Saturday, January 04, 2014

Camille vs Hanna

In my last post I wrote about the American feminist Hanna Rosin's declaration that men are now obsolete.

But men have an unlikely defender: the lesbian academic Camille Paglia. She's written a column of her own in Time magazine in which she complains that feminism has been unjustly hostile to men:
A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism.

And that feminism has denied sex distinctions between men and women:
Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology.

The hostility to men and the suppression of sex distinctions does not make for a happy personal life for women:
When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women.

Again, it's noteworthy that it takes a lesbian academic to remind us of this aspect of heterosexuality. Men have a stronger sense of themselves as men when in the presence of truly feminine women; women have a more profound sense of themselves as women when in the presence of strongly masculine men. Therefore, in attacking masculinity women are damaging something that they need for themselves.

Camille Paglia makes another interesting point, namely that many feminists, despite claiming to be leftists, end up seeing participation in the market as the highest end in life. They do not escape the "economism" of the right:
What is troubling in too many books and articles by feminist journalists in the U.S. is, despite their putative leftism, an implicit privileging of bourgeois values and culture. The particular focused, clerical and managerial skills of the upper-middle-class elite are presented as the highest desideratum, the ultimate evolutionary point of humanity.

Camille Paglia then reminds feminist triumphalists, who believe that men are done for, that civilisations rise and fall, and that in a declining civilisation women will inevitably need the support of men. Even now, women still rely on men to keep the wheels turning:
Indeed, men are absolutely indispensable right now, invisible as it is to most feminists, who seem blind to the infrastructure that makes their own work lives possible. It is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments...The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role — but women were not its author.

1 comment:

  1. The only puzzling thing about Paglia is that she hasn't yet figured out that she's a natural conservative. She's really a lot more conservative than the vast majority of today's self-proclaimed conservatives. She's one of the few feminists who is always worth listening to.