These days the word feminism is strangely unpopular. It’s opponents have assigned it a connotation of ‘man-hating’ and masculinization of women, and many women have accepted this to the extent that they are loathe to identify as a ‘feminist.’ This is a great victory for those that oppose equality, and it’s a damn shame.
For all of human history we have by and large followed a model of family and society dictated by biology. Women had a specific role that was predicated by the fact that they could become pregnant and bear children. This role itself was not oppressive; there is no shame in bringing life into the world and shaping those lives into functional, productive members of society. But in an overwhelming number of our races’ cultures the definition of wives and children as property made it into an oppressive role and formalized and justified that oppression to the point where in many cases it amounted to slavery.
In the mid-twentieth century an innovation was created that had the potential to turn all of that on it’s ear- effective contraception that allowed a woman to control whether or not she could become pregnant. While it is still not recognized as such this was a game-changer on the level of fire, the wheel and agriculture. It was an invention that changed the very nature of the human condition on a fundamental level. Most of all it kicked the props out from under the biological underpinnings of patriarchal dominance.
For the first time we need not be ruled by our biology. A woman can still choose to play a traditional role and there is nothing wrong with doing so. But now it is a choice. Her choice. She can choose a different role. Not a ‘Man’s Role.’ A human role.
I’m a Conservative, and the first thing to say about that is that you must not confuse that with a party affiliation. I believe in the ideals of egalitarianism- equal opportunity for all and equality under the law. I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I believe that the market should be left to it’s own devices to the extent that it is practical to do so. I believe in a strong national defense and the individual right to bear arms for defense of self, home and family. I believe the government should stay out of people’s private business as long as that business does not violate the law.
Some of my conservative friends are surprised that I support feminist views and ideals, but nothing that I identified above as hallmarks of conservatism in any way contradicts feminism, or is contradicted by it. I can think of no reasonable justification for not paying women equal pay for equal work. I can think of no reason that a woman should not hold any job that she is physically and mentally capable of doing. I can think of no reason that women should be judged by different standards than men in any way. Yet they still are.
Let’s be perfectly clear about this- Feminists are not looking for ‘special rights.’ They are seeking equality. Human Rights. I think that maybe we owe that to the other half of the human race.
Michael Tinker Pearce