Feminism was and is the duped or volunteer ‘hand maiden’ (1) of the financial elite/neo-liberal agenda. Whether eyes open or beguiled is a matter of debate. However there is evidence of the former with feminist involvement in the upper echelons of society and being a willing participant to the erosion of conditions for the many ‘average’ citizen and the creation of the expanding economic disparity between household incomes in our western society.
It should now be well evident to even the most hard core feminist that the gendered division of humans failed to account for the undereducated, under employed, working and increasingly the middle classes and race divisions in our society. Feminism’s cultural recognition was traded for a lack of universal share in the financial market place for most women (their families and an expanding number of disenfranchised and thus ‘dangerous’ block of young men) as the work place has been further eroded by casualization, contract, part-timed, impermanence and the vast block of unskilled and semi-skilled work places, like manufacturing, shipped off shore to the 3rd world labour markets most willing to cheaply prostitute their citizens to the multi-national corporations till the next undercuts them.
A valid description of our human existence is that in essence we are as rats on a tread mill. We enact lives that are segregated or isolated from each other through all manner of divisions be it boundaries to self, household, community, city or nation. The sense of community, suffers in our increasingly busy world because we have been coerced into the cult of the individual, at the expense of the future producing family unit,not for our own good but for the good of the marketplace. I believe actually against our very nature as humans being in this world.
Despite the expressed utterance of the average Kiwi of not being interested in politics, the same cannot be said the other way around. Politics is absolutely interested in you and as such manipulates your everyday life. And yet these forces are actually quite visible in this age of internet where the ‘gate keepers’ of information have actually failed at this point in history in fully closing the flow of that information.
Empires throughout human history have maintained their hold on the subjugated by creating and exploiting division. Today is no different; blindly we continue playing out the games of the manipulated, the divided and the ruled.
The most fundamental division within our human species, within our community, is between male and female. This is exactly what has occurred in western society beginning somewhere around the beginning of the 1960’s. The agency for this to occur was and is 2nd wave feminism.
Like any change to life, such as a vigorous social movement, after a period of time of things not working out for the entire intended market, an examination seems in order. None more so than for second wave feminism with its now 50 odd year history. In pushing this I am aware of the hypocrisy of feminism being prepared to critique every facet of life except its own place in creating adverse effects or unintended consequence. I am well aware of the dangers to my social life criticising the ‘sisterhood’!
As a teen in the early 1970’s I thought what I now label as equity feminism (2) to be totally fair enough. As a father to three adult daughters I still feel that. A lament of a more prudent mother having to get my financially dodgy dad’s signature on bank documents in the 60-70’s all seems quite bizarre and laughable in this day and age. Later as a man with a couple of decades of adult life and faced with a relationship failure and in disagreement with the ex’s methods, attending a court directed anger management course in the late 90’s, I took delight in pointing out to the ‘holy than thou’ facilitators that unlike any of them I was the one that had had my wife’s and then my partner’s name in the telephone book alongside mine! This period of being ‘beaten into shape’ by the system was the catalyst for beginning to formally study the reason for my ‘lack of voice’ in the family court system firstly as an active and involved father and then simply as a male. In essence to study the initially supported ‘beast’ that had turned around to ‘bite me’.
Other pertinent family conversations also opened up the thinking pathways. Various conversations with mum who on the introduction of the DPB (domestic purposes benefit) in NZ in 1972 commented, as a mature university student, that this was great because it would allow women to escape unhappy and abusive marriages. It certainly did that alright. Saved my arse in the 1990’s! She laments now how the DPB allowed my generation to stop trying when things got tough in a marriage. Sure I had lots of reasons, mental illness of the other half and not wanting to become an alcoholic as one of my coping strategies but mum was right. With hindsight as far as my now adult kids go, less damage may have occurred with me showing a bit more fortitude in prolonging my exit from the marriage.
At the societal level, even before things disintegrated in my own life, noted that as a society we had valued women by forming a Ministry for Women’s’ Affairs. Yet the most fundamental unit of societal continuation and evolution, the nuclear family was ignored in terms of a ministry. Let alone anything for men as the other half of the human species.
Like any war, which is what gendered division became through the push from radical feminism, truth and facts went by the way side. Any aberrant, abhorrent, dodgy, unfair behaviour by individual men was extrapolated out to be a norm for male behaviour and became part of evidence of an evil called the patriarchy. A mythical body keeping women in ‘their place’. Never mind the ample evidence of class and race being the bigger issue with people situated in a series of layers within society ordered by how they shared upon the national economic ‘pie’.
Within early feminist articulation of social concerns there was a legitimate focus on the poorly earning class based struggles were this was allowed to be buried under the ‘red scare’ and later cultural recognition was traded for any real redistribution or financial advancement for the average working woman. That is the dominant voice of feminism sided with the exploitive aims of neo liberal globalisation. That is feminism saw to it that state directed capitalism was abolished on the basis that things like the bread winner or family wage were some patriarchal suppression of women and thus the ‘free’ market was able to liberate all for exploitation, women and men, old and young!
As some excuse making for this occurrence, some feminist commentators have stated that it was 2nd wave feminism’s misfortune to occupy the same space in history as neo liberal capitalism and globalisation. However more to the point, feminism was the essential legitimising agency for how the global marketplace is now. In some mitigation the early equity feminism had fine and noble goals. Unfortunately it got side-lined by radical or gender feminism.
Feminism confronted the so called patriarchy and directly assaulted the paramount unit of social reproduction, the nuclear family. What this socio-political force influenced, when devaluing motherhood, home making and pushing women to be defined by workplace achievement was to flood a finite market with extra labour which served in dismantling social policy or the state direction of the marketplace. Finished was unionised protection in the work place, along with family friendly work and trading hours, family protection mechanisms such as the breadwinners wage which ensured that a wage would cover the costs of an average household with the wife and three children at home. Yes it had been incorrectly gendered and applied to all males, but it was a legitimate protection to the working class against exploitation. The wage disappeared in the face of the noble aspirations of wage equality! Ironically wages gaps appear all over the place now as we are all pushed into individual contracts with employers seeking to maximise the benefit for the shareholders rather than the good of all producing a product.
In 1963, a man, not too open to dismissal by the ignorant modern day nay-sayer, said “There is a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman and child. Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot.” Seven days later the utterer was dead. This was John F Kennedy. Remember that this was the early 1960’s and unlike a lot of the population then, this man had access to information.
A truth is that we do live in a manipulated world where the financial elite pulling the strings of our lives are now beyond our country’s sovereign laws and probably almost beyond doing anything about short of a cataclysmic economic meltdown. This is so while the bulk of our society remains wilfully ignorant, amidst information the elite are currently failing to fully ‘gate-keep’, and certainly so while our elected (you put them there)leaders, our media, our various ‘expert’ spokespeople, and various fellow travellers remain as toadies for the financial elite.
The CIA was not created to serve US interests per say, it was the instrument of a dynastic international banking and oil elite (Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan) coordinated by the Royal Institute for Internal Affairs in London and their US branch, the Council for Foreign Relations. It was established and peopled by blue bloods from the New York banking establishment and graduates of Yale University’s secret pagan “Skull and Bones” society. The last two Bush Presidents along with the Bush who traded both sides of WWII from the previous generation were thus qualified.
American feminism, which pervades our nation, was social programming engineered by the CIA, the Ford Foundation and other globalist organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations. Its rapid rise to prominence sits on media dissemination of discontent. Gloria Steinem was outed in the 1980’s as a CIA plant after working for the CIA since 1958. One of her first successes on behalf of the financial elite/CIA was to drive a wedge into the black revolutionary movement by creating a division between the men and women. Clearly for black Americans race and then class was the most fundamental divide from white America and prosperity. Ms magazine was funded by the CIA and connected to the Washington Post who along with Warner communications also had strong connection to the CIA. Steinem associates including intimacies have connections to the highest levels of skulduggery in American politics (3).
It was not difficult for such people and organisations to attract the psychologically disturbed with their own angst towards men in their lives and men in general. The legion of women falsely awarded academic achievement with such asinine utterances as “All men are rapists and that’s all they are” (Marilyn French, Author and later, advisor to Al Gore’s Presidential Campaign.);
“I claim that rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman, out of her own genuine affection and desire.”(Robin Morgan); “The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” (Linda Gordon); “Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice.” – Andrea Dworkin; “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” (Robin Morgan); “Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women’s movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.” — Sheila Cronin, the leader of the feminist organization NOW; “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” (Andrea Dworkin); “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.” (Andrea Dworkin); “Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” (Susan Brownmiller). “When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression.” (Sheila Jeffrys); “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.” (Catherine MacKinnon). “The more famous and powerful I get the more power I have to hurt men.” (Sharon Stone).
“All men are good for is f***ing, and running over with a truck”. Statement made by A University of Maine Feminist Administrator, Richard Dinsmore protested this utterance from the University academic, he was dismissed on the grounds of harassment. He then brought a successful civil suit in the amount of $600,000 against the University, settled in 1995.
“If the classroom situation is very heteropatriarchal–a large beginning class of 50 to 60 students, say, with few feminist students–I am likely to define my task as largely one of recruitment…of persuading students that women are oppressed”. (Professor Joyce Trebilcot of Washington University).
“In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.” (Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist and assistant professor of education at Wellesley College, and associate director of the school’s Center for Research on Woman).
So lets be clear second wave feminism loudest ‘voice’ became a very clear attack on men not just some ill-defined entity called the patriarchy and on the nuclear family. Is this still going on? I would suggest that it is. How else does our society explain the lack of concern for the gender imbalance in academic achievement, held to be such an important issue when it was the other way around? The still on-going erosion of the social importance of society basic reproduction unit, the nuclear family. That is children with access to both natural parents. Although having no issue with individual gays per sec, I believe the rise of the gay movement politically was another factor in the demotion of nuclear family in importance to our society. Perhaps just another divisive wedge to us being able to actually focus on how society has become so fragmented.
The division of men and women or the ‘gender wars’ was a successful campaign by radical or gender feminism urged on by the puppet masters running the current marketplace we are all mired in as individuals. And in which many, women and men are now just working poor never actually earning enough to fully participate in society.
The current divisive debates on domestic violence in NZ are part of maintaining the division. Into this thought plug in the idea of the US economy being hung on perpetual war or that disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill actually create industry referred to by economists as ‘disaster capitalism’. Is it too much of a stretch to think that solving domestic violence is not actually the goal of the ‘abuse industry’ which actually pays the salaries for a lot of people?
Feeding this issue of ‘disaster capitalism’ is the fact that our boys grow up surrounded by negative social messages of men as violent, as idiots on sit coms and in adverts. Young boys lack the cognitive ability to reason away these messages. In a caring society the shaming and feeling of deflation should be seen as child abuse of our boys.
Worst though is that the social ostracising that many young men now shoulder may actually be creating the very scenario given as routine fact about domestic violence. “Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.” (Andrea Dworkin.) Less blatant but thinking none the less rooted in this radical feminist ideology continues to permeates right through our society. These same social forces have now allowed a situation of under-education and thus underemployment for a growing section of our young men. There is now a one third/two thirds split between male and female undergraduates from our universities.
People that do not feel enfranchised, valued or respected by our society are going to feel little obligation to follow social norms of behaviour. These young men are on the social fringes, they are increasingly absent in marriage, family and the raising of the next generation. The quite predictable result of this situation of a growing group of men unconnected in a meaningful fashion to women will be a continuation of misogyny. As social cost of this disenfranchisement is the construction of more prisons. The road to the cell, for these young men is one of drugs and an accumulation of victims.
This is not a call to wind back the clock to some nostalgic past where gender roles were more defined, nor is it a call for women to be bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen! It is a call to start genuine dialogue on where we are individually and as a society? Whether the gender division that is now real and present in our society is the society we want our sons and daughters to occupy? I also take ownership of having only vague ideas for the fair distribution of social wealth given our modern reality of both genders being entrenched in the limited labour marketplace. Perhaps it revolves around a return to at least degrees of so-called conservative values, amongst which should be the greater valuation of our kids having the best access possible to both parents and included in this is valuing family as the future building block of community ahead of individual aspirations! It certainly involves our country’s governance once again asserting itself, through social policy and regulation, in the marketplace.
Nancy Fraser- Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (2013). Also http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/kicking-back-not-leaning-in
2. 2. Christina Hoff-Sommers-‘Who stole feminism’; ‘War on boys’; etc
3. 3. From Kai Bird, The Chairman: John J. McCloy and the Making of the American Establishment (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), pp. 483-84, 727.