Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Feminism and the sexualizing of American culture
Monday, June 27, 2005
As I said in correspondence to the list (but not as a part of the series), I see the feminism movement as both positive and negative. As a Christian dedicated to a biblically based way of life, I believe anything that "objectifies" sexual activity and separates it from marriage is an inherently sinful seduction, and that side of the feminist movement was no less than that. Feminism and the gay social movement share joint responsibility for "sexualizing" our culture much more during that period. Feminism, however, affected us all in a variety of ways. Not only did women's attitudes change, but many laws (specifically dealing with sexual harrassment and workplace equality) affected everyone regardless of their sex, their upbringing, and their personal morality or code of conduct. And because the new laws were being enforced by the courts, they caused the attitudes of all Americans and (because similar movements were afoot in Europe and the rest of the Americas at the same time) of all "Westerners." To the extent that most men were "forced" by this turn of events to start thinking more carefully about their treatment of women, feminism was good. To the extent that brutes and chauvinists were forced to rein in their brutalizing tendencies, it was good. To the extent that fewer women were being mistreated on a wide scale, it was good. To the extent that it freed women who previously let themselves be held back by real or imagined strictures, to pursue their talents and callings, it was good
To the extent that feminism promoted sexual perversity, it was bad. This includes its encouragement of lesbianism (which many inside the "movement" and many outside observers consider the most radical expression of "women's liberation") and the subsequent explosion of lesbianism. This in turn further "legitimized" (in the eyes of thousandsmore likely millionsof people) the overall "gay rights" movement and the proposition that gays represent a "third sex," possibly the most pernicious fiction since the snake in Eden mumbled vanities in the ear of Mother Eve. To the extent that it contributed to a pandemic of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, it is, of course, bad.
To the extent that feminist promises for a better life through materialism seduced women into the workforce who would have been better off being stay-at-home moms, it was bad. (I am not saying, though, that all women are intended to play that role, or to do so all their adult lives.) To the extent that feminist crusading raised expectations that could not be fulfilled in a godly way, it was bad. To the extent that it fostered animosity between the sexes, it was bad.
But though there seem to be more checkmarks in the "bad" column than the "good," the movement was necessary and we cannot, should not, undertake to undo it (and thankfully, social corrections have already taken away much of the "sting" of the feminism of the mid-'60s to mid-'80s; the younger generation of both women and men seem to have accepted the reality of women's political and social gains without feeling it's necessary to continue the crusade). I, for one, would welcome a 2008 Presidential campaign pitting Hillary Clinton against Condoleezza Rice.
But there's no comparable argument to make for the gay movement, despite the widespread acceptance of the opposite proposition in our society, equating gay goals with civil rights goals of blacks and ethnic minorities and women through women's liberation.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy