Yesterday, Frank Rich tweeted a link to an article on the Heritage Foundation site, The Foundry.
Rich exhorted us to read through the article to the comments. There, he said, we would find ample evidence of right wing misogyny.
But, he missed the obvious. Before you even get to the comments, you will find, in the body of the article, several examples of blatant and flagrant misogyny.
You will find an author calling women parasites. You will find another author saying that women should not have a right to choose. And you will find a writer denouncing women as mindless and infantile creatures.
Of course, these statements did not move Rich’s misogyny needle because they were made, respectively, by Gloria Steinem, Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan.
One might say that these three great feminist heroines were not maligning all women. They were merely slandering and defaming housewives. But, unless I miss my guess, housewives are women too. Don’t they deserve some respect for their independent and autonomous decisions about how they want to conduct their lives?
To the great feminists, they do not.
Gloria Steinem said this:
[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.
Simone de Beauvoir offered her view of a woman’s right to choose freely:
No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.
The prize goes to Betty Friedan, not merely for misogyny but for stupidity:
[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife.
Think about it, that housewife who is going to make dinner for her children, and perhaps even her husband tonight is doing no better than the concentration camp victim.
Because what really mattered in the death camps was the psychological damage inflicted on the victims. Think of it, the prisoners were deprived of their ability to actualize their full human potential.
Imagine this scene: a bright young feminist meets a concentration camp survivor. She says: I know how you felt when you were in the camps; I had to make dinner for my children last night.
Can you imagine a more egregious insult?
Friedan is channeling Abraham Maslow and perhaps some other titans of the therapy culture. But, shouldn’t the failure to distinguish between feeding your children and being gassed to death disqualify her from ever being taken seriously?
Apparently, it doesn’t.
Think what you will about feminism, but three of its leading lights are misogynistically contemptuous of women. On top of it, Better Friedan was not a very sophisticated thinker, either.
It’s one thing to adhere to a position because it has been presented cogently and persuasively. It’s quite another to buy into nonsense because you have been intimidated and threatened.