373. Oppression (VII)
Camille Paglia has a notable quote to the effect that if it was up to women we would all occupy mud huts; in other words, if you want a civilisation then it is all up to the men. As Futurama—a series I subjected to intense study during my undergraduate degree—put it, in an episode where sexbots have replaced normal sexual relations: “It turns out everything humans did—art, science, cookery—was just to impress the opposite sex.” Subsequently, civilisation collapses since everyone is far too satisfied with their sexbots to sustain the economy, invent new technologies, or fend off alien invasion. To return to Paglia, the reason we do not live in mud huts—in the West, anyway—can be found in the need for men to signal their status to women through attainment; of course, in an advanced industrial society, not all that attainment will be practical—a lot will be costly signalling, a peacock’s tail.
Pace Paglia, women have never invented anything—and that includes feminism. The duller men—actually, the lower-status men—produce long YouTube videos about those “irrational” feminists and they supposedly dream that one day we will have artificial wombs (there is nothing more sure to induce cringe than a man who pretends he wants children, as these anti-feminists often do). In this worldview, feminism springs from woman’s irrational nature—helped along by the more spiteful and ugly women. Yet women have never invented anything; ergo, they did not invent feminism—a man did that.
Indeed, if you look at the history of feminism you will find that feminist thought in whatever age you choose iterates from a man. So liberal feminism is associated with Mary Wollstonecraft; and she gave a feminine spin to ideas she found in Tom Paine and her lover William Godwin. Wollstonecraft’s seminal feminist text is called A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; and it is…derivative, a copy. She read Paine’s and Godwin’s radical pamphlets and then put a female spin on their work; spare rib thought. It was always this way. Simone de Beauvoir famously scored higher on her philosophy exams at university than her lover Jean-Paul Sartre, but her feminism is just Sartre’s existentialism for girls. Women can be great girl swots, little miss perfects; but they never originate anything—even Paglia imitates her master, Harold Bloom.
Why would men invent feminism, though? Feminists “hate” men! There are a few reasons for this to be so: for anyone who opposes private property it is pretty much essential to assert women are the same as men. Women have been treated as property—“objectified”—for centuries, they are evolved to be property. If you want to abolish private property then the so-called liberation of women is programmatically essential. For some men, such as Dickens and John Stuart Mill, support for feminism—or feminist measures, such as easy divorce—stemmed from selfish desire to dissolve their own marriages or marry taken women; they were just careful enough to couch their selfishness in benevolent terms, mere concern for the welfare of women.
More significant still is feminism as a status signal. The lower orders—being more dull on average—tend to mistreat their women and animals, beat them and swear at them. Therefore, high-status people show deference and politeness to females—perhaps even tip their fedora to m’lady. To develop and defend feminism takes this tendency, essentially politeness, to the extreme: women become perfectly good victims in a wicked male world.
Only a working-class lout would say, “That’s women’s work,” with reference to the washing up. A high-status person thinks that is a deplorable opinion to express (possibly they have a maid to do the dishes, not their wife). So men invented feminism to pursue their selfish anti-social aims or to signal status; and so anti-feminists, with their loud complaints about irrational and ugly women, fall into the trap: they look like low-status louts—typical uneducated misogynists; education means, of course, to know to lie better.