Friday, June 10, 2011

Gender 101: Out of a Child's Mouth

By Connie Chastsain*

I was a young adult when second-wave feminism swept across the land. It wasn't called that, though. It was called "women's lib." I didn't like it even before I knew much about it.

Back then, one of the shocks of my life came during a sermon by my late father, a very culturally, politically and religiously conservative preacher, when he said, "We see more opportunities for women these days, and that's good."

What? I couldn't believe my ears. Women's lib is good?

Of course, it would come to me with time that his concept of "more opportunities" did not exactly coincide with the feminist model, nor did it have all the man-hating baggage of the second-wave. I don't think he understood the hatred of men behind it at the time. I didn't either.

But I did learn rather quickly that the feminist attitude could be as condescending of women as it was hostile to men. Lesson One came when I was flipping through a woman's magazine of the time -- Redbook or something similar. The magazine had guest columns written by readers and in one issue, a woman had written about her reason for deciding to support women's lib.

It happened when her young daughter came home from school one day and recapped for Mom what she had learned in history. The textbook had said man migrated.... man discovered... man invented... man did this ... man did that. The little girl asked her mom, "Didn't the women ever do anything?"

I had wondered about that myself, back in early grammar school, upon encountering the man-did-this, man-did-that narrative. Didn't the women ever do anything? But I caught on that "man" was one of those words, like "world," that could have more than one meaning. And I figured it out by myself, without having to ask, or be told. Man could mean a male adult human, or it could mean the human race. In other words, people. Moreover, which meaning was intended was easily discerned by the sentence in which the word appeared.

But because her little girl had not been taught, or figured out on her own, that words can have more than one meaning, this woman was going to embrace a philosophy dedicated to hating men, abolishing the family and turning our culture upside down.

In my view, it wasn't just wrong-headed. It was insulting to her daughter to imagine that the entire culture had to be changed to accomodate this little girl's lack of knowledge.

I don't remember much else about the guest column -- such as, whether there was a husband and father in this home. But I've often wondered how life turned out for this woman and her daughter -- and countless others who were hoodwinked by a terribly destructive philosophy and movement masquerading as beneficial for women.

Did she continue to embrace feminism, and help to bring about the cultural destruction we see around us today? And does she see it as damage? Or progress?

I sometimes wonder what happened with her little girl, too. Did she embrace or reject feminism? Is she today a campus women's studies tyrant screeching about rape culture and victimizing innocent male students? Or is she perhaps a home-schooling Quiverful mom with twelve kids?

And is there now a granddaughter in the family? A third-waver embracing Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism? Or is the book on her table Venker and Schlafly's The Flipside of Feminism?

I hope more women realize that opportunities for their gender doesn't require using a child-level lack of knowledge as an excuse for poisoning male-female relationships, destroying men and boys, and relegating the traditional family to oblivion. I hope they will, but I'm not holding my breath.

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is