In the previous post Crude asked me to articulate what it was like being “taken in” by a feminist culture. I’ll start off by saying a few things:
- My experiences aren’t particularly exciting or unique. The culture I grew up in is probably not that different from the culture of my readers.
- I don’t talk about my family, nor do I specify my location.
- There isn’t really a story here. My views have actually changed quite a bit since I’ve started writing this blog, which has gone on about a year. It’s a process. I’m often accused by people of being dogmatic and not listening to other point of views, but that’s actually not the case. I just won’t pretend that views that are immoral aren’t immoral. That I am anti-contraception has already gotten me branded an extremist.
- I am somewhat involved in the theater world and have friends who are going for careers in it. There is nothing intrinsically immoral about this (I have seen some superb Christian productions and I myself run a theater charity with a friend out of a Catholic Church), but, like the writing world, with few exceptions the culture of the theater world tends to be pretty toxic and corrupting. What helped me is that I did High School theater at a Catholic school, and even then my political views, while not enough to get me ostracized, were definitely the minority. So you know that in some ways I was steeped in the culture even a little more than other people.
So, what it was like being taken in, from the point of view of a millennial:
Growing up, feminism was essentially taken for granted. Contraception is not feminist specifically, but feminism and contraception are extremely related. For the vast majority of my life, I’d say up until I was a senior in High School (I’m ending my second year of college now), the idea of even questioning the morality of contraception was laughable. Contraception immoral? Are you kidding me? That was only something the extreme religious nutcases believed, one level above folks who were anti-medicine because it “wasn’t natural”.
I was sort of kind of anti-abortion. I didn’t really care about, and when I did articulate my position I’d say that I was against abortion except in cases of rape or incest. If the life of the mother was in danger, well, is that even worth talking about? This was good company to be in. I could call myself pro-life without actually getting our liberal overlords too mad. I was “moderately” pro-life. My position changed my freshman year of High School when a pro-life speaker came to visit.
I used to be a moderate fan of “Law and Order: SVU” (I was never a huge fan, mostly because it gets tiring watching something that incredibly serious over and over again). I thought it was an excellent way to educate people about “rape culture”, and often brought that up to people when discussing the subject. As I kept watching though I noticed that they shit on the Catholic Stabler a lot and that they were way more sympathetic to the ultra-feminist Benson. And the further along in the show it got, the more liberal it became. I suppose that just meant it was always liberal and was just waiting for when society was ready to accept exactly HOW liberal they were, but I digress. Anyway, yeah, I used to be that guy who pointed out the “1 in 4” stat for rape on college campuses. Why wouldn’t I? I heard it EVERYWHERE, and nobody ever contradicted it.
The “submission” verses in the Bible were always something I wrestled with (and that I didn’t disregard them completely is one of the reasons I’m NOT a feminist today). Submission? Women being made in the image of man, not God? This all seemed awfully unfair to me. Couple that from CCD on up to High School I’d heard (along with everybody else) that Eve was made from Adam’s rib because the rib was in the middle, which meant they were equal. That it didn’t fit at all with the rest of Genesis was mysteriously left unmentioned. What helped me get over this sort of thing was my own reading (a LOT of it done over the past year) as well as a really superb Theology teacher I had who boiled it down to simple terms: “I love my wife and respect my wife but ultimately I make the final decision”. Worded like that, it didn’t sound so bad.
A glass ceiling was also taken for granted. Either you didn’t know about it or you learned about it, but there was absolutely no way you could deny it’s existence once you learned about it. If you tried to point out that there were problems with the concept of the glass ceiling, you were a misogynist. Period.
Another incident vividly stands out to me. I frequent a writing forum, and on one thread somebody asked, as research for her novel, what guys would think if their fiancee wanted to keep their last name. I answered that, barring what I considered legitimately good reasons (say, you’re a well-known author or something), I wouldn’t get married. I was viciously attacked for it, by the original thread poster. Apparently she only wanted perspectives of people who agreed with her.
It also helped that I started noticing a real double standard. I remember overhearing two girls talking to the new girlfriend of my friend. They were asking her why she was with my friend now because she could “do better”. To the girlfriend’s credit she got seriously pissed at them and left, and I honestly don’t remember if I said anything, but the incident sticks out in my mind, mostly because I thought it was remarkable that they could be that bitchy and suffer so little consequences for it. And there were little things, like learning what the divorce statistics actually were (most divorces initiated by women), learning that most rape statistics are bullshit, and learning that the glass ceiling was bullshit.
But more important than all of these was learning that you were NOT ALLOWED to express these opinions. You would be completely shunned, and you might even seriously compromise your job opportunities. If you had these opinions you were sexist and unfit for polite company. And it was this, more than anything else, that made me realize feminism was bullshit.
So that’s my “story”. I put that in quotation marks because I only answered the original question in a vague way. I couldn’t really help that, though. It wasn’t something I paid attention to. Feminism was just “there”, and me questioning feminism didn’t consist of a specific event where I said, “Wow, feminism is really bullshit!”, but rather me looking at bits and pieces of feminist ideology individually and picking out flaws. So my views are still evolving, and probably always will be. And that’s something I don’t really mind.