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Saturday, March 05, 2016


The Gloria Steinem legacy

Why is Steinem such a controversial figure? The New York Times and some of the immediate reactions from the Right blame Steinem’s promotion of abortion as an unmitigated good. That certainly plays a part. But Steinem’s poison is much, much broader than abortion.

In simplest terms, Steinem sought equality for women not by building them up, but by tearing them down. She trashed traditional women and their work and insisted that we be like men. Of course, since men will always be better at being men in a being men contest, she had to kneecap men, as well. While we focused on manly standards of success, she and the other Ms.’s ripped the idea of masculinity and set up the men versus women discourse we are so familiar with today.

We have sex like men, work like men, and judge ourselves like men because that is the tone Steinem set when she ran a successful coup d’etat against Betty Friedan at the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the ’70s.

Friedan at least tried to right her wrong, but Steinem forced her out of NOW leadership over these doubts and quashed them in the larger movement. Forty years and a heaving pile of unintended consequences later, and Steinem still uses the old shame tactics to get women to comply. That is the root of her comments about young female supporters of Sanders only looking for boyfriends. Tough and independent women would support Hillary. Only boy-seeking, wishy-washy women don’t. You want to be seen as tough and independent, don’t you?

They inflated young women’s self-esteem to the point that they are now so delicate many cannot even handle open debate. They created high demand and advocated for government subsidies that have inflated college costs and exposed young women to crushing debt.

Young women’s feminist grandmothers did promise they could be anything and everything, and did not mention the tradeoffs.

They insisted on delayed childbearing. This has both complicated women’s lives and spawned a massive industry for Assistive Reproductive Technology. And they have so convinced young women that they do best on their own—never depend on a man; they will always hold you back, don’t you know—that young women have little idea how to form partnerships with men beyond the sex. Of sex, of course, those feminist grandmothers fully approve. Causal and often: that is the way the men do it, so that is the way liberated women should do it—always questing for the zipless fuck.

These are Steinem’s offenses, ever so much more than being a happy warrior for abortion. She is a denigrator of the family, traditional women, and an accomplished misandrist to boot. I am shocked that a company whose customers are families would associate their products with someone as destructive to the cultural landscape as Gloria Steinem.

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