November 2012By Anne Barbeau Gardiner
Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the seventeenth century.
The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know and Men Cant Say. By Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly. WorldNetDaily Books. 226 pages. $25.95.
In The Flipside of Feminism Phyllis Schlafly and her niece Suzanne Venker collaborate to show the harm that feminism has wrought over the past forty years. They call feminism the single worst thing that has happened to American women, and support the charge with an array of contemporary research.
In essence, feminism is a revolt against marriage, motherhood, and biology. In her book Motherhood Deferred, Anne Taylor Fleming, who was pro-abortion decades ago, writes, I am a woman of forty . I belong to the sisterhood of the infertile. I am a lonesome, babyless baby boomer now completely consumed by the longing for a baby. She asks the feminists who led her astray, Was your ideology worth the empty womb?
Common sense tells us that love should precede sexual intercourse and that happiness for most women consists in being married and raising a family. But since feminists came to prominence, young women have been told to be promiscuous, to plan their lives around careers, and to use abortion freely. The results are in: sexual diseases and mental illness are epidemic, cohabitation is taking the place of marriage, and great numbers of women mourn their empty wombs. Yet feminists wont admit failure. They keep insisting that the revolution isnt finished.
Feminists are like the inhabitants of the flying island of Laputa in Gullivers Travels. The Laputans are disconnected from their bodies and so governed by abstract thinking (always off-kilter) that they cant see whats in front of their noses. Likewise, feminists are controlled by an abstract ideology and will not tolerate the least dissent. Ironic, isnt it? Secularists have been raising the alarm for years about a chimerical theocracy while feminism has become the established religion. Feminists now propagate their wild theories as absolute truths and demand support from the government. Their tyrannical bent was seen from the start, as when founding feminist Simone de Beauvoir declared, No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.
Venker and Schlafly reveal feminism to be the most significant social movement of our time. Although the majority of American women dont want to be called feminists, elite feminists are entrenched in our universities, media, and government. The Shriver Report (2009) says we are living in a womans world in which the traditional family is passé. A host of celebrities, professors, lawyers, judges, journalists, bureaucrats, and psychologists are marching in lockstep to the beat of the feminist party line; among them are Maria Shriver, Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Ariana Huffington.
Oh, but feminists are clever with words. They speak of womens rights when they mean privileges, and reproductive health when they mean tax-funded abortions. They give the name womens studies to centers of feminist indoctrination where students are transformed into Laputans. There they learn that being male and female is not a biological fact, only a social construct; that males and females differ in nothing but their sex organs; and that of all the injustices perpetuated on women through the centuries, the most oppressive is that women have babies and men do not. This rootless, disembodied thinking is what Swift was satirizing in the flying islanders, a mindset without historical precedent. If our ancestors had thought like them, we wouldnt be here.
Feminist guest speakers like Jessica Valenti and Naomi Wolf come to reinforce the party line, telling college girls that they can feel free to sleep around and embrace their inner slut. Of course, its a catch-22 since feminists have also invented a new crime called gray rape i.e., sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial. Despite buzzwords like self-worth, validation, and empowerment, feminists advocate the kind of behavior that leads to sexual diseases, abortions, and depression. Schlafly and Venker call it a downright lie that women are equipped to handle random sex, citing studies showing that ninety-one percent of young women feel used after a hook-up.
The authors explain that when feminists say a woman should never depend on a man, they mean that a woman should depend instead on Uncle Sam. In Hillary Clintons maxim, it takes a village to raise a child, the word village is code for government. Recently, when President Obama declared a freeze in discretionary spending, feminists cried foul and won exemptions for their programs: Violence Against Women, for example, got a twenty-two percent increase. And when Obama announced a stimulus bill to create shovel-ready jobs, feminists protested and ended up with the majority of stimulus jobs for human infrastructure and human bridges, code words for their idea of health and social services. Obamacare includes a marriage penalty of $2,000 the added cost of insurance if a cohabiting couple marries.
Schlafly and Venker show how feminists manipulate facts to advocate absentee parenting. So far the majority of Americans rightly believe that one parent should stay home in their childrens early years. Research shows that a small childs emotional development is at risk when the consistent care and attention of one individual is lacking. In a recent poll by the premier nonpartisan polling agency Public Agenda, seventy percent of parents with children under five agreed that having a parent at home is best.
Feminists also create myths to support their agenda, for example that women are victims of employment discrimination, though equal pay for equal work has been the law since 1963. Wage disparity results from most women not wanting to live the life required for most high-pay positions, preferring family time to career advancement. If they work outside the home, mothers generally do so part time by choice, and they avoid riskier jobs. Another feminist myth is that most women work two full-time jobs. Recent surveys show that the average woman works twenty-six hours outside the home, but the average man, forty-eight; and that the woman performs an additional seventeen hours of work at home, but the man works twenty-two more hours outside the home than the woman.
Feminists also glorify divorce. For instance, Oprah loved Elizabeth Gilberts book Eat, Pray, Love (made into a movie in 2010), which inspired women to get divorced. Yet theres a self-contradiction here: First feminists tell women to be independent of men, but then they tell ex-wives to be dependent on ex-husbands and insist that the government enforce child-support payments with police, courts, and jail. Venker and Schlafly observe that the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 1994, has been streaming, without accountability, nearly a billion dollars a year into the hands of feminists who use it to preach their anti-marriage and anti-male ideology, promote divorce, bias the family court system against men, lobby for feminist state laws, and engage in political advocacy. It also finances the feminist indoctrination of law-enforcement personnel.
Schlafly and Venker write that feminists have been behind the entire gay rights agenda since the 1970s. They promoted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which, if it had passed, would have given the government power over all laws that allowed differences of treatment on account of sex and would have led to same-sex marriage. Phyllis Schlafly was in the forefront of the fight to defeat ERA. Sadly, the same specious rights are coming in by the back door.
See what the feminist juggernaut has wrought: There has been a catastrophic rise in teenage STDs; once rare, there are now nine million new cases a year. Elementary schools have sex-education classes that dont allow teachers to mention morality or self-control; school nurses and counselors are not free to dissuade students from self-destructive behavior for fear that they might deviate from the feminist doctrine of a world without taboos. As a result, we have an epidemic of out-of-control schoolchildren, and we find girls in their early teens being pressured by their peers to engage in unwanted sex. About two-thirds of couples cohabit today instead of getting married, and sexual perversions are widespread.
Who has suffered the most from feminism? Weve all suffered, but ironically its women who have suffered the most. Feminists have brought a tsunami of misery upon members of their own sex with their inhuman mantra, blessed are the barren.