Friday, January 14, 2005

Masculine is Bad; Feminine is Also Bad

It seems that this is what I think, at least according to the The Leadership Institute which trains future conservatives to be political leaders. The website of the Institute has a handy checklist of the values of the "Ultra Left", and one of those values is that lefties think that masculine and feminine are both bad.

As the terms are not defined it's hard for me to know how to respond. What do these guys mean by "masculine" and "feminine"? They don't say, but a careful reading suggests that they are talking about men bringing the bacon home and women cooking it.

They may also be talking about the possibility that women and men have different sex roles because the conservative god has made us that way (there is a Phyllis Schaffly quote to that effect), or the atheist wingnut's version of this: that we are fixed by evolution so that men are active and horny and women are passive and coy. In any case, the argument boils down to the idea that conservatives like strictly segragated roles for men and women whereas liberals don't.

There is some truth to that, of course, because sex roles set in stone will hurt all those people who don't fit into these roles. They will also make equal opportunity very hard if not impossible. But the Leadership Institute doesn't pay much attention to this; instead, they give us a few extremist feminist quotes (some from demonstrators in protests, for example) to show how crazy feminists are. Well, as you know (if you have read my blog before), extremist quotes tend to show that the extremist quoted is crazy. That's why we use them in political debate. The effect is even stronger if the quote is taken out of context (though I never do this as I have high moral standards). And I should point out that the extremists I quote on my blog are the ones who say that they are 51% of this country which would make them mainstream and their statements nonextremist. Though they still sound crazy.

Studying the wingnuts' views of us can be useful if you can get past the red-hot anger stage. For example, you learn where your ignorant wingnut neighbor gets his talking points and you can prepare for proper responses. You also learn how the real talking points of liberals and progressives and feminists are totally absent on these conservative checklists. There is nothing about domestic violence or equal political participation by sex or labor market discrimination on the Leadership Institute's description of our species. Nothing. Feminists are feminists because they hate masculinity and because they hate femininity, too, and Robin Morgan and Andrea Dworkin are trotted out as the proof. Funnily enough, the countergirls are Phyllis Schaffly and Ann Coulter! Talk about polarization.

I'm not fond of polarization because very few things in this world are truly naturally polarized. But the wingnuts have chosen polarization as their major weapon in the war to annihilate all opposition, and it is so hard to find anything else but opposing polarization to fight them. A non-polarizing response to many of their arguments requires reams and reams of pages about evidence and nuance and all that wimpy stuff, and few will read through it. At least if it's written by me or others who write condensed.

But just to make this very clear: I don't think that masculinity or femininity is bad though I dislike beer can mobiles and furry car dice and pink frills on everything.
Original link by Biblio.