Gratitude for the Devotion and Labor of Fathers

Saint Joseph, patron of fathers and workers. Guido Reni c. 1640. (19th c. photograph by James or Domenico Anderson, Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Father’s Day piece at the Federalist is a meditation on the contributions of fathers to the labor of their households.  You can read it here: “Rather than Judging Fathers’ Household Labor, Let’s Appreciate It.”

One of the recent feminist complaints is that men should contribute more to  housework — as in laundry, dishes, and child care.  Rarely do we hear anything about “gender equity” when it comes to the sort of household labor that is traditionally masculine.  But Dads who take on projects to add sweat equity contribute a lot to their families, though those things are little noted in the culture.  When I think of all my husband  has done to promote the little homestead, I’m grateful. And I’ve always preferred doing the housework if it frees him up for such big ticket projects.

And when I think back on my own father who actually did a lot of housework, grocery shopping, and caregiving, I am very grateful for all he contributed both as a breadwinner and on the homefront.  He was an amazing man who had a hard life. But he always appreciated his blessings, especially his family. He was cheerful,, and truly a delight to be around.  Remarkable. In my Federalist piece, I reflect on the many things he did for his family, quietly and without complaint.

I think trying to keep score in household chores is a lose-lose situation in any relationship, assuming both are contributing according to their gifts. Fathers in particular should be more appreciated for their efforts, whether the labor is “gendered” or not. Everyone has something to offer, and it’s up to the team to work out a system without fixating on 50-50.

On this Father’s Day, let’s appreciate the devotion of fathers and their unique gifts, whatever they might be.

To the Mass State, Traditional Mothers are the True Subversives

Mary Cassatt, Breakfast in Bed (1897)

What is it about traditional mothers that moderns find so offensive?  Is it really all about “submissiveness” to something they call “the Patriarchy?”  Do they really believe traditional mothers reinforce something so-called feminists call “gender roles?”  On the surface it may seem this way.  But I’ve been digging a little deeper and I think there’s something else at play here.  Because the elites who keep feeding us that hype are usually big promoters of political correctness.  And political correctness is nothing more than a silencing tool.  It’s used to prop up the power of elites who push self-serving agendas that would never withstand real scrutiny.

In a very real sense, traditional mothers are probably the ultimate barrier to the consolidation and centralization of power of the Mass State.  Think about it.  Mothers who cultivate virtue and a sense of uniqueness in their children are the ultimate de-centralizers and distributors of power in a society. They set virtuous communities in motion.   Behind the scenes.

I explore this idea in a series I recently wrote for the British web magazine, “The Conservative Woman.”  You can click here to read the first installment:  “Traditional Mothers are the True Subversives: That’s Why the State Wants to Gag Them.”   It’s part of a conversation Leslie Loftis started at that publication with her essay “Conservative Women are a Deadly Threat to Liberal Elites.”  Here’s a review of my series:

In this first part I’d like to give you the lay of the land as I see it: How and why the agents of political correctness target any independent thinker, but particularly conservative women.  And what happens when we give in to self-censorship.  In the second part, I’ll talk about something called “the spiral of silence.”  In Part three, I’ll dig a bit more into the mechanics of political correctness and how it works and why I believe the only way out is through the “Hidden Sphere.”  In Part Four, I explore a bit about the inextricable link between freedom and friendship.  Finally, in the final installment, I offer a few prescriptions on how conservative women can resist getting sucked into the PC machine – and make friends (and, sure, some frenemies) along the way.

Here’s another excerpt:

Statists are forever trying to coax us into giving up being the hand that rocks the cradle so that they can take control of the cradle for themselves. If there was so little power in what we do and what we believe, why ever would they seek to do such a thing?  Why would they even care?

They care not only because we have the power to express our views and values to the next generation, but that we are actually inclined do so.  Not only that, but if we are stay at home mothers with a steady source of income independent of the State, they see us as dangerously free agents in our private lives.”

In a previous post I discussed how Soviet era Czech dissident Vaclav Havel referred to our private lives as the all powerful “hidden sphere.”  I see the attack on the family, and mothers in particular, as an attempt to disrupt and destroy the power of the hidden sphere.

Abortion is about Separating Us All, Man, Woman, and Child

Ad for the Tinder App, which is basically for hooking up with sex partners who happen to be in the local area.   This sort of stupid is ultimately what abortion is for. Everybody loses.

I’d like to share an article I wrote a little while ago for the Federalist about my take on pro-abortion men:  Click here to read “Why Pro-Abortion Men are Anti-Woman.

Anyone who can see the reality of sex distinctions understands that women are more emotionally invested in pregnancy than men. So it is undeniable that women are the biggest losers in a society that promotes casual sex. So who are the prime “beneficiaries” of abortion on demand?  Women? Or the men who wish to use and then discard women?

Clearly, it’s the latter.  The dirty little secret is that it wasn’t really grassroots women activists who got abortion legalized, though they carried the sound bites.  A little history shows us that abortion on demand was really an operation from the top down. Establishment men were the ones who pushed hardest for it and made it happen.  Elitist men in the courts and legislatures made it happen.  Feminists? They basically ran cover for them right through the Roe v. Wade decision handed down by seven male Supreme Court justices in 1973.  Oh, sure, these men would couch it all in terms of “women’s rights” and hold themselves up as champions of women.  Very convenient.  Big of them. Easy too, because their feminist allies were their subservient enablers.

Another point is that women have always polled consistently more pro-life than men.  The margin may not be huge, but it’s a persistent gap.

In my article, I discuss a recent Vanity Fair piece that’s laid bare the wasteland of the hook-up culture spawned by our abortion culture.  Many defend hooking up by claiming: “This is 2015 and things have changed.” I can only respond: “This is a total throwback to ancient times. And nothing has changed.”  The Vanity Fair essay is hard to read with its descriptions of men and women using the Tinder app — which you can see in the ad above — obsessively looking for sex partners in the near vicinity.

But it was all so predictable:  jerk men taking advantage of women who are clearly looking for intimacy but pretend they are not.  The irony revealed by the Vanity Fair article is that the women hooking up don’t even enjoy the sex.  And the men are so steeped in competing with other men for conquests — through the “wonders” of phone app technology — that in their 20’s and 30’s they have an epidemic of erectile dysfunction.  It’s all so pointless and stupid, aside from being cruel and destructive.

“Abortion really makes you hate men,” is an apt quote from a college classmate after she told me about her abortion.  This clarified for me that abortion is like Total Warfare on personal relationships. It’s all about separating us from one another.  It severs the mother-child bond as well as the man woman bond.  (The father-child bond was the first casualty.)  The abortion mentality requires destructive coping mechanisms in which the women must emotionally separate themselves from the person of the child as well as from the father.

So much love has gone missing through the descent into our culture’s abortion mindset.  People have lost so much respect for life, for others, and for themselves.  Intimacy has become elusive for so many.  And happiness? So much of it gone, in the name of “choice.”

Bookcase: Gender Hurts, by Sheila Jeffreys

 

Sheila Jeffreys, author of Gender Hurts

I recently delved into Sheila Jeffrey’s’s book Gender Hurts:  A Feminist Perspective on Transgenderism.  Jeffreys is a professor at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia. She identifies as a radical feminist.  I certainly don’t.

However, as I mentioned in my last post and in my August 27 Federalist piece here, her perspective overlaps with mine when it comes to the phenomenon of “gender identity.”  She sees the current obsession with gender identity as harmful.  So do I.  She views the transitioning of children as a human rights violation.  So do I.  She recognizes that sex change surgery is a form of genital mutilation.  So do I.  

She also recognizes that transgender law threatens to dismantle women-only spaces that are critical to helping women feel and be safe.  It hurts people within families who must completely discard their close relationships with their spouse, children, siblings or parents in order to accommodate a fantasy that often requires they walk on eggshells.  And Jeffreys is dead right that any discussion of the above is being silenced through bullying techniques of an hyper-activist transgender lobby that insists the entire world get with their program, no questions asked. And indeed this lobby is actually dominated by “trans-women” who are primarily heterosexual males “identifying” as lesbians. 

I am grateful to Jeffreys for publishing Gender Hurts at such a critical time, as we work to untangle this strange web of deception in the culture. She presents many crucial facts about transgenderism, including the regret felt by survivors, those who go back to identifying with their birth sex.  In discussing the psychological basis of “gender dysphoria” she refers to the work of Paul McHugh, the psychiatrist who shut down the gender identity clinic at Johns Hopkins University and the British psychiatrist Az Hakeem who has worked hard to make sure that patients are fully informed before they consent to any kind of treatment.

I part ways with Jeffreys on her radical feminist/lesbian perspective that basically identifies male misogyny as the root of all oppression of women.  (She objects to gender identity because she believes it reinforces harmful stereotypes rather than diminishing them.  I see her point there, but it’s not the whole point.)

I’ll  go out on a limb and say just one thing about “male oppression.”  I don’t believe it comes from maleness as much as it comes from being human and looking for acceptance and status.  That’s what drives a lot of aggression, male or otherwise.  And if there’s a sorting system for dominance, it’s much more pronounced among males themselves than between males and females. Violent alpha males dictate their ill will and their terms onto all other males.  In so doing, they can then inflict their violence onto everybody else.  That’s why central planning is so lousy.  A few aggressive folks at the top, usually men and their female enablers — with few opportunities for anybody else.  If you want to see “patriarchy” in action, communism’s your man.  The Gloria Steinem wing of feminism basically acquiesces to men who behave badly and it serves the scheme of centralized power. Their basic litmus test is abortion.

In essence, I think a big part of the battle is about making sure the right men win, as well as the right women. Which means that all women of goodwill band with all men of goodwill and create a better world for all of humanity.

But I’m glad to see Sheila Jeffreys challenging the hackneyed Steinem brand of feminism and the nasty gender politics that come with it, even if I don’t accept the whole framework of Jeffreys’ logic.  Gender Hurts, published just this year, is creating a very welcome earthquake in the conversation about transgenderism.

Terror as a Byproduct of Lovelessness

Black September terrorist, 1972 Munich Olympics

In yesterday’s Federalist, I have a piece called “Love in the time of Terrorism.”   I focus on the case of “Black September” the most feared terrorist group of the 1970’s.  They were the scourge of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where they kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer.  Maybe you’re familiar with this iconic photo.

In the essay I explore how and why some men become so violent and single-minded about pushing their will on others. I can’t say anything that you don’t already know in your gut:  Without strong family ties and without a sense of purpose, many young men have a tendency to channel their natural aggressive instincts in destructive ways.  They easily sow chaos.  So great is their need to be viewed with awe by others, especially other men.  But you must read the story of the taming of Black September to see how utterly true this is.  I believe it closes the case entirely on any other “theory” about the causes of such violence.  It all stems from being cut off from relationships.

People need strong and healthy relationships, particularly a sense of family to feel grounded and at peace.  This proved very true in the case of Black September.  Please read the story of how the members of that terrorist organization were tamed by PLO intelligence operatives after the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, saw their behavior as a political  liability.  Arafat told them to basically “switch it off.”   What did the PLO do?  They found a way to marry the men off to the most beautiful Palestinian women they could find, and then they provided the men with non-violent jobs, nice apartments, and a huge cash incentives to start families.  The men became so content with their new lives that they refused all offers to go abroad on official PLO business for fear of being arrested and hence separated from their families.

It’s an amazing story with huge lessons for understanding hierarchies, human motives, and the utter need we all have for strong relationships.  The story also flies in the face of modern feminism and gender theory.  I hope you’ll read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Millett’s “Feminism:” A Vehicle for Totalitarianism

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fe/Kate_millet_1.jpg/220px-Kate_millet_1.jpg

Kate Millett, author Sexual Politics

Mallory Millett published a fascinating essay this past week in Front Page Magazine.  Entitled “Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives,” it’s about how her sister Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics (1970) went about organizing a totalitarian movement which she labelled as a form of “feminism.”  Mallory describes how Kate invited her to a meeting with about a dozen other women in the late 1960’s.  Here’s  an excerpt:

They called the assemblage a “consciousness-raising-group,” a typical communist exercise, something practiced in Maoist China.  We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:

“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”

Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears.  Was I on planet earth?  Who were these people?

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.

They proceeded with a long discussion on how to advance these goals by establishing The National Organization of Women.

You ought to read the whole thing.  At this stage of her life, Mallory, having seen the hurt and cruelty pushed by the agenda of her sister, says she’s come to identify with the daughter of Joseph Stalin in speaking out against the harmful work of a family member.

It’s strange indeed how a small coterie of privileged women like Kate Millett (educated at Columbia and Oxford) would go about ruining and trying to control the lives of everybody else.  In fact, I find it hard to believe such women — so enamored of totalitarianism — really look down at all on the idea of patriarchal domination. More likely, they’ve adopted the mindset they pretended to abhor, and have now become that patriarchy.

 

Admiring the Resistance of Radfems Against Transgender Cultists

Last week in The Federalist I wrote at length about the conflict between radical feminists – or “radfems” — and transgender activists.   I was especially pleased to see Catholic Culture author Phil Lawler take this up in his recent article “The Rising, Dangerous Influence of ‘Transgender’ Ideology.”   I hope you’ll read both. 

I think the dissension among leftist factions here is fascinating.  The radical feminists are true purists in their beliefs, so much so that they are not at all willing to conform with the political correctness of the Transgender Project.

They stand firm even as so many in America – including the vast majority of their liberal feminist sisters – comply.  And even though this puts radical feminists in the same camp as conservatives on that particular issue, they do not waver.  They believe that the female experience cannot be impersonated or counterfeited by a male who decides to transition to female, and they are fearless in saying so.  They cede no ground,  So whether or not you agree with them on other issues, it’s gratifying to see such courage of conviction by a minority so shunned and smeared by erstwhile allies.

The trend to normalize transgenderism in our society has all the hallmarks of a cult. We’re beyond the phase of Hollywood and the media softening the ground for the transgender movement.  We are now in the phase of enforced compliance, complete with smear tactics and social punishment – labels of “bigot” or “transphobia” — for those who dare to resist. Everyone is getting with the program:  the medical community, schools, and even churches.  It’s reached the point that children are being prepared – by their parents — to have sex reassignment surgery when they turn 18.

So I’m encouraged by radical feminists who resist all of this.  And not simply because they take a stand on transgenderism that I happen to agree with.  It’s far, far more than that.  The radfems’ display exceptional resistance the pressures of the cult mindset,  impressive to behold.  And they are front lines in this war right now.  If the trans activists succeed in shutting them down, everyone else is next.  More power to the radfems in their resistance.

What is a Human? — Part II

The New Yorker piece I discussed yesterday — “What is a Woman?” — has gotten quite a bit of attention.  I noticed in my news feed that even Rush Limbaugh picked up on it during his show yesterday.  You can read the transcript here, in which Limbaugh talks about what he calls “The Feminazis vs. the Transgenders.”  Limbaugh confessed little understanding.  (And, boy, he sure doesn’t get it.)  The transcript reveals that the caller was likely a transgender activist.  He seemed to use quite a bit of humor and ingratiating wile to promote the trans agenda and steer Limbaugh’s listeners into dismissing the radical feminists. (Rush should give rad fems equal time.)

So, what is the agenda of the transgender activists?  On the surface, it’s supposed to be about non-discrimination.  About allowing people to present to society whichever gender they say they are, and not suffer any negative consequences in employment, housing, business, or anything.   But the underlying premise of transgender rights is that our sex is “assigned” to us at birth.  This is key to understanding how it affects each and every one of us in law.   The insidious term “assigned” has been sneaked into legislation as a given, and is not even up for debate.  And so the trans agenda’s first order of business to shove their laws through and silence anyone who questions them.  Which brings us to a thorn in their side — the rad fems.

What is the agenda of the Radical Feminists?   Transgender activists have dubbed them: “Transgender Exclusionary Radical Feminists” and use the acronym “TERF” as a slur.  (This is partly because rad fems believe women have a right to ban male-to-female transgenders from women-only facilities and venues, and refuse to use trans “preferred pronouns.”)  Rad fems argue that being born male is a privilege and any man carries that privilege with him even if he “transitions” to female.  The act of transitioning only accentuates gender, and perpetuates and promotes a patriarchal society, according to rad fems.

I will add one more important thing about the radical feminists. In my view, they’re doing a great service by lending their voice against the transgender push to transition and sterilize children based on a child’s perceived “gender identity dysphoria.” We all should be glad and grateful that they are speaking out against this barbaric practice.

The transgender route to power is strewn with evasion, deception, and dysfunction. It uses a lot of strong arm tactics (which we might even call patriarchal) of silencing all opponents, especially a vocal minority who stands for a much purer version of their purported agenda of equality.  The trans agenda also has a lot of influence and huge sums of money behind its agenda, including the full support of the Obama Administration. Trans activists have pushed very hard through their window of opportunity which remains open only so long as enough people stay ignorant of their real aim:  which is to redefine the humanity of us all.

To be continued . . .

 

 

 

 

What is a Human?

“What is a Woman?” is the title of a very recent feature about transgenderism in New Yorker Magazine.    It focuses on a bitter debate going on between transgender activists and radical feminists.  The trans activists would have you believe that being a woman is something you can define for yourself.  They’d say a man is a woman if he believes himself to be so.  “Not so!” retort the radical feminists who reject that idea pretty much as just another example — quirky but more insidious than ever — of male chauvinism.   The latter call themselves “rad fems” and seem to be a remnant of the feminism of the 60’s.  Rank and file feminists of today have marginalized and abandoned them, choosing to fall in line with the trans agenda.

If you have the chance to read the New Yorker piece at the link above, you’ll want to ask yourselves these questions:  What do the trans activists want?  What do the rad fems want?  What exactly is going on here?  And what has it got to do with me?  On the last point I would say it has everything to do with you.  This is not a debate we can chuckle about on the sidelines.  For those not tuned into the gender wars, this may seem amusing.

But I personally see nothing amusing about it.  There’s something seismic going on beneath the surface and we ought to be very aware of it.  What is really at stake here is not merely a matter of defining what a woman is.  There is a hidden and much bigger question at stake:  “What is a Human?” And that’s the question the trans agenda really intends to settle for each and every one of us.  It’s intended to define all of us and all of our personal relationships.

Let’s pay attention . . . to be continued tomorrow.