Monday, November 10, 2003

The Independent Women's Forum

The Independent Women's Forum (IWF) is one of the girls' auxiliaries to the extreme right wing. They are a feisty lot of gals who spend their days feminist-bashing. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd suspect they suffer from some sort of a collective obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): "Who oppresses males?" Answer: "The Feminists." "Who controls the universities and colleges?" Answer: "The Feminists." "Who causes the big bad government to meddle with the oh-so-innocent markets?" Answer: "The Feminists." "Who falsifies research?" Answer: "The Feminists." "Who attacks Jane Austen?" Answer:"The Feminists." And so on, ad infinitum.

You'd think that at least a couple of this world's problems would be attributable to some other people. But no. Whatever the problem, the IWF gals always blame the feminists for it.

This smacks of OCD, because one of the hallmarks of OCD is that its sufferer worries endlessly about something quite unrealistic. And I believe that the feminists, whom America loves about as much as it does Karl Marx, do qualify as an unrealistic threat to the things the IWF holds dear. Especially the kind of bogeywomen that the IWF has created by putting together all the most extreme statements any feminist of any sort has ever made (and, believe me, some of them are pretty extreme), and by attributing them all to one monolithic group: The Feminists. Which actually doesn't exist.

But of course there is no such thing as a collective OCD, either. And the women of the IWF are smart chicks, with quite a few law degrees tucked into their Chanel handbags and the astonishing ability to promptly interpret any research results, however far these might be from the woman's own field of specialization. I must admit I am green with envy.

So what are these smart ladies after? Is it too rash to suggest that they are beavering away at the task their brothers in politics have set them, viz. the demolition of any and all female opposition to some of the current GOP ideology? Probably, for that would make them dependent women. Still, this wild conjecture is given some credibility by the neat way in which the IWF and the rest of the right wing have divvied up the political battlefield; you know, men against men, women against women. After all, a gentleman never hits a lady.

Is this theory just another feminist myth? We'll see. If the IWF website and writings suddenly start including a sprinkling of attacks against nonfeminist women and, dare one hope, even against a Republican man or two, I'll buy the idea that these gals truly are independent. I'll even join the IWF, especially if they let me be the expert in some exciting field I never got around to studying.