For years, my discussions on social media with left-leaning family and friends was healthy for me because it did indeed broaden my perspective on things and allowed me to see how “the other side” thought. And it wasn’t just to anticipate and counter their arguments—it was a real dialogue.
I remember in one case, talking about sexual assault, one of my friends said peremptorily, “I’m listening to the women.” And everyone got the clear message he intended—that anyone who disagreed with him wasn’t listening to the women and was therefore bad. Because we’ve gotten to that point in America, haven’t we? Women, long recognized as the victim of an oppressive patriarchal system, are finally being heard, and the changes they are demanding are always good.
But is this true? Is the female/feminist perspective always right just because it was allegedly ignored by Western society until recently?
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
It seems so, at least implicitly; for feminism itself is rarely criticized or even disagreed with by anyone other than people “on the right.” The rest of us have been cowed into submission. We dare not speak up, even in defense of our boys.
I have been aware of some of the excesses of feminism for a while now—since Rush Limbaugh bravely coined the term “feminazi.” I thought it was silly at the time, but it was a convenient and accurate descriptor for the spittle-flecked, foaming-at-the-mouth, butch abortion activist, screaming in unhinged protest against the latest feminist outrage du jour. This caricature was easy to identify and oppose, and many people of good will realized it, even if they went along with it because it was easier than speaking out and becoming the latest target of their screed.
But I have been made aware that there is a much more pernicious effect of feminism that has already transformed our society, and it’s not limited to the stereotype I mentioned above. In any case, I didn’t even realize it until now. The shouting down of “the patriarchy,” the silencing of men, and the indulging of the vicious have created what I’m calling a “therapeutic society.” Its ascendancy in American society is proportional to the rise of women supplanting men in almost every area—and it’s killing us.
In a traditional (read: properly functioning) family, the man/husband/father and the woman/wife/mother have different roles. Among these stereotypically sex-based roles are that the father is more associated with expectations and rules, while the mother is more associated with nurturing and comforting. But this has changed so significantly in the past three decades that the old adage “wait till your father gets home” has actually lost its meaning. (Like many idioms and imageries used in the Bible, it loses its impact because the audience no longer understands what the phrase originally meant.)
Men have been emasculated to the point of being a mere source of money. They have no standing in their homes, except the expectation that they will support uncritically everything said or done by their wives, who really hold the reins of power. (See Antigonus in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, who, chastised by King Leontes for not controlling his wife, responds, “Hang all the husbands that cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself hardly one subject.”) This concept of a man allegedly being “lord of his household” but really henpecked and submissive to his wife is so common it’s a trope.
Now, extrapolate this to our broader family: society and those who lead it. I’m talking about civic leaders—those who “have care of the common good.” Upholding expectations of behavior or doing/saying anything critical of people is immediately condemned as being “judgmental,” “harsh,” or “insensitive”; and saying that you expect people to act a certain way without a government-funded program to assist them is similarly condemned. The “rule-giving patriarch” has been deposed in favor of the “tolerant and nurturing matriarch.” And here’s what we get:
- Indulgence of bad behavior to an alarming degree.
- A rejection of traditional morality and expectations of good behavior.
- Unlimited immigration (because everyone deserves to live wherever they want).
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that have become expectations.
- “Safe spaces” for people who are offended by others’ views.
- Ever-expanding government-funded therapeutic programs to help people do what society has traditionally expected everyone to do anyway.
- Everyone having to change the way they speak so as not to offend others.
These are vague articulations, and in an effort to keep this article “evergreen,” I am refraining from giving specific contemporary examples. However, I’m certain you can find them all around you without too much trouble.
Women are generally more empathetic and understanding of others than men, and men are generally more exacting and results-oriented than women. Society seems to work best when both are operating in their proper spheres: men enforce the expectations, and when people fail to meet them (as they sometimes will), they are met with justice and the consequences of their failure. But in the best situations, that justice is tempered with mercy, not replaced by it. What we’re facing now is the wholesale replacement of justice with pseudo-mercy, largely at the behest of women. A society cannot function that way for long.
There’s an adage that goes: Hard times create strong men; strong men create good times; good times create weak men; weak men create hard times. And America, built by strong men and women, is at that point where our good times have created weak men who don’t have the stones to stand athwart the forces that are destroying us from within. We’re going along to get along because, just like in our marriages, it’s easier to go along with what she wants than to try and fight her. (Can you imagine elected representatives arguing against a social assistance program on any grounds other than financial?) America, built by strong men and women, is at that point where our good times have created weak men who don’t have the stones to stand athwart the forces that are destroying us from within.Tweet This
In this vein, I understand that we have laws against sex discrimination. But those laws have been taken to an absurd extreme such that no discrimination is permitted. Ask any high schooler about discrimination and their knee-jerk response will be one of condemnation. No further probing about whether the discrimination in question is warranted is ever done.
And unfortunately, our HR directors and corporate managers have the same understanding as our high school kids: no discrimination is ever tolerable. If women can’t meet the same physical standards as men, then get rid of the standard—because God forbid we point out that women as a rule aren’t strong enough to be as effective at, say, carrying a victim from a burning building. If women are required by their biology to take time off from work to have a child, then we have to give that same “maternity leave” to men because NO DISCRIMINAYSHUN.
We have successfully been retrained to accept unreality (a woman can be a man if she thinks she is one, and vice versa) because we’ve been capitulating all along to these demands for fear of being called “heartless,” “insensitive,” “offensive,” or any number of other soft insults that let everyone know just how rigid, unfeeling, and domineering we are. And it’s “mansplaining” to point any of this out.
Looking at the sitcoms, movies, and entertainment from the past 30-40 years, examples abound of the buffoonish husband whose wife is always the prudent problem-solver, soft and strong, the perfect counselor-parent, a high-powered exec at work, and really never does anything wrong. She wins all arguments, is never chastened or corrected by a man, and her perfection makes her husband look foolish; but she accepts and loves him anyway because it’s still gotta be a feel-good show (and it shows her magnanimity). We’ve been conditioned to accept this as an accurate portrayal of reality.
Enough of this. Men have got to stop allowing women to run everything and must stop accepting the excuses they make for people’s bad behavior. If someone’s hard circumstances make it difficult for them to earn more than minimum wage, I’m sorry; but not only is it not my problem to solve but, just as importantly, trying to solve it only perpetuates the problem.
Give them Section 8 housing? They’ll trash it because they’ve not earned it themselves and don’t know how to keep it up. Raise the minimum wage? That provides only temporary relief until the market corrects itself and recalibrates to the new availability of money, leaving “the poor” just as poor and the rich richer.
Provide free day care? Not only is it false to say it’s “free” (because someone is going to pay for it), it also incentivizes poor parenting and giving one’s own children to a stranger to raise. And no matter how well-credentialed that stranger is, they cannot provide what the child’s parents are failing to give. And the only way for the state to provide all this largesse (since the state doesn’t create wealth) is through taxes, which raise costs for all of us and drive the middle class downward.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with the phrase: Happiness is not a goal: it is a byproduct of a life well-lived. Our fellow travelers are pursuing happiness nonstop, and our matriarchal society is bending over backward to try to give it to them, never realizing that they’ve marginalized that which would deliver the happiness people crave: the men who present and expect and enforce a moral standard. Men—strong men who don’t let the overly tolerant and indulgent excesses of a feminized society get too out of hand—are needed precisely to articulate the expectations that the next generation must live up to. Because it is only in striving to do so that they will be happy.
There’s no good way for a man to say this nowadays. Indeed, if this article gets published, I will be shocked because feminists will brook no challenge to their dominance. But our once-great society is crumbling around us and it’s not because of the patriarchy. If anything, our society is suffering from a lack of patriarchy. More to the point, we’ve been listening to women for too long, to our collective detriment.
This is not to say that feminism was completely wrong. Indeed, it was necessary to correct some awful evils in the treatment of women. And like many great stories have pointed out, we tend to make our own enemies: Bruce Wayne became Batman because of the murder of his parents and spent his life in a vigilante crusade against criminals. Batman pursues a criminal who falls into a vat of chemicals and gets permanently disfigured and goes insane; and thus was created the Joker, who became Batman’s mortal enemy.
Similarly, the most strident feminists I have ever met tend to have been women who suffered physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends; it was the abuse they suffered that made them into feminists. So, all you men who despise feminism? Be aware that it was likely abusive men who created this “enemy” in the first place. But that’s no excuse to allow them to continue to dominate society.
A bigger problem is the overblowing of causation: yesterday, it was physical assault that turned a good woman into a patriarchy-smashing feminist. Today, it seems to only take an absent father or husband, or a man who doesn’t see things the way a woman does. If that’s the “provocation” that today suffices to turn a woman into someone who resents the masculine and its expression, it’s no wonder there is such strife and tension between the sexes.
Be a man. Push back hard. Because if you don’t—if society continues on this dangerous path—we’re doomed.