Monday, April 14, 2008

'Crushed into silence'?

Very interesting column by Amy Alkon:
“Men explain things to me,” complains [feminist writer Rebecca] Solnit [in the Los Angeles Times], “and to other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men. Every woman knows what I mean.”
We do? I think somebody forgot to send me the memo. Yet, Solnit claims this terrible injustice is something “nearly every woman faces every day” . . .
I have to say, if there’s one problem with men these days, it isn’t “unsupported overconfidence.” I likewise can’t say I’ve ever felt “crushed into silence” or any of the maudlin rest. So… either my dad, who taught me to stand up for myself, and told me over and over that I could do anything boys could do, is unique among fathers in America, or there’s a name for what Solnit’s peddling, and it’s “grassy-knoll feminism.”
(Via Memeorandum.) My own thoughts on this:
  • Men do have a tendency toward seeking dominance -- and that tendency includes conversation. The first time this fact leaped out at me was when I was doing a story about a Northwestern University sex-research grant. This federally funded research involved transsexuals, some of whom were upset about how they were treated by the researcher. In a phone interview with one transsexual woman, I became aware that, although her voice sounded quite feminine, there was something distinctly male in her conversational style. She interrupted me frequently, would sometimes seem to ignore the point I was trying to make, and would often do what I call "filibustering" -- sort of lecturing me, and refusing to "yield the floor" when I would attempt to interrupt. Sex-change surgery and hormon treatment had not altered her masculine habits in dialogue (or monologue, as it were).
  • Radical feminism is an anti-social ideology. The differences between men and women are real and innate. Turn on Comedy Central and you'll see an endless parade of stand-up comedians, both male and female, cracking up their audiences with observational riffs on the differences between men and women. Where these comics find fodder for their stand-up routines, the radical feminist sees . . . injustice! The radical feminist is someone whose inability to cope with male-female differences has been exaggerated and overdramatized into a political cause.
Every culture develops customs and traditions to allow male and female to coexist peacefully in society. The reason radical feminism is hostile to these customs and traditions is not necessarily because traditional culture oppresses women in general. Rather, it is because radical feminism was created by, has been promoted by, and attracts to its cause, women who are unable to adjust to, cope with or succeed within traditional society.

In other words, radical feminism is about the grievances of a particular type of woman -- women who are, in a word, anti-social.

This explains the implacable nature of radical feminism. No concession or compromise can ever satisfy them. As soon as they are granted one of their demands, they will instantly find some new grievance and issue another demand. Feminists are predisposed to political aggression, since the hunt for grievances and the making of demands is their movement's raison d'etre.

If the Feminist Majority were to issue a final and complete list of its demands, and if all those demands were granted, the Feminist Majority would not disband. They wouldn't say, "Oh, well, our work is done now. Close the office, cancel next month's fundraising campaign, issue severance pay to the staff, donate whatever's left in our bank account to the Red Cross." Not going to happen, is it?

In this sense, then, radical feminism can be said to resemble Hitler's Germany. Give them Austria, and next they'll want the Sudetenland. Give them the Sudetenland, and next they'll start ranting about the Danzig Corridor and issuing ultimata to Poland. As soon as their panzers get finished mopping up in Poland, they begin transferring divisions to their western frontier. Et cetera.

I realize such a comparison will be denounced under Godwin's Law, but the analogy -- about the nature of aggression and the futility of appeasement -- seems inescapable in this instance.

Call me the Winston Churchill of patriarchal oppression: "We shall fight them on the beaches ... we shall fight in the hills ... we shall never surrender!"

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