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claire van ryn is confused by feminism

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Claire Van Ryn is a pro-life Christian blogger and writer for The Examiner, with a reputation for writing controversial articles that incite heated responses. And her most recent article is no exception.

The piece is titled Women’s Rights Confusing Men, and in it Van Ryn talks about traditional gender roles and urges men to be the strong, Viking protectors us weak little women desperately need. Whilst writing this feature, I re-read Claire’s article many times in the vain attempt to find an actual point amid all the antique notions and anti-feminist waffle. It was a challenge, and to be honest I still came up without one. Claire states repeatedly that she wants men to ‘man up’, especially in regard to an unexpected pregnancy, but doesn’t elaborate on what exactly they are supposed to be manning up and doing. Does Claire want men to go all Wilberforce on their women and demand they have an abortion? Or does she believe men should force women into continuing with a pregnancy against their wishes?

Aside from the confusing aspects of her article, this is also a very delicate time to send out the message that men need to ‘man up’ and ‘take charge’ with regards to women. The recent tragedy in California was down to one man who did not respect a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body (i.e. not have sex with him), so he ‘took charge’ and gunned down innocent people. Obviously this is not what Van Ryn meant in her own article, but it hits a little close to home nonetheless.

According to Claire, the tragic loss of the defined gender roles of the 1950s is all down do that old tag of feminism. Us domineering, self-serving feminists have emasculated and downright confused poor, defenseless men, and elevated feminist rights with ‘bull-headed brutality’. Which is of course, unacceptable. I mean, just imagine what the world would be like if men were as brutal, ruthless and selfish in pursuing what was important to them. Oh wait, it is like that. We shouldn’t have to be ‘reasonable and measured’ in our fight for feminism. Society needs to accept that women can be selfish and forceful, and that is okay, because men do the exact same thing with little to no criticism.

In past articles Claire Van Ryn has spoken out against gay marriage, with a similar method of attack – as feminists are ‘emasculating’ men, those supporting gay marriage are ‘intimidating’ anyone who opposes their fight for equality in marriage. It seems that Claire’s strategy is to claim that anyone fighting for rights outside of her Christian beliefs is nothing more than a bully.

And now our relentless ‘feminist heckling’, has gone and done the unthinkable – it has actually produced men who are supportive, respectful and equal partners. How terrible!

‘It creates wimpy men who demur judgment and decision-making.

You know what I’m talking about – those men who say, “It’s your body”, “It’s your choice”, “I’ll support whatever decision you make”.

Men need to man-up.’ 

Personally this is exactly what I would want to hear from my partner in such a situation, and the idea that men respecting women’s wishes makes them less of a man is almost as ridiculous as the notion that women having choices regarding their own bodies makes them self-serving.

Van Ryn is imploring men to ‘man-up’ and take a more leading role in their relationships, yet in past articles she has made her views regarding abortion abundantly clear. So what if the man takes the dominant role he is “supposed” to have, and doesn’t want the baby to be born? Should the woman do as she’s told and have an abortion? Or should she ignore her partner’s wishes, stand up for her rights, and keep the baby?

It seems neither is acceptable, as Claire also laments the tragedy of men who ‘weren’t even told of the house their sperm built for a baby they never knew, or whose desires were overridden by the mother’. This whole sperm house imagery is referring to men’s “innate” role as the protector, completely ignoring the fact that the woman probably protects the unborn child a little bit more by actually carrying and nourishing it for nine months. But apparently this doesn’t give women the upper hand in the decision-making process.

Personally, I think men should ‘man-up’, and understand that every single time you have sex, conception is a very real possibility. Therefore it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that contraception is being used, otherwise your ignorance is your own downfall. ‘Man up’ and take responsibility for your own sex life – if you aren’t ready for a child, wear a condom. Once your sperm is in her body, the rest is her prerogative.

Claire speaks emphatically for women having many choices in her abortion piece, but only if it abides by her religious beliefs. A woman is free to give her baby up for adoption, but she is not free to terminate it. Sorry Claire, but freedom is not negotiable – it is an absolute. And a woman should have the absolute freedom to do whatever she wants with her own body, and her own life.

But Claire is ignorant of modern society in her pursuit to squash men and women into her archaic, religious stereotypes of gender roles. She asks ‘why wrestle with what is innate?’, but gender roles are not innate. Every couple and every individual has their own beliefs, and trying to force men and women into traditional gender molds when we live in a society that has more diverse family and couple structures than ever, is utterly ridiculous.

After studying Claire Van Ryn’s article at length, I have come to the conclusion that instead of women’s rights confusing men, perhaps Claire is just a little confused by the concepts that women’s rights stand for: freedom, equality, and the right to choose.


4 thoughts on “claire van ryn is confused by feminism

  1. Sarah, your article belies your own ignorance by spending a whole article attacking someone for having an opinion that differs from yours. Just a touch of irony I’d say. From what I see Claire never said men have more, or less rights to women she just aknowledged that men and women are different and men do have a responsiblity whether they like it or not.

    The point that bemuses me the most about the whole abortion debate is that pro-death advocates defend women’s ‘rights’ with such vehemence whilst completely ignoring the rights of a defenceless human being whom they’re completely happy to kill because they have decided their rights trump all others.

    You finish Sarah with the concepts that women’s rights stand for: freedom, equality, and the right to choose.

    Then surely others are just as entitled to their own freedom to have an opinion different from yours, equality with all (not superiority over an unborn child) and the right to choose what they believe and how they live their life. If you do indeed stand up for the things you’ve stated then perhaps your article was actually a waste of time.

  2. Great article, I couldn’t agree more.

    Phil, Claire’s article is largely ignorant of the fact that traditional gender roles are a myth and that pigeon holing people into playing to their gender, rather than their strengths, does not help society one little bit.

    I also do not care if your consider abortion to be “completely ignoring the rights of a defenceless human being whom they’re completely happy to kill because they have decided their rights trump all others. ” Your ignorance and lack of understanding and compassion when it comes to pregnancy, labor and motherhood is pretty plain to see right there, therefore your opinion on what I do with my body is moot.

    • Thanks for sharing Aimee.
      I’m pretty sure Claire didn’t say ignore your strengths and conform to gender roles, just that sometimes our gender plays a part in the strengths we possess.

      Also the fact that I’m cradling my four week old daughter as I type this, whom I helped deliver means I absolutely have respect, understanding and compassion for motherhood and labor. It seems I just have compassion for those who can’t speak for themselves too.

      • Crograts on your baby, Phil.

        are you an advocate of forced pregnancy, then? Do you think a man has a right to force a woman to carry his baby?

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