“If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?” – Mary Wollstonecraft
Well, for one thing, we don’t stop with Wonder Woman getting put in her place. Uppity wench. What was she thinking?
Who knew that in the year 2011 feminism would be such a hot-button issue? I mean, it’s been around a while. When I was studying feminist philosophers in college in the early 90s it was already an old subject and we’re nearly 20 years further along now. Since the 80s, in fact, people have been talking about post-feminism! There’s no need to go into all the various schools of thought on the subject; suffice it to say the battle isn’t over and women have not achieved full equality. Executive pay scales show the truth of that.
But Right Wing Watch has brought to light some new attacks on feminism from the Christian right. What concerns us here is Beverly LaHaye, the Concerned Women for America, and their claim real feminism is serving your husband. Yes, that sensation you just felt was the universe’s reality matrix tearing.
Here’s how it works: For conservatives, taking back America means returning America to the pre-Constitution era, with the evils of state sponsored religion and intolerance, before the U.S. Constitution made all Americans equal before the law. It stands to reason that taking back feminism, “reclaiming” it as they say, is taking women back to the era of, oh….the fourth century of the Common Era, when women knew their place, kept their mouths shut, their heads covered, stayed pregnant, and didn’t dare instruct or interfere in the affairs of men.
I mean, why do we even act surprised anymore?
According to LaHaye, “Feminism is more than an illness. It’s a philosophy of death.” Wait, I thought that was homosexuality? Janice Shaw Crouse, who directs CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, actually claims feminism started out as a Christian movement (!!!!) but those damn lesbians screwed everything up and took over:
“For many years, both secular and religious feminists operated with the same definition of equality. Then somewhere in the last 30 years that changed. Feminism was taken over by lesbians, by those who wanted quotas and abortion on demand.”
Actually, early feminists wanted all the things Crouse and her fellow bigots don’t want women to have even now more – than a century later. And that included sexual and reproductive rights. Perhaps Crouse should read Mary Wollstonecraft. I have. Wollstonecraft authored an early feminist treatises, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. She advocated equality – not just social but moral, arguing that women are more than property or ornaments, that men and women are, in fact, equal.
Feminists were not fighting for the right to serve their husbands. They were already doing that, as Wollstonecraft and others knew very well.
But what they were fighting for is not at all what Crouse is claiming. If she can show me an earlier feminist than Wollstonecraft who advocated a position like hers it would have to be a forgery because what Crouse is advocating is not, in fact, feminism at all but patriarchy.
Not to worry! Even if a woman isn’t pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen where she belongs, real working feminist “don’t view their job as a career or they don’t see themselves as career women – they see themselves helping their husbands.”
Right. Because all women are married. A mean, what’s a woman without a husband to direct and guide her and to devote her life to? An abomination, I suppose, because “She [Beverly LaHaye] knew the feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric did not represent her beliefs, nor those of the vast majority of women.”
Because not having a family is automatically anti-family. Nothing like the old false choice dilemma. You’re with me or you’re against me; you’re for families or against them.
Crouse claims that,
“Christian women do not like workplace quotas because Christian women don’t like the idea of being forced into the workplace – Christian women like choice, the option of going into the workplace or not.”
Because the only way women will work is if they’re forced. Feminism is and always was about rights – the right to work, to equal pay, to vote, to own property; in short, to control their own lives, whether married or unmarried. Yet Crouse claims,
“In general, Christian women are not in the workplace for power, they are there because they have some challenge, some very fulfilling responsibility. Many Christian women choose to work part time, to bring in some extra income to help the family, but they don’t view their job as a career or they don’t see themselves as career women – they see themselves helping their husbands. It’s a completely different perspective from modern secular feminists, a fundamental disagreement and a different worldview about what it means to be a woman.”
So Michele Bachmann is just helping her husband….right. If all these Christian harridans (Palin, Bachmann, Angle, Crouse for starters) actually obeyed the Bible they say they believe in, they’d all be quiet and stay at home and not bother us anymore.
Fundamentalist Christianity has to be the most morally flexible doctrine on the face of the planet, about as relativistic as a full service menu – you can have anything you want. You can lecture men, you can work out of the home, even in the White House itself which puts you over the heads of all those patriarchs who say you should be in the kitchen with your head covered getting silently pregnant in your bare feet, by God!
I’d suggest Crouse and others shut up before they sound any more stupid but it’s already far too late for that. That train done left a LOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooong time ago, darlin’.