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Posts Tagged ‘feminism

The Stench of Modern Feminism

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By Velleitaire
Jan. 9, 2007

On the first day of my Writing and Rhetoric II class, my professor took us for a field trip to the bathroom… yes, the bathroom. We walked down the hallway and when we got to those bathroom doors he asked if we noticed anything different about them. I looked at the doors in front of me and all I could think to say was that they were opposite of each other, one opening to the left and the other to the right.

Apparently I was way off track. He looked at me, pointed to the doors and said,

“This one says men and this one says ladies.”

Well, of course. I had taken notice of this, but I really didn’t consider it to be of any real significance. He went on to ask,

“Well, why don’t they say men and women or ladies and gentleman?”

We then walked back to the classroom in order write about what we thought it meant. Was it significant? Why?

My mind was in a whirlwind. The topics he was getting at (gender sensitivity and feminism) are issues that get me a tad ticked off.

While I failed to voice my opinion in class, I did make sure to write what was on my mind. It seems like almost anything offends women these days, and it has become quite dangerous.

The question that stuck in my mind revolved around the hypocrisy of the whole thing. I mean, why are the very people who say we have to accept people for who they are so intolerant of people who don’t believe the way they do?

Here is a good example: The Vagina Monologues. Olivet College, where Paleo and I attend, is putting on a rendition of the Vagina Monologues this year. I guess they have done it for many years now.  But why is it that colleges like ours, and those all around the country, have no problem with The Vagina Monologues, but students have to be careful when talking about the Bible or religion in class? For that matter, why is it that the Women’s Resource Center has plenty of “safe sex” material and more than a handful of condoms for the taking, but finding pamphlets about abstinence or the dangers of abortion are almost non-existent?

All of this is really peculiar coming from Olivet College. Olivet was  founded as a Christian college. Just looking at the college’s sticker on my laptop I can clearly see the words, “Pro Christo Et Humanitate,” which is Latin meaning “For Christ and humanity.” The seal also has the word Torah in Hebrew! I can only wonder what the founders, and especially Father Shipherd, would say about the current state of affairs. More on that in my next post.

But let’s get back to the bathroom doors. I highly doubt that it was put there by some sort of egotistical womanizer who expressed his chauvinism by referring to women as ladies. The likelihood that the person intended to make women feel inferior to men by referring to them as ladies is rather slim.  Actually, I think it is kind of a compliment.

I am curious to know if anyone considered the possibility that it was done in good will. What if it was meant to make a woman feel respectable and dignified? Who really knows?

It’s one thing to fight for a woman’s right to be treated fair. It is another thing to take exception to being referred to as ladies rather than women on a bathroom door. As for me, I am glad they chose to refer to us as ladies. If only more began acting ladylike.


Bye-Bye, American Mommy.

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The war between the feminist left and the conservative right over the role of women as mothers and as citizens (i.e. “Mommy War”) may have come to an end. With it will go years of dedication to a cause many believed to be righteous and good. As has been demonstrated time and again, Christian and conservative pundits are professional political prostitutes, hooking themselves and their cause for a place at the table of the establishment. What they have never quite grasped is that the meal isn’t free, or even cheap for that matter.

Sarah Palin’s instant rise to fame amongst so-called conservatives is proof-positive of this. Here we have a woman who may be juggling the office of vice president , one of the most demanding and dangerous jobs on the planet, with her god-given role as a wife and a mother. In fact, she is a mother of five,  two of which have special needs. That is, she’s got two children with special needs if we still believe pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy is justifiably a special situation requiring special attention and extraordinary care. Such a situation would, at least in years past, cause conservatives and most Christians great concern. At bare minimum it would have been reason for serious speculation and reserve. But not for Palin. She has been given the red carpet, is portrayed in ways reminiscent to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is given a “Pass Criticism Free” card.

James Dobson, a man who has insisted for years that children (especially those with special needs and in their most formidable years) need their mothers. He has claimed, and rightly so, that it is essential for the physical, emotional, psychological, and religious well-being of the child. Rather predictably, Dobson has shown amazing signs of forgetfulness, backpedaling on virtually all of these assertions. In an interview with radio host and contributing writer for, Dennis Prager, the flip-flop doc said that Palin made him feel much like he did when Reagan was put in office. This was because, as Dobson put it, “everything that we had hoped for and been working for had come to pass.” Too bad that most of us were not aware that placing a mother of five, and two with special needs, into the extremely demanding (and dangerous) office of vice president was something he had been hoping for and working toward. I presume it is a matter of our inability to read between the lines.

Another pundit tossing up the white flag is Maggie Gallagher. In her article entitled “Sarah Palin’s Pioneering Streak” she says that Palin is providing women with a unique woman figure: the pioneer. According to Gallagher, these “traditional” types take care of the home and the community. The pioneers understand that their primary purpose is tending to the needs of their children and home, but this doesn’t bar them from social responsibility. And in the instance where the husband (or men) drop the gun with danger quickly approaching, they know how to pick up the gun and take down the beast that wishes to devour. So is the life of the pioneering woman. This, we are told by Gallagher, is the amazing life of Palin.

But are we really so dense as to buy into what Gallagher is saying? Pioneer-type women may be traditional in the sense that knickers are, but this doesn’t make them preferable. We also have to face the fact that Palin has been negligent in taking care of her family responsibilities. She has sacrificed her sacred trust for political porridge. Still more, Gallagher’s illustration of the pioneer picking up the gun misses the mark. The pioneer woman would only pick up the gun if her husband (or a man) couldn’t do it. And once she had killed the creature, she would tend to the man and make sure he could return to his traditional roles as provider and protector.

Even Rev. Doug Wilson of Christ Church gave his two cents worth. What did Mr. Wilson have to say? Well, Dennis, Mr. Wilson plays the political menace. He uses the extraordinary example of Deborah in the book of Judges as a means by which to justify women with young children becoming civil servants. But does he really believe it wise to use extraordinary events in history as normative standards by which to make moral judgments on ordinary affairs? And does he really wish to compare the responsibilities and time contraints of an Israeli judge with that of a 21st century vice president? I hope not! He then disregards Isaias 3:12 as little more than a judgment on society. But even if this were to be the case, it ends up biting him in the butt. One is baffled as to why he would feel comfortable with Palin in leadership. Why would he contribute to something that is the result of being culturally effeminate? Lastly, he provides readers with an example where cultures weren’t effeminate and yet were under the rule of a woman. This line of reasoning is, in principle, little different than the reasoning employed by those who say that homosexual marriage should be permitted because of the minimal impact it would have on a heterosexual society. Suffice it to say that Rev. Wilson’s case for Palin amounts to little more than sloppy theology and an ever so convenient dose of utilitarian pragmatism.

The real question, though, is how Palin perceives her role as a mother and a politician. I am beyond convinced that Palin looks at this matter not as a pioneer woman but as an ambitious feminist (a descriptive word she uses of herself) wishing to be the breadwinner rather than a traditional mother figure. She isn’t a temporary replacement for men who, for one reason or another, cannot do the job. No, she is a permanent fixture in the political machinery.

So what we have are “Mommy War” icons tossing in the towel. We can rest assured that they would disagree with my assessment, insisting that nothing has changed, but the writing is on the wall. Definitions have been tampered with, and goalposts have been moved. Unfortunately, it is hard to distinguish between the definitions and goals of those once identified as culture warriors and those recognized as cultural deconstructionists. Keep this in mind whenever you hear a conservative complain that feminists aren’t jumping on the Palin bandwagon. You will quickly understand the reality of this all too depressing state of affairs.

Palin: What’s the Value of a Family?

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Contrary to the age-old slogan, beggars can be choosers. Just ask the peddler if he would like to clean your room in return for food. You are likely to get bombarded with a billion reasons why you misread what they meant when saying “will work for food.”

But there are beggars who tend to be grateful for even a crumb or pre-chewed bubble gum. These would be your run-of-the-mill Christian conservatives. As reasonably outraged as they may be about various bills, so long as the language gives even a hint of a hint of hope, they jump on board with bells and whistles. The same can be said of political candidates. A politician may have failed them time and again, but so long as they can give due lip-service when lip-service is due, all is well and good. The crumb from the masters table may only be a crumb, but it’s better than starvation, right?

Take Governor Sarah Palin as an example. Social conservatives were on the edge of sanity until McCain shocked the political world with his pick for vice president. A pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay feminist, and a Zionist to boot! Ignore for a second that the entire affair wreaks of political opportunism and unwarranted expectations, “she must be the one!”

Those with half a sense to them would approach the Palin matter with a teaspoon of caution. Well, make that a ton.

The governor stands accused of firing a top state law enforcement official who refused to dismiss a state trooper who just so happened to be in the midst of a rather nasty divorce dispute; a dispute that just so happened to include her sister. Worse yet, the dismissed officer, Walt Monegan, says he saved the emails sent to him by the governor. While the best case scenario is that she is found innocent, the possibility of being found guilty would a direct violation of the public trust and a gross abuse of her power. Worse yet, if found guilty, she will be found guilty of lying before an official investigation approved by the Alaskan state legislature.

Just as important as the judicial matter would be that of the role of women, and the role of mothers in particular. Religious conservatives have traditionally opposed the mother-on-the-run liberationists in the “Mommy War.” Believing that mothers are best at home with children, conservatives have fought to encourage policies where this would become the norm rather than the exception. Such sentiments may be little more than sentimental in this day and age. Palin is being heralded even by women such as Eagle Forum founder and long-time conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. This doesn’t come without a bit of irony, as Schlafly said that she thinks “a hard-working, well-organized C.E.O. type can handle it very well.” Schlaffly is describing a certain type of woman, this much is sure, but not the type with kids living in the home, one with down syndrome, and another who is pregnant on account of pre-marital sex.

Some not-so traditional “conservatives” will reply by insisting that Palin may be able to juggle the two. This is a hard sell when her daughter’s moral depravity went under the radar. And this was done while Palin was the governor of Alaska. How much more is required of a mother acting as vice president of the United States? Will she be able to provide the kind of nearness, attention, and affection that is so detrimental to the development of children? This question becomes even more important in light of the fact that her youngest was born with Down syndrome. The issue here ends up being just as much about whether or not she should do it as it has been, thus far, about whether or not she could do it.

Let’s grant for the sake of argument that she should. The question of whether or not she could still has yet to be resolved. If history can teach us anything, and I am convinced that it can, than the answer would be in the negative. Take Jane Swift, the acting governor of Massachusetts at the turn of the millennium. She gave birth during her time in office, only soon to realize the difficulties facing mothers in that position. Swift dropped out of the race for governor in 2002. In an essay published in Boston magazine, Swift wrote, “I know now that it was virtually impossible for me to take advice and make decisions when I was responding emotionally as a mother, not thinking rationally as a public official.” And before conservatives go howling partisanship, Swift is a Republican.

It is here that we see conservatives, traditional conservatives in particular, between a rock and a hard place. Yes, Palin is pro-life, pro-gun, supports the president’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq, and flies a little Israeli flag in her office. Better yet, we know she hasn’t been stained by years in the beltway, though such time in the mire is being touted as “experience” in favor of McCain. But we cannot overlook the ethical aspects of this decision. We must not bat an eye when talking about the role of mothers in the family unity. Unfortunately, the party of “family values” is glossing over the effects Palin’s decision will have on her own home. It appears that irony – or should we say tragedy? – has not lost its sting.