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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bombeck and Feminism

I'm reading a biography of Erma Bombeck, which expresses Erma's attitude about women's rights like this:

"The problem with the women's movement is that it's been too elitist." Erma meant that the leaders of the movement had usually been women who had never been housewives, had never had children, and, in some cases, had never been married.


This really points to what my problem has always been with the so-called women's movement and feminism in general. While they claim to be fighting for the rights of all women, or even just their own rights, what they are really fighting for is the right to tell me what to do. They claim to be fighting for the right to be professionals, when many or most of them already are; then they go on to label any choice that differs with their own (such as the choice to stay home and raise children) as oppression or in some other way harmful.

Let me clarify here and now that if wanting women to receive equal pay for equal work is feminism, I'm a feminist. If contending that women deserve every bit as much respect as men deserve, I'm a feminist. If supporting women in the choice to work or not is feminism, sign me up!

If, on the other hand, feminism means pitting women against each other, I don't much like it. If the working woman, in the name of feminism, has the option of degrading the housewife for making a different choice than she has made, I do not believe the feminist is truly advancing the cause of women at all. Rather, the woman who degrades traditional womanhood brings harm to all women. This is a brand of feminism I cannot endorse.

If all things female must be abrogated for the sake of women's rights, then the fight itself merely reflects a belief of the movement itself that womanhood is despicable.