Feminism and the ailing of western society

Can someone please explain to me what is so bad about being a feminist?

I’ve seen a lot of Christian forums wherein feminism is blamed for high abortion rates, single parent households, working mothers, males being “emasculinated”, ADHD, drug use, sex in the media, and so on and so forth.

I just don’t see the connection.  I don’t see how me- a woman- wanting to have equal rights with men means that my neighbor will get an abortion, her husband won’t feel like much of a man, their son will get ADHD and shoot up a school, and her daughter will be “over-sexed”.  I really don’t see how there is anything resembling a connection.  Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that all of these things are connected.  It may be quite possible that men feeling out of place, mothers working, kids having higher incidences of ADHD and other disorders, and higher abortion rates all share a single source.  But if that were the case, if this laundry list of societal ills is easily blamed on anything, doesn’t it make sense that the blame should be placed not on women but on society as a whole?

Isn’t it more to blame on consumerism, on modernity, on the digital age, on the loss of a connection to nature and work and simplicity?  Isn’t it more about the kind of world we live in these days?  No longer hunters and gatherers are we.  No longer do we live in a world where the man works and earns his place by the sweat of his brow while his little wife stays home and wins her salvation through childrearing.  No longer do we depend on neighborhood and community, no longer are we all well known to each other.  Perhaps all of these things are easily blamed on something.

It’s just not me or my rights.

It’s the world, it’s need and greed, it’s the ailing of souls who have lost their connection to the divine.

Perhaps the Christians who are so quick to point fingers should examine themselves.  They should ask if they’ve bought into a world of consumerism and capitilism.  They should ask if they’ve turned a blind eye to the “sex sells” and “anything for the bottom line” mindset that pays so many of our paychecks;  If they’ve spent more time trying to pad their wallets than care for their hyperactive sons and over-sexed daughters;  If they’ve confused the real message and instead of teaching their children to win favor by compassion and good works, taught them to win by competitiveness and pettiness.  Perhaps there is someone who ought to be blamed.

Perhaps it’s all of us.

It’s easy to fall back on flashy headlines, pointed fingers, fear and disquiet.  It’s easy to bring in the readers through controversy and infighting on your forums.  It’s easy, but it’s not right.  It’s not right to blame a movement that one could easily argue Jesus himself would have supported.  It’s easy to say the common line.  But what is right?  What is right is being honest and real.

Reality is that if anyone is to blame, all of us are.  Christianity perhaps the most of all- because we’re supposed to be the ones bringing life and healing.  And instead, once again, we bring condemnation and blame.

11 thoughts on “Feminism and the ailing of western society

  1. I examined this very issue in a post entitled My [censored] Is the World’s Greatest Threat. The fact of the matter is, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (just to name a few) are misogynystic to their cores. It’s no surprise that women who desire equality will become the scapegoat of such social structures.

    (I say this not to be offensive. I understand that some branches of all three major religions allow female leaders and female equality. That does not change the fact that all three holy books contain extremely misogynystic rules/ideas that many branches gleefully embrace.)

    Unfortunately, as long as we continue to blame those not responsible, there is little we can do to fix the problems.

  2. I’m not at all offended- there is absolutely a residue of misogyny. One would be hard pressed to argue differently. I just don’t think that the fact that there was misogyny at the birth of any religion can be used as an argument against it’s goodness. If that were the case, we’d have to do away with all religion entirely- which I’m obviously not about to do.

    I think Christianity could be a powerful force for good, providing my fellow believers actually behaved themselves.

  3. Good stuff, Lindsey.

    I find I’ve been quite happy to hold on to the “f-word” despite others within Christendom see it as some kind of heresy.

    I’ve had some explain to me that female equality has already happened – equal legal rights, suffrage, education, employment are all options – and so the continued feminist movement isn’t necessary and is just wrong, leading to ills such as hyper-sexuality and/or a move to some kind of androgyny (no difference at all between men and women).

    The thing is when it comes to equal rights, we are NOT all there yet, sister, despite being able to cast a ballot.

    But moving to your real point, Lindsey,(and not my own tangent!) you said it well: we need to *all* look at the problems we face in our lives and world and deal with hurts and needs generously.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. goldnsilver: I find the women who would happily barter away their rights to be downright terrifying, and I truly do NOT understand it.

    tryphaena: I rather enjoyed your soapbox. 🙂 And I agree, we are NOT there yet. If we were there, I would listen more to the arguments of what “feminism taken too far” may do, but that isn’t our world now.

  5. I never understood this anti-feminism thing in Christianity either. I mean, I understand it from the “we’re going to keep women in their place no matter what” position, but that isn’t really what you’re talking about here.

    And I agree with goldnsilver: the most ardent anti-feminists in the Christian realm ARE women. There’s like this very weird thing where women have taken the “submission” Biblical stuff to mean you shouldn’t have equal rights. Either I’m missing something, or their argument is a little misguided (if not sincere).

    I like the points you bring up in your blog–and the fact that you think what is right is “being honest and real.” That’s exactly how I feel.

    I think the lack of honesty is exactly why we have some of these crazy Christian fights. And while honesty would open up some other hairy arguments (I’m sure), at least we’d be working toward a real solution, rather than fighting through pretense and bullcrap.

  6. goldnsilver: I find the women who would happily barter away their rights to be downright terrifying, and I truly do NOT understand it.

    I agree. The thing is, I think they truly don’t understand what rights being taken away will mean for them. It comes down to this – those kind of women don’t like liberal women. Its not really about the rights, they just want all the women who aren’t like them to change and become similar to their own ideals of what a woman’s role should be.

    And I agree with goldnsilver: the most ardent anti-feminists in the Christian realm ARE women. There’s like this very weird thing where women have taken the “submission” Biblical stuff to mean you shouldn’t have equal rights. Either I’m missing something, or their argument is a little misguided (if not sincere).

    Heh, maybe we should point them towards some of lindsey’s posts on submission.

    I think this whole ‘blame all social ills on feminism’ is based on a simple concept – females radically changed since the 1950’s but the rest of the world didn’t. Husbands still expected the wife to do all the wife things; raise the kids, cook the meals, clean the house etc, whilst having a job as well. It’s taken years for husbands to realise that if the wife wants to work than he is going to have to do 50% of the home related things. This is what I think is part of some of the ‘societal ills’, because one person in a household can’t manage all these thigns and eventually cracks are going to appear (eg, mum might miss that daughter 1 has been sneaking out to see boyfriend or that son 2 feels attention starved etc).

    Basically what I’m trying to say is that some of these so called problems are sometimes caused by the ‘shift hangover’ situation. It happens when any big change occurs in society.

  7. I haven’t really understood the whole “feminism is teh DEV1l!!1111” thing either. It’s sloppy, lazy thinking even if one views the changes attributed to it as a bad thing.

  8. • equality is now an economic fact, poorly recognized and poorly rewarded

    Xian males, like their muslim and jewish brethren, shudder at a technological world in which mental agility has replaced physical strength as the core measure of economic utility. This reordering of values strips away a core faith-based lie: god-ordained male supremacy.

    Unresolved to this day is a decades long struggle over gender equality — equal productive and reproductive rights.

    Who gets vociferous support? The relevant group, women themselves, tens of millions of them? Or second-hand-god salesmen? Congressmen and Senators spewing pro-natalist social darwinism tarted up as “family values”. Fundies are obvious offenders, but RCs run a close second.

    • A world of hurt — xian terrorism — the ugliest mask of dominionism

    Women’s aspirations, self realization, reproductive self-determination must be crushed by direct force. Xian domestic terrorism in home, school, and workplace humiliates, intimidates, and batters women back to submission.

    Protected by complicit federal and state officials, cells of xian thugs have been targeting women and their humane values for decades. Irrationality drives scientific knowledge about sex from America’s schools just as it drives medical research abroad.

    Xian political ideologues (Sarah Palin) must eventually embrace state totalitarianism, dominionism. Their “truths” can never win popular support. An open society will repudiate their nihilism composed of literalist lies, morally repugnant beliefs, and puritanical rules.

    You think that the excesses of xianity belong to the past — think again.

  9. “Xian males . . .”

    Wow, anti-supernaturalilst, were I who you think I am and if I believed what you accuse me of believing, I’d hate me too.

    Do you not see any irony in your over-generalized venom? Sure, you can find idiots and ideologues who live down to your caricature, but how exactly does it help? Is the point that “Xian males” should be destroyed or dominated? Or do you simply require that we acquiesce to your ideology?

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