How have so many men been able to abuse their power to use women as sexual playthings just as America became a more “enlightened” feminist society? Wasn’t feminism supposed to level the playing field?
Indeed, the promise of feminism was to end the battle of the sexes and create a brave new world where men and women had become interchangeable. Making any accommodations for differences in biology became taboo since the goal was for the sexes to be viewed as “equal.”
To that end, feminist ideology pushed for a breakdown in social mores. No longer were women to be placed on a pedestal, the way our mothers and grandmothers were. Men would not be allowed, much less expected, to open doors for women, give women their seats, and show their respect in myriad ways. Sexual fidelity was mocked rather than emulated, and men were no longer expected to protect and provide for women.
Women, in other words, became free agents. And sex became a free-for-all.
No wonder these predators, now caught with their pants down, are surprised to find their behavior is no longer welcome. They had conveniently, although perhaps subconsciously, used feminism as a shield. But it was feminism that allowed them to engage in such behavior in the first place.
No cultural taboos remain around premarital sex. Those represented a repressive version of female sexuality, declared the liberationists. Males and females are now assumed to pursue sexual conquest with equal zeal. “Feminists’ tic of blaming males for every female behavior that contradicts their ideal of gender equality undercuts that very claim of equality,” notes Heather MacDonald at City Journal.
Women of Virtue Know How to Handle Vice
My mother, Phyllis Schlafly, was the most outspoken anti-feminist in America—not because she was anti-woman, as was so often claimed, but because she understood the insidious nature of the feminist movement long before others could see it. Perhaps with the exposure from #MeToo, others can now see the false promise of feminism.
One of my mother’s famous quotes was about sexual harassment. She said, “Non-criminal sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for the virtuous woman, except in the rarest of cases.”
The term “virtuous” may be old-fashioned, but what my mother meant was that a strong woman with moral standards would no more flirt with her male boss than she would accept a quid pro quo. A professional woman of strong character is simply less of a threat to sexual predators than one who dresses provocatively, is desperate to get ahead, and is willing to do what it takes to get there.
Feminists sell the notion that their ideology is all about empowering women. But the women who reject feminism are the ones who embody female strength. Why? Because they refuse to be victims.
“The feminist movement is not about success for women,” my mother said more than once. “It’s about treating women as victims and about telling women you can’t succeed because society is unfair to you, and I think that’s a very unfortunate idea to put in the minds of young women because I believe women can do whatever they want.”
In other words, what my mother taught me was the power of “No.” She instilled in me self-confidence, and taught me to communicate directly. She taught me to say “No” to bad bosses and “No” to bad boyfriends.
Feminism Teaches Women to Be Weak
This message was, at one time, supported by the culture. As Caitlin Flanagan explains about growing up in the 1970s in her recent article in The Atlantic, “In so many ways, compared with today’s young women, we were weak. But as far as getting away from a man who was trying to pressure us into sex we didn’t want, we were strong.”
In contrast, modern women are weak. “Sometimes ‘yes’ means ‘no,’ simply because it is easier to go through with it than explain our way out of the situation,” writes Jessica Bennett in The New York Times. If that’s not proof feminism has failed, I don’t know what is.
Feminism, in whatever form it lands in our laps today, has never been about empowering women. Its purpose is to elevate victims, to use them to sell feminists’ bogus narrative. And their methods are effective: many women have chimed in with #MeToo on their stories of sexual harassment. But as Condoleezza Rice told CNN’s David Axelrod, we must be careful. “Let’s not turn women into snowflakes,” she said. “Let’s not infantilize women.”
Unfortunately, as Bennett’s article proves, feminism has done exactly that. In fact, it has done the opposite of what it claims to do. It has rendered women powerless.
We must hold true sexual predators accountable in a timely manner. But we should not indulge in victimhood. Strong women do not let inappropriate or aggressive behavior intimidate them. The best response is to demand respect and to put integrity above expediency. In other words, to say “No” and mean it. Anything less, and it all gets very murky.