Feminism was never Not Rotten

by Karen Straughan (a.k.a. GirlWritesWhat)

Years ago, when I embarked on my investigation into the feminist movement and what it has become, I subscribed to the understanding that there had once existed a magical age of feminism. Of course I did. It was common knowledge, even among anti-feminists, that early feminism was a noble and well-intentioned movement, and that somewhere along the way it was hijacked by lunatics and man-haters bent on female supremacy.

I was curious as to exactly when, and by what means, this virtuous movement had been corrupted, so I went on something of an archaeological expedition, digging through piles of documents and old news articles and treatises from as far back as the late 1800s and earlier, transcripts of speeches given by well-known suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony.

My unexpected findings were as follows: Feminism has never been a righteous movement seeking equality. The “noble” Suffragettes were soaked in sexism, classism, racism, eugenics enthusiasm and the mindless pursuit of female privilege. The Declaration of Sentiments, widely believed to be the official manifesto of the First Wave, was nothing more than a hate-filled screed, simultaneously indicting and convicting the male sex of the wholesale criminal enslavement and subjugation of all women, through all of history.

I found a First Wave populated by terrorists and elitists who did little to conceal their malice, dishonesty and thirst for power. They were skilled at isolating any given statute from its full context and declaring it as discrimination against women, even when the overall set of laws to which it belonged conferred immense privilege on women. And always, their “reforms” focused on the one, isolated statute, always leaving those privileging women untouched.

They sought, and received, the automatic right of mothers to custody of children after divorce, but did nothing to change the financial obligation of fathers to provide all material necessities to said children.

They sought, and received, the right within marriage to hold and keep their own property and income untouchable by their husbands, but did nothing to change the legal obligation of husbands to financially support their wives, to pay their wives taxes, or to repay their wives debts.

They sought, and received, the right to vote, but did nothing to change the civic obligations of men toward the state, including military conscription, which had informed the primary justifications for universal male suffrage, nor did they campaign to impose any such obligations on women.

And through every effort on the part of those early feminists ran a vein of resentment, blame and indifference toward men. Resentment of “privileges” that were bought and paid for by men through their formal obligations to others. Blame cast on men for single-handedly constructing the entire system with no care or concern for women’s wellbeing, safety or happiness, seats in lifeboats nothwithstanding. Indifference to the responsibilities imposed on men by this same system, or the male sacrifice, hardship and suffering which resulted.

While men were dying in their thousands to win the right to form a union and earn enough to support their wives and children, early feminists were campaigning for a woman’s right to take a man’s children away from him through separation or divorce, and still enjoy the same access to his wallet she’d become accustomed to in marriage.

While men were dying in their millions to protect societies in which most men didn’t have the vote, early feminists were terrorizing and injuring innocent civilians, demanding votes for women.

I was, to be honest, appalled by the entitlement of those early feminists, and by the nonchalance with which they portrayed men, as a sex, as not just capable of, but guilty of, treating their own wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters with sociopathic disregard. Little wonder these selfish, elitist, divisive women were, contrary to the revisionist history we’ve all been fed, no more popular among ordinary women back then than their modern counterparts are today.

A friend of mine has said that modern feminism is simply feminism without the mask. But my investigations showed me that feminism has never worn a mask. It has never needed to conceal the bitter core of hatred, blame, prejudice and supremacy that form its nucleus

Suffragettes were notorious domestic terrorists, lobbing bombs, lacing letter boxes with acid, setting fire to train stations, and even attempting to assassinate the British Prime Minister. But far from attempting to conceal their crimes, they relied on traditional notions of chivalry to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions. And the very subjects of their ceaseless hate campaign — men — eventually gave them everything they wanted, and more.

Pretending that First Wave feminism was virtuous not only erases the systemic injustices of which they were the primary architects, it erases the anti-male resentment and blame that have always infected the roots of the movement. It’s time we stop idealizing them, and begin seeing the entirety of feminsism for what it really is.

History is written by the victors, and feminism has been on a winning streak since its inception. Within that official history we are told only good things about the “brave women who risked their lives for women’s equality”. Some may find it deeply upsetting to discover that feminism has never been the righteous movement we’ve been told it was, but we have a moral obligation to examine political movements and history with our rose-tinted glasses off before we form an opinion. To do otherwise is to indulge in the wishful thinking of children.

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Posted by Karen Straughan

8 thoughts on “Feminism was never Not Rotten

  1. I think your right in saying ( bourgeois)feminism was always kind of rotten. Many of the sufraggettes would hand out chicken feathers to men who hadnt signed up for WW1, trying to shake them into fulfilling their “masculine” role and get themselves killed. That’s pretty cruel and hypocritical. Then there’s the whole dark history of feminists and eugenics. That being said, patriarchy was real, women did not have equal rights and were in a subservient position. It was never as one sided as It was made out to be. As for Marxism, it’s important to keep in mind it’s an almost extinct ideology now, occasionally hijacked and abused by the rad-libs. Marxism in it’s heyday was both deeply concerned with women’s liberation and real equality but highly critical of bourgeois feminism. Marxist women such as Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, Elanor Marx, Alexandra Kollentai, Lucy Parsons, Helen Keller etc did not identify with feminism and were loath to consign themselves to a pink ghetto. They were deeply interested in organizing women workers alongside men, not against men, though that occasionally meant challenging male prejudices it was from a completely different place than all this “male privilege” talk and all this misandry. It was in men’s objective interests to welcome women into the ranks of the labor movement, or immigrants or racial minorities, instead of letting the boss use them as scabs. People throw this moddish term “intersectionality” around but a genuine working class socialist( but not Stalinist) politics was the ultimate intersectionity.

    Womens liberation or even black liberation Jewish liberation etc was seen as merely a part of human liberation not something separate. Much of today’s ostensibly left identity politics are really right wing, not left wing. Like Zionism, at first many Zionists were socialists but they’re tribalism turned them into fascists. Male chauvinism is real but frankly a lot of feminists just sound like mirror images of male chauvinist. Today’s feminism is deeply complicit in so many evils the left claims to be against, like the prison industrial complex. Old school Marxists were right to keep this stuff at arms length because it’s rotted the left from within. You practically aren’t allowed to be a leftist anymore if you won’t pay lip service to this misandrist feminism.

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  2. I would absolutely love to wade through these documents as you did, Karen. Would you mind letting me know where you began the journey? It’s challenging wading through the feminist dialogue to find evidence of the truth you so eloquently shared 😉 Thanks so much.

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  3. Thanks for this. I had a bit of a bad tempered debate with an MRA who claimed feminism was invented by Marxists once they realised Marxism had failed. I tried to argue that feminism began at least 80 before the Russian revolution. But she wasn’t having any, ‘cos she’s a better MRA then I am. She’ll probably believe you, though. Go figure…

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    1. The funniest thing about it was that she just assumed you were an MRA in the first place.

      But seriously, I think it is counterproductive to go around trumpeting real or imagined connections between feminism and Marxism. It destroys focus and undermines SAF message discipline.

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  4. Absolutely hair-raising, frightening story. Makes you wonder if we’re not in the middle of an irreparable dystopia, or at least on the brink of it.
    I miss a bit the hard facts: figures, citations etc. Not that I doubt for a moment Karen can come up with them. But to let this read to people who doubt about all this won’t convince them.

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    1. I would imagine that Karen’s story needs to become a fully fledged book with the detail you speak of. Hopefully she’s building up to that…but it’s something that would need to be done very thoroughly, and at the same time fully informed about the suffering that women did genuinely go through – and some way of understanding and reconciling the two phenomena…so quite a task altogether.

      Possibly something best achieved in collaboration with another writer – Warren Farrell comes to mind!

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  5. Second wave feminism succeeded, through the gynocentrism that plagued Western culture in the 1980’s, in completely revising the history of the suffragettes.

    This is an excellent article that exposes that cultural revisionism that led to feminism becoming a supremacy movement, and a hate movement, at the expense of men in our culture.

    The result of that supremacy movement has been to destroy the possibility of men exercising their natural virtues, and, as a result of creating a culture without male virtues, our cultures and our civilization are deteriorating at a lightning pace.

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