Monday, September 03, 2007

The Dialectics of Anti-Feminism

Probably not dialectics, but that makes for a good and ponderous title for this post which is about a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece about what the Republican Party can offer for women: In short, less government interference in their lives, more overtime and less taxes.

The op-ed piece, by Kimberley Strassel, is called "What Women Want. How the GOP can Woo the Ladies", and it employs many of the usual wingnut frames on feminist issues. Like this one:

The Democrats' own views of what counts for "women's issues" are stuck back in the disco days, about the time Ms. Clinton came of political age. Under the title "A Champion for Women," the New York senator's Web site promises the usual tired litany of "equal pay" and a "woman's right to choose." Mr. Richardson pitches a new government handout for women on "family leave" and waxes nostalgic for the Equal Rights Amendment. Give these Boomers some bell bottoms and "The Female Eunuch," and they'd feel right at home. Polls show Ms. Clinton today gets her best female support from women her age and up.

I have bolded some of the key terms in that quote. The terms are important, because they point out the gist of this polite form of anti-feminism: Ideas about equality of the sexes are stale, outmoded, not fashionable. They are like disco music or bell bottom trousers, something from the musty pages of history.

Hence Ms. Strassel can call married women the secondary workers in their family without asking why that would be the case, and hence she can also argue that what women really want is more flexibility in the labor market so that they can do the job of childrearing AND the job of working for money, though naturally only as the secondary worker. All women really want in Ms. Strassel's view is a kinder, gentler patriarchy, but somehow that turns into a more jungle-like labor market with fewer worker protections in general.

That's it. It's not necessary to discuss the deeper issues, because the deeper issues are "stale", overdiscussed, water under the bridge. In the present time we live post-feminism, we dress differently, we don't care about fairness or justice or any of those oh-so-stale fashions of the past. So come with me, ladies of the present, and demand that overtime protection be taken down. Us new women don't need it! Or equality, come to that.