Most people agree that men and women are of equal worth and should be treated with dignity. If you support gender equality the assumption is that you should support feminism. However an increasing number of feminists, including Erin Pizzey, Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia, are expressing alarm at the direction that modern feminism is taking...
The term 'modern feminism' is used here to describe the general direction of the feminist movement since1963, when Betty Friedan, the 'mother of modern feminism' wrote The Feminine Mystique and created a new type of feminist movement. This new movement became known as 'the second wave' of feminism. Evidence suggests that although this second wave has become less radical on the surface it has gathered strength and pace and has expanded it's power base internationally, sometimes showing surprising degrees of radicalism in government and the legal system.
In this you will find information regarding the activities of the feminist movement.
1/ Feminism: theory and practice
2/ The feminist view of men
3/ Feminist research (stats versus facts)
4/ Domestic violence
5/ Feminism and the family
6/ Feminists in government
7/ What is the future for the feminist movement?
8/ Reading list
Appendix 1. 'Waves' of feminism?
1/ Feminism: theory and practice
If you look in a dictionary, you will find 'feminism' defined something like:
- "God knows how many women already have no use for their men, who are all too often idle and incompetent both as wage-earners and around the house, uninterested in the children and hopeless in bed" Germaine Greer, Independent (London), Dec 8, 2001.
- "All men are rapists and that's all they are" - Words of the feminist character Val in Marilyn French's (1977) novel 'The Women's Room'. These words encapsulate similar sentiments expressed by many influential feminists e.g. the following quote...
- "Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women" Andrea Dworkin (1987) http://faculty.uccb.ns.ca/sstewart/sexlove/dworkin.htm
- "Men are the enemies of women" – Professor Ann Oakley (1984) in 'Taking It Like a Woman'.
- "I believe that women are the more spiritually advanced sex" Erica Jong, Washington Post, December 6, 1992
- “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore" - Professor Mary Daly, from a 2001 interview with What Is Enlightenment magazine [referencing] Mary Daly, Quintessence...Realizing the Archaic Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto, Beacon Press, 1998.
Whatever their feelings for women, it doesn't sound like feminists have much love for men. The attitude is perhaps summed up best by the popular feminist slogan:
- "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle".
Little wonder then that so many women choose to remain single these days http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/women/story/0,,2273247,00.html
Exercise: It is interesting how easily many people dismiss the above quotes as innoffensive, or just a bit of hyperbole. However if these statements were made about any other group of people e.g. women, Blacks, Jews etc there would be a public outcry.
"All Blacks are rapists and that's all they are"
"Jews are the enemy of women"
"I believe that Whites are the more spiritually advanced race".
Suddenly the degree of prejudice expressed by Greer and colleagues becomes all too clear.
3/ Feminist research (stats versus facts)
Stats and facts can be powerful weapons of argument, but unless the facts and stats are accurate, these weapons make for a pretty dirty war. Most people never stop to question whether the things said in the media (e.g. the gender wage gap) are true, and simply accept these things as the pronouncements of experts in the field. However it is dangerous to believe everything you hear without checking the facts for yourself, as the following examples show clearly.
In a very unusual turn of events, in November 2009 the UK government's department of statistics publicly requested that Hariet Harman, government minister for Women and Equality, refrain from misrepresenting the wage gap issue http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1225360/Humiliation-Harriet-Harman-statisticians-dismiss-claims-equal-pay.html
One wonders how feminists constantly come up with such abysmally inaccurate figures, and one suspects that an epidemic of feminist-specific maths-dyslexic isn't a reasonable explanation.
Question: The above distortions of truth all have in common that they put men in a bad light. There are laws against incitement of prejudice against women and ethnic groups; should there be laws against incitement to promote prejudice against men? Or laws to prevent feminists covering up research that would help male victims of domestic violence?
- "Persistent verbal abuse e.g. constant unreasonable criticism".
- "Excessive contact e.g. numerous telephone calls to check
someone’s whereabouts” (http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/DomesticViolencePolicy.pdfdf
Note that all of these laws have in common the stretching of the term 'violence' to the point where it becomes all-inclusive e.g. insulting your sister is considered by law to be 'violent'.
Court rulings in the past few years have led to speculation that the Australian legal system has an unofficial 'licence to kill' policy for women who claim to have suffered "battered woman syndrome" http://www.australian-news.com.au/domestic_violence_Susan_Falls.htm
the number of countries that have new or revised domestic violence laws has increased from 45 in 2003 to 89 in 2006
What can be done? Perhaps the UN should be sent into these countries? After all part of its purpose is:
peace with one another..." http://www.un.org/geninfo/faq/thisistheun.pdf
Many people will be shocked that not only do governments support the sexist domestic violence laws, but the United Nations too. For example, the feminist branch of the UN - United Nation Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) - is making sure that the new Indian Domestic Violence Act is fully enforced:
"The Lawyers Collective, one of the groups that led the campaign [to create the 2006 domestic violence laws] will now use a grant by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women to help the Indian legal system adjust the ways it handles domestic abuse cases" http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/voices_from_the_field/story.php?StoryID=543hp?StoryID=543
In fact UNIFEM gets funding for promoting and supporting laws like these from the governments that are members of the UN http://www.unifem.org.jo/pages/faqs.aspx. Here is a list of those countries: http://www.un.org/members/list.shtml
If your country is on this list, then some of your money - paid in taxes - goes towards supporting UNIFEM's domestic violence laws.
Getting away with murder?
... and women's prisons were due to be closed by 2017 http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23388859-details/Women%27s%20prisons%20%27should%20all%20close%20within%20a%20decade%27/article.do
The plan has been shelved, but only because of a lack of government funding... http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4205516.ece
... and when the government has more money to spend we might not only see women's prisons disappear, but a new law reducing the penalty for women murdering men if the woman feels sufficiently insulted http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/29/law.ukcrime
Whether you think these changes will bring about equality doesn't really matter, because the changes are being supported by feminists in positions of high power and influence, including Solicitor General Vera Baird QC http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1529573111/bclid1659906966/bctid1699167868
It's difficult not to see this as just another erosion of equality that feminists are creating, and another mess they will refuse to clean up when it all goes wrong http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236839/Solicitor-General-Vera-Baird-embroiled-row-failing-pick-dogs-mess-railway-station.html
Is the normal function of the UN being fulfilled in the case of domestic violence laws?
Is it wise to not only take civil liberties away from men, but put so much power in the hands of women?
Should people be allowed to choose whether their taxes go to support domestic violence laws such as those seen in India?
Perhaps the main victims of feminism are children. On a BBC documentary shown in May 2009, Rosie Boycott (founder of the feminist magazine Spare Rib) admitted that she and other feminists had failed to think through the effect that feminism would have on children http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00knrpc/The_Trouble_with_Working_Women_Why_Cant_a_Woman_Succeed_Like_a_Man/
On the same documentary, child development expert Prof Jay Belsky discusses years of research evidence leading to the conclusion that childcare makes children more aggressive and disobedient in the short and longer term (Belsky et al, 2007).
Are children the primary victims of feminism?
Brown & Cody (2006). Effects of a Prosocial Television Soap Opera in Promoting Women's Status. Human Communication Research, 18, 1, 114 – 144.
Cook, P.W. (1997). ‘Abused Men'. Westport: Prasger. In Nathansan & Young (2006). 'Legalzing Misandry'. McGill-Queen's University Press.
I-VAWA (International Violence Against Women Act, 2008) http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5927:
Kammer, J. 'If men have all the power how come women make all the rules'. [Comment: a readable non-academic analysis of feminism] http://deltabravo.net/files/ifmenhav.pdf
Nathanson, P. and Young, K. (2006). Legalizing Misandry. McGill-Queen's University Press. [Comment: Excellent review of the changes the feminist movement have made in law and academia in the US and Canada] http://www.amazon.com/Legalizing-Misandry-Systemic-Discrimination-Against/dp/077352862862 8
McKinnon, C.A. (1987). Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Harvard University Press
Roiphe, K (1993). The morning after: Sex, fear and feminism on campus. Boston: Little, Brown.
VAWA (Violence Against Women Act, 2005) http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h3402enr.txt.pdf