up the essence of modern feminism in less than 25 words.
Feminism as it started out, in the late 19th century all the way through the mid-960s, was about treating women as human beings on par with men. It's hard to argue with that. Women are not the same as men, of course, and the differences between them can lead to one being better at certain responsibilities than the other, but as human beings they are equal in their inherent dignity. Thus, women sought their rights to participate in civil society (through voting) and insisted on being allowed to take advantages of opportunities for which they were well-qualified (in universities or on the job). That was what legitimate feminism was once about.
Modern feminism, however -- feminism since the late '60s -- has been about pretty much anything else BUT that. It's been, in fact, a modern case study for Pedagogy of the Oppressed (not that Paolo Friere would ever want to include it, of course). Feminists have come to hate men so much and for so long that their minds have become twisted, they've forgotten what goals of their own they ever had, and the only goals they can recognize anymore are the goals of their "oppressors" (i.e. men).
Thus, most modern feminists denigrate domestic moms and lionize working moms. Moms who stay at home are wasting themselves on their children, according to most modern feminists, and need to get out into the workplace where they can achieve true self-actualization. But finding one's self-worth in work has been a distinctively male trait. It's why, for example, when women want to talk about a problem, their husbands'/boyfriends' first instinct is to find a solution to the problem, not to validate their wives/girlfriends by just listening to the problem. A man who stays home and isn't working often battles feelings of inadequacy, because for millennia men have been the ones who go out of the home and "do things" like hunt big game, or fight big wars, or (eventually) work long hours. Women stayed at home and did things, like raise children, tend the home, and (especially on the frontier) protect their homes from predators. Women tend to value stability where men prefer excitement; prefer safety where men more easily tolerate risk (which is why there are so few women oil rig workers or garbage collectors); and prize consensus where men value competition.
The rigors of the workplace tend to favor male tendencies; the rigors of the home tend to favor female tendencies. Most feminists will denounce this assessment as sexist, but they implicitly accept the truth of it by admonishing women for being so passive (by staying at home) and encouraging them to be more aggressive in the workplace -- to work longer hours, to identify with their company's success, and especially to delay (or completely forgo) having children. These are all male activities. Men don't have to forgo having children to work long hours, because they don't have to bear them -- women do. And modern feminists wish they could be like men.
Modern feminism has also adopted male-style views on sexual matters, prizing lesbianism, unlimited sexual gratification, and abortion on demand. Like men, many feminists now prize having sex with women. Or, if they have sex with men, they often don't get into committed relationships with them so they won't get "tied down". This "rutting male" style of sexual conquest stands in stark contrast to the way women have viewed sexual matters for all of recorded history, and would be abhorrent to women in just about any other time (i.e. when women still focused on acting like women). The reason that "rutting males" can act this way, though, is that they don't have babies -- women do. And modern feminists wish they could be like men. Thus, they encourage women to kill their babies (in the "unfortunate" incident that they become pregnant) by aborting them, which -- short of having preemptive hysterectomies -- is the best way for them to have carefree, casual sex like men can.
And my 4-year old niece managed to sum up all that in less than 25 words. It took me over 550. Truly, my niece is a sage.
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