Feminism's Fatal Flaw

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A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle," my professor scrawled on the chalkboard. I giggled, picturing a squirming trout straining for the pedals with its tail fins. As an aspiring writer, I could appreciate the catchy slogan (often attributed to feminist Gloria Steinem). But by the time the day's lecture was over, it was one of the only things I found attractive about feminism.

Apparently I'm not alone. Only 29 percent of American women consider themselves feminists, according to a 2007 poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, LLC. Polls that CBS conducted in 2006 and 1997 yielded similar responses.

Why do so many women distance themselves from a movement that claims to fight for their rights? Could modern feminists have lost sight of the goal for which their founding mothers fought?

Feminism in history

If feminism stuck to the dictionary's definition, it would be hard to reject. Merriam-Webster's defines feminism as the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. Who would object to that? Today, women work as scientists, university professors, CEOs and heads of state. But obviously, it wasn't always this way.

Like many other social movements, feminism started with good intentions. Many consider Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to be one of the first feminist documents. Published in 1792, the book largely argued that women should be educated like men since they were primarily responsible for teaching their children. Women who studied topics like medicine, science and math could be true companions to their husbands instead of emotional, irrational "spaniels," as she put it.

Another major milestone came in 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and others held a women's convention in Seneca Falls, New York. At the convention, a declaration of independence for women was written, demanding full legal equality, full educational and commercial opportunity, equal compensation and the right to vote. Their complaints had merit. Consider that, at the time of the convention, African-Americans could still legally be held as slaves. Less than two decades later, African-American men won the right to vote. Women of all races had to wait until 1920.

Feminism experienced a revival in the 1960s, and it was in this decade and the one that followed that many women believe the movement went astray. In their rush to liberate women from the kitchen and the nursery, feminists alienated women who valued their contributions as wives and mothers. Hijacked by radicals, the movement eventually became about power, sexual freedom and contempt for men.

As a result, feminism branched off into many paths. There are so many theories, some philosophers argue, that the movement should be called "feminisms." However, all theories maintain that women, as a category, are oppressed and exploited by men (www.factmonster.com). And nearly all fight for abortion and lesbianism.


Early feminist leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were vehement opponents of abortion. Yet one thing that nearly all current feminists share is a concern for "reproductive freedom," or freedom from unwanted childbearing, which usually means the right to have an abortion or to use emergency contraception like the "morning-after" pill. In fact, both the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Feminist Majority list abortion rights among their top issues.

How does abortion tie in to the feminist agenda? One of the movement's major ideals is for women to pursue careers. There is nothing wrong with women having careers. But for a woman to advance in her career, she must complete her education and work in her field for several years—and having a child can interrupt that. So it's not surprising that 69 percent of all women who have abortions say they did so because having a baby would interfere with their work, school or their ability to care for dependents, according to a 2006 study by the Guttmacher Institute.

It's ironic that a movement concerned with winning and preserving women's rights is willing to deny the most basic right to the millions of babies who are aborted each year—the right to life. A woman should have control over her own body, they argue. Shouldn't the baby as well?

God definitely has a perspective on the unborn, according to the Bible. In Psalm 139, King David writes that God formed him in his mother's womb: "You saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began" (verse 16, Today's English Version).

Most people who are pro-choice argue that a fetus is not yet a human being. They view it as a cell mass that's part of a woman's body. She can choose to remove it, like a tumor or her appendix. Different camps debate when the fetus becomes human. Some believe it is when a heartbeat or brain waves are present; some believe it is at birth.

Our individual genetic traits—like eye color—are determined at conception. Most fetuses have a heartbeat around 18 days after conception, long before many women are aware they are pregnant. Brain waves can be recorded 40 days after conception. Nearly everyone who is pro-choice believes that abortion is acceptable during the first three months of pregnancy—long after all these characteristics are present.

The Bible tells us that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). Humanity is made in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27), and He views children like all other human beings—as His daughters and sons. Scripture indicates that God views the unborn as human beings, and, as a result, so should we.

Gay rights

In addition to abortion, most feminists also promote gay rights, specifically rights for lesbians. Obviously, homosexuals, like all human beings, should not be mistreated. But we must recognize that groups advocating this lifestyle and gay marriage—although sincere—are terribly misguided.

God clearly says in Leviticus 18:22 that homosexual activity is a sin, and the New Testament reiterates the fact (see Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10).

Many believe that gay marriage would further facilitate the breakdown of traditional marriage, the nuclear family and, as a result, society itself. God and current law in most countries define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Changing the definition could open the door for virtually any type of union, including "marriages" between three or four individuals or perhaps an adult and a child.

When the definition of marriage changes, so does its perceived purpose. God originally ordained marriage to build families and perpetuate the human race, as well as to picture a spiritual relationship.

But feminists are seeking to extend rights to one segment of the population, not get rid of heterosexual marriage, right? Consider these quotes from some prominent feminists:

"We can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage"—Robin Morgan, radical feminist and former editor of Ms. magazine.

"The institution of marriage is the chief vehicle for the -perpetuation of the oppression of women; it is through the role of wife that the subjugation of women is maintained"—Marlene Dixon, radical feminist and sociology professor at the University of Chicago.

"Marriage and the family must be eliminated"—The Feminists, a radical feminist group active in the 1960s and 70s.

Yet, over thousands of years of human existence, societies that have not regulated sexuality within marriage and defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman have not survived, according to Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin (The American Sex Revolution).

Many governments recognize this fact. They encourage marriage and family for a reason: if these didn't exist, -neither would society.

Devaluing men

While the first feminists fought for equality with men, some modern feminists seem to elevate women above men. This attitude has permeated our culture, from the way men are portrayed in the media to the way boys often are treated in schools.

Time after time, sitcoms, television commercials and radio ads portray men as bumbling fools while the women around them swoop in to save the day. In fact, two thirds of respondents in a United Kingdom survey answered that women portrayed in ads were intelligent, assertive and caring while men appeared pathetic and silly (2001 poll of 1,000 adults conducted by the Advertising Standards Association in Great Britain). What would the outcry be if women—or perhaps a racial minority—were consistently portrayed as such?

Experts say these repeated portrayals can lead to problems with self-image, self-concept and aspirations among boys and young men ("Gender Issues in Advertising Language," Women and Language, 1999). Impressionable males learn that others expect them to fail, act immaturely and lack intelligence.

Feminism has also penetrated the classroom, according to author Christina Hoff Somers. In her book The War Against Boys, she describes how complaints that girls were suffering in male-oriented schools persuaded officials to turn the education system on its head.

Feminized classrooms value concepts like inclusiveness, cooperative learning and political correctness. Little boys, who by nature want their individual efforts to be rewarded, who learn through questioning their (typically) female teachers and who want to compete, are viewed as rude, disruptive and disrespectful.

The next step is often to recommend testing for some type of behavioral disorder. Statistics show that nearly 10 percent of boys ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fewer than 4 percent of girls are diagnosed with the disorder. Could it be that for the simple offense of being born male, some of these little boys are being labeled as flawed?

Do all feminists hate little boys? No. But many are anti-male, either covertly or overtly. Consider the following quotes from prominent feminists:

"I feel that man-hating is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them"—Robin Morgan, radical feminist and former editor of Ms. magazine.

"Men know everything—all of them—all the time no matter how stupid or inexperienced or arrogant or ignorant they are"—Andrea Dworkin, radical feminist.

Feminism started out with noble intentions. Even today, feminist organizations have some worthy causes. The Feminist Majority supports groups that are rebuilding Afghan girls' schools destroyed by the Taliban. NOW seeks to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault. Both condemn pornography. But like all human ideas, feminism is a fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If we are unwittingly drawn in by the good, the bad is harder to recognize.

Have men oppressed women? Yes. Is that fair? No. But that doesn't give women license to disregard the rights of others, dominate men or simply create an alternate social structure.

God created women and men with distinct roles within-marriage, and He desires that they work together as a team. Both sexes were made in God's image and get their-highest value from their Creator, not from each another, not from their level of education and not from their marital or-employment status.

And most importantly, both are invited to become part of God's family. VT