In a provocative piece for National Review called “Jailhouse Feminism,” author Mary Ebersadt (“How The West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization”) takes aim at the angry, aggressive, frequently vulgar and often obscene face of the new feminism.
Here’s an excerpt:
Second, when today’s woman-talk is understandable, its tone is hard to take for a different reason: It is remarkably aggressive and angry. Fifty years ago, Susan Sontag wrote of what she called “camp sensibility”; this label quickly caught on, and signaled an ethos Sontag defined by artifice, stylization, “neutrality concerning content,” and overall “apoliticism.” Today’s feminism exhibits instead what might be called jailhouse sensibility — a purposefully tough, at times thuggish filtering of reality that is deliberately stripped of decoration or nicety; snarling, at times animalistic; instantaneous in taking offense; in all, a pose toward life more common in a prison yard than among relatively well-off beneficiaries of higher education.
Promiscuity is practically sacramental in this place. It’s all hook-up, all the time, as popular music by self-described “feminist” artists proves handily. In the aforementioned song “Slut Like You,” a quintessential anthem of the day, self-described feminist singer Pink mocks the idea of falling in love, adding, “I just wanna get some” and “Wham bam thank you ma’am / Boo-hoo / I’m a slut like you.” A 2010 video by singer Ciara, co-starring a mechanical bull, was so untoward that Black Entertainment Television declined to air it. Rihanna, who also professes to be a feminist standard-bearer, can make Miley Cyrus’s performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards look like Julie Andrews twirling in the Alps.
One symptom of all this is that trying to find a recent photo of Miley Cyrus that wasn’t suggestive or downright salacious wasn’t easy.
And part of the problem, in Eberstadt’s view, is that the sexual revolution and the ongoing disintegration of the family — along with infantilization of men and the marginalizing of traditional masculinity — has had a seriously detrimental effect on women.
And a bit more:
After all, the revolution reduced the number of men who could be counted on to serve as protectors from time to time, and in several ways. Broken homes put father figures at arm’s length, at times severing that parental bond for good. The ethos of recreational sex blurred the line between protector and predator, making it harder for many women to tell the difference. Meanwhile, the decline of the family has reduced the number of potentially protective men — fewer brothers, cousins, uncles, and others who could once have been counted on to push back against other men treating mothers or sisters or daughters badly. In some worse-off neighborhoods, the number of available men has been further reduced by dramatic rates of incarceration. And simultaneously, the overabundance of available sexual partners has made it harder to hold the attention of any one of them — as has the diminished social and moral cachet of what was once the ultimate male attention-getter, marriage.
In the end, the war between the sexes has casualties on all sides, both for adults and for children (the next generation’s adults). Male and female we are created, and we are designed for union. Women need men, and men need women, and each should be good to the other.
Simple to say and hard to achieve, especially as long as both sexes come at each other from a place of anger, domination and suspicion. Feminism, which once sought to free women, has now imprisoned them in grievance and perpetual victimhood.
Fortunately, as Catholics, we have things like the Theology of the Body to help us navigate a path toward the mutual love and self-giving Christ asks of all His people, male and female.
Image: Miley Cyrus, from Wikimedia Commons