Larry Kummer at Fabius Maximus responds to the illogical modern conservative position in Modern women say “follow the rules while we break them”. Kummer points out that the position modern conservatives are trying to conserve (feminism plus chivalry) is inherently unstable, and as a result must eventually fall:
Societies can be disrupted, just like businesses
Marcus’ son went to the heart of the matter when saying that his dad’s rules were not fair. In our system where each individual has agency — making his or her own moral choices — the system must appear fair. If it requires a philosopher or professor of women’s studies to explain the logic of the society’s rules, the rules will not stand for long.
What lies ahead?
Change. We have broken the old gender regime. It can no more be restored than toothpaste put back into the tube. But the emerging feminist regime seems irrational, unfair, and unstable. There is no obvious alternative to it now, but …
“Mankind sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation.”
— Karl Marx in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). His economics is mostly bunk, but he was an incisive social analyst.
Kummer notes that the constant bombardment in all forms of media of women hitting and otherwise physically attacking men is working as designed; over time it is changing our views of what is normal. As an example of the change, my wife was talking to a roughly 20 year old man the other day, and he mentioned in conversation that he and his friends have stopped going to parties due to young women trying to start fist fights with the men. This young man’s decision to exit the party scene is an example of women playing by an entirely new set of rules and men continuing to play by the old, but there are already fissures appearing in this new model. The young man described a scenario where after being refused by several white men, a moxie filled feminist was finally obliged by a black man who proceeded to (with minimal effort) knock her across the room. As expected, the complaint from the women present went immediately from taunting “you are too chicken to fight a girl”, to outrage “you hit a girl”!
The reason both conservatives and feminists are so confident that this new arrangement can be maintained is their faith in chivalry as an immutable trait of men. While feminists constantly accuse men of being evil, the foundation of feminism is an unshakable faith in the goodness of men (examples here and here).
Losing chivalry as a (near) universal value by men would be a disaster for the feminist project, as while the domestic violence paradigm is intellectually founded on an attack on past patriarchal values, implementation of the model relies on an extreme sense of chivalry. How else could feminists implement a legal model where wives and girlfriends are free to attack their boyfriends and husbands while enforcing the harshest sanctions against men who fight back or even leave the room before the woman is done? This is why feminist UFC fighter Ronda Rousey refuses to fight a man while at the same time boasts that she could beat up the men in her weight class. If Rousey were to back up her boasting in a sanctioned fight the man would have to be allowed to fight back. This is unthinkable:
They’re not gonna do anything like that. Fights are chaotic. Anything can happen. And there’s no setting in which we should condone a man hitting a woman. I really just don’t think that any athletic commission on Earth would ever condone something like that.
Fights are going to go both ways. You’re going to see both people hitting each other. I don’t think we should celebrate a man hitting a woman in any kind of setting.
It isn’t that Rousey objects to images of women fighting with men. That is something she relishes. But her feminism suddenly becomes conservative when it comes to the idea of men hitting back.
As Kummer notes, chivalry is a vestige of a previous time, and is entirely inconsistent with an age where we are repeatedly told women are as tough as men. Today most people accept the feminist position that not including women in Delta and the SEAL Team 6 is a terrible injustice (because women are as tough as men), while also believing that a husband who hits his wife back is a monster (because men are far stronger than women). This commonly accepted contradiction isn’t a natural position; it is merely an artifact of our transition from a time of different values. Conservatives want to freeze this moment in time, but this simply isn’t possible. Even if feminists immediately stopped pushing for further change, eventually the contradiction would fall of its own weight.
Yet feminists aren’t done pushing for further change. There is another more subtle feminist message in all forms of entertainment that will ultimately prove even more corrosive to the idea of chivalry than showing women regularly beating up men. As if it were enforced by law, all modern action stories follow a very specific pattern. First we see two or more men banding together fighting their enemies. Usually it starts with women in the periphery, in leadership roles (the general ordering the men into battle), and/or in supporting roles (the kickass hacker gal, etc). But once the group of men are established as elite warriors, the stage is set for every feminists’ wet dream; the woman who proves she is one of the guys.
While our heroine (lets call her Mary Sue) is just as tough as the men (if not tougher!), she is different than the men in one very important way. Part of the original scenes establishing the group of men as elite warriors is the depiction of a manly comradery. Each man depends on the other men to have his back, and typically this will be demonstrated by one or more scenes where one man takes out an assailant who is in the process of attacking a comrade who is situationally vulnerable. These moments aren’t incidental, as they demonstrate that the woman is breaking into a bonafide group of fighting men. But once Mary Sue has arrived on the scene and started kicking ass, a different version of this exchange is called for almost immediately. As the men did with one another, one of the men will take out an assailant who has gotten the drop on Mary Sue. But instead of building comradery, this will result in over the top fury by the woman. The man defending her will not be seen as treating her as one of the guys, but as practicing chivalry by defending a woman. This isn’t shown as Mary Sue being irrational, but as a moral lesson for the men (especially the young men) watching. While this message is less noticeable than the trope of the kick ass warrior woman, the assault on the concept of chivalry is even more potent here because the men watching can often rationalize the men fighting the warrior woman as bad guys. But here the object of the lesson is an ostensible good guy, and the moral is clear that defending the woman was an outrageous act of disrespect because it smacks of chivalry. Older men aren’t likely to abandon their chivalry as a result of this conditioning, but younger men will, and eventually all men will have grown up under this new conditioning.