Monday, June 13, 2011

The Flipside of Feminism

Sorry it's taken forever to get this post up - things have been busy. But here, as promised, I will share some select quotes from my recent read The Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly.

The book was an engrossing read. I can't say that the writing style was terribly sophisticated. And there were some rather broad generalizations and unreferenced information at times. But the overall message is very powerful, and got me thinking in whole new ways about the social climate of our country.


"For the past several decades, it has been widely accepted that women in America usually, if not always, get the short end of the stick. According to feminists, women, like blacks, have been oppressed for centruies. We're told not enough progress has been made and that society still hasn't leveled the playing field. This philosophy is so embedded in our culture that Americans don't question it. We don't even label it "feminist" to think this way; it's just commonplace to believe women suffer discrimination....In the meantime, buried beneath the surface lies the truth: American women are the most fortunate human beings who have ever lived. No one has it better. No one." (pgs.13-14)

"...1960s feminists...supposedly picked up where the suffragettes left off. In fact, the two groups have nothing in common. The suffragettes fought for (and won in 1920) the right for women to vote in all 50 states, but they were family-oriented women who had no desire to eradicate female nature. They were also resolutely opposed to abortion. The feminists of the 1960s (and later), on the other hand, are not pro-family. In addition to viewing abortion as a matter of women's "rights," they see the home as a trap for women" (pg. 27).

"The second tenet of feminism is that, of all the injustices perpetuated on women through the centuries, the most oppressive is that women have babies and men do not. The abolition of this inequality is the primary goal. That is why women on the left are compulsively driven to make abortion and day care universally available to all women - and taxpayer funded. Women on the left believe they can achieve equality with men only if they can control the number of babies they have (through contraception and abortion) and can outsource (through nannies or day care) the care of the babies they do have. Eliminate the babies, and the equality goal will be achieved." (pgs. 44-45).

"A major difference between today's generation and previous generations is that in the past, society respected motherhood and all that it entails. Those who didn't choose to make the sacrifice admitted that they couldn't successfully juggle family and career....This is not the attitude of the average young women, who has been raised under the slogan of "choice." Her life is about her, and her alone." (pg. 52).

"The truth is that feminism has been the single worst thing that has happened to American women. It did not liberate women at all - it confused them. It made their lives harder....Their female nature tells them sex requires love; marriage is important; children are a blessing; and men are necessary. The culture, meanwhile, tells them to sleep around and postpone family life because that will cost them their identity. And, if their marriage doesn't work out, it's no big deal. They can always get divorced. Is it any wonder modern women are unhappy?" (pg. 55)

"It would be hard to find a single example in history in which a group that casts more than 50 percent of the vote got away with calling itself the victim, wrote Warren Farrell, Ph.D., in The Myth of Male Power." (pg. 56).

"This generation has no idea how to be married, or even how to go about choosing the right spouse. Two reasons for this phenomenon are often overlooked: (1) men and women have been raised in a culture that refuses to embrace the unique natures of males and females thus their relationships carry unnecessary conflict and strain; (2) most young people have been either directly or indirectly affected by divorce, which has led to a distrust of marriage that, in turn, leads to more divorce." (pg. 71)

"...American women no longer plan for marriage carefully, methodically, and with foresight. Rather, they are encouraged to focus solely on their identities and their careers. The notion that a woman should follow her own dreams, that she should be true to herself and not be held back by husband and children, has become a fait accompli. Women may want to settle down eventually, but marriage (and motherhood) is something that just sort of happens, as if it were a nice accompaniment to an otherwise fulfilling life. To the modern woman, work is the meat of her life. A husband is the salad.

this is a profound transformation. Married couples no longer think of themselves as one unit but as separate entities sharing space, which leads to an obscuring of gender roles and inevitable conflict as each spouse focuses solely on his or her own needs rather than the needs of the marriage." (pg. 75)

"The problem with the sexual revolution is that it was predicated on the lies that gender differences don't exist and that women want what men want. In fact, there was no need for a movement to make men and women equal because they already were equal - different, but equal. The reason female Democrats tell American women "there is still much work to be done" that they refuse to admit feminism failed. When you desperately want something to happen and it doesn't, there is always more work to be done. Women on the left are trying to force a square peg into a round hole." (pg. 76)

"For the first time in American history, parents are no longer expected to care for the children they bring into this world. In the past, it was expected that parents would raise their own children - farming this task out to hired help was something only wealthy families did. the reason was not that women "in those days" were oppressed, or because families could [not?] "afford" to do so, as feminists would have you believe. It was because Americans appreciated the fact that children have needs, and that these needs are best met by their own parents." (pg. 100).

"The feminist agenda is not only anti-men and anti-marriage; it is also anti-motherhood. When feminists talk about discrimination against women in a patriarchal society, one of their examples of oppression is that mothers are expected to care for their own children. Feminists demand that this duty be taken over by the government." (pg. 126).

"Single moms are a major target of the female left. The goal is to increase the number of single moms by increasing the flow of taxpayer-paid incentives that subsidize the non-marriage lifestyle. The left expects this plan to lock in single moms' dependence on government and allegiance to the Democratic Party. they respect Ronald Reagan's maxim that goes something like this: If we subsidize something, we'll get more of it; if we tax it, we;ll get less of it." (pg.138) [I think these assertions about the motives are a bit extreme. But that is a very honest view of the situation which I never saw before: that our country effectively subsidizes and thus lends its approval to the "non-marriage lifestyle."]

"When women in the media consistently portray American women as victims, a negative image of men unfolds - and the result is a society in which women think less highly of men. This pattern has morphed into the notion that women don't need men at all, which is why it has now become socially acceptable for women to create families on their own. Mothers who divorce their husbands are exalted in the media, as if single motherhood is somehow empowering." (pg. 145).

"Navigating feminist terrain both inside and outside the workplace has become the new challenge for men in America. The problem is that most men don't want to compete with women - it isn't natural. And taking their colleagues, girlfriends, and wives to task for their feminist beliefs is much too intimidating. Even if men disagree with feminist philosophy, they know they;ll be branded a chauvinist if they speak up." (pg. 151)

And lots more good stuff!! Get the book, read it, share it!!


Coincidentally, I feel like I have also been coming across a lot of similar anti-feminism ideas around the blogosphere these past couple weeks. A few posts that stood out to me...

1. From The Thinking Housewife:A Marriage in the Spotlight

"The feminist works non-stop even when her marriage is in crisis. Her strength is awesome. Here we see what feminism is really about: the avoidance of pain and intimacy."

2. Also The Thinking Housewife:Choices and Duties

"If women view homemaking as a mere “choice” then men likewise will be inclined to see their wife’s homemaking as optional and be unmotivated to financially support it, denying the woman the “choice” to be a homemaker at all since being a full-time homemaker by definition requires the husband’s support in order to make it practical."

3. Shoved To Them: Overheard


  1. I agree that the assertions about the motivations in that quote are a bit extreme, and I also agree that the analysis of the situation is nonetheless true. This was the main problem I had with the speaker with Feminists for Life who came to CMU a few months ago. Her argument was that women should never be put in a position where the *have* to choose between having a child and having a job or being in school (which is one of the main reasons women have abortions--it's women our age, give or take, who are still pursuing their education). Her solution was that they be supported by ... their school, the government, etc.

    In other words, not admitting that the father is SUPPOSED to be a part of this equation, in part for precisely those reasons: financial support.

  2. this book sounds really interesting. it definitely reminds me of a talk i went to last semester by the founder of the ruth institute. i am adding it to my to-read list!