The folks at the traditionalist Catholic website, Fisheaters, have a great essay about how feminism has re-written its own history of the past. Feminism emerged with a critique of mostly upper middle class life after WWII. In that critique, domestic life was seen as too easy, unchallenging, and boring for women of talent. But this familiar criticism–along the lines of Ibsen’s The Doll House–was not particularly persuasive outside of a particular swath of society. It generally did not appeal to women who are pressured to work to make ends meet, nor did it appeal to their families. These are ladies that work as waitresses and seamstresses and not in the vanity jobs–columnist, museum curator–that lead to “self actualization.” For the folks whose small luxuries include a night out to Applebees, there never was a time of being “sleeping beauty.”
The authors call the more recent tradition that emphasizes how women have been oppressed “slaughtered saints’ feminism” in contrast to the earlier “sleeping beauty feminism” of Betty Friedan. The authors write, rather provocatively:
Sleeping Beauty feminism was poorly adapted to becoming a mass movement despite Ms. Friedan’s program for making it one. It was aimed at the minority of elitists whose non-spiritual problems had been solved and who were summoned to confront the spiritual crisis signaled by “the problem that has no name.” The failure to recognize this crisis as a spiritual one has led not to its solution but to its burial, its replacement by problems at lower levels in the “hierarchy of needs,” things like paying the rent and the utilities and coping with roleless men–problems which have made today’s Slaughtered Saints feminism what the Sleeping Beauty feminism of a generation ago could never have been, a mass movement.
The best thing for the women’s movement now would be (if it were possible) to restore the patriarchal family and hope that it could once again solve women’s lower-level needs and bring them back to where is could be said, “Blessed are those who feel their spiritual need.” Let the Scriptures be fulfilled. The patriarchy which brought them this far couldn’t carry them all the way to moksha experience but it was the best friend women ever had.
Slaughtered Saints feminists now affect to interpret the free ride as itself an affliction, as what feminist Jessie Bernard calls “the woman’s extra load of economic dependency.” She thinks this burden “has to be lightened” because “A union between a man and a woman in which, when it breaks down, one loses not only the mate but also the very means of subsistence is not a fair relationship.”
It is not a relationship at all when it breaks down; and it breaks down chiefly because (thanks to the feminist/sexual revolution’s insistence on a woman’s right to control her own reproduction) marriage has become a non-binding contract. Women do not suffer from an “extra load of economic dependency”; they want to hang on to the dependency or get it back again–without having to fulfill the marital obligations which justify it.
The patriarchal system benefits women by marriage. The feminist program of wrecking the patriarchy aims to make it provide the same benefits outside marriage, thereby destroying marriage, the family, the male role and the whole patriarchal system–and restoring matriliny. The only way for men to restore the patriarchy is to insist that there shall be no free ride outside of marriage and the acceptance of sexual regulation–no alimony, no child support payments, no affirmative action and comparable worth programs, no quotas, no goals-and-timetables. To be independent means not to be dependent.
Fat chance on that last proposal. The whole meaning of the modern innovations like “no fault” divorce, mandatory alimony, and affirmative action is heads-I-win-tails-you-lose treatment of established elites. The goal is not fairness; the goal is destroying traditional role of men (and other bad people) in society.
Thus, the goalpost always moves: procedural fairness (Title VII) gave way to racial and sexual parity (Affirmative Action and “Diversity”) and then there emerged the openly stated goal of the complete elimination of any role for white males and other traditional elites in public life (Black Power and Contemporary Feminism). Here we are. The “dumb dad” is our cultural symbol, and he is dumb indeed for giving up his power and the prerequisite of civilization, the traditional family, so readily.