I’ve got to say that the most recent op-ed by conservative, Christina Hoff Sommers brought forth an involuntary wince from me. It’s making the rounds of the usual suspects including the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. I caught it in the St. Albans Messenger, and here, for what it is worth, Is my two cents on the subject:
In the wake of Donald Trump’s macho march to power, how anyone could deny that the U.S. is essentially a patriarchy is beyond me. It has confirmed what most women have suspected since puberty, that there is a tacit acceptance culture of catcalls, pinches and grabs governing the male-centric universe. Despite efforts to codify protections from those behaviors, they persist and go largely unchecked in the greater U.S.
I don’t know with whom Ms. Sommers is hobnobbing, but few of the feminists in my acquaintance have been “man-haters.” Those that were generally had a pretty concrete personal experience of abuse that put them in that frame of mind. If you’ve been bitten by a savage pitbull, you aren’t likely to be overly fond of the entire breed.
I can only assume that Ms. Sommers lives in some bubble of privilege and has therefore been spared the frequent reminders of women’s inferior status vis-a-vis practical power, that the majority of women now simply take for granted as the norm.
It’s funny that she criticizes the contemporary feminist, who typically is young, single, sharing a crowded apartment and carrying a ton of student debt, as “elitist,” when she herself so clearly meets the definition of a class elite:
Forty years after Roe vs. Wade enshrined a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, we have come to a place where that right has never been in greater jeopardy, and even birth control is under attack. The very idea that women should not have the right to make choices concerning their own bodies is paternalistic.
Meanwhile, male “choice” through chemical performance enhancement is fully funded without question, and represents a booming sector of the pharmaceutical market.
Concerning the “Womens’ March On Washington” scheduled for January 21, Ms. Sommers offered this snooty suggestion:
“If I may offer some unsolicited advice. If that voice is calm and judicious rather than hyperbolic and harping, people just might listen.”
Well, thank you very much for the advice Ms. Sommers. That and a nickel won’t even get you a ride on the streetcar these days. As a matter or record, we are on the whole the calmer, more judicious gender.
It took many generations to get up enough lather to challenge the patriarchy in the last decade of the twentieth century, but no sooner had we declared a modest victory following Roe, and confidently retreated from the battlements, than the old habits of patriarchy began to reassert themselves. Now, as we near the second decade of the twenty-first century, many of us look back and see how much ground we have lost in the battle for true gender equality.
I think the election of an admitted sexual predator to the highest office in the land by significantly less than half the electorate is reason enough to raise our voices in protest.
(written in memory of GMD’s late, great pillar of feminist argument, Julie Waters.)