G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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James Taranto writes on Sandra Fluke who said at the DNC:
“Your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.”
Taranto cuts to the quick of feminism’s inherent tension which is exemplified in Fluke’s statement:
What’s most interesting about the Fluke comment, though, is that it points to a central cultural contradiction of feminism. Libertarian feminists sometimes argue that left-wing ones aren’t “true feminists” because they want women to be dependent, albeit on government rather than on men. But feminism is about sexual equality or female supremacy, not freedom or independence. As long as the government isn’t masculine in character (“patriarchal”), its size and scope are irrelevant to feminism.
When one considers the specific context of Fluke’s above-quoted comment, however, it turns out to be as patriarchal a conception of government as one can imagine. By criticizing Romney for failing to “stand up” against Limbaugh, she faults him for a lack of chivalry. The duty of the president in a Flukist regime is to act as a white knight when a fair maiden’s honor has been besmirched.
Being an -ism, feminism can only exist as a victim movement. Feminism’s headcount may wax and wane, but those who are still among its ranks will always use almighty government as a tool against private citizens.
Feminists engaged in political debate frequently take advantage of the chivalric male impulse to defer to women, or to defend them when other men challenge them. To be sure, all’s fair in love and war. But if the male instinct to protect women is a social construct, as feminists usually claim, then it is hypocritical for feminists to exploit it. If it is hard-wired, as most evolutionary psychologists would argue, then feminism is fundamentally false.