Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Is this what feminism wanted?

I do not think enough attention has been paid to the incredible swiftness and ease of this conquest.  Would genuine revolutionaries really have wanted Helen Gurley Brown, author of Sex and the Single Girl, advancing their honoured banners of the field of conflict.   Whether they did or not, that is what they got, ending up with the noble pleas of Mary Wollstonecraft reduced to the grunts and squeals of "Girl Power" and the raucous equality-in-grossness of the hard-drinking and lewd "ladette".

It's hard to see who has benefited from it apart from major employers, abortion clinics, alcohol manufacturers and the state.  It is the state which in the crudest sense gets the extra taxes, and in a deeper victory sees its old adversary, the married family, weakened to the point where it now barely exists.  The decline in marriage has been one of the swiftest and least noted social changes in British history, as has the disappearance of the full-time mother and the appearance of a gigantic network of day-orphanages for the children left motherless for five days of each week as a result. . . . It is also clear that private life, that essential shelter for free thought and free speech, has been much reduced by it. . . .

What is truly liberating (or socialist, or even radical) about swapping home life, with its independence and personal freedom, for wage slavery and the tax slavery that invariable comes with it?


What is Left-wing about the vast, greedy industry of baby farms, in which the young are minded by legions of paid strangers with no long-term interest in their charges.  Wage-slave women are a cruelly exploited new class as an old-fashioned nineteenth-century radical would instantly see. But the modern left is a vociferous supporter of the exploiters.  It is left to the tougher religions, and to despised social conservatives, to oppose it.

. . . a campaign to liberate women from domestic oppression has changed into a wholly different and effectively opposite campaign to enslave women in offices and call centres.  There they are actually oppressed by managers who can sack them, and who have no interest in them if they become pregnant or grow old or ill.  This is instead of being nominally oppressed by husbands who are supposed to keep them for life, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

A campaign originally aimed at allowing the greater personal fulfilment of women, and their liberation from drudgery, has replaced one form of drudgery with another, much harder to escape and more ruthless.  And a campaign which had been supposed to allow women to be more free is now a campaign which requires the dismantling of private life, where free thought is nurtured and independent, thinking individuals are brought up. . . .

In this new world, women do not marry for life (for this is unendurable imprisonment).  They do not raise their own children (for this is a form of enslavement which destroys their potential).  They denounce any calls for them to obey their husbands out of love (for this is feudal oppression), but readily obey workplace masters for money.  In return they are rewarded with that money and that sort of pleasures that can be  bought with money.  But they live in growing fear of age, as demonstrated by the disturbing fashions for Botox treatment and plastic surgery.  For, unlike lifelong marriage, employment depends on youth.  And so does the availability of sexual fulfilment, supposedly made so much simpler by the new morality. . . .

On a more  mundane level, women may desire marriage.  And so do many men.  But the laws which now govern wedlock ensure that many men will avoid a contract which can be easily broken by one party against the wishes of the other, which can strip them of much of their wealth and deprive them of their children.  Also, the former importance of marriage has been dissolved by general sexual availability without commitment. . . .

The children of this confusion, often drugged to make them behave, are brought up by strangers or by the state.  They frequently have distant relations with their parents and learn little or nothing from them except mistrust.  In British society in the last few decades, a number of things have simply stopped.  Girls no longer learn to sew and bake.  Boys no longer play rough games and in many cases play no sport either.  Children do not sing.  Most of the young know no history or lore of the past.  Local accepts, except for a few very powerful ones, have faded and died.  Nursery rhymes and proverbs are unknown, street games such as hopscotch and conkers have nearly vanished, ancient slang expressions have been forgotten in favour of the English of the soap opera. . . . These are symptoms of a much deeper loss.  The destruction of private family life has dried up a thousand-year-old river of myth and language, custom and morals, poetry and story.  The riverbed has, as such ravaged places do, filled up with the rubbish and refuse chucked into young minds by TV programmes and computer games. 


Peter Hitchens, The Broken Compass: How Left and Right Lost Their Meaning (London: Continuum, 2009), p. 110ff.]

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