I’m back again for (probably) the last installment of this running commentary on TTH’s Romancing a Feminist post. The URL for the actual post can be found here.
The URL for this particular portion of the comments can be found here.
Now, on with the commentary!
BRANDON B. writes:
I have a few thoughts on your recent post on “Romancing a Feminist.”
I’ve found that while most young women may conform to the liberal order, many of them have latent traditional impulses that need to be drawn out. More on how to do this in a moment. As has been mentioned by others, many women are simply liberal for the most superficial reasons i.e., pure and unadulterated conformity to society and their peer group. This is understandable. It’s very feminine to be this responsive.
My traditional girlfriend voted for Obama (I met her soon after the 2008 election). So did her traditional grandmother and her TV-addicted single mother. What were their reasons? The grandmother: “He’s young and will probably bring a fresh perspective to the office of the president.” The mother: “He may do great things” and “At least he’s not Bush.” My girlfriend herself calls her own vote a moment of “temporary insanity” and admits she voted for Obama simply because everyone else around her did.
My girlfriend was politically apathetic for the most part when I met her but had imbibed all of the same liberal and PC platitudes our generation has been fed since birth. She just took them for granted without reflection.
Now, getting back to how to draw out the traditionalism inherent in many young women. There are two things that have worked very well for me. These are honesty and passion. It’s an attractive combination in a world that cares for so little and thrives on lies. If you are real and honest, with a passion for the rightness of your traditional worldview, you will win the respect of many women, young or old. Don’t ever back down or be ashamed of your views, just express them with honesty, confidence, and class. Throw in a little humor if you like. For example, right after I met my girlfriend we were talking about women in the military and I said “I know you may think I’m a Neanderthal for opposing this, but SO BE IT.” We shared a good laugh and she eventually agreed with me.
Another good thing is to teach a young woman to think for herself. Many haven’t had any role models in this area so naturally just conform to society’s line of thinking without question. I’ve been doing this for the past two years with my girlfriend and she has changed her mind considerably. Just last night, I asked her if there was an initiative to end women’s suffrage, would she vote for it? She responded that if it would mean the end of feminism, she would.
Latent traditional impulses that need to be drawn out? What? So, a feminist can’t have any sorts of mannerisms or whatnot that people consider “traditionalist”? All feminists, all liberal women, MUST be butch lesbians, I guess. What nonsense.
This man’s idea of what is and is not feminine is ridiculous. He acts as if women are actually aliens trying to fit in with men so they must act like men. Otherwise, they are not women.
Nonsense. Some women may not have much to do with politics in general but are still considered feminist or liberal or both — simply because the opinions they form on the politics and laws they’ve come into contact with lean that way. This is because most women do not want to toss away the freedoms we’ve been given, whether or not they want to take advantage of those freedoms.
Then there’s the issue of abortion. Many women swear they would never have an abortion — no matter the circumstances — but they don’t want that right taken away because there are other women who might need or want to exercise such a right. It is possible to be both traditional and feminist, although I’m sure this flies in the face of what some people think (and might melt a few brains in the process).
Some women would LOVE to be nothing but a wife and mother, but also would not take away any of the rights that a lot of the traditionalists on Mrs. Wood’s site decry as terrible.
I’m sorry that the liberal girlfriend in question is either so easily manipulated by her boyfriend, refuses to make waves even though she’s uncomfortable, or still looking for what fits with herself. I think she might be one of the many women who find themselves not fitting into any proscribed box and is neither fully traditional nor fully liberal. This is my preferred choice, because the others are just sad. I hate to hear of women allowing themselves to be manipulated, oppressed, and subjugated because they don’t really know how to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.
Also, voting for Obama alone does not make you a liberal. Many voted for Obama because they didn’t want to vote for McCain. Who knows, things might have been different had the candidates for President and Vice President been different (especially vice president). I doubt that the ultimate outcome would’ve been different (let’s face it, Obama won by a landslide, period).
I don’t really know what to say about his next two sentences, since I’ve already pretty much covered that, so lets move on.
Of course a woman will respect you more if you’re honest! I would hope anyone would respect you more if you were honest, regardless of gender. Passionate, well, that depends on how passionate. Believing strongly in what you feel is right is one thing, having the air about you that you are going to keep jabbing about it until the other person gets tired of arguing with you and says you’re right just for the sake of ending the argument and soothing your ego is entirely different, and not at all sexy or respectable.
However, for some reason it sounds as if he thinks that in order to respect you or your beliefs, your girlfriend has to agree with you. Expecting someone to agree with you before you will consider yourself respected by them is not being very respectful to your girlfriend or whomever you are debating with. I also don’t see how that Neanderthal joke was funny…I mean, I can see how it was light-hearted, but sharing a good laugh over it makes me think that they both found it close to hilarious. I don’t see how. But, eh, maybe their sense of humor is just very similar.
If you teach a young woman to think for herself (because only men know how to do that and it’s up to men to teach women to do it, too), then she will be a traditionalist by nature and because it makes most sense to anyone who actually has sense. That is what this sounds like he is implying. It is not just a false implication, but it is also quite insulting.
There is no reason to think that a woman who is “taught to think for herself” might not then find her feminism and liberalism reinforced.
You do not have to be a strict one or the other in order to be feminist or traditional. Feminism isn’t about taking a woman’s right to lead a “traditional” way of life away. It is about giving her the choice to choose that or something else.
And is this man really saying that we should end women’s suffrage? That’s frightening. You see? This is what so many women are afraid of. Is that our rights will be JERKED out from under us via a popular vote or just for the hell of it from people who cannot stand for women to have the rights they are entitled to as human beings and United States citizens. The fact that this woman has said that she would vote for such a measure (to end women’s suffrage) if it would mean the end of feminism (it would mean no such thing, btw) is beyond frightening. The thought makes my heart clench in fear and my blood run a little cold. I’m sure for a second when I read that for the first time I probably went a little pale. That is how frightening I find the idea of having all of the rights women have secured thus far yanked out from under us. From my sisters, both traditional and feminist, from every walk of life, and from myself. I’m sure men would have the same reaction if for some reason there was a vote to take away all the same rights from MEN but not from women. And then would come the anger and the riots. As rightly it should. Nobody should have their rights taken from them based on their gender, no matter who they are or where they come from.
I hope that that woman is only humoring him. But, even then…if she’d lie like that to humor him that’s also frightening.
Peter S. writes:
On the issue of liberal women and their latent traditional impulses, I am immediately familiar with a handful of instances of women whose lifestyles are quite conservative, even traditional: largely or entirely chaste prior to their marriages; to all appearances faithful and well settled within their married lives; predominantly taken up with the raising of their children, with their husbands as primary breadwinners, although they might pursue part-time work as their circumstances permit or require; well ordered in their personal lives, without disordering habits such as alcoholism or drug use; well integrated socially within their larger community; regularly attending communal religious observance, even if in some instances they might not be particularly religious in outlook. Yet, these same women are entirely liberal in their identity politics and, further, apparently feel no sense of disconnect between their political and cultural views and the manner of their lives. I suspect that this is a pattern not at all uncommon.
This man takes the cake, perhaps! I mean, seriously! He has just said that he feels all TRULY liberal women are sluts, adulteresses, negligent/lazy mothers (or childless), always working with no time for their family or husband, disorganized/haphazard, alcoholic drug addicts, anti-social, and atheist. WHAT?!
Women (nor men) do not fit into these tiny little neat boxes that these people are trying to force them into. Some traditional women do all of these things he’s implying feminist women do. But, by and large, many from both walks of life do NOT.
I agree, it is a pattern not at all uncommon that women can be traditionalists by lifestyle choice and liberal in their politics. And there is no disconnect there. You don’t have to force your way of preferred life onto everyone else just because YOU like it and YOU feel it is best for YOU. As things stand now, women can choose whether to have a traditional lifestyle or a more modern one. The choice BEING THERE and being respected, is far more important than WHICH you choose.
Heady G. writes:
Brandon B writes:
“express them with honesty, confidence, and class.” Right on!
My girlfriend wants to have that standard Sex in the City attitude. I just stand strong every time feminism attempts to ruin us. There will be times… She knows where I stand on certain issues and she is glad. I am her stability and truthful care in a twisted world where people don’t know how to value monogamy and tradition. We understand that if we all want to Eat, Pray, and Love Ourselves then I would have been running around on her trying to find the most career-oriented woman. Or we could be hippie, dippie New Agey Oprah sycophant deadheads but know our relationship would turn out to be just as much fluff. And many feminist women know it, when they are not busy being narcissistic thrill-seeking pop culture followers. Would I rather follow Jesus than Lady Gaga? Yeah, I would (He has better stage presence too.)
And she and I still go head-to-head on things, but I stand strong and state my view and move on and just let it percolate and then we see it play out in real life. The truth is since I have become a more traditional male over the last 6 months, our relationship has improved, we respect each other more, have more fun, and feel more secure with each other, and are far more open. I know we may have future debates a.k.a. arguments. And I know I will exhibit my “close-minded, dated, controlling, and oppressive views” her words. But after it all, there is no doubt about who loves her. And surprisingly, its not her women studies prof at UVM.
The truth is she is as traditional as a lot of women who try to hide it. Its just hard to be different then most your own age… at first. When we have real discussions and we are honest, she wants to stay home and be a mother. And I am working to make that happen. She is older and has always worked and earns more. (What?!!?) Which is probably a different thread all together. But awareness will help us rise above the mire.
It will always be difficult for us to live these values in a world where our female contemporaries will bite our “chauvinistic” heads off. But its reassuring to read these posts and have men five years older want to hear what I have to say. Should I tell them I learned a lot how to be a man by listening to a housewife?
I don’t watch Sex in the City and never have, so I do not know this attitude is of which he speaks. I don’t understand how he thinks feminism is going to ruin him and his girlfriend. It can only do that if they let it. And so it would be the same for his views ruining them. Nobody is going to see eye-to-eye on everything in a relationship or marriage. If that is what you expect, you’re in for a very rude awakening and a string of failed marriages/relationships left behind you. This is why having opposites that complement each other — with a good number of differences along with overall similarities, and the intelligence and maturity levels of both people –largely will determine whether you work out as a couple. People who are too alike probably won’t stay married for their whole lives. Likewise, people who are too different. What is too different or too alike depends on the people involved.
Feminists certainly CAN value monogamy and tradition and often do, so I don’t know where he’s going with that.
I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but if a man already is aware that I am not the type of person he wants to spend his life with, he better just tell me and we can move on. There is no need to have me on the side while he runs around looking for a woman that is a better fit, whether she is more career-oriented or less so. I do not respect men who do this. I do not respect women who do this. Everyone who is old enough to be seriously dating, is old enough to be at least mature enough not to string another person along just for your own personal benefit. It sounds like he’s saying that traditional men never do this, when that is completely untrue and it implies that non-traditional men ALWAYS do this and that is also not true. You cannot make such blanket assumptions about any group of people, no matter how you group them off, whether by gender or beliefs. It doesn’t work that way. People are not programmed robots.
I have no idea what a “hippie dippy New Age Oprah sycophant deadhead” is, so I can’t comment on this. It sounds ridiculous to me, though.
Again with the blanket statements. All feminist women are thrill-seeking pop culture followers. What?? Nonsense. I know many, many feminist women who are intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate, as far from selfish or vain as is reasonably expected for ANYone, aren’t interested in following pop culture or going sky-diving or whatever else. What is this man talking about? Does he even know? I am seriously doubting it.
It IS possible to like both Jesus and Lady Gaga. Anyway, I don’t know anyone who follows Lady Gaga as a goddess. Personally, I would not rather follow Jesus than Lady Gaga, because I do not believe Jesus was more than a prophet if he really lived. That said, I do not “follow” Lady Gaga as a goddess. She is a talented artist and musician and I like her music and I like much of her politics. I did not agree with her breaking the AZ boycott that musicians had going, but she had her reasons and she explained them well during the concert in AZ.
Calling her Mother Monster, her referring to herself as Mother Monster, her referring to us as Little Monsters, or we referring to ourselves as Little Monsters or “her” Little Monsters is just for fun and nobody takes it seriously the way this man is implying that they do. It is saying that she knows what it is like to be a freak and she will show the world that nobody should be ashamed of themselves just because people don’t like what you do, how you dress, what you say, or whatever else. She will stand up for us in the way that she does because we do not, by and large, have the ability to do it for ourselves. She will be the voice for people like this who feel voiceless until they, too, can find their own voice. Being a leader through stage presence and fame does not make you a god or a goddess. If it does, then I guess Elvis should be renamed the GOD of Rock ‘n’ Roll, rather than just the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I wouldn’t necessarily compare what they stand for to their fans, or say in their music, but you get what I mean.
How is it surprising that her women’s studies professor at UVM loves her far less than he does? I would hope that were the case, she isn’t in a romantic relationship with that professor! [Ed.: We assume. We hope.] Just because they have opposing views doesn’t mean that their relationship is threatened on a daily or regular basis. If it does, they need to stop and take a look at that relationship. Perhaps they really aren’t mature enough as a couple to handle being in a relationship or married to each other. I’m glad that traditionalism is working out for them as a couple, though, because that is what he’s chosen and they both have to live with it if they want to be together. I have no problem with a traditional way of life, as I said. Only with people who try to force it on me or others. Also, debates do not always equal arguments. Do they really get into arguments every time they disagree about something? Wow…I don’t know if I foresee this relationship working out, in that case. Of course, in every relationship there WILL be arguments, but every time you disagree about something? Every time?? Wow. Just…wow.
Feminist women can be traditional women by lifestyle, too. So, insisting that feminist women try to hide any sort of traditional leanings in order to adhere to feminism is silly.
Likewise, being a feminist does not mean that you cannot choose to stay at home, take care of the house, have/raise children, and let the man go to work. If that’s how you want to live, go for it. Nobody should ever try to stop you if that is what you really want to do. That doesn’t fly in the face of feminism, since feminism is about the right of women to choose, and to have all the same rights as men. The rights being there and the choice being there is what is important. When rights are taken away and choices are jerked out from under us…then that is when there is a problem. We still have a ways to go with these things, to secure more for ourselves, but ultimately these things are not here to force anyone to do anything or to force a certain way of life. I do not know how much more plainly I can describe this than that.
Good for him that he isn’t ashamed to admit his wife earns more than he does and doesn’t seem as though he’s necessarily threatened by it with that statement.
If anyone is biting their heads off for their chosen way of life, then those people need to be taken down a peg. Nobody should have to live in fear that they will be attacked in any fashion simply due to the way they choose (there’s that word again!) to live their lives.
Josh F. writes:
I think it’s a subconsciously-based traditionalist error to equate all females as women. Liberal females — if we are to assume “liberal” as highest principle, an all-accepting indiscriminancy (nondiscrimination/ tolerance) — are most definitely not women. It’s like claiming a male with a sexual aversion to females and sexual attraction to other males can be a man.
There is no need to woo liberal females. There is a need to make them women with the idea that we males have made ourselves men. There is a need to define man – he is not all-inclusive. Neither is it to be a woman. Man and woman are exclusive entities and to characterize liberal females as women destroys the exclusive notion of woman.
Well, this is the most ridiculous of all. I spoke too soon when I said that before. ‘There is only one type of woman that can accurately be called a woman and that is a traditional woman. Likewise, gay men are not really men.’ What?? This man has a lot of problems that I am not certified to deal with. Men are men and women are women, what makes us individuals are our minds and personalities. This man seems to be under the impression that his entire masculinity is threatened by the existence of liberal/feminist women and gay men. This does not make him a man, in my opinion, it makes him a boy. I suppose, though, that it’s a good thing for him that the law does not agree with my assessment of his maturity level.
Well, that’s it! There have not been any new comments to either of these pages as far as I’ve noticed, so I’m calling this series over. However, if I do check back and notice that Mrs. Wood has added some new comments to the pages, I will certainly come back to comment on them.
Hope you enjoyed!