When will feminists stop blaming men? When will they stop calling the traditional social order and gender roles “patriarchy”? When will start to acknowledge that “women hold up half of heaven” and “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” and recognize how much influence women have on the world – how much they socialize kids into all these oh-so-horrible gender roles, how much they reinforce them in their own lives and choices, how much they keep the system going – and how much responsibility they have?
When they give up hypoagency, that’s when. Only when they give up hypoagency and not until then. Don’t hold your breath though. Hypoagency is the foundation of their (traditional) gender identity, otherwise known as toxic femininity.
There was a time when feminists thought toxic traditional feminine roles were part of the problem, but that was before the big push in the early 80s for women to go into the corporate world, when they slammed up against the stone wall of reality of what men’s lives were actually like, as opposed to their envious fantasies.
Oh yes – men lived lives of privilege they told themselves, privilege denied to women for no good reason at all! They went off to stimulating, fulfilling jobs while women stayed home up to their elbows in exploding diapers, muffled in Feminine Mystique…. Men went from exciting, fulfilling jobs to exciting golf to exciting all-male clubs where they plotted world domination.
Then women started entering the corporate world as something above clerical help and slammed right into the reality of the lives of the men they aspired to joining. What they found didn’t align, not at all, with their understanding of those men and those exciting, fulfilling lives they supposedly enjoyed at the expense of women – that unimpeachable understanding of the oppressor that all oppressed unfailingly have. They found cutthroat competition. They found dehumaninzing objectification of people as nothing more than units of production. They found they were 20 years behind their male peers in learning the social skills they needed to succeed – an impregnable, inscrutable game face that never, ever betrayed fear or pain, lack of any interest in pleasing people as a source of validation rather than benefit – basically learning all the things little boys had better learn before they are 10.
The movement had a choice then. It could either continue the examination of traditional gender roles – they were good at finding the faults in the traditional male role, a lot less energetic when it came to the female equivalent – or they could get self-exculpatory and defensive and blame all their failures and difficulties on men, call it sexism or misogyny or whatever – but basically go for the hypoagentive option.
Now coming out of a culture that insisted on female hypoagency, that fetishizes victimhood with its innocent victim/evil oppressor, righteous/unrighteous dichotomy and where the customer is always right, which way do you think did they go?
Well, given that feminism was already demonizing men in the guise of blaming the Patriarchy for the evil things WOMEN did to other women – slut-shaming – and in this connection, think of who it usually is that gives mothers who try to nurse in public the most grief; “the exploitation of an underclass of nannies and housekeepers that makes all these high-flying careers possible“, even murder – when a mother-in-law in India pours kerosene on a daughter-in-law as a way to extort more dowry money out of her family and the analysis is “Well, that’s patriarchy; trans:The Patriarchy made her do it!” – you can guess pretty easlily which way they went.
Because as gwallan says:
“Fundamental…No woman will do wrong without a male compelling it in some way.”
…and so even when she does do something wrong, it wasn’t realy her doing it, she was just a puppet with some man on the other end of the strings, so she’s still morally pure. And notice how some very Victorian notions of moral purity and correctness are central to so much feminist and Social Justice warrior discourse.
“One of the reasons for the failure of feminism to dislodge deeply held perceptions of male and female behaviour was its insistence … that women were victims, and men powerful patriarchs, which made a travesty of ordinary people’s experience of the mutual interdependence of men and women”
Copyleft takes it a step further:
“A smart feminist movement would have recognized this fact and focused on issues of class and economic power along with freeing up gender-role expectations. But the real-world feminist movement wanted women to cling to their victim status, so they ignored the facts. And they faded into comical irrelevance.”
This is the tragedy of feminism, that it never achieved escape velocity, that it never got clear and free of the culture it claimed to analyze and criticize. People have a very hard time outrunning themselves, and that includes their fundamental gender conditioning. And in the end it was clinging to the very gender roles that feminism said it meant upend that defeated feminism. And everything people criticize in feminism comes from that failure – the failure to engage men’s issues in any serious or competent way that The Good Man Project reflects, white feminists’ stubborn inability to keep from doing and saying such racist crap, over and over again –it all comes out of failing to analyze and examine themselves, comes out of choosing to instead validate and you-go-grrrl each other in their safe spaces.
That’s how feminism degenerated into a sorority instead of becoming a sisterhood for all women and to all men.
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