Foibles of Feminism

Danielle Sturgis  |  2005.08.21  |  The Washington Times

Driving home from a high school mentoring luncheon held by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, I contemplated my discussion with the girls at my table. They were troubled by the information at the weekend conference. It seemed a few considered themselves feminists. Luce Policy Institute President Michelle Easton's speech -- aptly titled "The Failures of Feminism" -- worried them. Now a junior at Drake University, I couldn't help but think of my own high school days. For all I knew, I was a feminist. Packing up my belongings for that all-important first year of college, I never bothered to categorize myself as a Democrat or a Republican or even a liberal or a conservative. I was 17 and in the middle of that angst/rebellion stage, meaning I no longer went to church with my parents and had purposefully chosen a college 500 miles from home. Surprisingly, my otherwise mediocre public high school employed a teacher passionate about American history. Come to think of it, the man is the most objective instructor I ever had. My younger sister's revelation the teacher was a Kerry supporter came as quite a blow. Nevertheless, he taught my Advanced Placement U.S. History class and he did so fairly. We spent a good deal of time on the suffragettes at Seneca Falls, and I grew to respect the women who fought for equal rights. Thus, my view of feminism was neutral, if anything. There was a general appreciation -- "isn't it nice women have the right to work and vote." I didn't see modern feminism directly affecting me. Equal pay for equal work? Sounded logical. I was OK with claims that women should seek fulfillment outside the home. Naively assuming Women's Studies would be a thorough analysis of the obstacles women had overcome and, perhaps, a comparison of the rights American women have versus the rights of women in other countries, I followed my orientation counselor's advice and enrolled in Women's Studies 101. Call me gullible, but alongside courses titled Marxist Principles of Economics, Intro to Women's Studies looked harmless. "Harmless" is perhaps the perfect description of how feminist activity seems to those, like my high school lunch companions, who have yet to experience the hateful wrath of the actual movement. This movement is often glamorous and fashionable present but still ever-present in some shape or form on every American college campus. For three hours a week during my first semester of college, my tuition dollars were spent studying that oppressive beast, the white male. I don't exactly specialize in staying quiet, so for 12 long weeks I was known as the enemy by my Women's Studies professor and classmates. Soon after leaving home, I had an "Aha" moment. I stopped hating my mother for her selfless devotion to her children and began looking forward to having children of my own. I voiced this desire in class, in response to a question about any justification of heterosexuality, and it was not well received. If you haven't been in a Women's Studies classroom, just imagine a situation where open-mindedness is touted so long as everyone shares the same liberal ideology. Then multiply it by one woman with a Marxist agenda equally fond of saying "America entered Iraq unpre[expletive deleted]pared" and "King George II," to 30 impressionable and self-conscious peers. Combine that with assorted readings and film clips shining a positive light on self-centered, lesbian, anti-male existence, and you might see the feminist movement for what it really is: Anything but harmless. Most despicable in my view is the movement claim to represent all women equally. My professor could not get her mind around anyone disagreeing with her. Her open-mindedness simply did not extend to someone with pro-family convictions. The Women's Awareness Coalition at my school certainly does raise awareness -- the question is: of what? Trying to explain to a feminist that feminism furthers a leftist agenda, not the rights of all women, is something I think I'll have earned a minor in if I survive the second half of my college career. After the mentoring lunch, a ninth-grader wrote to me, "I learned that most feminists are very confused." I couldn't have put it better myself.

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Feminism

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