pissed off feminist fights back: get back in the kitchen and other tall tales
There seems to be a person on Facebook who posts moronic things just to goad me/women like me/all the people. Either that or he just genuinely has arcane views. He’s a nice guy (or else I’d delete him) so long ago I decided to bite my tongue when I saw things such as the above image or one that compares getting a PHD to a dysfunctional marriage. Essentially, whoever makes these bullshit images has a lot to answer for, in the sense that images like these and articles like this and this play into a bullshit “war on men” paradigm that I’ve decided needs a good debunking.
First things first: there is no such thing as a “war on men”. That doesn’t exist. It’s not happening. I could probably just finish my article here, but I’ll take the time to really pull apart the ideas put forward by Suzanne Venker in the latter piece, ‘The War on Men’, published, surprise surprise, by Fox News, who are usually a paragon of integrity. What the article and others like it are trying to say is that the quest for parity with men in areas such as work-life balance, career advancement, income and so on, is to the detriment of men and women. On top of that, women aren’t the same anymore either — we’re too pushy, too masculine, not feminine or submissive anymore. If women keep acting like that, we won’t be able to unlock the ultimate achievement — marriage – and then what would we do?
The easiest way to argue against that is to point out that the word “equality” is not some super-secret feminist code for “one-upping dudekind.” It actually means exactly what it has always meant — the same opportunities afforded to men ought to be offered to women. Women shouldn’t have to accept lower-paid jobs in women’s industries or be poorly represented in media or be expected to act in a “fitting” manner just because we were born a particular sex. (An aside on the silent sex: Blanch’s article claims that men have been silenced in that they’re not allowed to disagree with the feminist polemic. That can be easily disproved by statistics; after all, the ratio of male-female cultural commentators is still well in men’s favour. Further, if the feminist polemic had so strong a stranglehold on national discourse, drivel such as the kind touted in the above image or by Miranda Devine would not be so widely disseminated).
What Venker says in her article is that the project of feminism has taught women to treat men as the “enemy.” Let’s throw some feminist theory into the ring. The story goes, thanks to de Beauvoir, women are “Other,” existing and understood only in reference to man. So it goes that the idea of men feeling subjugated and emasculated is a rather curious paradox. Men can’t be “Other” when they operate from a site of such privilege that they mistake for oppression. They’re not construed as the “enemy.” What seems to be the case is that women are the enemy of men, pissing them off with their misguided attempts at autonomy — something that gets in the way of an incoherent argument. Venker effectively generalises and reduces women’s diverse ways of thinking into an easily communicable nutshell: ‘WANT.’ We want too much and that’s scary and overbearing and men can’t handle that kind of competition. Apparently if you push men off their pedestal, men can’t just stand happily next to women. They need to have somewhere to go, somewhere where they can reclaim their hunter spirit.
The idea that women are not so feminine anymore and should perhaps get back in the kitchen as nature intended is a tried and true way of shutting down and delegitimating feminine subjectivity. It’s been used since the dawn of the women’s rights movement, back when feminism was affiliated largely with masculine “butch” women who didn’t seem to understand that we’re biologically wired to do things differently. In the immortal words of opposition leader Tony Abbott, ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.’ The fact that this biological hardwiring has been called out as not-so-much-scientific-truth is ritually ignored. We women have to be vulnerable and dependent so that men can get their kicks picking up the slack, being providers. Men can only respect servile women.
And so the gears keep turning and women keep earning slightly more than they used to and are graduating in higher numbers that ever before, and yet they are still not at the top tiers of industry. And men complain that women aren’t as docile while women like Venker authenticate such a stone-age perspective, diverting from the real issues facing women and men and creating opposition. This opposition, based upon the insistence that women are progressing at too fast a rate, holds back debate and advancement, relegating women to their “proper” roles, and reigning in our ambition. I think I’ll pass on that, thanks.
Some further reading from some men who’ve got things right:
Hugo Schwyzer, ‘The war on men’
Ben Jenkins, ‘Are modern men being silenced by women?’
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