December 29, 2005,
"They talk "freedom of choice," but feminists are too contemptuous of dissenting women to allow them to choose freely how to live their lives without ridicule and disdain," Kate O'Beirne writes in her new book, Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports. And she would know. Having taken on some feminist stalwarts on Capitol Hill and the likes of Crossfire, Kate puts a final (or so we can hope) nail in feminism's coffin in her new book, calling their bad ideas out with facts and figures and good sense.
NRO Editor Kathryn Lopez recently talked to NR Washington Editor Kate O'Beirne about Women Who Make the World Worse.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Kate, knowing you and your reputation, I was not surprised to read that you were a traitor to your sex even in law school. Does wanting to see other women fail just come naturally to you?
Kate O'Beirne: Having been raised with three sisters and educated by women in a girls-only high school and all-female college, it was jarring to find myself labeled as a traitor to my sex. Some of my best friends were women! But I never believed that men and women were interchangeable, that marriage was a patriarchal plot, or that women's equality rested on abortion rights. So wanting to see feminists fail came naturally to me.
Lopez: You mentioned the influence of the women in your background. But does being the mother of boys make you especially sensitive to women who make male lives worse?
O'Beirne: The men in our lives can shape our views on the most destructive ideology afoot. I have long thought that if high-school boys had invited homely girls to the prom we might have been spared the feminist movement. We live with the destructive feminist agenda because the fathers or husbands of so many of them, including Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Germaine Greer, and Jane Fonda, never failed to fail them. The views of these angry, abandoned women inform the modern women's movement.
Lopez: You write that "A battle was won when the ERA was defeated, but feminists went on to win the war." How did they win it lost, for Pete's sake and if they won why don't they act like winners?
O'Beirne: What feminists couldn't impose by constitutional amendment (thanks to Phyllis Schlafly) they have imposed through the schools, college faculties, and the culture, by judicial fiat and advocacy dressed up as legislation. Don't be fooled by their militant insistence that women's equality has been thwarted. These women are chronically dissatisfied and qualified for only one job: professional feminist. They are generously paid, largely by taxpayers, but also by corporations anxious to look good on "women's issues." The fact that American women are the most privileged women in the history of mankind (woops!) must be vehemently denied.
Because their goal of a sex-blind society is frustrated by biology (see my last chapter "Mother Nature Is a Bitch"), feminists' schemes are increasingly coercive. In that sense, they are losers.
Lopez: You write that "The Jobs Rated Almanac reveals that twenty-three of the twenty-five jobs rated as the worst are over 90 percent male." I bet a man wrote that.
O'Beirne: That's just one of the many uncomfortable facts that feminists ignore in order to make their dishonest claims. Men make up 54 percent of the workforce, but account for 92 percent of job-related deaths. Jobs that are flexible, fulfilling, and safe (so typically favored by women) pay less. Feminists hate it when that happens.
Lopez: Seriously though, feminist always go on about unequal pay when most pay discrepancies simply make sense and are, in fact, fair, right? Why can't anyone get them to shut up?
O'Beirne: The persistent fable that women are denied equal pay for equal work has been a never-empty tank of gas that fuels feminism. A sympathetic public is largely unaware that the claim that women face widespread wage discrimination is a myth aggressively advanced by feminists. Disparities in wages exist between women with children and men and single women. This is not sex discrimination, but if that were better understood feminists would have to get real jobs.
Lopez: Abortion gets the rap as the topic you can't bring up in polite company, but daycare is pretty incendiary too. Talk about day care's healthy and developmental drawbacks and you're mommy warring. But our reticence to talk about it is a problem, isn't it?
O'Beirne: Any discussion of day care's drawbacks invites the wrath of the child-care industry and their friends in the media. Proponents of the male model of career success for women and substitute care for young children typically working mothers themselves use subterfuge and censorship to thwart the free choices women make. As you'll learn in Chapter 2, "Day Care Good; Mother Bad," the propagandists don't just insist that day care benefits children, they see stay-at-home mothers as a timid and fearful lot whose full-time attention damages their children.
Lopez: In 1977, Jean Stapleton, hanging out with Bella Abzug announced that Edith Bunker would support the ERA "if she understood it." Does that pretty much sum up what the feminist establishment thinks of many American women?
O'Beirne: The modern feminist movement has never enjoyed the allegiance of a majority of American women and that condescension represents feminists' explanation when confronted with the evidence. The rest of us are too stupid to recognize our oppression. One of the most celebrated feminists you'll meet in the book dismisses the surveys reporting that married women are happier than single women by attributing their contentment to being "slightly mentally ill."
Lopez: "Modern feminism's biggest enemies are the smallest humans." Without caricaturing the Left too much: What about "Her body, her choice?" People get into tough situations. Is it really fair to characterize it as a war against unborn children?
O'Beirne: Feminist fundamentalism holds that the battle of the sexes can't be won unless women make war on the tiniest enemies of their independence. How can we be the equal of men when our bodies betray us? These women aren't arguing that abortion must be available for the hard cases. They believe that women's fertility makes us inherently inferior to men, so there can be no restrictions at all on abortion. Lacking the public's support for their radical abortion agenda, they wrap their demands in a tissue of euphemisms and lies and fiercely fight to keep the issue in the courts insulated from public opinion. The majority of the public, including the majority of women, oppose the majority of abortions.
Lopez: Why do you raise questions about women in the military while we're at war? Don't we need every man or woman we can get in our overstretched military?
O'Beirne: In the lull of peacetime, regulations that kept women in uniform at a safe distance from combat were lifted. We are now paying the price and being made to think that our national defense rests on the ability to deploy teenage girls and single mothers. What a disgrace. In the name of a phony equality, the military shouldn't ask women to serve where they don't have an equal chance to survive. Experience with integrating the service academies and the great majority of military specialties has shown that women can't and don't meet the male physical standards. The institutionally self-confident Marine Corps hasn't integrated its basic training and has little trouble recruiting the kind of good men who recognize that women should be protected from physical threats.
Lopez: Do you want men to beat their wives? How can you be against the Violence Against Women Act?
O'Beirne: It's possible to recognize that physical abuse within a relationship shouldn't be considered a "private matter" and not support enacting an ideological agenda dressed up as legislation. The feminist conviction that marriage is inherently abusive and all men potential assailants won a federal imprimatur, and well over $1 billion, with this legislation that congressmen were too intimidated to resist. This program, packed with feminist pork, has the female psychologist who declared that "all female-male relationships [are] more or less abusive" on the public payroll training police, prosecutors, and judges.
Lopez: Was there ever a gender gap? There had to be a problem selling George W. Bush to women or the campaign would have never bothered with a "W Is for Women" gimmick, right?
O'Beirne: What can I say? Republicans can be dopey about the so-called gender gap. It was first aggressively promoted in 1980 when Ronald Reagan beat Carter among women voters, but by a smaller margin than his win among men. Hyping the supposedly intractable gender gap was useful to browbeat Walter Mondale into picking a female running mate. While Geraldine Ferraro was busy making history on the other ticket, Reagan was winning over women voters by a margin of 56 to 44. As I show, convincingly I hope, there is no monolithic women's vote and there is no monolithic women's agenda.
Lopez: What's the worst thing that women who make the world worse do?
O'Beirne: They put us at war with the men in our lives, the fathers, husbands, and sons who love and support us. Because men don't like arguing with women and naively assumed that if they gave feminists what they wanted they would be left alone, the allegedly fierce patriarchy collapsed in the face of the feminist assault. The moral intimidation feminists inflict on men means that other women have to take on the modern, destructive women's movement. In the pages of my book you will meet some of the smart, admirable women who take on the feminists. The feminist message is crippling to our daughters, but we mothers of sons in particular have to defend our offspring. We are not raising unindicted co-conspirators in the gender wars!
Lopez: Has Hillary Clinton's work making the world worse only begun? Would a President Rodham Clinton unleash a destructive feminist nightmare on the world much worse than anything Geena Davis could ever portray?
O'Beirne: Oh boy. Hillary Clinton is a committed feminist. She's a true believer in the grievance agenda and promotes the myth of stunted progress for women's equality. She would reliably be one of the women who make the world worse by endorsing all of feminism's pet causes strict sex quotas for college sports, "girl power" in our schools, the "epidemic" of domestic violence, abortion on demand (despite her phony rhetoric), universal, federally funded day care, enforced "equal pay for equal work" and women in combat. I have to lie down now.