For a long time, I also held the view that many frum women hold: that while feminism brought a lot of bad stuff, it also served as a conduit for some good things too.
They claim when that there were real problems within society that needed to be fixed, and we've all benefited from those positive changes that came along with feminism.
The problem is that while yes, there were real problems that needed to be fixed, it isn't actually true that feminism was the answer, and that the positive changes since the feminist movement resulted purely from the feminist movement.
The misogynist or limited aspects of society were already changing even before feminism officially bombarded the scene.
Two Pre-Feminism Female Lawyers
(She wasn't the first female barrister, but she was one of a tiny minority of female barristers.)
She was the only woman in her class and yes, she did have to put up with a snipey comment from her lecturer and active obstruction later from another barrister to whom she was apprenticed. (This type of barrister is known as "a barrister principal.")
Yet rather than indulging in flamboyant protests and slogan-chanting, she simply put her nose to the grindstone to prove her professional worth.
And it worked!
Through Etta's intelligence and competence, she turned her barrister principal around & he ended up sending her work out as his own, assuring her a place in the barristers' chambers. (Yes, I know that copping her work as his own is far from ideal, but it could be that this was the common practice with their male apprentices too, and not only acceptable, but even complimentary. It's not clear to me either way from the context.)
Anyway, as a working barrister, she argued her cases with intelligence, grace, and tenacious patience before male judges against other male barristers, winning the judges to her side.
She also developed a method for dealing with juries, which consisted of repeating her point 6 times, a method which persuaded them to vote in favor of her clients.
So as a lone woman working in a male-dominated profession, she not only became a barrister, but a highly successful barrister -- without feminism or employing feminist tactics of social change.
She became successful because she possessed innate talent and because she worked very hard, both mentally and practically.
Meanwhile, back in America: The woman feminists love to hate, Phyllis Schlafly, worked her way through a prestigious university and earned such high marks and so impressed her professors with her intellectual brilliance that Harvard Law School was willing to accept her around 1944 even though at that time, Harvard Law School was not accepting female students. (Officially, Harvard Law School did not start admitting women until the 1950s.)
Phyllis didn't know this. She assumed that Harvard Law School had suddenly started accepting women prior to her admittance, and had no idea they'd made an exception specifically for her based on her intellectual qualifications and remarkable analytical abilities. (Nonetheless, she decided to go work in Washington D.C. instead.)
Again, this exception was made for Phyllis based on her phenomenal competency, and not via the feminist movement, which hadn't even revved up yet.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
On the other hand, even prior to official advancements for women, American women enjoyed many freedoms and rights. 19th-Century pioneer women, for example, had the right to own their own land and proved up both land claims and tree claims, same as men. They carried pistols and rifles and worked in stores and newspaper presses, among other jobs.
At the same time, no one can deny the social and official limitations women faced when trying to engage in traditionally male activities and professions. In addition, the way women were portrayed in movies, TV, and ads really was a problem, such as floor wax ads featuring a women in full makeup, set hair, an insipid smile, and heels while waxing a kitchen floor. (And those were just the more innocent portrayals of women in advertising.)
Many movie & TV portrayals of women were just awful, making light of women being groped, harassed, or disdained by one of the male leads or women being exploited or physically abused in a way Hollywood portrayed as justified or funny.
Because Hollywood had been projecting their trash and corruption since at least the 1920s, it's hard to say whether the legitimate feminist complaints were a product of society or whether such deplorable male behaviors and attitudes were inculcated into society by Hollywood.
Who was around to remember society before Hollywood? And those who were old enough to remember, did they have any way of expressing themselves?
(The post after this one will detail Hollywood's role in the mistreatment of women.)
Another friend of mine remembers female police officers (in uniformed skirts) in the 1950s. She explained that female officers were necessary for arresting female offenders because it wasn't thought appropriate for men to deal with a female offender the way they dealt with male offenders (i.e. patting them down, touching or wrestling with her in the process of putting on handcuffs and getting the female perp into a police car).
The truth is, women's journeys through traditionally male professions initially mirrored the Jewish journey of upward mobility in America. Schools of higher education placed quotas against Jews and many upscale clubs while companies rejected Jewish membership and participation.
In fact, when the intermarried Groucho Marx wanted to use a beach associated with an upscale club that did not allow Jews, he pleaded with them by quipping, "My kids are only half Jewish. Can't they at least go in the water up to their knees?"
(Ironically, his children weren't Jewish at all according to halacha and should've been allowed entrance as full-fledged non-Jews. But try reasoning with antisemites about such things...anyway, such discrimination was the wake-up call Groucho got for spitting on Torah Law.)
The point is that Jews and other minorities faced discrimination by putting their nose to the grindstone and working their way to the top. They proved themselves, first by "working twice as hard to be considered just as good," and then making a name for themselves to the point that, for example, Jews and Chinese are stereotyped as hard-working, good in school, smart, and successful. Yes, Chinese people must face down the stereotype of "being good at math," a stereotype that dogs them at every step.
What's so awful about that?
And why couldn't women have done the same?
(In fact, Yetta bat Shlomo HaLevi did so for herself. A male barrister who lost to her after a hard fight in court told another barrister, "I was Yettaed."
The Cult of Feminist Hypocrisy
(If you've been traumatized, you want things to change YESTERDAY. The pain is unbearable and you feel like you can't bear it for another moment.)
Many also couldn't see that the chauvinism was incited and encouraged by more modern influences, like Hollywood. (Yeah, feminists criticized Hollywood, but couldn't see that men themselves weren't the innate problem, but that Hollywood was.)
The rejection and discrimination many women experienced caused profound trauma, which is why no matter how much they see their daughters and grand-daughters facing traumas of their own brought on by feminism, such as premarital wantonness, abortion, much increased violence & abuse against women & girls, a sharp upturn in brutal female violence, low self-esteem, confusion, eating disorders, marital difficulties, suicide, depression, and much more, they continue with their mantra of:
"But when I was a girl, we were told we could only be teachers and nurses rather than doctors & lawyers!"
This is despite the fact that most of them -- and most men, for that matter -- don't aim to become and indeed don't become lawyers or doctors.
But it's the principle that bothers them.
Disturbingly, this principle bothers them more than the killing of unborn babies and the effect that has on the aborting mother, or the rampant wanton behavior popular among young girls for decades now, the increased violence and violation against females and children in general, with its higher incidence of low self-esteem and depression and self-destructive behaviors among females, and the savage assaults girls commit in growing numbers.
In fact, these feminist sympathizers seem to feel that being discouraged from being a doctor (which again, most of them didn't want to be in the first place) is worse than actual hands-on abuse or violation of girls, which became much more common in the wake of feminist advancement.
(BTW, I don't deny that if you really yearn for a certain calling and you were born with the abilities to excel at the calling, that it's not devastating to be blocked from your heart's yearning simply because of your gender and societal expectations. It IS devastating! But that still doesn't justify all the abuses and harmful ideas that came along with the freedom to fulfill your own calling.)
Isn't it ironic that feminism came under the guise of wanting to stop the abuse of women and girls, and ended up at the forefront of facilitating such abuse?
Yet if you confront feminists with this, they'll merely make 2 points:
- (1) No, there is EXACTLY the same amount of abuse going on, but just that back then, it was rarely reported.
(Yes, I realize there were far fewer women on campus back then than there are now. But were the women who were on co-ed campuses being taken advantage of while drunk and assaulted in the numbers they are today?)
And what about some serious brutal assaults and murders committed by teenage girls, something almost unheard of prior to the feminist movement? Female violence has risen 250% since 1973. Is that progress?
- (2) At least today, we have resources to treat victims -- and that's a feminist accomplishment.
And how well did those trained professionals and resources work out for, say, the 16-year ordeal of the Rotherham girls? Or for abused Muslim women and children in these "progressive" Western countries when courts or social services side with Sharia law?
As another example: Look at how feminists scream assault about acts that sometimes aren't even actually assault, yet ignore the thousands of cases of very real and horrific exploitation and assaults on vulnerable young girls from Rotherham, England to Yazidi girls in the Middle East?
Yes, Rotherham was exposed and prosecuted by several female professionals (along with their male colleagues) and several mothers also took action, but the mere act of having females in traditionally male professions or having females involved at all did not automatically prevent or help the abuse and exploitation of females. Having GOOD women (and men!) in professional positions is what ultimately helped.
(In fact, even after all the facts came to light, a female MP and Jeremy Corbyn supporter, Naz Shah, retweeted and liked the following post in 2017: "Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of diversity.")
Most notable case-in-point: In response to the poisoning of a Russian double-agent, England's female Prime Minister:
- IMMEDIATELY launched investigations
- expelled 23 diplomats
- is taking measures against an entire COUNTRY
Yet her initial response to the Rotherham horror?
- Accused authorities of "dereliction of duty"
- Blamed several factors
- Promised to appoint a chair to investigate
And that was only after the whole thing went very public. Remember, the initial abuses went on for 16 years.
(And yes, I realize Theresa May was "only" Home Secretary at the initial expose of the crimes, but my point is that she still had the power to do more and could also take Prime Ministerly action now. Yet from then until now, her response toward the crimes against the girls has been weak in comparison to what she's apparently capable of.)
Let's hear it for grrrl power! [sarc]
In short, many women mistakenly credit feminism with the progress we like when that progress was already happening anyway. And as for the very disturbing casualties of the feminist movement? Well, they seem to just think it's an unavoidable pity.
And anyway, we see that the mere act of having a woman in a position of authority does nothing to help victimized women or stop the victimization of women and children, unless she happens to be a GOOD PERSON.
Just like with men.
Feminism: Just Another Fascist Movement?
I know that sounds extreme, but I hope you'll read yesterday's post to understand why one might feel this way: The Only "ism" You'll Ever Need.
Likewise, I was already seeing the ravages of feminism as a pre-teen, but I was brainwashed into thinking that it was either good or that the 1950s (and all time prior) were even worse. And I can't help noticing a steady decline in female well-being since my own girlhood. The problem is that women and girls are still being fed the same slop I was, and cultishly insist that their suffering is either good or at least still better than the pre-Sixties upheaval. And like with me and the girls in my generation, they're continuously conditioned to believe that the genuine problems that did exist could only be solved by feminism, and any worsening of society is simply a necessary and unavoidable evil.
The fact that the bad stuff was already improving and the role that Hollywood actively played in increasing the mistreatment of women from the early 20th Century is ignored and even denied.
But the truth is that we've benefited from feminism the way that Germans benefited from Nazism or Communists benefited from Communism (i.e. free health care, free education, housing, and some initially poor revolutionaries achieved high status, leadership, and wealth).
NOT because opportunities for women is a bad thing (they aren't), but because those opportunities were already opening up and presumably would've continued to do so had not feminism come along to slash things open like a mega-monster jeep on spiked wheels.
For specific examples of Hollywood's role in corrupting society's attitude toward women, and in polluting society in general, please see:
How Hollywood Corrupted America.
The Relationship Between Multiple Partners & Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse Disorders: A Cohort Study (You can scroll down to the end for the tables and results.)
How Childhood Abuse Leads to Wanton Behavior
More Statistics on Child Abuse, Or, Why Single Moms Should Probably Stay That Way
(Clarification: I definitely think divorce is the best solution is some situations and I also have known of several superb stepfathers. HOWEVER, from a purely statistical point of view, introducing strange men into one's home -- whether it's a boyfriend or a new husband -- statistically raises the chance of abuse of one's children, and increased child abuse has been one result of the increased divorce rate -- even though practically speaking, it's not always true. In secular society, divorces often (not always, but often) occur unnecessarily or without taking the child's well-being into consideration. The increased secular divorce rate and the not-dire reasons for this increased divorce rate are a direct result of feminism.)
Myrtle Rising related links:
"America's Scary New Direction" series (for specific correlations to Nazism, please see Part III and onwards)
Breaking Out of the Big Lie about Motherhood
When a Woman's Right is a Moral Wrong
Creating the Victim Mentality: A How-To Guide