In her book Women and Madness,
Phyllis Chesler perfectly illustrates modern feminism in her statement that,
“Most mother-women give up whatever ghost of a unique and human self they
may have when they marry and raise children.” In order to be “unique” and
retain their “human self,” women must leave their homes and families for
the office to work beside men. They must climb the corporate ladder, earn
high incomes and exert heavy influence over others in order to obtain self-worth.
Chesler points out the fact that, at its root, feminism is a philosophy that
bases a person’s value on success in the career world rather than on who
he or she is as a human; on how tirelessly someone can pursue power and money,
instead of on the inherent value of human life regardless of professional
accomplishment. The modern feminist view holds that if you earn nothing,
you are nothing.
How did such a materialist philosophy of self-worth come to be in America?
Its history can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution. During that
time, men left the home and migrated to the big cities to compete in the
new industrial climate. Up until that point, most men had worked in agrarian
settings near their wives and children, creating worth in the family homestead
as opposed to worth in the corporate world. But when modern industry moved
into American life, fathers left for the cities and mothers were left alone
to care for the children. This was the first step toward establishing a system
basing human worth on jobs and income.
When the Sexual Revolution swung into full gear during the latter half of
the 20th century, a similar phenomenon occurred, one that contributed even
more to American materialism and the family’s breakdown: women gradually
began leaving the home. Public schooling in the form of glorified child sitting
made it possible for women to leave most childrearing responsibility to the
care of the state, television and McDonalds.
These two events, men leaving the home during the Industrial Revolution and
women leaving during the Sexual Revolution, energized feminism’s materialistic
view of human self-worth. In less than a century, a sizeable portion of society
shifted its concept of human dignity–not just for women, but for men as well–from
accomplishments inside the home to accomplishments outside the home.
Ideas have consequences, and the consequences of feminist materialism have
been disastrous. The 2000 census reports that traditional families account
for only about one fourth of American households. Like feminist Linda Gordon
said, “The nuclear family must be destroyed.” Can anyone doubt that Gordon’s
hope is coming to fruition? Can anyone question that traditional families
are going the way of the dinosaur?
Friedrich Engels, one of the fathers of communism, wrote in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State:
“The first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole
female sex into public industry…this in turn demands the abolition of the
monogamous family as the economic unit of society.” This is the key goal
of both feminism and communism. Destroy the traditional family, and Western
nations will crumble.
That certainly seems to be happening. Along with the decline of traditional
families has come the decline in birth rates in Western nations. In Great
Britain the fertility rate is only 1.6 children per woman; in many Balkan
nations the birth rate has dropped to 1.2 children; fertility in Spain is
the worst of any European nation at just over one child per woman. Such statistics
prove beyond a doubt that Western societies are adopting the feminist philosophy
that children are a hindrance to “the good life.”
We no longer look at children as God’s blessing, nor do we view a warm and
loving family as a gift. Instead, we search for fulfillment in material possessions
rather than relationships, in self-indulgence rather than self-sacrifice.
Feminism has ripped the traditional family to shreds, all in the name of
liberating women. But instead of liberation, feminism has promulgated a belief
that has dramatically wounded our society, and healing that wound is not
an easy task. But it is possible.
Recognizing the problem is the first step. As Dr. Margaret Levy, a surgeon
and mother with children, wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association:
“I am not a liberated woman. I am incarcerated in a world and lifestyle far
more complex and complicated than my great-grandmother, raising her eleven
children in an apartment in the Bronx, could have imagined.”
Freedom or incarceration? It’s a woman’s choice, isn’t it? Our society’s
future is bright if we can bury the carcass of feminist materialism and once
again view motherhood and professional homemaking as the two most important
occupations of the human race.
David N. Bass writes for World Newspaper Publishing and has a regular column at AmericanDaily.com, ARationalAdvocate.com, and RenewAmerica.us.