I am not really sure of what to do in the case of addressing pieces that are clearly supposed to serve as traffic boosters, as Susan “Linkbait” Dench’s newest column (“How feminism undermined itself, gave way to the hook-up culture”) is clearly supposed to do. Like any stable-minded human being, I want to address its insanity, but then if I do so I fall into the trap of giving it the attention the players appear to be craving. This series of unrelated words that just so happen to look like a column, however, is so brazen and classless that I feel compelled to engage.
Linkbait’s point, or whatever this is supposed to be, starts with the same martyr-y tone she so brilliantly nailed in her recent “YES I AM A CONSERVATIVE, IF BY CONSERVATIVE YOU MEAN THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO AMERICA”
She gravely informs:
It happened again.
Oh no. It sounds terrible, Linkbait. What happened again?
A guy told me he just didn’t know what women expected from him anymore. He was almost paralyzed by fear, wondering if he should do something that he thought would be gentlemanly but which he feared might actually offend the fairer sex. Oh, we women have so much to answer for.
NO. NO. This doesn’t sound like maybe the guy you are talking with has some sort of complex, or imaginary issues. It sounds like someone / something else is to blame. BUT WHAT IS IT?
Feminists sounded the battle call for a cultural change, and they certainly got that.
Ew, gross. You mean those people who are constantly striving for societal parity between the sexes? That sure sounds scary. Okay, go on.
In the traditional world, women brought out the best in their men, who subsumed their more base instincts as they fought hard to earn and win the respect of the women they loved.
Ah, yes, the traditional world. This sounds a lot like “the good old days,” that imaginary period of time a lot of the older, pissy racists in my family and neighborhood discuss when they are really just saying, “You know, before the blacks, broads and hippies fucked everything up for us.”
Before the sexual revolution, the woman was put on a pedestal, and both sexes expected the man to court her, woo her, fight for her hand, solicit her hard-won affection. Oh, of course there was premarital sex, but it wasn’t as prevalent, and if a girl got pregnant the guy was expected to marry her.
… and mercilessly beat the shit out of her out of resentment for the situation.
Today, men and women can both sleep around with little consequence — at least looking at things from an emotional distance. If she is on the pill and it fails, there is always an abortion (which is the greatest war against women, if we figure 50 percent of babies aborted are girls and if a baby is aborted for sex selection, it will almost always be a female). Of course, feminists have told us that we women hold all the cards, and we have the “choice,” so one of two things happens to the father: Either his responsibility is eliminated or, if he wants the baby, the heck with what the father wants.
Well, to your first point, AIDS exists and anyone who has been sexually active in the—say—last 30 years has been more or less moderately well aware of said consequence. That said, you had a very important and convoluted point to make about abortion being “the greatest war against women,” so it seems safe to say that in addition to poverty, sexism, rape, sexual assault, religious fundamentalism, your overall point of view, and other actual threats against women, there is probably a lot with which you are unfamiliar.
Talk about irony: Men have taken advantage of casual sex on demand and ended up with even more power as they asked themselves, “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” and wriggled out of monogamous dating, commitment, marriage and responsibility. Women are left without an emotionally engaged long-term partner and asking themselves in slack-jawed disbelief, “What happened?”
NOW YOU CAN’T HAVE LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS WITH SEX FIENDS, MILLENNIALS. BLAME YOUR HAIRY ARM-PITTED MOTHERS.
Poor Gen Y. The whole dating thing has got to be confusing for both sides. A New York Times article asserted, “Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other ‘non-dates’ that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.” Meeting up at the last minute is typical (no thrill of anticipation there), as is “hooking up,” which entails no-commitment sex. Hey, who cares about the consequences? If it feels good, do it.
By advocating “sexual empowerment,” feminists have sold yet another bill of goods to women, telling them to enjoy a carefree, commitment-free sexual lifestyle which actually results in the denigration of women. Now the men get that, while women are left desperately longing for more.
Wait, where is the part where you actually link the point you are making about how things are now to this advocacy of sexual empowerment? All I see are a bunch of sloppy anecdotes above, the citation of a Pew poll below, and a floating accusation. Is it possible that maybe you are just intimidated by this topic and concept and so you are blaming one for the other? Because in my family, going back a couple of generations on both sides, there was no courtship or pedestal in this magical time you are making shit up about. There was a lot of abuse and cheating and degradation of women and because no women had really made waves and stood up to take back what was theirs, and then men were always considered to be in the right, even though they were in the wrong most of the time. And when we are all honest with each other, we know that my family wasn’t out of the norm, and that you are trying to pretend as if those were better days than these, it makes you sound sort of shitty.
Consider this: According to the Pew Research Center, the share of women ages 18 to 34 who say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives has jumped 9 percentage points since 1997 — from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.
Then young women who want to get married shouldn’t marry those guys, right?
It is also worth noting that I am my wife’s second husband. Her first husband wanted to get married, and although they were two good people, it didn’t work out between them. I DIDN’T want to get married until I met her, and my opinion changed on the spot so really, these numbers don’t actually mean anything outside of making you feel like you have actually made a coherent point, as you cited a poll.
And really, yeah, there are certainly important conversations that are still occurring within the feminist movement that address which approaches worked and which approaches still require some work. And those are very important, but that this is going on doesn’t make this contribution anything more than the sloppy propaganda that it is.
The author Suzanne Venker spent years exploring the intersection of the American family and pop culture. Asking men why they didn’t want to marry, they told her that women aren’t, well, women anymore. While we are off beating our chests and celebrating our supposedly vaunted and empowered status, we are perceived as angry, defensive and treating men as the enemy.
Which men? To which men did she ask this? It is also worth noting that it is some of these traits that attracted me to my wife, that made me want to marry her because I am mature and I am secure and I find empowerment sexy, but that is just me. As someone who has tried to treat women well, I rarely, if ever, have been on the receiving end of “man hating,” and when I have, it is because I did something to invite said hate. Of course, as an act of deflection of my own role in my relationships with women, I could interpret their responses to my being an asshole as something wrong with them, but I am a grownup.
Equality under law, of course! But feminism has gone far beyond legal equity to inflict social damage that, unless we come to our senses, may never be repaired.
Social movements are interesting and inspiring in that they are ever-changing, and with real activism and discourse, we can shift their course to fit the needs of the society the movement is addressing. Because of this, even if you had made a coherent point that we should be worried about, I wouldn’t be particularly nervous. Feminism have paved the way for many things in our society, making it better in countless ways. That you are trying to pull off whatever you are trying to accomplish here at the continued movement’s expense is perplexing and off-putting.
What is damaging to our society, however, is ignorance. Unless you come to your senses, you run the risk of becoming its hostage permanently.