Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dennis "Equality Sucks" Prager

I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt and sometimes believe that even though their words and actions are indicating they're an asshole, maybe they're not Really an asshole. Not so with Dennis Prager. I've read enough of his work over the last couple years to understand that he truly believes that equality is bad for women. And NOW he's not even trying to bother with mincing words.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s feminist magnum opus, The Feminine Mystique, we can have a perspective on feminism that was largely unavailable heretofore.

And that perspective doesn’t make feminism look good. Yes, women have more opportunities to achieve career success; they are now members of most Jewish and Christian clergy; women’s college sports teams are given huge amounts of money; and there are far more women in political positions of power. But the prices paid for these changes — four in particular — have been great, and outweigh the gains for women, let alone for men and for society.

He has four arguments for why feminism or equality is bad.

1. Women have "hookups" before marriage and then become severely depressed once they do get married.

What's interesting to me about this argument is that he's not taking on the culture of casual sex or sex before marriage. According to Prager (and many others like him) having casual sex and sex before marriage is normal and expected for men. But then women started doing it, and look at the consequences, ladies! Instead of treating men and women as individuals with different desires both sexually and relationship-wise, the argument is boiling down to "feminism has caused women to become sluts."

2. Women shouldn't bother with careers in their 20s because that's wasting valuable "man-attracting" time.

You might think I am kidding... sadly I am not.

The second awful legacy of feminism has been the belief among women that they could and should postpone marriage until they developed their careers. Only then should they seriously consider looking for a husband. Thus, the decade or more during which women have the best chance to attract men is spent being preoccupied with developing a career

I don't even know where to start here. It's like he's appalled that 23 year old women who just graduated college are trying to get... wait for it... A JOB.

Why bother even going to college? He doesn't say it here, but other articles I've read by him indicate to me that he really does believe in the often joked about MRS degree. It's ok for the ladies to go to college, acquire skills, and become critical thinkers (and take on 80K of debt) long as they find their husband there. And immediately settle down and have a baby. Like, you should start trying on the honeymoon. No need to worry pesky things like paying off student loan debt or entering the scary "job market." All men are great with money, will always make lots of it, will never leave their families, and will never be abusive or controlling jerks. So you know, don't worry your pretty little head about it.

3. Women working is bad for the children.

This is just an all out attack on anyone who uses daycare or nannies. And the attack is solely on mothers. Fathers are out working (surely no fathers are unemployed or underemployed) so that's all dandy. And if you (woman) aren't at home raising your children well then you're just what's wrong with society. What't that... you want to work AND be a loving caregiver?! Let's not get crazy now.

The part of this that really gets me though is the incorrect generalization of feminists not valuing work inside the home.

Whatever feminists may say about their only advocating choices, everyone knows the truth: Feminism regards work outside the home as more elevating, honorable, and personally productive than full-time mothering and making a home.

The truth here is that the "feminists" everyone likes makes jokes about are actually the people advocating for things like paid sick days for all full time workers (to care for sick children without losing necessary income to feed said children), Family Medical Leave (to provide mothers AND fathers with time off work to care for a newborn child), and guaranteed healthcare for children regardless of parents' income.

4. The fourth and most important argument "what about teh men."

And the fourth awful legacy of feminism has been the demasculinization of men.

This argument (not just from Prager but in general) is so tiring I almost don't even want to talk about it. But I will...

Yes being a "man" today is not the same as being a man in 1. the 1950s, 2. the 1930s, 3. the 1800s 4. caveman days. The world is constantly changing. Just as most of us don't go hunting for our food or take our clothes out to the river to wash them... things change. Roles change. Economies change.

If you think "feminists" don't value families, you're woefully ignorant on the entire concept of feminism. And worse, if you're going to be so stuck on what traditional gender roles are or aren't, you might miss out on an opportunity to create a better and more enjoyable life for your family. Seriously, if you think feminism has been bad for society, go watch an episode of Mad Men. Take away the fancy clothes. What are you left with? Women who don't have options. Let's not take equality for granted. Especially when so many seem to think we'd be better off without it.

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