The Catholic Response to “Abolitionist” Feminism

Feminism is a slippery issue that gets more slippery the more you think about it. It starts off seeming perfectly clear. One Catholic feminist, an intelligent woman, tells us that “The core of feminism lies in the simple demand that women receive the same respect as men as independent, capable human beings.” She’s right, I think, but on reflection the demand is not so simple. If independence and capability have the same place in women’s lives as men’s, why the emphasis on relationships and style? Why the special concern with protection and vulnerability? Also, “respect” sounds like a formal arm’s-length relation. Is that what women want most, or would they rather have something a bit more like attention and consideration?

People go for different things, and the rewards they get are not exactly the same. Soldiers get more honor, businessmen more money, journalists more column inches. The feminist demand is that women get exactly the same reward men get and to exactly the same degree. Does that mean they don’t get any special reward as women? Or do they get both? Or maybe one or the other depending on what they want at the time?

Another intelligent Catholic woman, somewhat feminist in her way, suggests that “a feminist is always someone who feels some distress or dissatisfaction with the way women are treated.”   That also seems right, but where does it lead us? Not every woman is dissatisfied with the same things, or with the same thing at all times. Hence all the different feminisms, each at odds with the others, not to mention all the women who say they are not feminist. A hundred sixty-four years after the Seneca Falls Convention, the Woman Question is still unresolved. In fact, no one seems to know what it is or what an answer would look like. Men notoriously don’t know what to do about women. But if women know what to do about themselves, why all the self-help books? The lists of “summer makeovers” in women’s magazines? The endless discussions of roles and relationships and conflicts and what it is to be a woman? And why is the whole area so very touchy?

Women are various and changeable, or so people say, but life goes on, and talk must eventually come to an end. The modern world likes to be clear and decisive, so official feminism has decided to solve the woman question by abolishing women. Make them the same as men, and there’s nothing further to talk about. Then we can get on with the real business of life: producers can produce, consumers can consume, businessmen can be busy, bureaucrats can sit in their bureaus, and so on. What could be simpler or better?

The idea goes back to Plato’s idea in the Republic of raising girls as well as boys to be warrior-athletes schooled in mathematics, music, and metaphysics. Today it’s employee-consumers instead of warrior-athletes, and political correctness does duty for more substantive studies, but the basic idea is the same: get rid of messy stuff like sex and the sexes for the sake of a rational system that does what those in charge want it to do.

With that as the implicit goal, almost all countries have ratified CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which requires governments to

take all appropriate measures … to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based … on stereotyped roles for men and women.

So it is now formally recognized at the highest levels of law and politics that it is a duty of government to root out conduct that suggests that men and women differ in any way that matters. That duty is universal and comprehensive, and it means that if Belarus wants to have Mothers’ Day, or only 30% of Slovenian children are in daycare, it’s a problem under international human rights law.

Beyond its evident absurdity and inhumanity, such a situation is an obvious problem for the Church. Women priests are only the beginning. The “abolish women” theory of feminism, which is where the movement has ended up as a practical matter, gets rid of the natural law idea that the sexual aspects of the human body have intrinsic meaning. The effect is to do away with Christian moral doctrine on sexual matters generally. If sexuality has no intrinsic meaning, it’s up to you what to make of it, subject to practical concerns about awkward pregnancies and STDs that lend themselves to technological fixes. So if some kind of sexual conduct rings your bell, go for it, but use a condom. And if contraception fails or plans change, abortion becomes a necessity to free women from the unjust burden, now viewed as wholly extraneous to who they are, of having female bodies.

The problems for Christianity go deeper even than moral doctrine. Sex is at least as meaningful as rocks, ostriches, and planetary nebulae. So if human sexuality has no intrinsic meaning, but only the meanings particular persons happen to give it, nothing in the natural world has intrinsic meaning. But if the natural world means nothing, and it’s all just a blank tablet for us to fill in with our own meanings and use for our own purposes, what becomes of the Incarnation? How could God express who He is through a natural order that—it now appears—means nothing whatever? Islam attributes the world and moral law to the absolutely arbitrary will of God, so it does not recognize natural law. Nor does it recognize the Incarnation. Aren’t those two positions connected? Doesn’t the Incarnation depend on the goodness of the created order?

It is evident that abolitionist feminism is radically at odds with Christianity, not to mention humanity, natural law, common sense, the common good, and social justice,  which gives each what is due and so wants Mothers’ Day for mothers in Belarus and maternal care for children in Slovenia. That seems an important point, given the power of the feminism of CEDAW, the Democratic Party, and The New York Times as a social, political, and legal force. Nonetheless, most of the contemporary Church doesn’t want to say much about it. Bl. John Paul II may have called for a “new feminism,” a sort of refurbished femininity, but the day-to-day operational ways of thinking that have given us altar girls and “inclusive language” draw more on secular trends that have no use for women as women or men as men. Going with the flow may be an effective way to remain comfortable and socially acceptable for a while, but basic problems don’t go away, and vagueness is not the way to deal with threats to the Faith and the common good that are backed by immensely powerful forces. Most of us fall short of what we should do in all sorts of ways, so the situation is understandable, but when the problems are so basic and unavoidable we need to do better.

James Kalb


James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command (ISI Books, 2008), and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Though seldom thought of as a feminist, St Augustine insists that the mind or spirit (mens, anima) is the same in both men and women, who only differ in their bodies.  He is very instructive on this and I hope you will excuse some rather lengthy quotations.

    Thus, in his Literal Commentary on Genesis, he says, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘he made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘he fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body.  But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body.”

    And again, he says, “the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28)”

    He also points out that mind itself has a masculine and a feminine side, “the human mind, in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7)”

    • Clement_W

      You are absolutely right in all you say. Please, however, bear in mind the peace between Science and the Church that Pope John Paul II made. It has opened the ‘Fig Leaf’ doors to full and honest understanding of God and His Creation, so succinctly written in Chapter 1 of Genesis and continuing through the next 4 books of the Old Testament. The Biology and Physiology textbooks do make a useful interlude between those 5 books and the 4 Gospels.

  • Ford Oxaal

    Great article.  The truth that all men are created equal comes quickly unhinged when applied to a particular group, in which case some become more equal than others.  Of course, our own mortality is the real equalizer, and if we all contemplated that on a daily basis, sobriety might slowly return.

    • Adam Baum

       All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    • crakpot

      I believe “all men are created equal” meant two things:
        1.  We are created equally important in the eyes of God (no more Kings), and
        2.  We are all created with the equal ability to come to know the truth – a conscience.   That set up the “self-evident truths” about matters political that followed those words.

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  • John O’Neill

    As the great Vergil put it:”Varium et mutabile femina.

    • Alecto

       That would be Virgil, not Vergil.  But either way, it is disrespectful of women.  Men have held the balance of power for thousands of years.  Where has that got us?  Wars, genocide, pestilence, immorality.  Maybe it’s time for some fickle women.

      • Ford Oxaal

        I don’t think men have the monopoly on destroying human beings.  You could argue the feminist movement in America has more blood on its hands in shorter time than any other movement in history.  At any rate, I think the notion that women are morally superior to men is complete nonsense.

        • Alecto

           “Morally superior”?  Where did I write that women are morally superior? 

          I notice you omit any mention of men’s participation or complicity in the abortion tragedy, as if women somehow miraculously conceive?    Sad to say, most of the women I have known who have had abortions have done so at the request, urging or with the support of a man.  Go sell that holier-than-thou tripe someplace else, men are just as guilty as women on that score. 

          • Ford Oxaal

            You imply that because men have gotten us into wars that we should try women as leaders instead, as if they are morally superior, presumably due to their motherly instinct, and would be able to avoid the evils you list.  I just think that is a bit naive, particularly since one of the most dangerous places to be is the modern mother’s womb.  The pro-choice feminist movement is the driving force behind abortion in this country — its legality, its availability, its promotion, its federal funding, etc.  Can a man prevent a woman from having an abortion?  No.   Can a woman be forced to have an abortion.  Not in this country.  Not yet. 

          • Drew

            “Where did I write that women are morally superior?”
            You strongly implied it when you wrote: 
            “Men have held the balance of power for thousands of years.  Where has that got us?  Wars, genocide, pestilence, immorality.  Maybe it’s time for some fickle women.”
            That is a really tired, old argument. The evils of human societies are primarily (like, 99%) the result of original sin, NOT a particular biological sex. 
            Also, you’re not winning any hearts and minds with statements like this (unless I’ve misunderstood your meaning):

            “…you infer that yourself because of your massive male ego and insecurity! No wonder men are becoming socially and biologically irrelevant.”

            And what, in your opinion, would make men socially and biologically relevant?

            • David Casson

              “No wonder men are becoming socially and biologically irrelevant.”

              The social and biological relevance of men is immutable.

              However, one can become finally irrelevant. This happens when one scorns the heart and mind of Christ.

              I do not believe Jesus would ever speak to men as Alecto does.

          • Drew


            “I notice you omit any mention of men’s participation or complicity in the abortion tragedy, as if women somehow miraculously conceive? Sad to say, most of the women I have known who have had abortions have done so at the request, urging or with the support of a man.”

            Um, well, most pregnancies in this country are the result of consensual sexual activity. This means that, the woman (the one with the womb) CONSENTED to the sex that resulted in a pregnancy.  This is not to deny men’s complicity, but to point out that the FINAL LEGAL DECISION can, by law, only be made by the woman.  No man can, by law, force any woman to have an abortion.

            Women are the ones for whom sex is more risky (men don’t have wombs).  Therefore, abortion benefits women the most, since sex was never nearly as risky for men.  If women are so obviously more virtuous than men, why do millions of them kill their children every year?  Furthermore, why are they engaging in so much risky behavior?  Apparently, they aren’t even responsible (in a different sense, of course) enough to prevent pregnancies, despite the over abundance of birth control technologies (planned parenthood locations usually give out free condoms) available to them for little money and, at this point, almost no social consequences.  So, women in the US are, in general, the ones who bear the legal and direct moral responsibility (and the doctor, if he acts directly to end the pregnancy) for BOTH the situations in which they become pregnant (pregnancies-as-result-of-rape are a fraction of total pregnancies), AND the legal decisions to murder their unborn children.

            Now, like I said before, this does not absolve men of any responsibility.  However, it is important to point out that feminists and feminism have been a driving force behind abortion and the activities that lead to unwanted pregnancies.

            “Go sell that holier-than-thou tripe someplace else, men are just as guilty as women on that score.”

            First of all, don’t ascribe that attitude to him just because he pointed out some of the evils of feminism.

            Look, I don’t think many men here will deny our role in the evils of our time and place.  However, there are plenty of women who are committed to keeping abortion legal and denying the intrinsic meaning we receive from our bodies.  There is an even larger group of women who turn a blind eye to the evils of feminism and do nothing to abate the influence of feminism and radical individualism on their gender.

            If you want to chastise men for being bad, fine, we deserve it, but don’t ignore the obvious evils being perpetrated and perpetuated by the other half of the population and their inherent capacity for such things.

      • Clement_W

        Where has that got us?  Wars, genocide, pestilence, immorality. face-lifts, invisible socks. huge choice of perfumes, low sperm counts, infertility, choice of one-night stands, increasing incidence of gender identity – I will stop here.

      • Tom B

        No, it is Vergil: Publius Vergilius Maro.  “Virgil” is a traditional spelling derived from “virga,” or wand, that came into use to reflect the late Antique and medieval belief that Vergil was a prophetic poet whose work one could consult after the manner of lectio divina, i.e. one could open the Aeneid at random and find the answer to one’s

        • Tom B

          . . . [sorry] to one’s uncertainties.
          It is preposterous to propose that women could ever lead society.  To the extent that any women occupy positions of political authority, they do so by grace of the existence of the very power that you lament.  I’m afraid I must indulge some circular reasoning here: if women were fit to rule, then they would exercise force in the same way that men do, and to the extent that they are incapable of that, they are not fit to rule.  To the extent that they ARE capable of that, they come to resemble men.  One does not have to be a Hobbesian to see the truth of this, but simply someone who accepts that political authority is never entirely severed from power.
          May I ask, though, how it is that men are responsible for “pestilence”?  Did some cruel man invent the flu?  Or are you simply unhinged?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Remember Deborah judged Israel.  She also prophesied to Barak, when she said, “I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thy honour; for HaShem will give Sisera over into the hand of a woman”  this was fulfilled by Ya’el, who gave Sisera, milk, when he asked her for water and butter in a lordly dish and smote him through the temples with a tent-peg, as he slept.

      • John200

         Dear Alecto,

        First point: Do you actually think wars, genocide, pestilence, and immorality are all the world has gotten out of the last few thousand years??

        I call. Show me.

        Second point: We have had fickle women for that long a period, and we know them well. There is no indication that now is a special time to tilt the balance of power. Unless “maybe” is just an all-purpose puff of smoke that avoids explaining??

        But I have an intense desire to learn more about the first point, a LOT more if you can supply it.

      • Adam Baum

         Somehow, I imagine a world ruled by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Mikulsky, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Debby Wasserman-Shultz would be easily mistaken for Hell.

        Only one woman was exempt from original sin, the rest are just sinners like the  rest of humanity.

        • Alecto

          Let’s see if I’ve got this:

          1.  The only women you see capable of leadership are perfect women?
          2.  Men aren’t perfect and therefore are more capable than women of leadership?

          I don’t suggest any of those women in any position of authority, you infer that yourself because of your massive male ego and insecurity!  
          No wonder men are becoming socially and biologically irrelevant.  

          • Below, Drew makes the point that Original Sin, not masculinity or femininity, is the major cause of destructive human behaviors. I couldn’t agree more, but I have a different angle from which to view things..A strengths-based approach to the problems of our world is the only sane one. Thus, if we have two sexes with any meaningful difference between them, allowing men to become “socially and biologically irrelevant” involves overlooking 50% of our strengths. Building the Kingdom of God, or even a decent human civilization, requires the talents, virtues, and skills of every member. 

            The bitterness that exists between men and women is truly exhausting. I don’t have time for that. I unabashedly love men. I am deeply in love with a particular man, and in fact, there are millions of people in this country deeply in love with a member of the opposite sex. In this ridiculous war of the sexes, we’re constantly fraternizing with the enemy. Why not just call the whole blasted thing off?

            Seriously though, men are great. So are women. That’s why God created both.

          • Adam Baum

            The simple fact of politics is that their is a tendency for the worst to rise to the top, so whether the ruling classes are male or female, they will have the same character flaws, because aggression, power-mongering, lying and narcissism are the order of the day. It was “bread and circuses” in Juvenal’s time, just as it is today. If you think a change of plumbing is going to bring forth a world where every official is a cross between Mother Theresa and Margaret Thatcher, you are sadly mistaken. You may not “suggest” the women I cited-but they, and kindred spirits will rise to power, because treachery and duplicity work to a politician’s advantage.

            By the way, as this is principally a Catholic website, it should be obvious that God made them male and female, different in form but equal in dignity. Take your misandrony elsewhere

            Your rant would be more in-line with the radical feminists. You really should read Pamela Sargent’s dystopic novel “Shore of Women”. I’m sure you’ll find the first part, the matriarchal society with the forced exile of men to much in your liking. The rest you might not like.

            Disclaimer: Some graphic content.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Publius Vergilius Maro, usually Anglicised as Virgil

      • Chris

        Virgil? Indeed. What a prototypically chauvinist
        response from a Modern English  speaker,
        with all its abhorrent nonsense. Virgin? Ha! In Latin, it’s virgo and in modern
        Latin, namely Spanish (if you’ve read anything significant by Hillaire Belloc),
        it’s virgen.


        So save your correctives and all that they
        entail. We don’t need ‘em. Besides, Publius Vergilius Maro is known in English
        as Virgil or Vergil, and of the two, Vergil concords more directly with the gentleman’s
        actual name.

      • Fred4321

        I think of Bennazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi immediately.  They showed that women can be as ineffective (and cruel) as men in ruling nations.  In the end, we are all sinners in need of grace, men and women.

      • Proteios1

        Have we forgotten…or ignored…the females, queens, of Europe over the past thousand years? The wars they initiated. Think about it for a minute. It is a popular misconception to think women in power would do something different. I think I may be proving a feminists point here, but in terms of power- there is no observable differene.

  • Alecto

    I think there’s much confusion over the term “feminism”.  No one agrees on the meaning of the word.  Feminism, at least as I understand it, seeks to ensure that women’s Constitutional rights are protected as are men’s rights.  What are those rights?  Voting, owning property and assets, freedom to associate, etc….  There it is.  Feminism presents us with a conundrum as well since women, being biologically different, face issues men don’t face and vice versa.  Some of this “de-womaning” was created by very activist, positivist courts seeking to create rights never contemplated.  It’s created more problems than solutions or clarity.  Radical feminists seem to be interested in entitlements, not rights.  I have many of the same complaints about affirmative action.  Either all citizens share the same individual rights, or we no longer live in a constitutional republic.  That is equality in my book.

    I don’t ascribe to the notion of “social justice”.  That is not a concern of the government.  That is a moral concern which every individual must address through his or her conduct and beliefs.  Marxist-Atheists concocted that term to advance the very society into which we are evolving.  Even the concept that poverty is an inherent social evil is misplaced and incorrect.  It isn’t poverty that is the social ill, requiring the application of “justice”, it is the moral failings that result in poverty:  addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, abuse, abandonment, single parenthood resulting from pre-marital sex, etc….  These are responsible for creating poverty and each is has an individual, not collective or societal resolution.  If you want to create  a more just society, better become moral individuals!  We aren’t doing that and we won’t tell anyone that.  Why not?  The social justice nabobs in the government, and some in the Catholic church deny that social “justice” cannot exist apart from economic, moral and biological reality. 

    Consider the “equal” pay chimera.  Pay is a function of market forces, not biology.  Those market forces take various elements into consideration. 
    Even among women, pay varies greatly, mostly because women tend not
    to negotiate very well, not because there is some inherent societal bias
    against women.  We should seek “fair market” pay, not “equal” pay.  By every current measure, women do receive equal pay when they perform equal work at an equal level of effort in the same industry with equal levels of experience and skill.  Does a female accountant in New York earn the same compensation as a female accountant in Detroit?  Probably not.  What if the NY accountant is male?  He will most likely be paid far more than an accountant in Detroit.  Is that a function of discrimination?  Doubtfully. 

  • Clement_W

    A considerable number of Catholic Women agree with the President’ recent statements that the Republicans and by implication the Catholic Church as well, want to take women to the 1950’s.

    The significant event which occurred during the time he was referring to, was the ‘Pill’. What did the ‘Pill’ achieve, the same licence to fornicate indiscriminately without consequences as the Males of the species could and did.

    Need I continue talking further about where ‘Feminism’ and its current evolutionary state?

  • KarenJo12

    You assume that all women are identical. No one thinks all men are the same so why must all women be shoved into one box? And yes, we do want respect in xctly the same way men do. Do you want your wife to ” respect” you in an army’s length manner? Do you want your clients to do so? Why should you think of a woman client in the same way as your wife or want your wife to think of you and treat you like a client?

    • buckyinky

       I think you misplaced your comment in the wrong article maybe?  Mr. Kalb assumes all women are identical?

      • KarenJo12

        Read the first paragraph. He dismisses women’s desire for respect because women — all women is the implication – like fashion. He should adopt the irritating 19th century habit of referring to all human females as”Woman” like there is only one.

        • buckyinky

           In that case, by your definition and understanding, Mr. Kalb makes the implication that all men are interested in independence and capability.  But this contradicts your statement that “no one thinks all men are the same.”

          The answer, of course, is that Mr. Kalb is generalizing.  Though this practice is mortal sin in a liberal society, the fact is that everyone must do it in order for the human mind to make any sense of the world. 

    • Your third sentence says that all women want exactly what men have. That sits oddly with the other sentences, which say that situations vary so responses should also vary.

      The obvious point is that things and people are similar in some ways while differing in others. It follows, as you note, that our responses to things and people should be different but not necessarily wholly dissimilar. My first paragraph notes that Professor Fox-Genovese’s “simple demand” seems to presume that independence and practical capability have the same place in women’s lives as they do in men’s. I question the presumption. Why that amounts to a claim that all women are the same and none of them deserve any respect escapes me. Why isn’t it a claim that the things for which women are typically  esteemed will be somewhat different than in the case of men?

      • KarenJo12

        Do you have ny evidence supporting your position that women don’t want independence or to be capable? How do you define “practical capability?”

      • [To KarenJo12 below] I don’t say women don’t want independence or to be capable. I say those things don’t typically have the same significance in their lives. I mention evidence in the first paragraph of the article.

  • KarenJo12

    Read the first paragraph. He dismisses women’s desire for respect because women — all women is the implication – like fashion. He should adopt the irritating 19th century habit of referring to all human females as”Woman” like there is only one.

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  • J Salyer

    It is a huge comfort to me vis-a-vis American Catholicism that Mr. Kalb’s work has been posted here, and at CWR.

    • buckyinky

       I have very similar sentiments.

      Thanks Mr. Kalb!

  • Aaron Spears

    The “Natural Law” argument was used to defend slavery, just know the historical company you keep. Also, am I mistaken or do you disapprove of women’s right to vote or their right to own property? Be glad your church leaders (or God perhaps) softened up on these issues when they became untenable in the Western world

    • Ford Oxaal

      Natural Law is discoverable (not invented) by reason and experience.  Foremost in Natural Law is the rule of reciprocity which is justice.  Slavery can only be defended by Natural Law if you consent for yourself or for your children to have the possibility to become enslaved.  If Natural Law was used to defend slavery, it was abused. 

    • msmischief

       Natural law was used by Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous letter from jail to attack segregation.  Just know the historical company you keep.

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  • I’ve found that the best way to understand what people want is first to actually listen to what they have to say, and second to look at what they do — what sort of goods (or purported goods) they tend and intend to realize in their actions.  One simplistic definition and one simplistic characterization are obviously inadequate; no wonder you’re puzzled about what feminists want.  Compare:  The first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on the Catholic Church does us some important things to know about that church, but not enough for non-Catholics to really understand what Catholics thinks and want.  If that’s all one knew about Catholicism, one would certainly be puzzled about what Catholics want.  

  • Joseph Kelly

    Dear author:  This piece was thought provoking and well written.  Most of these commenters seem to be too stupid to allow themselves to be “provoked” by you.  What a shame.    

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  • Tony

    I think the point the author is making is that we can have Christianity, or we can have the pretense that sex is meaningless; we can’t have both.  It used to be considered offensive if a man did not treat a woman as a woman.  That makes sense.  Old people are entitled to the respect due to our elders; children are entitled to the special consideration due to children; so why should the sexes not also be entitled to certain things, appropriate for the sex and the state of life?

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  • fondatori

    I describe the contemporary idea of what is known as feminism as an attack by rich women upon poor women.

    For example, the idea of birth control (central to modern feminism) is based on the status and money fears of the upper middle class in western societies.  Upper middle class women want high status jobs and society positions and the most obvious road is youthful success.  Having children while young is perceived to stand in the road of such success as most women will focus less on work and more on their kids.  Depriving themselves of children, wealthy women are more that happy to ‘share’ this voluntary, temporary, barrenness with poor women.  Since the jobs most people do aren’t high status, high paying or high power and don’t lead to positions that are, promoting life expectations that keep lower status young women from becoming mothers in their years of peak fertility is the triumph of power over self interest.

    I’ve also noticed that feminist groups tend now to be very very interested in getting ‘equal representation’ on, say corporate boards and the like – the sort of high status goal that is not available at all to normal people but very important to the rich and connected.

    In our society birth does not guarantee status as it has done in our past.  To achieve or maintain their status women believe they have to live a certain lifestyle, and this this lifestyle is the model for lower status women even as it goes against their actual interests.


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