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Let's start out frank; I am not some raving fanatic who wants to bind feet. I simply want to end some practices I find offensive as a man and an advocate of gender equality.

Misuses of Feminism

1. Domination of men. A feminist is in favor of women's rights. A woman who thinks men are her inferiors is a small-minded emasculating bitch.

2. Demonizing homemakers. Strange as it may sound to those people who see women as lawyers and starship captains, some women (indeed, even some men) prefer to stay at home, taking a more active role in the lives of their children, cooking and cleaning. This is not necessarily a servile role; it may simply be a reflection of a desire to be more involved as parents, or preserve a more traditional family structure.

3. Prejudice against men. This is bigotry, kind of like what caused the calculated murder of ten million people. News Flash: Not all men are misogynists, rapists, abusers, philanderers or obsessed with cars, tools or booze. They are also not all without emotion, crass or stupid.

Please remember that there is a difference between a feminist and hating men. My mother is a feminist, and she is married with two loving sons. She agrees with me that feminism is about attaining an equal position in society for women, not the enslavement of men. Thank you for your time.

My take on this subject has been covered in several other WU's, but it's worth reiterating here: the feminists who dislike housewifery are not the ones who hate men, the feminists who hate men also hate women in "male" roles.

Yes, it does seem like a contradiction in terms, since it begs the question as to who's going to captain starships, fix cars, and generally run things. The truth is, astonishingly, nobody should. Starships, cars, and even law and government, you see, (and this is the opinion current here in New Haven) are all symbols of the patriarchal urge to dominate -- in a matriarchal society, we'd be content with walking and horses, rule by consensus, and trying to contact alien races by ESP.

Equality feminists tend to downplay housewifery, not because of contempt for actual housewives, but because very few women really are content to "just stay home", the way they did at mid-century. Stay at home women nowadays are several times more isolated than they were in the Fifties and Sixties, since there are (usually) no neighbors to drop over, few women's clubs to pass time, and precious little on daytime TV anymore -- even part time, you're better off working. So, they tend to encourage women who might stay home to work or study rather than wasting their lives hanging around. After all, in a few years or so, the kids will be out of the house more than being in it, and well, have you seen the divorce rate? At least when you're working, you might meet some men...

Gender feminists, on the other hand, see women's roles as being just fine as they are, blaming men for well, almost everything. These are the feminists who claim that women need special protection from such terrors as involuntary exposure to pornography, which in some theorists' eyes, constitutes everything from hard-core pedophile and snuff porn to relatively innocuous material such as Sports Illustrated-style bathing suit pictures. Some go so far as to say that all (or almost all) advertising photography is pornographic in nature, and should be banned, as well. Then there's the demonization of women's sexuality in general...on one hand The Vagina Monologues has put the female genitalia on the map, so to speak. However, the second half of the program is about domestic violence, as if to say, yes, it's fun to have sex, but dangerous to live with those hairy beasts with....(shudder)...swords hanging off their bodies. Be safe, dear, and play with other girls...or by yourself. Even lesbianism gets somewhat downplayed in terms of actual sensuality: reading many feminist tracts, you get the idea that lesbianism is somehow about going white-water rafting, eating potluck, and living together with a dog and/or several cats, rather than anything that has to do with sex, per se. Of course, if you are a lesbian, that's inborn and inbred, and you can't change it...but if you aren't, well, why aren't you?

Gender feminism also tends to apologize for what would be considered female oppression in other cultures: not too many years ago, it was roundly asserted that Muslim women were in many ways more "liberated" than Western ones were. The explanation was that the burqa, niqab, and chador removed the pressure often felt by Western women to conform to a given standard of beauty, and deterred rape as well, since men would have little chance to see what they were getting inside. Life in purdah was depicted almost as a feminist paradise: the boss of the harem was the Waleed, who was the mother of the master of the house -- as opposed to Western rule by pretty 16-25 year-olds. How wonderful...at least if you're a Baby Boomer-generation professor of women's studies feeling threatened by a younger generation. Of course, there is a master, but, well, he's hardly ever around. And those walls are so hard to scale -- comforting to know, it's dangerous out there...

I haven't touched on many of the worst misuses of feminism in this WU: the cooption of the abuse industry, the problematical nature of actual sex crimes, the gender gap in education, etc. But this is a sample. Later...

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