Why Feminism Wants to Dismantle the Family (long)

Image source: HeatStreet

Like many isms before it (Communism, religions, cults), feminism seeks to dismantle the traditional family unit for its own gain. Why? To the ism, old loyalties are like bad habits interfering with an individual’s ability to pledge unwavering allegiance. Isms want control, but families tend to put family members and their needs before the demands of the ism, reducing the ism’s power and influence and therefore undermining its control.

Throughout history, the family has been “the ultimate and only consistently subversive organization… the enduring permanent enemy of all hierarchies, churches and ideologies,” notes Ferdinand Mount, author of The Subversive Family.

Mount describes the sequence past isms have followed once they “have hardened into orthodoxies:”

First, hostility and propaganda to devalue family. The family is a source of trouble. It could distract apostles or potential apostles from following the new idea. The family is second-best, pedestrian, material, selfish. Alternative families are promoted — communes, party cadres, kibbutzes, monasteries.

Feminist icons have not tried to hide their antipathy for the family unit:

  • Gloria Steinem described marriage as “an arrangement for one and a half people.”
  • Andrea Dworkin wrote, “How can anyone love someone who is less than a full person, unless love itself is domination per se?”
  • Kate Millett wrote, “so long as every female, simply by virtue of her anatomy, is obliged, even forced, to be the sole or primary caretaker of childhood, she is prevented from being a free human being.”
  • Betty Friedan wrote, “women who ‘adjust’ as housewives, who grow up wanting to be ‘just a housewife,’ are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps… they are suffering a slow death of mind and spirit.”
  • Linda Gordon said, “the nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.”
  • Robin Morgan said “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.”
  • Mary Jo Bane said, “in order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.”
  • Vivian Gornick said, “being a housewife is an illegitimate profession… The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family maker is a choice that shouldn’t be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.”
  • Helen Sullinger said, “We must work to destroy [marriage]… The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not to live individually with men… All of history must be rewritten in terms of oppression of women.”

You’d think women seeking high-powered careers would be glad to enjoy less competition from other potential workers…

“Not if you understand the feminist ideology,” say Suzanne Venker and the late Phyllis Schlafly, authors of The Flipside of Feminism,

Feminists realize all too well that they can never achieve a level playing field in the marketplace as long as their male competitors have the advantage of homemaker wives… Women on the left know that in order to get ahead more easily, they must deprive men of their advantage in having stay-at-home wives. The desire to eliminate the full-time homemaker has been feminists’ goal all along. The need for a second income was never the goal.

Feminism has made some “progress” over the last several decades. If you look at the poorest and least socially mobile areas in America, you will notice one variable consistently lacking: fathers. More specifically, mothers who are married to the father of their children. Over the last few decades, the birth rate for unmarried women in the US has risen steadily from 18 percent in 1980 to 41 percent in 2012.

Alarmingly, the majority of moms believe that absent or uninvolved dads can easily be replaced themselves or another man (see here and here) despite the evidence that stable marriages lead to happy, healthy, and motivated kids, which leads to stronger communities, more opportunities, and greater equality:

  • Physical health: Compared with children in intact, married families, children in cohabiting households (one parent and their girlfriend or boyfriend) are more likely to have a physical or mental health condition and are three times more likely to suffer physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Unhappy couples have depressed immune systems and their children have elevated stress hormones. Stress is regulated by social systems; the brain regions involved in social relationships are the same ones that control stress response. They develop together, and therefore development problems in the stress response can interfere with the development of social and emotional functioning and vice versa.
  • Mental health: Children raised by single moms are more likely to be on ADHD medication and are more likely to need professional treatment for emotional or behavioral problems (see here and here). As adults, children who grew up with married parents are less likely to have mental health problems (especially true for daughters).
  • Poverty: Both physical and mental health are influenced by socio-economic status. Children of single parents (4 out of 5 of which are women) are far more likely to grow up in poverty and have lower rates of upward mobility than children of married parents (see here, here, here). The current welfare system discourages single mothers from establishing a stable two-parent household despite a portion of welfare funds allocated to promote this kind of family structure. This is because women who marry or maintain a home with the biological father of their children can face the reduction or loss of their benefits. In turn, children who grow up on welfare are more likely to grow up and be on welfare themselves, continuing the cycle.
  • Teen pregnancy and crime: Daughters of single mothers are more likely to engage in early sexual behavior and become teen moms, which, in turn, makes them more likely to rely on welfare and their children less likely to grow up with their fathers. The majority of inmates grew up without their fathers (see here and here).
  • Drugs and alcohol: Children of single parents have significantly higher rates of drug use. Teens who have less than three family dinners a week are four times more likely to use tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol, two-and-a-half times more likely to use marijuana, and nearly four times likelier to engage in future drug use.
  • School: Children of married parents have fewer learning disabilities; score higher in reading, higher in verbal and problem-solving skills, better on most academic measures, and better on the majority of social competence measures. Children who grow up without fathers are less likely to attend college (especially true for sons).
  • Future income: One of the longest running studies on adult development, the Harvard Grant Study, found that men that had warm childhoods — those who had close relationships with their parents (who were married) and at least one sibling — make 50 percent more money than their peers who grew up with separated parents or in hostile households.

Given the information above, it could be argued that if feminism actually cared about helping all women, it would advocate for father involvement, so no daughter would grow up disadvantaged and every son would be a strong and capable partner to those daughters. Yet, while feminism purports itself to be the movement for equality, it is at best silent when it comes to father’s rights.

In fact, feminist organizations have opposed efforts for equal custody. For example, Marc Angelucci, an attorney and member of the National Coalition For Men, told me:

In 2005 we introduced a joint custody bill [in California], but feminist groups opposed it and lobbied various other groups like the state bar to oppose it. Feminist groups like California National Organization for Women have fought us not only on joint custody but also on paternity fraud legislation, move away issues, and inclusion of male victims of domestic violence in state funded services.

Why would feminists try to prevent father involvement — the very thing that insulates against poverty and inequality? Because, they can profit from it! There would be no more need for the vast network of nonprofit organizations, not to mention life-long careers (and paychecks), which only exist because enough people bought into and continue to buy into the myth that women have it worse off than men (that myth debunked here).

Feminism needs gendered issues. Feminism doesn’t want you to know that women are about as likely to abuse their partner as men (see here and here) or that boys are at least as likely to suffer sexual abuse as girls (see here, here and here) because it would impact their funding.

It is not in feminist institutions’ best interest to solve anything. In order to maintain a steady flow of cash, they now seek to preserve their own existence by perpetuating myths and inventing problems where there are none to reassure their followers that there is still an “us” and a “them.” Sexist pockets anyone?

Intact families, married mothers and especially stay-at-home-married-moms are feminism’s number one enemy. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Whereas feminism minimizes the role of nature, telling us that the differences between the sexes comes down to social conditioning, mothers notice innate differences between boys and girls. Psychologist Steven Pinker may have said it best: “It is said that there is a technical term for people who believe that little boys and little girls are born indistinguishable and are molded into their natures by parental socialization. The term is ‘childless.’”
  2. Married women tend to vote conservative while unmarried women tend to vote liberal (see here and here). Liberal votes = more $ for feminism. And more feminism = more liberal votes. It’s not a coincidence that former President Obama created a White House Council on Women and Girls but refused to create a White House Council on Men and Boys.

3. Married women are happier! A recent survey revealed that unmarried and working mothers are less happy than married and non-working mothers.

Over the past few decades, as technology liberated women, feminism told women, “you can have it all,” emphasizing equal rights while minimizing equal responsibilities. Of course, no one can have it all, but “trade offs” doesn’t sell as well. And women can’t hear what men don’t say; men didn’t tell women that work is often mind-numbing and unfulfilling. In order to dislodge homemaker wives from their families, feminism devalued their role (i.e. telling married women they’re half a person). Thinking men got the better deal, many stay-at-home moms were resentful, and divorce rates accelerated. Today, women ask for 7 out of 10 divorces (see here and here).

After divorce, these moms, while happy they had kids, express regret about their choices. They wish they had maintained a career so that when they separated they weren’t in such a tough position, having been out of the workforce for too many years to readily catch up with their peers. These moms then send inconsistent messages to their daughters; on the one hand they say they wouldn’t trade their kids for anything, but on the other hand they send the message that a career is more sustainable than having a family.

The deeper message that is passed on is guilt; when moms talk about how their lives would have been different (better) had they stayed in the workforce or communicate to their daughters that they do not want them to repeat “their mistakes,” they are indirectly telling their children that their existence is part of the mistakes, and has impeded the success they could have had. Thus the children must live according to her wishes as a form of payback.

breakfast with a side of guilt

Combined with the slew of celebrity mothers, such as Sofía Vergara, Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum, being toted as “superwomen” who do it all and have it all, and still look hot at 40 and 50 years old, feminism’s messages implanted via Mom leaves ordinary young women feeling anxious and confused, and eventually leaves them feeling disappointed when they realize they won’t have it all — and not even much of what they had imagined and were told their lives would and should be.

The problem with these messages given to young children is that they erode the underlying beliefs necessary for a trusting and caring relationship to be built around. In short, it’s divorce training.

Daughters who do not take on a full-time career can feel like they are betraying their mother’s wishes or the sisterhood. They don’t want to be vulnerable with their partners and pull away when conflict arises, thinking about plan B. Sons observe their mothers and wonder if they’ll ever be able to make a woman happy; how could they when Dad failed miserably in doing so?

On the other side of this sad ledger are all the dads who have watched their marriages disintegrate into a series of alimony and child-support payments. In one long-term study, just 10 to 15 percent of men won in custody battles. The ones who win are usually the ones who can afford lawyers. Even then, many men end up feeling like they are spending their lives working for people who have been turned against them. Some even go to prison for falling behind on child support payments — for example, in South Carolina, 1 out of 7 inmates is there for that very reason.

Obviously, this path we are headed down is unsustainable. If enough men opt out or get put in prison, we’re all screwed. Yet, men, like all people, respond to incentives. Why should they participate in and contribute to a system that doesn’t reward them?

Self-marriage is where we’re headed if these trends continue. This illustration might as well be called “Feminist Party 2025”

One could argue that feminism is now on the cusp between the first sequence Ferdinand Mount outlined and the second, which is:

Reluctant recognition of the strength of the family. Despite all official efforts to downgrade the family, to reduce its role and even to stamp it out, men and women obstinately continue not merely to mate and produce children but to insist on living in pairs together with their children, to develop strong affections for them and to place family concerns above other social obligations.

If feminism follows a similar path to the isms that came before it, it will die a slow death. Mount describes what usually happens next:

Third, collapse of efforts to promote the alternative pseudo-families. Communes, crèches, kibbutzes, monasteries and nunneries lose the enthusiasm of their founders and decay. Either their numbers dwindle, or their members become cynical and corrupt, or both.
Fourth, a one-sided peace treaty is signed. The Church or State accepts the enduring importance of the family and grants it a high place in the orthodox dogma or ideology. That does not mean the family is allowed to live its natural life. On the contrary, the Church or State still insists on defining what is good for the family and what makes a Good Family.
Fifth, history is re-written to show that the Church or State always held this high conception of the family. The family is redefined as essentially Christian, or Communist, or Fascist or whatever — despite the fact that the earliest apostles are on record as having loathed and despised the family.
Sixth, the family gradually manages to impose its own terms. The constricting, unnatural or impractical terms which were forced upon it gradually buckle under continuous social pressure — until the guardians of Church or State have no choice but to yield, while busily continuing to rewrite history and to maintain that the new concessions were always somehow implicit in the True Faith.

Interestingly, Mount’s sequence resembles the five stages of grief, outlined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross:

1. Denial (propaganda)

2. Anger (hostility)

3. Bargaining (treaties)

4. Depression (loss of enthusiasm)

5. Acceptance (family imposes its own terms, history is re-written)

At some point, when feminism alienates enough of its less radical members with its increasing irrationality and unsubstantiated claims, when the system can no longer support feminism’s constant consumption without contribution, it will be forced to move from denial and anger into the “bargaining” stage.

Looking at feminism through this lens, one wonders what feminism is grieving. My sense is that feminism is grieving the fact that it does not control mother nature. The instances where feminism accepts biological differences as a factor in outcomes are instances where feminism can benefit. Otherwise, feminism refuses to acknowledge that female and male brains have differences and that our different hormones drive us to have different preferences, approaches and values. But by telling women they must live as men do and compete with men, feminism has set itself up to fail, because male biology is advantaged over female biology in a capitalistic system.

It’s no wonder then, that feminism is a thinly veiled version of Marxism, blaming the “patriarchy” in place of capitalism. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a problem if women perceived there to be enough “good men” to go around. But reading men’s forums, it now seems like there are no longer enough “good women” to go around, giving both sexes little incentive to compromise or improve themselves.

One wild card that has prolonged the denial and anger stages and will continue to prolong all the other stages are technological and medical advances such as the birth control pill. None of the other isms had that variable, or the prospect of artificial wombs.

Yet, even with “equalizing” technology that asserts control over mother nature, it is likely women and men will still want to have sex with each other and live together. Which makes me wonder who or what is really behind the movement, since the trajectory of feminism doesn’t improve the dynamic between women and men in the long-run. I guess, the who or what probably doesn’t really matter, because the result will be the same — a divided, untrusting population that can be easily conquered.

If you wanted to divide a population for your own gain, a great way to do that would be to tell one half that the other half is willfully oppressing them, and then make the former believe that they are inherently better people than the latter, that the latter is untrustworthy and doesn’t deserve to be in charge. Another way would be to infiltrate the education system - in 1968 liberal professors outnumbered conservative professors at a ratio of about 3 to 1 on college campuses; today they outnumber conservative professors 12 to 1.

While feminism in the West may be approaching the bargaining stage, the denial and anger stages are being exported around the world. Because feminism divides men and women and keeps poor people poor, it is an ideal ideology to impose on developing nations in order to continue to exploit and control them, all under the guise of liberation and justice.

Michelle Obama says 62 million girls are not in school. Never mind investing anything in those girls’ brothers and future husbands, because disenfranchised groups of men with nothing to lose has always ended well…

Feminism could also be a tool to push for open borders. As social trust decreases (see here, here and here), more men are choosing not to marry and are opting out of workforce. Currently 1 out of 6 young men is not employed or is incarcerated — a 45 percent increase over the last three decades. This decline justifies an increased need for more immigrants, especially as women’s fertility levels stay below “replacement” rate.

So what are we to do? For men, first consider these statements:

Next, consider what D.H. Lawrence wrote in A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover:

It is marriage, perhaps, which has given man the best of his freedom, given him his little kingdom of his own within the big kingdom of the State, given him his foothold of independence on which to stand and resist an unjust State… Do we then want to break marriage? If we do break it, it means we all fall to a far greater extent under the direct sway of the State.

You have a choice to improve the system, or walk away from the system and perhaps get slightly less taken advantage of. You can mentor the younger generation, or let them flounder. The latter option will indirectly create more adherents to feminism, making life even more difficult for the next generation of men.

For women, it is my hope that those reading this will be open to considering whether or not feminism is truly serving their best interests and the greater good, whether compelling women to live like men is productive or damaging, whether creating a culture of victimhood is empowering or just a way to excuse personal responsibility and accountability (which I think actually build confidence in one’s abilities). When everyone is a victim, who will pick up the tab?

I believe it is technology, not feminism, that has and will continue to do more to offer women flexibility than anything else. The Internet in particular will continue to open up a multitude of opportunities and options that only existed as some far off dream decades ago. I for one, hope we get our act together before we collapse under the weight of our short-term thinking and selfishness.