Matt Walsh, whose blog I do enjoy reading, can be snarky, satirical and shake things up a little. I personally enjoy his style and probably agree with him more than I disagree. A few days ago he posted a follow-up post to a post he made about the ridiculous #BanBossy campaign. (Yes, I do agree it is ridiculous.) However, his follow up post (you can read that here) made some of my friends cheer and some scream in fury.
It was because of the screamers that I decided to respond. While I can mostly agree with Mr. Walsh, I do find that some of his statements and how they are worded could be taken the wrong way. So, to clear it up for my dear screamers, I chose to respond. (I actually think when I am done, we will see that Mr. Walsh and I – and my cheerer and screamer friends – have more in common than we realize. But how you say something is just as important as what you say. And in fact, I am probably writing this more to explain his post to my screamers than to Mr. Walsh himself, but regardless, here goes…)
|Matt Walsh, image taken from his blog|
May I call you Matt? I realize I am not exactly the intended recipient of your open letter, since you’ve written it to “liberal feminists”, and I am not a liberal feminist, but a new feminist, which is quite different. However, there are a few concerns that I think you are overlooking. I am also the mother of five sons (nope, not one girl!) and it does give me special perspective on the raising of boys in our society.
When I first heard about the #BanBossy campaign, I was appalled as well. When there are real threats that continue to undermine women’s dignity in our society, choosing to start a campaign against an obscurely chosen word (a word that, mind you, my boys call each other!) is just another facet of the smoke and mirrors. It is looking to distract from the reality that their liberal feminist ideas have actually led to more damage than gain for women. (All of which you did point out, though possibly in more provocative tones.)
I also think it is important for women (especially those like myself who are proponents of a New Feminism, the kind Pope John Paul II spoke of in Evangelium Vitae, 99) to look into your claim of where the women “make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns” comes from. We all want to be sure we have accurate facts and I found this site very helpful in explaining it. I was surprised that what you said about the salaries being gathered across all fields in all areas was more or less true. (Again, I do have to say it is hard to hear the truth when it is told in a mockingly and in your face way, but truth nonetheless I admit.) I would also like to note when discussing the lack of female executives with my father who is at such a level; it does seem to be that women who get to that point in their careers, more often than not, choose themselves to not want to spend hours on end working and prefer to have a family life instead. So, in some cases, it is not that women are not chosen for those positions per se, but they choose not to make such a hefty work over family life decision.
I even agree that our society is not overly conducive to boys. They are meant to be boys! Crazy, restless, a little wild even, and sitting 8 hours a day in a desk being told to hush and be more calm, is not encouraging their adventurous nature. What I found especially poignant was this bit “Boys — particularly boys in public school – are most assuredly NOT encouraged to be opinionated, assertive, loud, boisterous, or confident. Do you know what happens to boys like that? We punish them. We label them. We medicate them. Their opinions and their personalities aren’t just discouraged – they’re chemically obliterated.”
Again, being a mother of five sons, I am very aware of this! Not only this (and the shunning of natural male aggression), but the bombardment of an over-sexualized culture onto young men going through puberty and then we expect them to treat women in turn with respect? We are toying with their brains, hormones and psyche, and set nearly impossible goals for them.
You know what? I get that. There is a case to be made that life is challenging for boys in our society. But does that challenge for boys (and young men) erase the inherent discrimination towards women? I’m NOT talking about silly words, but a society that has been founded by men and a system created by men. It is hard for women to break into the “old boys club”. America, especially Corporate America, creates a need for aggression, one-mindedness and a society ruled by legalism. These are very manly traits, and yet women need to work in this society. You say “girls don’t have it any worse than boys” and that alone may be true, but knowing variation for individuals, on a whole, women trying to work in our society in many ways do have it worse than men.
Yet, this is where liberal feminism went wrong. Instead of insisting on elevating feminine traits and talents, they insisted that “women can be just like men!” As you point out, even if their intentions are to liberate women, they have added to the discrimination, saying she can’t fit in society unless her femininity has been stripped from her (through contraception, abortion, and imitating male models of domination). The thing is, sexism does still exist and has only gotten worse with the mirage that turning women into genderless, efficient members of society is creating gender equality. Our society is still a man’s world, but it is because of this senseless neutering of women (considering gender equality to equal gender sameness) that not only women but even men’s masculinity (and even boys’) are now at stake.
We need a society where both genders are elevated and given dignity and respect. This constant undermining of woman’s dignity by making her “just like a man” is eroding man’s dignity as well. We need a society that is built on the value of the greatness of the complimentarity of the sexes. I have friends who are “new feminists” who were screaming in fury at your last post, because of the complete dismissal of male domination in society as if it was a fairytale told by liberal feminists to get more control. Yet, it is a reality (that granted has been hijacked by liberal feminism and yes, used to give them more power) but is a reality nonetheless that did and does affect women.
So, before throwing out the baby with the bath water, why not just dump the dirt? Let us be aware of the reality of a world where women’s value is continually undermined, but instead of seeking a genderless society or a war of the sexes to solve it, let us find a solution rich in complimentarity and dignity for all.
p.s. - you and your wife might really enjoy the movie "I Don't Know How She Does It" which is a fabulous depiction of feminine values attempting to play out in a man's world, and many gender equality(sameness) supporters hated the film. :)