By Rod Van Mechelen
82 percent of women "leave" their relationships in some form. - Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. - Karl Marx, A revolutionary programme: A criticism of the Gotha programme
The Liberated Divorcée
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - A common Hollywood theme is the single mother. While her "ex" is off sleeping with "sluts," she slaves at a "9 to 5," feeds and cares for the children, and makes a good case for killing the bum who abandoned her.
How often is this really the case? The popular stereotype of the mean-hearted man who callously dumps his poor wife for a "pretty young thing" is a lie. According to Shere Hite, women -- the "victims" -- do most of the dumping: "Ninety-one percent of divorces are initiated by women, according to this study -- contrary to the popular stereotype that 'men leave women.'" (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 405)
During the seventies, Hollywood promoted this with several "liberated women" stories, in which a dumbfounded "male chauvinist pig" stood with his mouth hanging agape while his wife proudly announced she was going to divorce him. No, it wasn't his fault, he didn't do anything wrong. It was her. She had changed. Now she needs her own space and time to discover herself and be her own person.
Packing her bags, she left him with the kids and rode off into the sunset to go back to school (no one said who was going to pay for her tuition) or to get a glamorous job (no one worried about where or how she would get her training), or she was just going out to be a "free spirit."
The Free Spirit
Being a "free spirit" in the movies is very rewarding. In real life, however, things don't necessarily work that way. Many women discover the opportunities men seem to get so easily come only as the result of determination and hard work. And their personally satisfying but low-paying jobs don't support the kind of spending they enjoyed on their husbands' higher incomes.
In the real world, women by the thousands are learning what "liberation" is like: "In the year following a divorce, the woman's standard of living falls, on average, by 73%. The man's standard of living rises by 42%." (The Great Divide, Daniel E. Van Weiss, p 21) Pop feminists believe this is the primary cause of the "feminization of poverty," that it's men's fault, and that the government should force men to make up the difference.
If men are to blame for the financial repercussions women suffer after they divorce their husbands, then the entire women's movement isn't about equal rights at all. Realizing equal rights do not automatically guarantee equality, Catharine MacKinnon admits this. (Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law, Catherine A. MacKinnon, p 65) The differences between women and men, she believes, create an automatic bias against women. Hence, equal rights are not enough, and she wants to force men to subsidize women. Anything less is cause for criticism: "The group realities that make women more in need of alimony are not permitted to matter, because only individual factors, gender-neutrally considered, may matter." (Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law, Catherine A. MacKinnon, p 35)
Should gender matter anymore?
In traditional patriarchal society, gender mattered. The resulting roles worked because, within the framework of the time, they fulfilled both individual and societal needs. Technological advances, however, made it possible for the patriarchal arrangement to evolve: It takes less time to "tend to the cooking," and the provider role (work) is less gender-specific.
But this isn't enough for pop feminists. They want it all, they want it right now, and they want men to give it to them. That means they must require men to support women in marriage, and subsidize them outside of marriage with alimony.
The rationale for alimony might be stated as, "She earned a chunk of his future income by providing emotional and sexual support during the years he worked to achieve a position where he could earn his present income, and he should now compensate her for that investment." There is some logic in this. But didn't she already receive something from him in return? Wasn't the standard of living she enjoyed, the one that fell by 73 percent when she divorced him, worth ... 73 percent of something? Didn't that contribute to her well-being?
If a woman's past investment in her ex-husband is worth something for which he must now compensate her, then what of his past investment in her? Shouldn't the courts allow him to deduct this from her alimony? Shouldn't she compensate him for what he lost when the marriage ended?
When marriage ends, a man loses the sexual services of his ex-wife. In all fairness, if she has some right to his present and future income, then he has some right to her present and future sexual services. Either she should provide such services herself, or arrange for a surrogate to provide them in her stead. (My thanks to Frank Cranbourne for pointing this out to me.) Conjugal rights have value, and so long as pop feminists and the courts disregard the husband's loss of this value, men are being victimized by a system that favors women.
Women who scoff at this will reveal to what extent they have objectified men as walking wallets - women can't be investments because their value is not measured in dollars, but the worth of a man is. As Warren Farrell notes, that's because women view men as success objects. (Farrell: Why Men Are the Way They Are, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., p 182)
If men should compensate women for what they lose in divorce, then women should also compensate men for what they lose in divorce. If pop feminists deny this, then not only do they expose their objectification of men as walking wallets, but they also relinquish every moral right to any form of alimony.
2012 Olympia, Wash. - It should be obvious to unbiased readers that I was not advocating that when a woman divorces a man and then demands alimony from him, that she actually submit herself to provide him with sexual alimony. My purpose was to expose the hypocrisy behind "divorce as women's liberation" and the demand for alimony.
During the 20 odd years since I wrote this chapter, the hypocrisy has become even more flagrant as women seeking divorce as liberation have, in overwhelming numbers, also demanded custody of the children, along with child-support payments from the often impoverished fathers now saddled with maintaining dual households.
But twenty years ago I was not taking into consideration that there would be psychopaths, sociopaths, and some with narcissistic personality disorder, others with borderline personality disorder--or feminazis--who would claim that here I was, in fact, advocating that women essentially prostitute themselves.
Generally, I don't care what such people think or how they try to spin what I've written. But I'm involved in an organization that controls budgets. The feminazis in this organization, whom I call "the sisterhood and their male familiars," are attacking anybody who stands between them and control of this money.
Their goal is to set up programs they control that will benefit fewer than 10 percent of our constituents, mostly the people running the programs. And I'm one of the people standing in their way, so, among other things, they're taking chapters of my book out of the context of everything I've written, to claim that I hate women.
The irony is that several of the women who are doing this, are women I very actvely helped to promote into their current positions. Were I the kind of person to hate women, I'd take that as reason to refuse to help any women in the future. But that would be irrational. Just as the sisterhood and their male familiars are irrational. Irrational, and motivated by money, power, attention and prestige to abuse their positions at the expense of our constituents.
Rod Van Mechelen