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Gender trouble - time to bury the feminist hatchet?

The Local · 14 Oct 2009, 16:26

Published: 14 Oct 2009 16:26 GMT+02:00

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The notion that "too much freedom makes you miserable," is not a new theme that women have to deal with but it is one that is often cited when a period of societal self-reflection comes around.

"To be a woman at the close of the twentieth century - what good fortune. Women have 'made it' the style pages cheer. Women's fight for equality has 'largely been won'."

So began Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author Susan Faludi her zeitgeist book "Backlash - The Undeclared War Against Women" at the heart of the last major financial crisis in the beginning of the 1990s.

As Jeanne Rudbeck writes in these pages, women have even won the right to turn their backs on their careers, to cry "I am a homemaker, and proud of it."

It is also, while not an age, perhaps more of a passing phase, when a little known exile Swede can grab the headlines by arguing that men are pathetic for exercising the same right (albeit as Rudbeck points out, temporarily - very few of us are living in a celebrity Hollywood context after all).

Anna Anka it now seems also deserves to be considered a feminist, to be discussed on a par with Simone de Beauvoir - the French author of a foundational tract of contemporary feminism, as well as Swedish national icon, Alva Myrdal.

Rudbeck, like Faludi, continues to observe that despite this victorious "free and equal reality" women have never been more miserable.

Indeed there is a whole business, several in fact, which are built and thrive on this situation. Cosmopolitan fills just one small niche in a fashion and beauty industry that trades on this misery to offer quick fix solutions to this deep-rooted malaise:

"Breast implants - why compromise?"

"The wonder bra - pushing up for your freedom"

"Lip enhancement surgery - why settle for less?"

...Cosmo's objectifying message dressed up as a woman's right to choose - "because you're worth it".

"If women have got what they asked for, what could possibly be the matter now?" Faludi asks.

It is the fault of the "feminists," Rudbeck writes - the "Alva Myrdals and Simone de Beauvoirs who promised freedom from domestic prison and self-actualization in the workplace."

"Feminists" are habitually held to blame for nearly every "woe besetting women, from mental depression to meagre savings accounts, from teenage suicides to eating disorders to bad complexions," Faludi observes.

"Feminism" is also apparently to blame for many of the woes besetting men - turning Swedish men into "nappy-changing nonces" who have lost touch with their "real" selves.

For a group (women) who perform two-thirds of the world's work, receive only 10 percent of the world's income, and own 1 percent of the world's land (Sida), they sure shoulder a whole lot of blame - for seemingly very little reward.

Violence against women is also habitually blamed on women in general - skirts too short, too much alcohol consumed... you get the picture; and "feminists" in particular - for fooling generations of women into believing that they actually do have the right to say no.

In "Flickan och skulden" ('The girl and the guilt') Swedish writer Katarina Wennstam describes in harrowing detail how the old tale of the "Madonna and the whore" is showing at a courtroom near you.

So "the buyers' remorse" to which Jeanne Rudbeck refers is, as she explains, hardly surprising when faced with this situation more than 60 years since the publication of de Beauvoir's groundbreaking tome "The Second Sex".

The price for all this "equality nonsense" is an empty bed and barren womb with a forehead bruised bloody by banging on the glass ceiling it seems - "women can't have it all..."

But can men? - apparently not. They are just as miserable in their dead end jobs, Rudbeck writes - although not presumably the men who can afford to employ a full time maid and nanny sorry housewife.

Susan Faludi's follow up book to "Backlash" addressed just this subject. In "Stiffed - The Betrayal of the Modern Man", published almost a decade later, she lays out the case.

She writes of "The Promise of Postwar Manhood" where little boys were brought up to believe that the future lay in their hands - to roll back the dark forces of communism, to conquer the stars, to claim their fortunes etc, etc.

The truth is that very few of us go on to claim our fortunes, even fewer make it into space. The wisdom of age does provide solace though, and hopefully helps to persuade us that our fortunes can be measured in a myriad of ways.

How many 55-year-old men, who have been selling paper for 30 years of their lives, look back with regret over all that time they could have spent at work?

What are an amazing number of little girls (still) promised? That if they wait long enough, and wear a pretty enough dress, every princess gets her knight in a shiny pin-stripe suit.

Anna Anka, and to an extent Jeanne Rudbeck in turn, point out that if that is your destiny - and don't complain, it could be a damn sight worse - at least make sure he wears the type of clothing that requires dry cleaning.

The point is we are all sold a dream. It is part of the script of childhood to believe in that dream. It is part of the script of adulthood to at least recognise its complexity.

So next time you visit your friends' house - you know the one with a blue, spaceship room for the boy, and a pink, princess room for the girl - ask yourself whether the adult world, which really should know better by now, has a hand in propagating, and perpetuating, this mythical dream.

That myth of uncomplicated happiness, in that grown up reality which exists outside of the pages of a glossy mag or a 'reality' television show.

Lest we continue to miss the point - Anna Anka does not represent some (largely fleeting if not entirely fabricated) 1950s ideal of devoted family wife - she employs an army of assistants while claiming to work full time, at the same time arguing not for a woman's "right" to be a mother, but that it is her "station" in life.

Feminism, like capitalism, liberalism, communism, socialism or any other ism that you care to mention does not promise happiness or bust. Let's face it; had we had happiness as a yardstick for progress we would have done away with our whole system of wealth accumulation years ago.

So what it is that makes us carry on?

Story continues below…

Well many of us, in the developed world at least, don't - the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter just this week is running a series of articles on "downsizing", or "voluntary simplicity" - a sort of post-modern "green wave" that permits us to benefit from the upside of capitalist consumption while tempering its negative effects.

But for those of us that can't resist the lure of the high street, and are determined to continue trying to push a square peg into a round hole, regardless of the emotional cost - you can always blame your malaise on Adam and Eve, well Eve let's face it.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson is a freelance writer living in Stockholm. He is currently on paternity leave with the youngest of his three children, despite the World Cup not taking place until next summer.

Jeanne Rudbeck responds

Anna Anka is politically incorrect, and that made the author mad. So be it.

In his article, Peter Vinthagen Simpson seems to imply that I condone violence against women and slave labour.

Dragging these abominations into a light piece on a docusoap star serves only to trivialize serious issues.

Here are a few facts about the feminist icons mentioned above: Simone de Beauvoir pimped the young students entrusted to her for use by her partner, Jean-Paul Sartre.

Alva Myrdal advocated compulsory sterilization of women she deemed unfit to breed. Her book Nation and Family is credited with having inspired the Swedish eugenics program which continued until 1975.

Anna Anka is harmless compared to these supposed heroines.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:21 October 19, 2009 by shame, shame
Looks like The Local has some feisty characters, although I don't think too much should be made of the above exchange.

Jeanne Rudbeck is right to respond that her article was a piece about a harmless docusoap star, and that this one addresses issues of an altogether broader and more serious nature.

Anna Anka is the only, apparently tenuous, connection.

The two articles read together do raise an interesting point though - are women (and men for that matter) miserable because/despite the fact that they have the freedom to choose, or because that freedom remains a distant prospect despite decades of struggle to that end?
22:12 October 19, 2009 by SwedishRice
'For a group (women) who perform two-thirds of the world's work, receive only 10 percent of the world's income, and own 1 percent of the world's land (Sida), they sure shoulder a whole lot of blame - for seemingly very little reward."

Women do two-thirds of the world's work? I hardly think so. I would like to see the proof in this statement.
12:37 October 20, 2009 by Byggare Bob
those figures jumped out at me too!

I googled the para and the stats come up in a range of sources. Seem to originate in the Joburg world sustainable development conference from 2002.

It has something to do with a. agricultural work and b.how work/economic production is measured. i.e. if you employ and pay a cleaner at home it is counted and calculated as work, but if you do it yourself it is generally not.
14:53 October 20, 2009 by the pigeon hunter
@ byggare bob: so based on the information you gave, do the figures in the article include work women do as housewifes or not?

i assume you meant to say that those figures do actually take into account the cooking, cleaning and child care - did i understand you correctly?
08:39 October 21, 2009 by karex
@the pigeon hunter

It does not include work done by housewives: "...but if you do it yourself it is generally not..."

Women cooking and cleaning only counts as a "real" job when they actually earn a wage/salary for it, i.e., when it involves being hired by a famiy to work in their home (housekeepers), or cleaning offices and companies.
12:09 October 21, 2009 by the pigeon hunter
ah okay, i thought he meant the opposite, that _normally_ it is not counted but in this case it was.

anyway, it kinda pisses me off, how someone like this daisy duck person can trigger these discussions. she is ridiculous and she should just plain be ignored.
12:41 October 22, 2009 by karex
@the pigeon hunter

I agree. The lady in question, as a friend of mine is fond of saying "probably only has two neurons and both were on vacation when she gave her interviews". Of course, this is just my own humble opinion.

However, all the attention she's getting is really our fault - we're the ones who get all worked up about the things she says. :D Perhaps that was her intention all along? What if it turns out that she actually doesn't believe in any of this and is just wants the media attention?
08:32 October 23, 2009 by unixorn
"Rudbeck, like Faludi, continues to observe that despite this victorious "free and equal reality" women have never been more miserable."

There has been a disproportionate rise in depression and suicide among women as compared to men. I believe that feminism is inherently opposed to feminity as it advocates masculine traits in women.

If feminism had advocated a respect for feminity to achieve equality they would have achieved equality and fostered a respect for womanhood in the true sense. Instead they have advocated that women be more masculine as a way to achieve respect.

As a result women have adopted many negative traits of men - smoking and drinking and there has been a rise in violence and crime by women.

I agree with the quote that women have never been more miserable.
15:42 October 23, 2009 by ladyontop
well said unixorn. you pointed out the what was wrong of this feminism movement. The side effects of this is women are somehow more miserable then ever. They strive to be 'like a man' instead of achieving equal gender being a real women.
20:24 November 15, 2009 by American Avenger
I as an American find it quite interesting that Scandinavians would consider the entitlement movement and or Hate Movement of mostly white upper class women to be a REAL Rights movement.

I guess this is because Scandinavia has not had any real issues to deal with so they have adopted a phony top down movement like Feminism.

As a Black American MRA has said, "When we see white feminist, facing down water cannons and police dogs then we might consider them oppressed for real"

Personally I welcome the Backlash against the narcissistic self absorbed FemiNazi scum that are causing havoc in the family systems around the world. The are one of the Evils of our time.

It might be time for Scandinavian men to realize that a minority brother will cover you back in a real fight where a white female no mater how attractive she is, really is nothing other than a bed buddy and she will screw another guy at the first opportunity.

Im not saying that all women are of no common since, but there are NO GOOD feminist, as there are NO good Marxist.

So in essence women have NEVER been oppressed, especially NOT white women who have always lived in affluent societies and have at all time had members in wealthy easy living standard compared with many men around the world.

Women Liberation is a Lie and a Sham, and Feminism is basically a Hate Movement organized around wealthy upper class women boredom with there wealthy husbands.

BE a Real Man, and join the resistance, and kick the assess of the upper class alpha gorillas and his Harem.

And link up with other guys that are involved in this fight against the Women's Liberation sham!



21:04 November 15, 2009 by MikeeUSA2
Some Men's Rights Movement (if there exists such a thing) commentators have, at diffrent times, tried to come up with a nice declaration of what the "movement" is all about, or what it should be all about, or what they would like it to be all about. They've drafted rather long documents containing points that they think men should agree with, stand by, and together fight for implementation, etc. These documents containined both "rights" and "responsibilities"; they were rather constraining, and really didn't object much to the current pro-women's rights culture nor say anything that was very benificial to men's wishes at all (well, how benificial can words ever be?). Here's my contribution to the haystack:

The prerogative of a Man is to find for himself a mate. So much as he avoids taking another man's mate, no barrier (legal or customary) should be placed to obstruct him.

Females should be married off to men once said females are able to have children (usually at age 12, 13, or 14.)

The "penalty" for the rape of a young unmarried female should be that she is awarded to the man as a permanent wife of his (As stated in Deuteronomy 22)

Men should rape their wives at will.

Females should obey their husbands in all things, as if they were domestic servants.

If a nation seeks to opress its men by denying them these liberties, than it should be destroyed.

Death To women's Rights

Viva Men's Liberty

Liberty (for Men). Equality (amongst Men). Fraternity


21:54 November 15, 2009 by American Avenger
She writes of (Bitch Susan Faludi's) "The Promise of Postwar Manhood" where little boys were brought up to believe that the future lay in their hands - to roll back the dark forces of communism, to conquer the stars, to claim their fortunes etc, etc.

Ok well if you look up Susan Faludi in Wikipedia here is what you find?

The first thing you see is "Faludi was born to a Jewish family in Queens, New York in 1959 and grew up in Yorktown Heights,"

Big Surprise there!

The vast majority of spies and sellouts in the US during the cold war were NY Jews, as they were in Pre War Germany, until Hitler killed a few million of them.

So let me clarify this UP FRONT!

No Socialist Jew from the Queens NY has ANY credibility on ANY topic involving Communism or the COLD WAR IN THE US IN THE 1950's AMERICA!

So as a REAL American, and someone who actually had relatives that both spent time in prison camps and died fighting for your worthless Jewish feminist ass.

Sit Down and STFU!

Got That!

So I think we can pretty much lay the blame for the lack of advancement of the US space program and various other idiocies, at the feet of such social engineers as the above mentioned bitch.

Her main objective with these books is to explain away her and other hippies involvement in F-ing up the United States in post WW2 America.

Had the US stayed out of that war the Germans would have finished off Jewish Communism all together world wide, so the set of problems we have inherited from people like her would not exist today. What we should remember is that both Jewish Communist and German Nazis are and were extremist, and control fanatics. Nether one is fit to be involved in a free society.

But today mostly what we have to deal with is the Blundering ignorant feminist Hate Mongers and their anti male and anti freedom stance.

Which once again is sort of puzzling why Scandinavian women follow these Jewish Bitches around as it they were some kind of Prophets. Especially considering the same Jewish Bitches routinely refer to them as Shiksa. Which translated means Unkosher Meat.

You would think with all the stereo types surrounding Scandinavian Women, such as the Dumb Blond thing, they would not want to actually PROVE the stereo type right.
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