It strikes me that the widely panned Dear Woman video is feminism jumping the shark. The video wasn’t just panned in the Manosphere. Bloggers as divergent as Advice Goddess (H/T Deansdale) Manboobz, and The Frisky all had the same take; it was creepy.
What is interesting is what those guys were doing was buying into the basic selling point for feminism to men: Adopt this groveling world-view and women will like you. For single men the selling point has always been about sex, and for married men the pitch has been a blend of sex and a promise that it will make your wife happy.
Feminism has been so successful selling men on political groveling for sex and women’s approval that other left wing causes have joined the fray. They may be selling a different message, but the fundamental point is the same; follow the politics and world-view of women and you will be rewarded with sex. Blogger Big Little Wolf utilizes this argument when making the case for redefined chivalry.
Clearly the guys who made the Dear Woman video were just following the feminist message to its logical conclusion. How is it that even feminists found it creepy?
Sometimes you have to see an idea taken to its logical conclusion to really understand how ridiculous it is. In that sense we all owe the neutered males of Dear Woman a debt. They single handedly showed how ridiculous the foundation for selling feminism to men really is.
For feminists the problem is worse though, it isn’t just that their fundamental argument to men has been demolished; in many ways they are losing ground with women as well. Part of their problem is the spreading understanding of game. Right now only a small fraction of men or women understand the science of attraction. However, this is the kind of secret even the KGB couldn’t have kept from spreading. How long before nearly every high school and college age man has a basic understanding of game (even if many lack the skills to put it into practice)? Part of learning game is understanding how differently men and women think. The whole women are just men who sit down to pee argument of feminism goes straight out the window. And it isn’t just men who are learning about game. Women are learning about it too and from what I have seen after some confusion/denial they quickly grasp the truth of it. It may actually be easier for women to accept game than men, because they don’t have to admit that they have been doing it all wrong for so many years, and they also don’t have to overcome the resentment that men often feel when they realize that they were rejected for being too nice.
The other problem feminism has is momentum. What have they achieved in the last 20 years? What can they hope to achieve in the future?
Third wave feminism has largely focused on redefining terms they feel are harmful to women:
Words such as spinster, bitch, whore, and c*nt continue to be used in derogatory ways about women. Inga Muscio writes, “I posit that we’re free to seize a word that was kidnapped and co-opted in a pain-filled, distant, past, with a ransom that cost our grandmothers’ freedom, children, traditions, pride, and land.” Third-wave feminists believe it is better to change the connotation of a sexist word than to censor it from speech.
They have been extremely successful here. The vast majority of women now either actively approve of female promiscuity or largely remain silent on the topic out of fear of promoting a double standard. We also have seen a general embrace of bitchiness and selfishness/entitlement driven by a concern that any social restraints on women are proof of a diabolical patriarchal conspiracy. Women generally also have a pathological fear of pleasing their husbands and boyfriends. We also see the vast majority of women defending divorce fantasy movies and accepting the selling of divorce to women, or at the very least remaining silent about them. Additionally, feminism has continued to successfully sell a sense of female martyrdom and unhappiness to women.
But all of the successes of feminism in the last few decades have been about changing attitudes. When it comes to achieving their stated dream of a world where women were just as competent as men, feminists have generally lost interest. I know a large number of women professionally and personally who are extremely capable and successful. I’ve worked with competent women, for competent women, and managed competent women as part of a project team. However, feminism isn’t about creating competent women. Instead it is about lowering standards for women and making any lack in competence up with moxie.
Even feminists struggle to define any real advances they have made for women in the last few decades. In Susan Walsh’s post I Earned a Denunciation from Now, commenter Jess set out to explain to non feminists how feminist activism had changed the world for the better:
People forget how things have changed due to feminist activism. Let me tell you about a case from the early 90s that I was involved with- a girl very nearly died due to a savage rape in london. Although the guy got a heavy sentence the judge actually said she had an element of blame because she wore a short skirt and get this, so did her mother! Naturally the feminist lobby went beserk and it was cases like this that did change attitudes. Any judge saying that now would be struck off in the UK.
So the real difference of 20 years of activism; the rapist would not get any harsher sentence, but the judge would fear losing his job if he pointed out common sense precautions which might prevent another woman from being victimized. In the area of women’s safety, feminists have generally chosen to pretend that women don’t face different risks to their safety than men do. If someone points out that it isn’t a good idea for women to get into cars with strangers, feminists will mock them and minimize the risk.
There are some other achievements feminists can point to. In many cases, men accused by women no longer have the presumption of innocence which until fairly recently was a foundation of our justice system.
More important than what feminists have achieved lately is the question of what they can hope to achieve in the future. Feminists have a rather unique problem of having thoroughly conquered all social institutions in the west without having achieved their stated goals. This past thorough success ironically spells a problem for future progress, as Welmer points out in his post The Tide has Already Turned:
Speculation aside, the reality is that feminism has already begun to decline. That so many media outlets and women are declaring its victory means nothing; the fact is that they have far less of value to offer women than they did ten years ago, and they will have even less in another ten years. Every man who is ruined so that his hormonally deranged wife can realize her soap opera fantasies, every business dismantled by a sexual harassment lawsuit, every man tossed in prison at public expense, and every productive job replaced by a woman pushing paper at a government-funded nonprofit is a material loss for women in aggregate. Because we no longer have significant excess wealth, women are going to have to pay for each feminist victory with a decline in their wealth and standard of living. It may not be entirely obvious yet, but it will be soon enough, and at that point we will see a rise in anti-feminism amongst women themselves.