The fate of females and the fatuity of feminists 9

The very good ranter named Fred Reed (with whom we don’t always entirely agree) rants well and justly about the treatment of women in the past, in the Third World, in the folds of religions –  and about the ignorance of feminists:

Oh, sigh. One grows weary, or at least I do, of feminists who complain constantly of imaginary discrimination. It makes no sense. They are in almost the only place and time in which women are not mistreated.

Indeed, Western women – at least those of the prosperous classes – have, as a group, for the last hundred years or so, been the most protected, indulged and generally advantaged of human beings in all history.

Those who do not read history may not know the extent to which women really have been — tired word, but accurate — oppressed.  …

In general women were nonentities. Men had life-and-death power over their wives and daughters, meaning exactly that: they could kill them if they so chose. It was not a theoretical power, but one at least occasionally exercised. To an American man in 2013 this seems insane …

The pattern holds with variation in details almost everywhere. American Indians, savages but hardly noble, subjugated women utterly.

Foot-binding, as lunatic a practice as the mind of man has conceived, was common among China’s upper classes.

In India women were kept in strict isolation in purdah and, should their husbands die, expected to immolate themselves on the funeral pyres. What all of this was supposed to accomplish, I cannot imagine.

So much for the idea cherished in semi-literate courses in Women’s Studies that non-Western cultures have been female-friendly. They have not. 

But in this feminists are right: The three mid-Eastern religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, do indeed have a ghastly record. The Jews I think were least bad, subjugating their women but not waging actual war against them. Christianity was hideous. The Catholic Church for three centuries practiced systematic sadism against witches, torturing and burning alive uncounted thousands of women. Torture meant crushed bones, dislocated joints, molten lead, and other pleasantries ordained by the Vicar of Christ. 

Today the [Catholic] church has softened. It has given itself to the minor consolations of pederasty and to urging women who can’t afford them to have large families. This is an improvement.

Islam, intractably primitive, follows still the old ways. Girls in many places are not allowed to learn to read. Horrendous genital mutilation is horrendously common. Why the world puts up with this is a mystery. If I had been the British administrator of colonies practicing such mutilation, I would have had the fathers strung up naked on the town square and castrated with a blowtorch. Barbarous? Yes. But the cutting would have stopped in about ten minutes. 

Feminists are ill-informed, absurdly self-pitying, and compassionless.

Curiously, in America more fury arises from the suggestion that men may be better than women at mathematics than from tens of millions of bloody clitoridectomies practiced on screaming young girls. … Feminists [do not make] an issue of it. This too is beyond my comprehension …

So why have misogyny and subjugation of women — these are not quite the same thing — ceased in much of the world, and very much so in America? Said subjugation has been so widespread through all time that one might suspect it to be a trait genetically determined. But it isn’t. In Europe, North America above the Rio Bravo, Australia, and New Zealand among others, women are fully integrated into society. …

Feminists believe that they brought about the change by a valiant struggle against long odds and awful men. (By which they seem to mean all men.) Not so, quite. Powerless groups seldom rise unless those in power decide to permit it.

(It should, however, be noted that power itself is not something you can be given but something you take. If you cannot, and do not, you will not have it. Margaret Thatcher seized it. In general, at present, men are allowing women as a class the illusion of political and economic power).

It is odd that in America, where women enjoy historically unprecedented rights and opportunities, often greater than those of men — who don’t have affirmative action — feminists complain of oppression. It is fantasy. …

But one mustn’t speak of this. If you speak unfavorably of the ill-breeding and obnoxiousness of professional feminists, they say that you hate women. …

We live in the middle of a social order that is, so far as I know, entirely new. To those who have grown up in it, it seems normal and, now, is. Seen against the backdrop of three thousand years, the merging of women into the polity is astonishing. How it will shake out in the long run is uncertain, but it seems to work well enough. Spare me the nineteen-year-old bimbos in Women’s Studies at Dartmouth telling me how oppressed they are, on daddy’s dime.

There may yet be women inventors. But not many, we guess.

Women, we conjecture, would never have invented an impersonal judicial system: the rule of law, regulated courts, argument in defense, standards of proof,  juries, condign punishment consistently carried out. However many female lawyers, judges, and lawmakers there may be, they are not natives in the realm of objective judgment.


Note: We are indebted to our reader Frank for referring us from time to time to an engaging column by “Fred”, including this one.

  • Andrew

    I am a Women’s Studies minor.

    One of my classes focused primarily on perceptions of women in Western societies throughout the 20th century, with tie-ins from other cultures by way of comparison. While many of the articles I read were actually somewhat perceptive, I also read a fair amount of drivel. Taking the cake was piece which argued that France’s laicite policy was racist against Muslim girls because it barred them from wearing the hijab in school buildings.

    Fortunately, I had the opportunity to pursue the topic of Islam to its bloody ends for my honors presentation. It was not hard to call upon the Koran to support my argument that Islam, not Arab culture nor poverty nor any other factor, is responsible for the misery of Middle Eastern women. The women in this class – that is to say, everyone but myself – seemed genuinely stunned as I joylessly recanted these terrible injunctions. I only hope I made them think more deeply about their priorities and privileges.

    I’d be happy to speak more about my experiences if you are interested.

    • Jillian Becker

      We are interested, Andrew. Please tell us more.

      And well done! You gave them a little real education in the midst of their grievance stoking.

  • liz

    Since the Left hijacked the feminist movement, just like they have every movement in the last century, its hard to tell what it would have looked like if it had been allowed to develop naturally. Maybe conservative women would have actually been given some positive notice. But as it is, we see only the distorted, twisted version that has formed under the influence of leftists, who bitch about imaginary oppression while the real oppression of their precious “multicultural” women goes unnoticed.

  • Atheist Truthseeker

    “Indeed, Western women – at least those of the prosperous classes – have, as a group, for the last hundred years or so, been the most protected, indulged and generally advantaged of human beings in all history.”
    ” In general, at present, men are allowing women as a class the illusion of political and economic power.”
    “Women… are not natives in the realm of objective judgment.”
    There is a contradiction in your statements. Women cannot be advantaged if men are giving them the illusion of power. The final statement is mysoginistic.

    • Jillian Becker

      There is no contradiction. It is perfectly possible to be protected, indulged and advantaged without having power. Well supported wives without means of their own are exactly that.

      An opinion that men and women have, generally speaking, different talents does not imply that some talents are better than others.

      You seem to be a Nitpicker more than a Truthseeker.

      • Atheist Truthseeker

        It is a very limited use of the term “advantaged” if it does not include power. You say that women are powerless and protected an indulged by men. In that I don’t think you would have much of an argument with feminists. Perhaps you differ in that you believe that is how things should be.

        Substantively, the article suggests that women in the USA cannot be oppressed today because they have been more oppressed in the past and elsewhere. This is obvious nonesense.

        • Jillian Becker

          It suggests no such thing.

          You obviously want to needle us. Why? As it is unlikely to be our atheism that you don’t like, it must be our conservatism. So why don’t you leave us and go instead to an atheist liberal site? Your comments are of no value to us.

          • Atheist Truthseeker

            It is not atheism or conservatism I dispute, but badly constructed arguments and incoherent propaganda. But, OK. If you don’t want to respond to challenge I will not return.

  • Frank

    I don’t always agree with Fred either but I did on this one. There are some groups in America that seem to relish the idea that they are being persecuted when in fact they are not; Christians and feminists are two of the largest ones.