the Feminist Apocalypse

George Gilder
George Gilder
George Franklin Gilder, born November 29, 1939, is an American investor, writer, economist, techno-utopian advocate, and co-founder of the Discovery Institute. | Photo: Archives | George Gilder, Investor, Writer, Economist, Glasses, Skin,

Conservative fears of independent women

The power of independent women is amazing.

They've destroyed TV, destroyed the Catholic Church, driven men to kill--and according to assorted pundits, they're on the brink of destroying civilization itself by refusing to stay good little housewives like back in the golden age. The exact mechanism varies, but one way or another, feminists are bringing the apocalyse.

For example, a recent article on claims that the only reason men ever accomplish anything is because they want to impress women enough to get laid. When hot female sex robots become available in the near future, men will no longer need to impress anyone, they can just switch on the machine. As a result, they'll reject women in disgust at what feminism has wrought, hole up in their man-caves with their robot sex slaves and stop achieving anything. Civilization will collapse, and Earth will be drawn into the sun and destroyed--okay, I made that part up, but it's no more absurdly apocalyptic than the original article.

Despite the high-tech gloss, this is old wine in a new sexbottle. The idea that women civilize men goes back at least to the Victorian view of women as the sweet domestic angel of the home. Used as a club to beat feminists over the head with, it's been around since the Reagan years, when self-proclaimed anti-feminist George Gilder asserted that men by nature are nothing but savage, destructive, anarchic beasts. The only way to turn them into productive human beings is if they have a woman who ropes them into marriage and forces them to support a family. Therefore, as feminism presents marriage as an option, not a mandate, it's a bad thing. To save civilization, women must set aside feminism and personal wishes and marry for the greater good. Rush Limbaugh later embraced GIlder's argument; conservative Charles Murray has expressed similar views.

Christian writer Mark Regnerus offers another view of how the apocalypse will come: women having sex before marriage. Now that women are just giving it away, Regnerus claims, men don't need to save up for marriage, so they have no incentive to work hard, earn money or accomplish anything. It's the Breitbart theory, sans sexbots.

None of these right-wingers address themselves to the men, telling them to shape up, put down the videogame control ("playing videogames" seems to be a shorthand for "lazy slacker" in some of these arguments) and get to accomplishing stuff. Instead they focus on the women. Women have to get back to the 1950s when they stayed barefoot and pregnant, then their men will just magically become the productive citizens we need, focusing on careers and money and important guy stuff like that. Some of the writers, such as Regnerus, argue this is really for the women's own good: if men can get sex without marriage, they'll never marry, so women will end up alone and broken-hearted.

It's true some men are insanely irresponsible and self-indulgent until they get married, then they shape up. But other men act just as irresponsible and self-indulgent after they have the ring on their finger. And in contrast to Murray, Limbaugh, etc., an astonishing number of men lead productive, law-abiding, non-destructive lives without having a woman to support. Like women, men come in a variety of shapes, colors and motivations -- sex and marriage are only one of many reasons we do things.

But as I've said before, nobody has more contempt for men than anti-feminists.

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Updated May 22, 2018 1:43 AM UTC | More details


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