Opening with an image of crying young women and mocking the reactions of Lena Dunham and Katy Perry to the loss of Hillary Clinton, Christina Hoff Sommers, our lady of perpetual bullshit, pens her latest for the Washington Post with the sole purpose of tightening every muscle in your back and neck until your entire head is one big throbbing pain clump. And my does it succeed. I am not capable of responding to all of Hoff Sommers’ claims, nor do they warrant the effort, but I can’t just sit here and be angry alone. Consider this your rage Bat-signal.
First of all, it’s time to stop calling the United States a patriarchy. A patriarchy is a system where men hold the power and women do not. Women do hold power in the United States — they lead major universities and giant corporations, write influential books, serve as state and federal judges and even manage winning presidential campaigns. American women, especially college-educated women, are the freest and most self-determining in human history. Why pretend otherwise?
Feminism is drowning in myth-information. Advocates never tire of telling us that women are cheated out of nearly a quarter of their salary; that one in four college women is sexually assaulted, or that women are facing an epidemic of online abuse and violence. Such claims are hugely distorted, but they have been repeated so often that they have taken on the aura of truth.
Today’s women’s movement also needs to reckon with the fact that men struggle just as much as women.
Robin Morgan’s death match with the patriarchy has always had limited appeal. Feminism needs to take women as they are, not as it wishes they would be. In a 2013 poll, Pew asked American mothers about their “ideal” working arrangement. Sixty-one percent said they would prefer to work part-time or not at all. Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, found similar preferences among Western European women. As journalist Tina Brown said, “There are more tired wives who want to be Melania sitting by the pool … than there are women who want to pursue a PhD in earnest self-improvement.” When women want the “wrong” things, feminists tend to write it off to entrenched sexism and internalized misogyny. But it’s 2016, not 1960. Why not credit women with free will and respect their choices?
If I may offer some unsolicited advice: If that voice is calm and judicious rather than hyperbolic and harping, people just might listen.
Cool story, Chris.