Monday, November 07, 2005

With us or against us (2)

I thought that the era of sex-hating feminism was long past. Many of my progressive women friends have assured me of that. So is it discouraging to hear movement leaders again railing against the presence of womens' sexuality in media and popular culture. To hear them tell it, the fact that young women like to dance on bars and dress like Britney Spears cancels out all the gains that have been made in education, pay, and economic and civil rights. I heard one feminist author the other night say that we are living in an unmitigated nightmare for feminism. If she had been referring to the current political assault on womens' reproductive rights, it might have made at least some sense. But she was focused on pop culture.

Let's set the record straight: Girls are kicking butt in our schools (I posted earlier on this topic)--so much so, that there is now hand-wringing over whether boys are disadvantaged. The wage gap for women has gone from the proverbial $0.59 per dollar to, depending on your sources, $0.85 and climbing. Put the two trends together, and most of the remaining glass ceilings are due to be shattered within a generation. None of this counts? Is it really all for naught because some young women like to act trashy or sexually aggressive in public?

Such behaviour may simply reflect a realization on the part of women and girls that the old double standards that imprisoned them are melting away. They are now free to act the way boys have always been free to act. The tragic flaw of doctrinaire feminism has been its premise that women must be the victims of every situation. Boys are presumed to hold all the cards in traditional roles; yet, reverse the roles, and suddenly the same behaviour is a sign of weakness and subjugation. How can that be, unless you make the assumption that men and women are fundamentally unequal?

Finally, as trashy as much of pop culture may be, we should not buy the constant whining and kvetching, from both the Left and the Right, that overt sexuality is a sign of the end of civilization. We actually live in a pretty repressed society. If young women are breaking out of the mold and flaunting it, how is that a bad thing? Let the religious zealots get all hot and bothered. The real reason they are upset is that they secretly like trashy sex, and that frightens them. The rest of us should not be making common cause with creeps like Pat Boone.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Usdan said...

Did you see Maureen Dowd's very interesting article on this subject, two weeks ago, in the Sunday NYT Magazine? Her point that feminism has been set back a generation by elite women choosing to be housewives as well as the new dating rules is thought provoking.

My mother worked in a managerial role on Wall Street starting in the early 1950's and was the key bread winner in our family. I did not realize that there was any debate about gender equality until I went to college.

November 08, 2005 5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, they secretly "like" it.

I've been saying this for years.

These same idiots are usually railing against homosexuality for the same reason, I believe.

November 08, 2005 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the Dowd piece, and I am sorry to hear she it taking that view. Feminism should be about choice, not about which choice.

November 08, 2005 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

Good post! The problem with a lot of "causes" is that they refuse to acknowledge progress and success! They are so bent on being angry at something or blaming someone that they lose sight of what the original goal was and change the focus in order to keep on being angry. Not the most efficient way to manage a movement...

November 08, 2005 8:38 AM  

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