You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.
– Brigham Young
While it is impossible to say that no woman at any time was allowed to exercise her political rights in the United States prior to the 20th Century, it can categorically be said that, with very rare exceptions, women were generally treated as an underclass with rights and legal status somewhere between slaves and indentured servants. They could be beaten by their husbands, they were rarely allowed to own property or even work, let alone operate a business, and they were denied political franchise of any kind.
Beginning largely in the late 19th Century, it was women who bravely challenged the social norms of the age and began the movement that would soon be known as Feminism. Over the course of a few decades, these women (and men, whose votes were necessary for this groundbreaking change) erased literally thousands of years of western cultural tradition of women being denied the basic legal rights needed to hold abusive husbands accountable, to own property and gain economic autonomy, and to vote and run for political office.
The social, legal, and political achievements accomplished under the auspices of Feminism, especially throughout the 20th Century, simply cannot be overstated and represented a necessary victory over the tyranny of stratified societal norms that had long outlived whatever justifications they could ever have had. Given all of the good that Feminists have accomplished in the last century, is Feminism cancer? The short answer? Yes, it is very much cancer… but it doesn’t have to be.
I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.
– Jane Austen
While acknowledging the many important victories won by 19th Century and 20th Century Feminism, those victories belong to the women (and, once again, the men) who accomplished them, not the purple haired extremist lunatics who now dominate the movement. Ever since this current generation of shrieking harridans bounced Feminism completely off its rails, they’ve complained nonstop about “micro aggressions“, “safe spaces“, “trigger words“, and discrimination practices that have been illegal since literally before their parents were born.
Over the course of the last generation, modern Feminism has metastasized from a grievance peddling sideshow into a full blown political carnival of the absurd. Seriously, in some jurisdictions, a man can literally be fined for simply sitting with his legs wide enough apart that he doesn’t subject his genitals to the vice grip of his own thighs, because lunatic Feminists have convinced the authorities that incidental physical contact between two people sitting next to one another on a public vehicle somehow constitutes a crime.
If a man stands up from his seat to allow a woman to sit, that’s “patronizing“. If the man remains sitting comfortably, with his legs slightly apart, that’s “man-spreading“. If the man turns to explain to the woman whose leg came briefly into contact with his that tucking his legs together is physically painful, that’s “man-splaining“. Any action that isn’t quietly sitting in varying degrees of discomfort, focused on nothing but not accidentally touching anyone else is basically “rape” (at least according to these lunatics).
If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.
– Abigail Adams
Where as the Feminism of the 19th and 20th Centuries fought to gain fundamental political rights that were afforded to men but unjustly denied to women, modern Feminism seems unconscionably devoted to dismantling the intellectual, physical, and moral autonomy of men, so the real question isn’t why there is so much hostility directed towards 21st Century Feminism. That’s self-evident. The real question is if modern Feminists will wake up to their own insanity before the reactionary backlash they’ve created threatens everything good and noble they’ve ever accomplished.
In many ways, Feminism now, more than ever, faces the same awful situation that faces American Conservatism. After years of lasting and positive cultural advancements, growing with each successive generation, the core message has become lost in the crowd. There are simply so many people in both movements, with just a frightening number of hysterical nuts, the former thought leaders of each movement find themselves fighting simply for control of their message.
Meanwhile, both movements, Feminism and Conservatism, burdened as they are with the mindless insanity of the mob, have become paralyzed by extremists who don’t even actually represent their ideologies. Feminism, like Conservatism, was once the blossoming of the liberation of a tyrannized class, merely seeking rights enjoyed by the rest of society. Now, much like American Conservatism, Feminism is infested with ignorant bigots that seek to silence and disenfranchise all dissent.
Just like true Conservatism, America is just better with true Feminism. Here’s hoping that these two crucial ideologies can right themselves again, before it’s too late.
Liberty is For The Win!