What the feminist movement hath wrought
Marcia Segelstein – OneNewsNow Columnist -
Authors Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly, in their new book, The Flipside of Feminism, have courageously laid bare the false premises — and promises — of “the women’s movement.” And they have mercilessly quantified, to the extent possible, the negative effects that the feminist movement has had on American culture.
Let’s start with some of the false premises. Feminists claim their roots go back to the suffragettes of the early 1900s. Modern-day feminism is known as “second wave feminism,” giving a bow to the women who ultimately won the right for women to vote in 1920. In fact, those suffragettes were pro-family (not anti-male) and adamantly opposed to abortion (which existed, but was not legal), a cornerstone of today’s feminist movement. Latter-day suffragettes would undoubtedly find little, if any, common ground with modern-day feminists.
Betty Friedan is widely viewed as having launched the women’s movement with the publication of her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. Friedan was a Marxist who, based on her personal experience, came to see women as an oppressed class.
In fact, it was her own life that was a mess. Writing years later in her autobiography, Life So Far, Friedan described an unhappy childhood growing up with a mother who made her feel “messy, clumsy, inadequate, bad, naughty, ugly.” Years were spent in psychoanalysis “talking endlessly about how I hated my mother and how she had killed my father.”
Her marriage was not a happy one, to put it mildly, in which both spouses were physically abusive. Motherhood was overwhelming and unsatisfying for Friedan.
As Venker and Schlafly write, “Rather than try to cope and offer other women solutions for how to cope, Friedan manufactured a societal problem. She suggested society is to blame for the plight of the American housewife, who lived, she wrote, in a ‘comfortable concentration camp.’”
Friedan railed against motherhood as a thankless task that wasted women’s intelligence and time. Not only could she not see the value to society of mothers raising children, the concept of finding satisfaction in sacrifice was beyond her.