Discrimination, Socialization and Socialism
By Rod Van Mechelen
Socialization as Discrimination
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - Pop feminists believe female socialization discriminates against women:
University of Michigan law professor Catharine MacKinnon wonders, "Why should you have to be the same as a man to get what a man gets simply because he is one?" - Colman McCarthy, Adhering to male standards is not feminism, Washington Post Writers Group, The Seattle Times, March 6, 1992
That is, because most women have a "female" work ethic, they don't "get" (for free) what men must earn.
What pop feminists are really saying is, women suffer discrimination because their work ethic is different from men's. It's less production oriented and more relationship oriented. A product of their socialization because "gender," in their paradigm, is the result of socialization (Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law, Catherine A. MacKinnon, p 3), and female socialization oppresses women. Employers who select employees on the basis of abilities, therefore, are making selections on the basis of socialization, which amounts to discrimination. Hence, they want the government to protect women against discrimination on the basis of work ethic by applying different standards to women.
Essentially, they want to subvert the dynamics of the free market system.
Feminism is Socialism?
The free market produces institutions that buffer us from the scorching heat and killing cold of life without civilization. These institutions require certain abilities - the ability to cooperate in team efforts and to make a life-time commitment to a particular work ethic, among them. If people can't do that, the institutions fail and, with them, civilization. Hence, businesses must discriminate on the basis of ability and work ethic to survive.
These institutions work because what feminists call the "male" socialization and the "male" work ethic make them work. It is a measure of their success, and the survival utility of genuine masculinity and male socialization, that pop feminists can afford the luxury of criticizing them.
Their criticisms link sex discrimination to socialization because our social institutions (mother, feminized school system, mostly female teachers, and peer groups) still raise men to successfully support these institutions while socializing women to the essential tenants of the The Feminine Mystique. Central to that mystique are dependent behaviors, passivity, and focus on competition within the context of relationship goals and processes rather than production goals and processes.
Money for Nothing
Since this ideology is often less functional in the production and manufacturing institutions, pop feminists could align themselves with the feminist revolutionaries by endorsing the evolution of both male and female roles. Instead, they are trying to get for free what men must earn: "The men's role that feminists seek is not the real role of men but the male role of the Marxist dream in which 'society' does the work." (Men and Marriage, George Gilder, p173)
The only way to make their pipe-dreams a reality is to force men to make them come true. That requires discriminating against men and the male work ethic. Hence, pop feminism is not about liberation, but the oppression and domination of men. When confronted with this charge, however, pop feminists scoff.
At First, Male Chauvinist Pigs Scoffed
It is taken as almost gospel truth that men discriminate against women.
At work, men prevent women from making an equal wage (by building up more seniority, and by working more over-time). Socially, men create a hostile environment by violating women's right to be wooed (by dating women with thin thighs), or by pestering them with unwanted sexual advances (by asking them out for dates). In the homes, men discriminate by refusing to do half the housework (by wasting their time on trivial things, like repairing the house, maintaining the yard, working on cars and - horrors! - sometimes even relaxing or having a little fun with their buddies). Even when they are not around, men discriminate against women by buying magazines that portray women as sex objects.
Every day, in every way, everybody knows men discriminate against women. But it was not always this way.
In Ward Cleaver's day, a woman's place was in the home, and a man "worked." That was the social arrangement to which women and men generally agreed and aspired. Then, Betty Friedan revealed how many women found this oppressive (Note: Shortly before her death, Friedan revealed that she had made this up; it was all a lie. But finding the articles about that today, at least on the web, is impossible.), and soon women were leveling charges of discrimination against clubs, employers, and anyone else who assigned privileges and rights based on sex.
At first, men scoffed because the feminists were revolutionary, voicing complaints from outside the dominant paradigm. Then, feminists provided new information, a different perspective, and it all began to make sense. Today, most of us acknowledge without question the veracity of those complaints.
Feminism: The State Religion
Unlike early feminism, however, pop feminism is not revolutionary, but reactionary. Almost a state religion, it's all but accepted as mainstream political common sense. The priests and priestesses of pop feminism are the up-and-comers of tomorrow's power elite. Their martyrs, the women who stand before the scorching glare of television's spotlights immolating themselves with public confessions of victimization.
But for all pop feminists complain about the social stigma such women suffer, the fact is that being a martyr to their cause assures success on the lecture circuit, and buys an acceptance within the holy order of their pundits, anointing them as saints who may then sell books, make speeches, and reap honors commensurate with the extent to which they promote the cause of tomorrow's conservatism.
Anything threatening that power, anything that does not conform to its central tenants, they condemn as blasphemy. Consequently, the revolutionaries of today are pilloried no less than were the feminists of the 1950s. More so since today men go to prison or are relegated to homelessness whereas feminists were mostly the butt of jokes.
At first, the Sexist Sows scoffed
Today's equivalents of Betty Friedan are men. As men, they make revolutionary observations that make little sense within the context of the dominant pop feminist paradigm. They point to bias and discrimination against men, and are met with the jeers of women who scoff:
"Men," they complain, "have fewer career and sexual options than women. For women, career is an option, whereas few men may hope to marry without a steady job and decent income."
Men have fewer career choices, fewer sexual opportunities, they die, and pop feminists scoff.
"But the entire society supports men," pop feminists scoff.
"Women sexually discriminate against men, and most men are sexually invisible," men complain.
"But all men are potential rapists," the pop feminists scoff.
"Men die at twice the rate of women," many men point out.
"But men kill one another," pop feminists callously scoff.
At yesterday's feminists, the sexist pigs scoffed, too. If a male chauvinist was a "sexist pig," then what is a female chauvinist? A (female) friend calls them "sexist sows." It fits.
Rod Van Mechelen