So I was reading Margaret Atwood’s article. Yes, I know. What can I say. It’s a very specialized form of masochism.
I wrote a post about it for PJMedia, which hopefully will go live today. It’s about one of the things that truly annoyed me about the article. Just one. Mostly the fact that she doesn’t see the link between her actions and present insanity. It’s like Robespierre stopping at the top of the steps to the guillotine and going “how did things get like this?”
But that’s only a portion of it. There is more. I realized reading her article, as she brings up the obligatory reference to Salem and in general the plight of witches (why are feminists obsessed with witches? I want to take each of these new age twits who think that witches were some kind of feminist heroes, and make them read about Athenais de Montespan and the affair of the poisons. Of course they might approve. Most of the sacrifices were babies) and other things that are as ritualistic to feminists as the rosary to Catholics, it occurred to me (not for the first time. There is an article about it here somewhere) that the problem with current feminism is that these women have gone to battle against the wrong enemy and therefore their tactics and their justifications keep spinning out more and more insane each time: because there is no way to win the battle they set themselves, since it was won before they started off and by means they don’t understand; and because they don’t understand how the battle was won, they keep fearing to lose again.
You see, Margaret brings up again the whine about how women couldn’t own property/weren’t considered fully adults, etc. She also, of course, says that American courts discount accusations of sexual abuse/rape, and that American corporations ignore female complaints of misbehavior by males.
I’m not sure where she’s getting the thing about how courts and corporations behave, but then a person who could think of New England in current day as a theocratic state needs her head examined, because most of her ideas are coming from a highly improbable parallel world, and she doesn’t even realize it.
Sure, of course, Hollywood and publishing might ignore female complaints (and male too, look you) but that’s because they’re oligopolies, with those in power being able to do pretty much anything to their subordinates. They resemble nothing so much as Ancient Rome. Most sane businesses who do you know, real stuff, and aren’t bottlenecks dealing with artists and other obsessives aren’t like that.
But yeah, sure, there was a time (a very long time) when women were treated as something not quite as human as males. I know why too, because unlike the feminists I know more of history than the cant about “couldn’t own property. Were property. Ahhhh, so scary.”
It’s a good idea when looking at historical oppressed groups, particularly those like women, to realize that a) well, the oppression might not have been oppression in the opinion of anyone living at that time b) there must have been a reason for such treatment that was deeper than “all men are villains and want to enslave all women” since patently most men aren’t villains, and most women are their mothers/sisters/daughters, and only a very few men hate all of those.
The reason… is survival.
Life for most men and women, even upper class ones, up to about a hundred years ago sucked rotten goat tit.
Everyone died young. Okay, fine, if you were very wealthy and had damn good genes, you might live to your sixties or seventies, or, improbably, eighties. (I saw my first eighty year old at 14, and he was what we’d now associate with 100. And he was wealthy and from a long lived family. My parents are now older than he was, but they look more like seventies then.) Let’s not forget, ladies and germs that Shakespeare was “very old” at fifty eight which is staring me in the face, and which I have hopes (perhaps foolish) of exceeding and working past for twenty years at least.
But the child mortality was the most shockingly different thing from our own society. It wasn’t even unusual to birth ten children and rear one or or two. High class women in the regency (think the character in Pride and Prejudice) made two infant shrouds as part of their trousseau, because that was the minimum of children they could expect to bury early on, before they had the time to make more. Children or shrouds, now I think about it.
The risks were different for women and men, of course. For men most of the risk was working outside or in dangerous jobs (then as now, statistically, most females did indoor, safe, boring work (though often backbreaking) and most men did outside, strength intensive, dangerous work. For the upper classes this often involved going to war.) For women it was pregnancy and child birth. Even in our days there are so many ways either of those can go seriously wrong and hurt a woman. And in those days, they couldn’t cope with or even diagnose “seriously wrong.”
So…. Think through the implications of this, okay? Most women spent most of their lives pregnant and died young.
The myth of women not working or not being able to work outside the home is just that. I have no idea why the feminists concentrate on a small sliver of the population during a narrow band of time (the Victorian age) except that they’re starting to imitate so many of the Victorian women (fictional) quirks (I need a safe room. That man leered at me. I am scared for life. Give me my smelling salts!) that I think like women reading regency romances, they always imagine themselves as upper class ladies. (Go figure.)
Most women, even middle class women, worked. For the middle class managing a house was at least as important as going out and earning money for such house. Men looked for skilled housekeepers, because otherwise their wealth would be squandered. And often — in my own family’s case — women helped with the business and the business management.
Lower class women often took work they could do in the house, and piecemeal. You know, low paid, repetitive, but safe.
This was not because men didn’t want competition from women stevedores or stone masons. (There were always some, though often they pretended to be men to avoid trouble. Also they were the very extreme of body types for females, obviously.) It was because they were PROTECTING and LOOKING AFTER women, trying to keep them SAFE. Not because they looked down on women, or thought women were “lesser” but because women could do a very important thing that men STILL can’t do (and won’t be able to barring some truly strange science advances): give birth.
Because giving birth was such a high-risk enterprise, and because so many of the products of that enterprise died before pay back of the ah labor involved in bringing them to the world, it was THE most important work of society. Those members able to do it had to be kept in such a situation that it allowed them to maximize that one thing they could do.
As for “the property of their husbands, etc, etc, blah blah blah” work was so brutal and hard, and providing for a family so difficult, that yes, a man wanted to make sure the children he supported were his own.
Also, because of very early (many women married before even 18) death in childbirth, etc, most women skewed younger than men as a population, which would encourage a certain degree of paternalism. On top of that, hate to tell you, but women while hormonal are often not fully rational. We can sort of compensate for it, but one of the pregnancy hormones is SUPPOSED to make you fat, dumb and happy.
I don’t know if most women need a minder while pregnant, but from both personal experience and watching friends go through it, I imagine many women do.
It is therefore only natural that in a society where most women are pregnant most of the time, men would view it was their duty to look after the puir confused things.
When feminists assume that back in a time with no contraceptive, high child mortality and an horrendous death toll of pregnancy, women should have been recognized as the equals of men, and that men were being evil villains for not doing that, they are demonstrating an astonishingly blind and ideological view of history.
In fact, even back in the middle ages and before SOME women were considered the intellectual equals of men. (And sometimes the military equals.) There are very few of them, again, not because The Man was keeping them down, but because the women attracted to intellectual or military pursuits are (like men) a minority and on top of that they tended to be either unmarried, childless, or the percentage of women not much affected by pregnancy. I.e. a minority of minorities.
Women started making advances in what was considered, traditionally, male realms, like science or scholarship, (the others…. well…. there is a problem with upper body strength. Sure. Some women. Again a minority of a minority) or being able to vote when two twin advances occurred: the first was the curbing of infant mortality. When it became obvious (after a generation or so) that most of your babies would survive, it was possible for women to spend only a tiny minority of their lives pregnant.
The second was contraception that was cheap, easily available, and safe. Yeah, okay, I have certain issues with the pill, because the medical issues of using it long term are only now showing up in the population at large. That’s fine.
It remains that even the early “horse-dose” pill was safer than anything else anyone else had ever come up with for women to avoid getting pregnant all the time.
I allow and am amused by the handwavium of “some herbs” in fantasy novels, but most herbs were not contraceptives, but abortificients with the associated risks. There was a berry that worked much like the pill, but it went extinct in Roman times. (eh.)
Not having to spend the majority of their lives pregnant and not dying in disproportionate numbers in child birth gave women “equality” to the extent it can be had in this fallen world.
Because many reflexes remain from the aeons when women were so important they must be protected, in many ways it gave women the upper hand, particularly in social situations.
Which brings us to where we are now.
The “feminists” blind certainty that men oppressed women historically for no reason and “just evil I guess” is partly derived from idiot Marx who thought various parts of society were at odds for “no reason, except evil.” But part of it is caused by both pig blindness and pride. The pig blindness comes from ignoring historical fact. The pride is in imagining themselves as virtuous victims, because their ancestresses were oppressed, and also in being sure that their present equality (to the extent they recognize they have it) comes from their virtuous “struggle” and shoulder to shoulder clamoring.
Because virtue feels so good, they refuse to admit the battle is largely won. And because they think men oppressed women because “evil I guess” they are ever vigilant against a vast conspiracy of men turning around and dragging them back to the bad old times. (Stupid I gu– No, wait, willfully stupid, for sure.) Which leads them into misandry and revenge games.
That this more than anything might bring about a reversal (not likely since physical conditions have changed) as women are judged too petty and infantile to trust with serious business, never occurs to them.
They continue attacking the windmill, unaware of how it looks to sane people, or how society at large might need those windmills to survive.
And, as with most crazy of the left, those of us who are rational and female, are being dragged down along with them.
All because of blindness and pride. If it weren’t likely to involve me and my female descendants, it would be funny. As is, it’s more of a tragedy.