Feminists and Traditionalists BOTH Wrong

I saw on Facebook a response to my article, ‘Why Marriage Is A Dying Institution,’ [The Daily Dose of Reason at DrHurd.com 6/21/12] which claimed that it was ‘woman hating.’

The critic made no attempt to provide evidence for this claim, so I’m left to guess. It might have been the following paragraph that I wrote:

Nowadays, thanks to the advances of capitalism and technology in Western cultures, just the opposite [of oppression of women] exists. Women, after divorce, are entitled to at least half of what men earn, even though men usually (by no means always) earn more than women. Women are by law entitled to this despite the fact they can now own property, work in virtually any profession and even serve in the military. Women’s individual rights have progressed at warp speed, but they’re still treated, under the law, like helpless widows in times of olde who must be catered to by society. Also, women are usually if not always entitled to primary custody rights of children, giving them even more access to the husband’s income in the name of ‘child support.’

‘Woman hating’? I don’t think so. Women should have equal individual rights and individual responsibility under the law. It’s not women I hate (or men, either). What I hate is the irrational. What I hate are the trends of today’s society: legally, politically and psychologically—most of which are irrational. I hate irrationality when displayed by men, and I hate it when displayed by women. Regrettably, a rational attitude towards relationships and life, including marriage, is the exception—and not the norm—in both men and women.

I addressed this in the chapter on men and women in my most recent book, ‘Bad Therapy, Good Therapy: And How to Tell the Difference’:

The appropriate alternative to the irrational doctrines of feminism and traditionalism is, once again, the rational approach to life. For both men and women, the rational approach sets the goal of establishing psychological harmony between one’s emotions and one’s thoughts through the process of introspection. Of course human beings are capable of evil and ugly things, such as rape or blindly evasive racism or sexism. But these evils can only be conquered by cold, rational logic, not by the very forms of evasion and emotionalism that gave rise to such ideologies in the first place.

A rational approach to the masculine/feminine psychology issue would help end pointless political and psychological squabbles over what ‘men’ want and what ‘women’ want. Even if objective psychological differences between men and women are ultimately proven to exist, such discoveries will not undermine the principle that rationality serves the long-term individual interests of both men and women. Clinging irrationally to unsubstantiated theories, old or ‘new,’ creates nothing but despair, disillusionment and cynicism.

Until enough people recognize and accept that both men and women think and feel, there will be no liberation for anyone.

To criticize women who take advantage of men, and who demand unearned entitlements either politically or personally, is not ‘woman hatred.’ In the same vein, to criticize men who take advantage of women (or anyone else), and who demand unearned entitlements, is not ‘man hatred.’

For example, many women demand a law to make sure women get equal pay as men, for the same jobs. Who could argue with that? The problem is, this entitles women to something that men do not get: A government board to set their pay. This might ultimately prove to be a good thing–or not–for women, but that’s not the point. The point is that women are no longer equal under the law. They’re entitled to something a man does not get. And if anyone thinks a government board will always (or even usually) be fair and objective about anything, then you obviously are headless.

Like it or not, a spade is a spade. If a man lies to a woman, or beats her up, I’d call him an abuser or a creep. But if a woman lies to a man—lying that she’s using birth control when she’s not, using divorce lawyers to shake her husband down—then she’s just as much of a creep. It seems that this objective honesty is too much for some feminists or traditionalists to take, but facts go on being what they are just the same.

The thing to hate—or loathe, or oppose—is the attitude that you’re entitled to the life or products of another’s efforts. This is the dominant trend of our times, and it infects men, women, marriage…everyone and everything. The exceptions to this trend are rare, even heroic. If we’re really honest about this, our current family courts and existing interpretations of marriage laws make it possible for women to exploit men in this way, if they want to do so. To pretend this isn’t the case is not ‘pro-woman.’ In fact, it’s insulting to women. It’s suggesting, ‘A woman cannot take care of herself. Therefore, she should be able to have whatever she demands from a man as a result of their previous marital contract, regardless of the facts.’

Traditionalism and feminism hold basically the same premise: That women are helpless and therefore must have the unearned. If this isn’t anti-woman and insulting to women, I don’t know what is.

Feminists have talked for decades about ’empowering’ women. But to empower someone is to tell him or her, ‘You must stand on your own two feet. You have to be just as responsible for your own life as anyone else—no more, and no less.’

Equality, in a legal context, refers to equality under the law. Marriage as we know it does not work that way. It never did.

I’m not against marriage contracts being upheld by the government. I am against government using the force of law to define what marriage is. This is what both social liberals and social conservatives routinely try to do.

Most men and most women smuggle—subconsciously—their expectations about what their partner should or must be into the marital relationship, simply because they’re legally married. ‘I’m entitled to my husband being what I want him to be.’ Or, ‘I’m entitled to my wife being who I want her to be.’ People cling to these attitudes about marriage, and rage at those who dare question the ‘institution,’ and I realize that. But they do so at the risk of considerable disappointment and even destruction of their personal and family lives. This happens because they enter marriage with the false belief that “I should have what I want,” even if what they want isn’t what they’re getting.

Challenging all the idiocy that is today’s culture is not ‘anti-woman.’ It’s pro-human, pro-rational and the only way people are ever going to move past this 50 percent divorce rate.