The “feminist movement” has been around long enough to easy move into the cultural Zeitgeist and, in many ways, take control of it. It’s clearly been a net positive. Yet as the calendar grinds on, feminism – which began and triumphed as a cultural phenomenon on the left – is falling victim to the usual experience bias that infects us all. Namely, the movement is seeing every problem women face as a cultural one, with a left-wing solution. In short, feminism has turned into a hammer, and all it sees are nails.
Interestingly enough, it is with nails (of a different kind) that first caught my attention. A new type of nail polish has been created, one that could help women detect “date-rape” drugs (as they are still called) that are designed to incapacitate them. Yet already a slew of would-be feminist champions are insisting that the nail polish should be opposed (Newsweek). Robyn Urback (National Post) explains the fallacy that should be obvious to all:
Those against rape-prevention technologies — and there are others, such as anti-rape underwear, drug-detecting straws, cups, lip-gloss, etc. — will forever contend that systemic issues are at the core of sexual assault, and that the focus must exclusively be on the perpetrator. The problem is that while we wait for “society to change,” people are still slipping drugs into other people’s drinks.
This structural perspective also assumes that all would-be perpetrators can simply be taught not to rape, which is obviously not true. That in mind, there is no reason why we can’t push for social change while equipping women with tools to protect themselves. The alternative is asking women to martyr themselves to maintain this sort of idealistic discourse that focuses solely on the offender. It’s ideological-driven nonsense. The more we can do to prevent sexual assault, the better. Full stop.
Indeed, the impression critics of this nail polish give is that cultural change is the only way to protect women, never mind allowing women to protect themselves, and never mind how many actual women become victims for waiting until culture does what the feminists want it to do.
I would also be remiss to omit that one of the would-be cultural arbiters cited by Newsweek is from Rape Crisis England & Wales, an organization that seemed to have reacted more quickly to this issue than the massive rape gang in Rotherham that was exposed around the same time (after a decade-long cover-up by local authorities who considered offending Pakistani cultural sensibilities more dangerous than letting hundreds of girls get raped). Note to any readers who think of themselves as feminists: if you’re more familiar with the raging nail controversy than with Rotherham, you’re part of the problem.
A similar problem pops up in the “equal pay” problem – and yes, it is a problem, but not for the reason most would-be feminists think. By now, just about everyone has at some point been exposed to that women-make-less-than-men meme, usually portrayed as a cents-to-dollar comparison. Most economists will tell you that the statistic is horribly misleading, and that once one takes into account work history, type of career, education level, etc., the difference is within the margin of error.
Yet feminists (or, to be fair, most of them) would rather dismiss all of the above caveats than ask why this is the case. The answer is not terribly complicated: for the most part, women are more likely to take time off work to raise children than men are. Of course, trying to change that reality requires actually talking to men, treating them as equals rather than enemies, and working towards a consensus on balancing parental responsibilities.
Oh yeah, and it also means encouraging married, two-parent households and, outside of that, custodial arrangements where men have more time with their children…neither seem to be a priority with 21st century feminism. Easier to bring the heavy hand of government in to “fix” the problem – and never mind that said hand has been spectacularly incompetent at it.
In short, feminism has become a top-down movement, one that is fighting for women while ignoring the individual woman. As a result, it has lost the plot.