Saturday, May 20, 2006

Women Who Make the World Worse

I picked up a copy of Kate O'Beirne's "Women Who Make the World Worse" the other day. It's obviously not intended to be a scholarly tome and makes for interesting reading, assuming you're not one of the feminists she's got it in for. I guess I might write more later, but what I wanted to highlight for now is that for all that I agree with her, she does seem to have one enormous blind spot. Her position is very much against the feminist creed of absolute equality between the sexes: "anything he can do I can do just as well, and if I can't, I'll bring him down to my level". Well and good, but the feminist creed is not quite that. It's more like: "anything he can do, I can do just as well, and anything I can do better than him he'd better not try"; and sometimes it's just: "men are bad" (throw rocks at them).

O'Beirne's blindspot is one that I can't miss and that is the feminist stance against the idea of father custody if the mother doesn't want it. O'Beirne seems to think, and can provide some documentation to support it, that feminists just don't want women to be tied down by kids, arguing for massively subsidised daycare services and for dad to pull his finger out. But when it comes down to it, attempts at legislating shared custody are opposed most strongly by whom? Feminists, of course.

I suspect that either she hasn't noticed this, or O'Bierne, from her position of the mother's place in a "traditional" family, doesn't believe in joint or father custody either. In fact, she really doesn't say very much about fatherhood at all, and when she does, it makes me a little unhappy:

p13: "Whenever men are not lured or corralled into concerning themselves with their children and mates , decent human society fades..." Dear Mrs. O'Bierne, I like you, I really do, but there are fathers out here who don't need to be lured or corralled into behaving like decent fathers and mates, please don't forget that.

Otherwise, she speaks a lot of sense and illustrates well many of the more foolish if not outright dangerous consequences of rabid feminism. Sometimes her logic gets a little shaky, and she could have made a stronger case for her own side of the fence, because she seems to hanker vaguely for "traditional" values but doesn't define what she means.

There are quite a few gems which ought to pop up more often than they do, so I'm glad she's documented them.

For example, in the chapter on the daycare industry, we learn that even Dr. Spock puts profits before children. He used to argue against daycare, but pulled the advice from "Baby and Child Care" to avoid making working mothers feel guilty. He himself said: "It's a cowardly thing that I did, I just tossed it in subsequent editions." (p. 36)

She ably points out that there is a selection effect in operation within the media among women journalists who preferentially report on news in support of daycare because they have a vested interest (p 36 & 39). It does indeed seem quite likely that daycare advocates are unlikely to be selected on the basis of their motherly attributes and that those who don't believe in daycare would find it harder to compete in their careers, unless they choose not to have children of course.

It is a point worth pondering that if women are paid less than men for the same work, as many feminists claim, then this represents an enormous and cheap labor pool that is not exploited as one might expect it to be. Why pay a man $10 an hour when you can pay a woman $7.50? (p 52. I know, simplistic, but like I said, I think it's worth pondering.)

She, rightly, I guess, sings the praises of Mary Kay Ash on page 66, but I wonder if she's aware of the MKA foundation's support of PBS's "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" because on the same page, she also complains about the use of victimhood instead of empowerment.

Other chapters discuss the feminization of schools, sports and the military and are particularly strong on examples of lowering the bar on standards to bring the sexes closer to parity when there are clear innate differences and, when that doesn't work, hobbling the ankles of men to keep them from getting too far ahead.

I got kind of bored with the "gender gap" chapter as this seems to be so much of a pointless exercise of "we're more popular with the girls than you are, nyah, nyah!".

There's a strong finish with "Mother Nature Is a Bitch" if only by virtue of the quoted exchange (p. 181) between ABC's John Stossel and that icon of feminist thought, Gloria Steinem:

Stossel: "Aren't women, in general, better nurturers?"
Steinem: "No. Next Question."

I plan on using that next time I find myself, er, discussing father's rights with some feminist who's opposed to the idea.

Tags: , , ,

1 comment:

Masculist Man said...

"Traditional" women are just as misadric as their feminiat counterparts. They expect men to be servants to them such as holding the door open for them and picking up the dinner tab. They also play up to a man's chivilary by making sure the man is the sole breadwinner and that women never have to fight on the front lines of a war like have to. So much for the "old fashion" women.

Blog Archive