Since today’s women say they want respect, why do they behave in ways guaranteed to make people disrespect them?

Kathlene M. writes:

Feminism: giving women the freedom to drive cars with pornographic, obscene references on their license plates.

Today as I was getting errands done here in the bowels of liberal-utopia (San Francisco Bay Area), I saw a vanity plate on a Volkswagen Jetta that said “XXX Mind” and around the plate a frame that said: “My other ride is harder and faster.” Who was driving this car? A professionally-coiffed short-haired-brunette white woman who looked to be in her thirties.

I wonder if this woman, by advertising this on her plate, felt proud and empowered. Does she realize that other women, like me, now view her with zero respect? I wonder if feminists realize that, by telling women they have freedom to act as boldly as they wish and the consequences be damned, that they have actually decreased respect for women and have thereby undermined their own objective which is to raise women’s status.

LA replies:

It’s a very good question.

I think the answer is that they don’t exactly want “respect,” an old-fashioned term that bespeaks standards and qualities of character, and thus differences between better and worse character, and thus inequality and oppression. What they want is deference. What they want is power. What they want is mastery.

Since what they are about is asserting their will, rather than behaving in a way that will earn respect, and since they see so much of modern society eagerly deferring to their will, they believe that they are winning, even as, on another level, they are aware that their lives are empty and frustrating.

- end of initial entry -

Kathlene M. writes:

Your answer makes sense, especially in relation to a conversation I had with my mother-in-law a month ago. Born in 1920, she proudly calls herself a feminist. She rants against men often, bringing up the various indignities that “good ol’ boys” have perpetrated against her and womenkind throughout her entire life. She remarked that hers was the first generation to vote (even though technically her mother’s generation of women was the first to vote).

We got into an argument when I remarked how feminism had gone too far in its quest for women’s “liberation,” giving modern women the license to act like whores. Today’s women, I continued, have become poor role models for our daughters. She became incensed, then retorted that “whore” is a derogatory term that men have historically used against women, i.e., women are called whores while men are admired for that very behavior. I tried to explain that if feminism means having women be equal to the basest of men, then why would some women want to be feminist? Debasing oneself for equality and freedom’s sake does not appeal to some women.

During this argument, it occurred to me that feminism wasn’t about respect for women in her eyes, it was simply about getting even against all the men in her life who had, in her estimation, held her back in some way or another. At age 89, she harbors lingering bitterness toward her late father and her late first husband, among others. From all accounts her father and first husband were good, decent men, supporting her through college and a successful career, but they had traditional attitudes about women’s roles for those times (i.e., marriage and motherhood). She has held a lifelong grudge against them and other men for having such beliefs about the traditional roles of women.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 16, 2010 10:09 AM | Send

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