Urgh. Seriously, I know I shouldn’t pay any attention to this sort of thing. But I couldn’t help it. So here’s my response to Josephine Asher’s AWFUL “Confessions of a Young Anti-Feminist“, published in The Punch today.
Instead of harnessing the different qualities of men and women to energise us, we are striving to make men and women equal.Equality does not mean being the same. Most feminists I know, myself included, only want a world in which women are free to pursue whatever path they choose, rather than being limited by their gender.
More women are joining the battle for the CEO’s chair and pursuing dominance in their homes and communities. But in the process they’re becoming more like men. And men are becoming… well, less like men.Wait, hang on, I thought you were saying women wanted equality. Now we want dominance? Make up your mind!
Renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo believes men and women have different roles “set not only by society but set by physiology”. “The current trend is for dads to be more hands on. But for all we know it may be proven in a hundred years time that that may be a negative thing for the upbringing of children,” he said recently on Seven’s Sunday Night program. “They’re there to be protective. A man has to have a good job; he has to do well at school so he can get a good job and support his family. A woman has to be loving and caring,” he said.And for all we know, in 100 years, families where roles are negotiated based on interest, ability and opportunity, rather than gender, may be happier than their traditionalist counterparts. “For all we know” isn’t evidence, Ms Asher.
As a 29-year-old single woman, many of my peers don’t appreciate my traditionalist views. I’d rather dodge a flying pair of high heels thrown at me in anger than pin a man under a pair of mine.Oh, poor wee non-feminist, getting bullied when she completely dismisses the life choices of a whole range of women, and imply they are the cause of society’s unhappiness.
Feminism has achieved victories for women, but could it be at the expense of femininity, chivalry and attributes of the opposite sex that instinctively attract us to each other?Call me crazy, but I’m generally attracted to men who intellectually stimulate me, who treat me as an equal, and who are passionate and interested in the world. Whether he can fix a tap is neither here nor there…
In his book The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida describes attraction between the masculine and the feminine as “sexual polarity”, referring to varying degrees of strength and vulnerability. “This force of attraction is the dynamism that often disappears in modern relationships. If you want real passion, you need a ravisher and a ravishee. Otherwise you just have two buddies who decide to rub genitals in bed,” he writes.Quoting someone who said something once does not make it true. That’s not actual evidence. You’re not really building a strong case here, Ms Asher.
Earlier this month, TopGear presenter James May branded the new generation of men as “useless morons” who struggle to master the basic skills once defined as masculine roles. “The decline of practical skills, some of them very day-to-day, among a generation of British men is very worrying. They can’t put up a shelf, wire a plug, countersink a screw…” he said.Well, if the guy from Top Gear says it, you know it must be true.
For thousands of years men were providers and protectors and women nurturers. Evolution provided each with the physical and emotional assets to do these jobs well. Well into the last century the husband provided his family with a home and food and this sole responsibility gave him a sense of power and purpose. And women didn’t feel pressure to justify their existence with a career. They were proud home makers and mothers. Until feminism.Wait, so you’re using evolution as evidence men and women SHOULD have different roles? Couldn’t you equally argue that, as we move away from agrarian economies to manufacturing to knowledge economies, equality is the next natural step in the evolutionary process?
Now, two thirds of Australian families with dependent children have two incomes. Women are more independent, and consequently they are less dependent on men. However, mothers now feel more pressure to stay in the workforce either to financially keep up with the surge in double income families or to avoid the negative stigma of being a housewife. Is it becoming unacceptable in our society for women to rely on men and take pride in abilities defined as gender roles?Or is it becoming more acceptable for one partner to work and the other to stay at home, if they choose? Isn’t the whole point of feminism that women and men get to make choices that enable them to live the life they most want to lead, rather than being forced by gender to accept certain roles?
Women are also suppressing traditional feminine characteristics like elegance and fragility to take on high power careers and step into male dominated roles.It’s funny, I have many complaints about society, but the pressure to be LESS feminine is hardly one of them. Have you looked at a magazine stand lately, Ms Asher?
The Annual Child Care and Workforce Participation Survey found 33 per cent of women who returned to work did so for independence, and 27 per cent for career progression. However, a British survey of 2000 men revealed one-third of men would prefer to be the sole breadwinning traditional father while another quarter would like to be the main breadwinner with their spouse working only part-time.Well, if men want it, of course it’s the woman’s duty to sacrifice her own happiness for his.
Instead, men are sporting aprons, doing their own ironing and pushing trolleys down supermarket aisles – roles that don’t exactly exude manliness.Perhaps not your idea of manliness. Frankly, I find a man in an apron rather sexy.
The survey also found more than half of respondents thought 21st century society was turning men into “waxed and coiffed metrosexuals”, who had to live according to women’s rules.Um, really? I still only earn 80c in the dollar a man makes, but that’s society as lived by women’s rules?
How does that impact a man’s morale? My friend Dave told me his wife speaks to him in the same tone as she speaks to their children – and the dog. “Kids, turn off the TV, Buster outside, Dave, the dishes aren’t going to clean themselves.” Dave feels like he’s surrendered his balls.Well, if Dave’s feeling it, clearly all men in Australia must feel the same…
When a man is stripped of his sense of purpose, it’s more difficult to satisfy that instinctive hunger for power and purpose. Could this be part of the reason why one in eight Australian men experiences severe depression in their lifetime? Deida describes it as a “weakened impotent existence”. “Without a conscious life purpose, a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events,” he said.And what about women feeling as though they are forced into roles they don’t wish to have? Does that not make them unhappy? Why is the happiness of the man Asher’s number one concern? Which is, of course, ignoring the fact that there’a actually nothing that says equality and lack of life purpose are linked in any way.
“The mission is the priority of the masculine, whereas the search for love is the priority of the feminine.”No. Just no. That is an antiquated, constructed gender norm that has no place in the 21st century.
It seems marriage is becoming less about being dependent on each other and more about living independent lives. But is it making couples happier? Now, 40 percent of Australian marriages are predicted to end in divorce. The Relationships Australia Relationships Indicators Survey 2008 revealed stress, work pressures and lack of time to spend with their partner were the top three factors that negatively impacted upon partner relationships.Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007), 67 per cent of mothers felt pressed for time in families where both parents were working, compared with just 12 per cent in families where one parent was employedFeeling pressed for time is not the same thing as being unhappy. It’s not exactly rocket science to know that when you do more, you need more time. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I don’t think that women should surrender their careers all together. But if we allow men to reclaim some power, we women could do more to embrace our femininity.How can you look at the world honestly, and claim men are lacking power?
Would we be happier if more of us accept that men and women are not equal?Hell no.