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The Farce of Feminism
Harvard Crimson
October 16, 2001
Harvard U.
The Farce of Feminism
by Rebecca E. Rubins
(U-WIRE) CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Strolling through the Freshman Week
Activities Fair, I was accosted by an energetic young woman from a women's
issues group who asked me fiercely, "Do you support women?" As I took my
time answering, my interrogator laughingly remarked, "It'd be really sad
if you didn't."
Although at the time I shrugged my shoulders and signed my name to the
mailing list, the feeling of having been grouped into a general category
against my will simply because of my sex haunted me. For the question
being asked was not "Do I support women?" -- which I certainly do -- but
"Do I support feminism?" -- which I emphatically do not. Feminism is an
outdated, misdirected ideology that perpetuates the very virtues it
condemns and harms women much more than it helps them.
Perhaps there was once a time when feminism was warranted, when its name
was not synonymous with self-pitying whining but with active efforts
toward positive change. In the early 20th century, when women still had
not gained the right to vote, the suffragettes showed remarkable
dedication in bringing the system's inherent inequality to the forefront
of public awareness.
In recent years, however, feminism in America has found itself hopelessly
bereaved of a cause for which to fight. Women in this country are now on
an entirely equal footing with men and are sometimes even given
preferential treatment. Instead of focusing on areas of the world where
women are truly being oppressed, where they cannot show their ankles on
the street without fear of being shot and killed, feminists of today spend
their time creating support groups for one another and debating the
relative disadvantages faced by girls in science and math classrooms.
Feminism keeps women from naturally asserting their equality to men in an
environment which is now conducive to such equality.
Feminism also creates a double standard for men and women, thus promoting
the societal ills it supposedly opposes. Feminists laud women-only
discussion groups, dance teams and drama clubs, but when men try to create
or maintain similar men-only groups, they are accused of discrimination.
The feminist movement operates on the principle that past wrongs done to
women can be remedied by preferential treatment now -- that two wrongs
will make a right. This reverse discrimination is not only unethical but
also belies their alleged opposition to judgment or exclusion based on
gender alone.
Finally, and most importantly, feminism accomplishes the exact opposite of
what it intends. Instead of raising women's social status, it burdens them
with a weighty sense of victimization that neither empowers them nor
motivates men to view them as equals. Girls are not born feeling inferior
to boys. Rather, it is their exposure to feminism that causes them to
develop a slave-like mentality.
This is particularly evident in school, where the "feminist aspect" of
every subject is now played up, thereby bringing social activism into the
classroom where it only detracts from the learning process. English
teachers ask students to apply feminist criticism to books with no
semblance of a feminist outlook. History textbooks try to compensate for
the fact that women were in the kitchen for most of recorded time by
highlighting the life of one particular female or another regardless of
how little she matters to history. Other programs, such as Take Your
Daughter to Work Day, also impress upon young girls the notion that they
are inherently inferior citizens who need rewritten history books and
politically correct semi-holidays to raise them up to the level of their
male peers who, incidentally, seem to do just fine without any such
support. In this way, the movement marginalizes women by reminding them
constantly of their former subservient status and instilling in them at a
very young age a dependency on the support of other women and on feminism
to "survive" in a horribly male-dominated world.
If feminists were to take a step back and view the current situation of
women in this country objectively, they might realize that women no longer
need interest groups, support networks, activism and doctored
curriculae-that they, in fact, are better off without feminists' supposed
help. But that objective view would leave feminists without a viable
raison d'etre, and so they continue to ignore, for example, the
possibility that the average female college student walking through an
activities fair might support women but not support feminism, that she
might instead consider feminism a threat to her own sense of self and
Maybe feminists should start asking themselves the question, "Do we
support women?" And maybe it's time someone said, "It's sad, but you
(C) 2001 Harvard Crimson via U-WIRE
Harvard Crimson Home:
 2001 At Home Corporation. All rights reserved.
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