I’m gonna level with you all. I’m a novice at this blogging thing(if you couldn’t tell). I am ESPECIALLY a novice when it comes to feminist writing. So I’m always a little shocked when people leave me negative angry comments about how terrible my ideas about feminism are, considering that they are so tame. This blog is the introduction to feminism, the tip of the iceberg of equality. I haven’t even yet discussed issues of intersectionality, the historic alienation of minority feminism, issues of the trans community, etc. I often feel that if any experienced feminist blogger found my writing they would roll their eyes and say, “Well, duh.” What I’m saying is that I’m not going very deep here, not yet anyways. The issues and the memes that I’m talking about shouldn’t be that controversial. But considering the amount of memes I’ve found, and the misinformation that I’ve come across all over the internet, apparently this basic feminism still needs to be addressed. Especially when it comes to these last memes I want to talk about. Memes so stupid I can’t believe that there are people in the world that still give them credence. We shouldn’t have to talk about this stuff anymore, but apparently we have to.
These memes represent the idea that women had it pretty awesome before voting/equal pay/property rights because…chivalry! Things really weren’t so bad in the old days because we were “handled with kid gloves”. We have no right to question the patriarchy because men died fighting in wars and stuff!!! I didn’t think real people actually believed these things, but that was before I heard about Suzanne Venker.
She is not my favorite.
One look at the titles of her articles on fox news tells you pretty much all you need to know about her views on feminism:
Look, I expect to find a lot of arguments and memes on anti-feminist websites that are distinctly horrible/far fetched. Many of the people I see making comments on these websites are not rational or respectful. People who insult feminists with slurs about their sexuality, threaten them with rape, and curse at them in blog posts are people I try not to take seriously. They are trolls. But Suzanne Venker is not a troll, she is not on the fringe, she is in the mainstream media, spouting these beliefs as if they are perfectly reasonable, and she must be stopped. The madness ends now. Let’s look at some of the gems of knowledge that stand out from her writing about feminism and womanhood.
“It’s time to stop pretending men are oppressors and to start recognizing the extraordinary contributions men have made to society.” -Women, wake up, men have made your life better not worse
“From boyhood through adulthood, the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence. His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced.”-Men-the new second class citizens
“Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It’s hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.”-To be happy, we must admit that women and men aren’t “equal”
That’s right ladies, in 1912 women were forbidden to vote. Women couldn’t join the military in 1912. Women couldn’t be doctors, lawyers, ship captains, judges, or even serve on a jury. Contraception was illegal in 1912, as was abortion. Women were barred from entering into many colleges in 1912, and that’s all just in America. But none of that constitutes oppression because men would still do things like help us over puddles and open car doors!
He probably wants to hurry her back home to the kitchen.
Her argument about the titanic is so shocking and offensive to me that it drops my jaw every time I rediscover this article. Not only are anti-feminists in denial about problems that women face today, but they are in denial about the problems that women faced in the past.
First of all, the titanic is one instance, ONE, where men sacrificed themselves for women. There have been PLENTY of times in history when chivalry went out the window and it was every man for himself.
Now let’s be clear, by saying this I am not implying that all men prior the 1960’s hated women because making broad, sweeping arguments about the character of men is bullshit. Men should be judged on their bravery, kindness, and selflessness on an individual level. The men who gave up their seats on the lifeboats aboard the titanic were very brave, and selfless, but that doesn’t mean that the whole male sex has the right to be like, “Hey, look what we did for you! OBEY US!” Also, if someone commits an act of self sacrifice just so that they can lord it over the other person then that’s not really a sacrifice. Equal rights should not be the exchange for chivalry.
And the WWll comparison…ugh. I have respect for the military, but making the argument that women have no right to complain about anything because men were protecting them in wars is ridiculous because until very recently, just in case you forgot, WOMEN WEREN’T ALLOWED IN THE MILITARY . Even if a woman in the 1940’s wanted to fight in combat she wasn’t allowed. She wouldn’t be allowed in combat for another 70 YEARS.
You can’t tell me that I have no right to complain about my situation when I’m not even allowed to choose it. I never sat down and signed a contract that I would shut my mouth about women’s rights in exchange for men protecting me. Instead, I got signed up for that contract against my will, and now it’s being waved in my face like I’m being a hypocrite. I’m being told to feel grateful for a protection that I never asked for, that I didn’t choose, and is apparently conditional on my shutting the fuck up about feminism. As for chivalry: Don’t be nice to me because I’m a woman, don’t open a door for me because it’s the manly thing to do. Don’t stand up when I enter a room just because you feel obligated. Then, don’t feel cheated if you do these things and I don’t admit you are the better sex.
If you want to be nice to me, do it because I am your fellow human being. If you want to buy me dinner, do it because you like me. If you want to open the door for me, do it because it’s a decent thing to do. Do these things because you want the respect of a fellow human being, and I will respond in kind. Because I am not just a woman, I am a person, and Suzanne Venker’s one dimensional vision of womanhood is not for the likes of me.