by Connie Chastain*
Over the years that I've been online, I've encountered all types and levels of feminists. There are earnest feminists, like I wrote about last time; I've had the most experience with them. There are the fanatical Dworkin wannabees; haven't had much personal dealings with these folks, though their writings are easily accessible online.
There are the ditzy-broad types, the squealy, over-grown girls who conceptualize feminism as just another part of the popular culture that's "in" -- like texting or Mad Men. These are women who have no inkling of the horrific damage feminism has done to western culture, male-female relationships, and the family, nor the danger it poses for the future. I am completely at a loss about how to deal with these girls.
But the most frustrating type of feminist I've ever encountered are male. They're not just dedicated feminists; they're also hard-core misandrists, and they're some of the most rigid, close-minded folks I've ever encountered. They are the fundamentalist extremists of the gender politics world. The required beliefs and attitudes are engraved in granite with them. Women are totally inmocent and never lie about rape, never falsely accuse. Men, enforcers and beneficiaries of patriarchy, are apt to rape and abuse without thought or conscience. We're steeped in a culture of rape; it's what men use to keep women in a state of fear; to keep her under his thumb, or his heel. Because for men, oppression of women is what it's all about.
On the rare occasions when women to do slip up and lie, steal, abuse their kids, cheat on their husbands or shoot somebody -- they aren't doing it because they're bad, the way men are. They're ill. Or they're disadvantaged. Or they've been pushed, usually by some man, to the point of desperation.
Most of these misandric fellows I've encountered are old enough to remember the second-wave days when bra-burning feminists marched arm in arm across the landscape with tie-dyed war protesters, dope smokers, campus in-sitters and sexual revolutionaries. They've got not just rape culture but the whole oppressed-women repertoire down pat. And it is absolutely pointless to reason with them.
They fluently spout the statistic that women make seventy-nine cents for every dollar a man makes, but go stone cold deaf when it's explained to them that women do seventy percent of the work men do. They decry the glass ceiling in the boardroom, but don't seem at all concerned that feminists leaders aren't jumping up and down to Title Nine mining, construction and logging, the most dangerous jobs in the job market, held almost exclusively by men. And they have no appreciation for the fact that ninety-three percent of workplace fatalities occur to men. So much for equality.
In the past, these fellows tell me, women attempted to break into some of these all-male bastions, but were met with such harassment -- peepholes drilled in restroom walls, for example -- that they gave up. Women are strong and capable; they can mine or timberjack, do anything a man can do. But they're too delicate to stick a wad of Bubble Yum over a peephole? Please.
Well, if working is such a trauma, why do feminists discourage women from homemaking? Because, these guys will tell you, stay-at-home wife-and-mothering -- cleaning, cooking, laundry -- is drudgery.
"Really?" I asked once. "Punching microwave buttons is drudgery?"
"Cleaning toilets is drudgery."
I'm astounded, and I wonder how dirty a male misandrist's toilet has to get before he cleans it. I mean, my gosh, a squirt of The Works, a swish of the brush, flush, you're all done. A career woman living alone would have to clean her own toilet unless she's rich enough to hire a maid. But when there's a husband and kid in the household, it suddenly becomes drudgery?
For women, marriage is slavery, these guys think. They're bought into the whole cockamamie, Betty Friedan, suburban concentration camp meme.To my way of thinking, in a traditional marriage, it's more likely for the man to be enslaved to a job to provide for a family. Of course, I don't think most men see it that way. Most of the men I've know see it as a responsibility, a facet of their masculine role and a way of demonstrating their love for their family.
Thus, if a man goes out to work -- sometimes to risk his life in a deadly profession -- in order to provide for his family, I don't think he's asking too much for his wife to keep the house clean, to take care of the kids, and share intimacy with him.
As long as she's asked, the male misandrist says. It's when it's expected, demanded, that it becomes slavery for women.
I'm not making this up. This is how hard core male misandric feminists think. Which is purely ridiculous, when you consider it. Certain expectations are in place as soon as the preacher says, "You may kiss the bride," that render most day-to-day "asking" unnecessary.
Do these misandrists really think a wife has to wake up every morning and ask, "Honey, would you mind going to work today and making money so we can buy something to eat?" And the husband has to ask, "Sure thing, babe. Would you mind cooking us some breakfast?" And if these things are not asked, the clinking sound you hear are leg-irons magically clamping around her ankles?
Where do these bizarre ideas come from? Traditional marriage is not slavery. A wife expecting a husband to take care of the family is not slavery; a husband expecting a wife to take care of the house and kids and share a sexual relationship with him is not slavery. Marriage where both husband and wife work outside the home and share housekeeping chores and child-rearing is not slavery, either.
Conversing with one of these fellows is sometimes like talking to two people at once. Women are slaves when they need them to be; strong when they need them to be. Women are timid, easily offended little violets when they need them to be, and brilliant and capable when they need them to be. It all depends on what case the misandric feminist male is trying to make. There's something about women and oppression they just can't shake loose from.
The best way to describe my encounters with these dudes is teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling (my own, yes). The only bright side of my experience with them is that there doesn't seem to be very many of them. The intellect and temperament of the majority of men, thank goodness, will not accomodate such nonsense.
*Connie is a member of the FRS team. Her weekly essays appear every Friday. Her personal blog is http://conniechastain.blogspot.com/