Has feminism gone too far?
Many men and women today are rediscovering the joys of masculine dominance and leadership within a romantic relationship . But men's dominance over women is something that feminism has denounced for several decades. The term “feminism” has changed meaning over the decades, so that today's feminism would be almost unrecognizable to the early feminists who fought for votes and career opportunities for women.
One fateful turn, in particular, came with the idea that “the personal is political.” This idea implied that to be truly a feminist, a woman had to practice complete gender equality in her personal relationships – or even take the lead, to make up for the sins of the past. This was basically a logical fallacy, which confused one sort of category (the political equality of men with women, in the public sphere) with a very different category (the equality of one specific man with one specific woman, in the very private and intimate arena of marriage). Feminism, which started out as being all about more choices for women, thus became one more dogma seeking to limit their choices; but now it was being done in the name of political correctness.
Thus, women's ‘liberation’ started to be seen as a matter of ‘liberating’ them from having intimate relationships with men, especially masculine and dominant men. At the far extreme, books by feminist authors started to denounce all sexual intercourse between men and women as ‘rape,’ (especially if the man was on top, gods forbid) and lesbian love became de rigueur if one were to be a truly ‘liberated’ woman. We began to see widespread hysteria about ‘date rape’ and ‘domestic violence’ with over-inflated figures that claimed that most women were victims of male abuse of one sort or another; even though the women interviewed often did not even agree that assessment. And that abuse was blamed on the One Sin That Explains All Sins Against Women: namely, masculinity and male dominance.
Masculinity itself became the enemy to be defeated, and we started to see the ‘gender deconstructionists’ take over the academic world, with their bizarre notions that gender differences are not innate at all, but rather ‘socially constructed.’ (The fact that other mammals exhibit many of the same gender differences that humans do is a fact that they conveniently overlook. A cow is a very different animal from a bull.) The point of all that is to convince us that we have the power to change our perceptions of gender: if Nature didn't give us gender differences, then we can choose how we view gender. But Nature itself does not comply with that vision, and continually offers up proof that gender differences are innate. Therefore not all feminists were convinced; some thought men were just different, period.
This branched off into the two main feminist ways of viewing men: either men really are different from women, hence evil; or men really can be just the same as women, so we should aim all our efforts at emasculating them. Taken to an extreme, the first camp aims at the eventual elimination of men, through technologies allowing for female-only reproduction; while the second camp aims at turning men into something like women, only with slightly different plumbing. In neither of these depressing visions is there any room for the strong, proud, glorious, masculine, dominant alpha male that feminine women respect, appreciate, and admire so much.
One might object by saying that's not mainstream feminism, that's just the radical extreme; but the point here is that feminism will inevitably become more radical and extreme, because as soon one set of goals is attained, then it has to move on to another, more extreme set of goals and start pushing for those. That is the only way feminism can justify its continued existence; because otherwise we would just say that feminism has attained its goals, and its business is done.
There are still places in the world (such as the Middle East, Africa, or parts of Asia) where the primary goals of feminism have yet to be reached; these are places where women are not allowed to vote, drive cars, work outside the home, and etc. But in most English-speaking countries (and most Western nations overall), those goals were attained long ago and we're now at the point of arguing such inane matters as whether or not women are equally capable as men to go trudging through battlefields lugging 100 pound backpacks and slugging it out in hand-to-hand combat with enemy troops. (In case you need a reality check: no, they're not.) Men and women may be equally equipped to be scientists and engineers and business tycoons; but they are not equally equipped to be soldiers, firefighters, boxers, or other strenuous occupations. On the personal front, we see the inanity manifest in such things as “mandatory arrest” laws for domestic violence; wherein if someone calls about any sort of disturbance, the police are obligated to arrest at least one of the two parties, which is almost always the man, even if the woman objects and insists she was not being abused. We have the absurd paradox that if a woman gets some bumps and bruises on the soccer field, then both she and her opponents are viewed as heroes; but if she gets similar bumps and bruises at the hands of her beloved husband in a consensual relationship of masculine dominance and feminine submission, then she's a ‘victim’ and he's a ‘criminal’ subject to prosecution. Even a harmless push or shove that leaves no marks at all is now considered ‘violence’ and a ‘dangerous warning sign.’ And when the husband is sentenced to ‘counseling’ for domestic violence, what does he hear? Quite often, he hears that the real problem is that he's trying to control and dominate his wife; many such programs are feminist based, and they revolve entirely around the axis of opposition to male dominance in relationships.
I'd say it's clear that feminism has gone way too far, in at least three dimensions: (1.) Asserting gender equality in all things, even where the genders are obviously and innately different. (2.) Extending ‘equality’ from the social/political sphere and into the personal/private sphere. (3.) A hysterical response that far exaggerates the real threats that women sometimes do face from men, with regard to sexual harassment, violence or rape.
I'll add that I once supported the goals of feminism. And I was part of the movement of women into careers formerly reserved for men, since I've worked in applied science and engineering research. However, what has happened since then is that feminism has become a moving target. It no longer means what it once did, so I no longer call myself a feminist. Also, while I was always aware of my need for a sexually dominant man, I was unclear on just how to fulfill that, or what made it so difficult to find. I now have a much clearer idea of what I want, and I also understand what is stopping it; and I have to say that the bulk of the blame goes to the excesses of the feminist movement for trying to feminize men and ‘equalize’ our most intimate relationships. (Of course, the ‘nice’ feminist-brainwashed men must share some responsibility for that, too; but if they really are convinced that all women want wimpy men, then you can see how confused that would leave them.)
So, I've undergone a journey from feminist to non-feminist; or even, in some respects, to anti-feminist. This has often provoked righteous indignation from feminists who feel that I somehow owe them something for the benefits that I have enjoyed from the feminist movement. They seem to miss the point that I was one of those early feminists; and like many of the women who supported feminism's early goals, I feel that I was betrayed by the feminist movement. Had I known back then just how ridiculous and destructive it would become, I would surely have thought twice before sending in my donations to N.O.W. and subscribing to Ms. Magazine so many years ago. Today, I feel that it's partly my job to stop the rampant insanity that radical feminism has brought into the world. We need to take a look at what is natural and appropriate for men and women, and how to cultivate and appreciate our innate gender differences; we need to gain a new respect for both masculinity and femininity, and find ways of making those profound sexual differences a meaningful part of our lives and our relationships.
One way that any woman can make a difference is by expressing her respect and appreciation for strong, heroic, masculine men; and by taking a proud and unabashed stance with regard to her own desire for a manly, dominant man. Women are often shy about this, not only because of the impact of feminist dogma, but also because of a certain innate feminine modesty; there is something ironic about being assertive about one's sexual submissiveness. It's unfortunate that it even has become an issue that needs to be argued in public; but the time has come when it really needs to be said, and it needs to be said by women. Because feminist dogma can easily demonize men for wanting to dominate women – but it's much harder to do that if women themselves express the desire for a dominant man.
I am interested in hearing how others feel about feminism , especially as it impacts our perceptions of masculinity and femininity, and intimate relationships for those of us who want a male-dominated romance or marriage. My guess is that most of us supported feminism up to a point, but then there came some point where we said, “No, that's just going way too far.” But I imagine that exactly where that point is varies from person to person. I'd like to hear at just what point others feel that feminism went over the edge. Just where do you draw the line between ‘good feminism’ and ‘bad feminism’?