Last week I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about converting feminists to femininity. In the article, I mentioned that radical feminist Andrea Dworkin equated all heterosexual sex, even consensual sex, with rape. A few female commenters objected that they reject Dworkin’s extreme ideas. Rather, they claim to follow a moderate feminism that they think empowers women. But is it really empowering?
What is moderate feminism?
Radical feminism is easy to critique because it has a number of academics and theorists, such as Dworkin, Germaine Greer, and Mary Daly, who have produced a large body of writings detailing their ideas. Radical feminists are part of a vanguard. They’ve worked out their ideas to their logical conclusions, but it will take decades until those ideas can percolate down through the masses of society.
Moderate feminism is more difficult to pin down because there is no defined body of writings to consult. Perhaps the best way to define it is that it is a watered-down feminism that is palatable to more conventional women. Apart from the blue and red haired harpies you see at protests, most modern women would fall under the moderate feminist category.
Unlike radical feminism, which wanted to minimize the role of men, moderate feminism champions equality with men in all areas. They encourage women to imitate men. If men are promiscuous, women should be as well. If men are dedicated to their careers, women should be dedicated to career as well. If men play sports, women should play those same sports.
Moderate feminism also tends to favor progressive policies. Feminists support governmental enforcement of equal pay for equal work, increased penalties for crimes against women, same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues, free birth control, subsidized daycare, and easy access to abortion.
To most modern women, the agenda of moderate feminism appears to be utterly reasonable and obviously correct. They regard anyone who is against this agenda as an uneducated, uncultured troglodyte who should be driven from polite society.
A wonderful career
But moderate feminism is not as beneficial to women as they are led to believe. Young women are taught that the proper role for an empowered woman is to climb the career ladder. Being a stay at home mom is discouraged as being boring and a waste of a woman’s talent.
One of the heroes of moderate feminism is Facebook executive and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg has led a charmed life. She was born into a wealthy Jewish family and attended Harvard, where she met Larry Summers who served as her mentor and thesis advisor.
Through Summers she was able to get jobs working at the World Bank and the Treasury Department. She later worked for Google before meeting Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party, which led to her being hired at Facebook.
In Lean In, Sandberg talks about her belief that women are underrepresented in corporate leadership in companies and suggests simple solutions to help women reach “their full potential” in their careers.
Leaning in can lead to desperation
It all sounds wonderful, but the reality is that if you haven’t attended an Ivy League school, and if you don’t happen to have the future president of Harvard as your mentor, you are probably not going to get hired by the hot new startup of the future no matter how hard you “lean in.” Instead, you are going to get an entry-level position, slog away for years, and if you are lucky, you will rise to a middle management position.
That might be okay if you are a man, but it is dangerous for a woman. Men find women in their early twenties to be the most attractive—that is the point when women have their peak sexual market value. It is at this age when a young woman can attract the best spouse.
However, if a young woman follows the advice to dedicate her best years to a company she might find herself scrambling to find a husband when she is in her early thirties. At this point, she might find that her “gene pool” of men is significantly smaller and of lower quality than it was when she was 22 years old.
Leaning in means smaller families
It turns out that a woman in her twenties is not just at her most appealing; she is also at the peak of her fertility. After age 30 a woman’s fertility begins to crater. While corporations enjoy the cheap labor that young women provide, a woman is exchanging her fertility for the opportunity to work in a cube.
Leaning in means your children will be raised by an institution
If women follow the feminist script, they will continue to sacrifice their lives at the corporate altar even after they have had children. That means a daycare institution will raise the children.
Feminists have long been dismissive of the idea that children need someone like a mother or a grandmother as part of their development. On the contrary, feminists argue that daycare is better than maternal care. Feminist Kate Millett wrote:
The care of the young is infinitely better left to trained professionals rather than to harried amateurs with little time nor taste for the education of young minds.
However, Brian C. Robertson, in his book Forced Labor, writes that even daycare owners have noted that:
The effects of day-long daycare on young children were often traumatic. Preschoolers who seemed to be doing well in the morning-only nursery school began lashing out, withdrawing, and crying for hours on end. Some children even lost abilities that they had acquired.
Now I understand that some mothers work out of economic necessity. In those situations, women are often acting heroically in providing for their families in the best way that they can.
But there are also professional women who deliberately choose their career over raising their children in response to the feminist notion that a career is empowering and that motherhood is demeaning. Unfortunately, in this case it is the children who are the losers.
Feminism encourages young women to be promiscuous
The equality preached by moderate feminism also extends to the sexual sphere. Through the schools, media, and popular magazines young women are indoctrinated into believing that riding the cock carousel is somehow empowering.
But the rise of easy sex has been a disaster for women. It has given rise to the Pick Up Artists (PUA), men who learn game in order to get into a woman’s pants as quickly as possible. Feminists decry PUAs as being evil, but it is just men who are behaving rationally to the fact that so many young women now lack even a shred of self-respect.
It has also given rise to a lot of really bad sex. In the very first episode of the vile HBO series Girls, the main character Hannah is about to have sex with her boyfriend “doggy style.” Instead, her boyfriend chooses to have anal sex. When Hannah tries to protest that she does not want to have anal sex, the boyfriend says, “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” and continues thrusting.
You may argue that Girls is fictional, but the fact that this show resonates so strongly with young women is telling.
I’ve also read articles written by women bemoaning men who want to record all of their sexual escapades and men who are unable to reach an orgasm with old-fashioned vaginal sex. I am sure that you could find a “sex therapist” who would say all of these things are perfectly normal, but the women who wrote these articles didn’t sound happy and fulfilled by their feminism.
Moderate feminism passes itself off as a very positive thing. It doesn’t denigrate men, so the story goes, it just makes women more powerful. While it sounds good on paper, its effects in the real world are overwhelmingly negative on both the lives of women and men.
Unfortunately, moderate feminism is here to stay—at least for a little while longer.