Men aren’t doing it by themselves, either
The recent triumphalist article by Speccie writer Declan Mansfield, ‘Sisters aren’t doing it for themselves’, reads rather like putting women in their place. However, in the interests of fair play, as a non-feminist woman writer I find some of his assertions need challenging.
Mansfield’s restricted perpective reminded me of an address given in my home town of Nelson, New Zealand. Similar sorts of over-confident assertions were made by a feminist author, Stephanie Dowrick, to admiring women fans in a seemingly acquiescent audience. As I’ve never been comfortable with the one-sided presentation of any ideological viewpoint, and have always thought that, in the words of J. M. Barrie, one must nail one’s courage to the mast, I braced myself for the outraged reaction of the feminazis present to offer a counterpoint to her view.
Apparently it was that men, down through the ages, have been responsible for all that is wrong with the world. Dowrick, a social activist born in New Zealand but resident in Australia, founded the feminist publishing house, The Women’s Press in East London publishing 20th-century feminist writers, subsequently turning to the highly popular field of feel-good, self-help books.
Most rational women as well as men have a sense of fair play. Perhaps males who feel threatened by strident feminazis need to take on board the fact that the tiny minority of feminist women don’t speak for most women –the majority of whom are fond of their husbands, brothers, fathers, male relatives and friends – in an exchange of mutual tolerance for the foibles of each sex. Although arch-feminist Gloria Steinem’s popularising of the aphorism ‘A woman needs a man like a goldfish need a bicycle’ was greeted rapturously at the time, flaunted on posters at feminist meetings, I later wondered how betrayed the sisterhood might feel. At 66 years, Steinem, whose muddled and contradictory thinking characterised much of her writing, decided she needed a man after all – and married.
Having four sons of my own as well as four brothers and a very patient husband, I was less than impressed by Dowrick’s then highly selective account of the ills for which the male sex was seemingly solely responsible. Nor, having already experienced the sheer irrationality of feminist extremism, did I warm to the argument that if only women ruled the world things would be entirely different and no doubt universal peace would prevail. Our leftist media were more than generous to a former left-wing New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, whose ideological preferences were very much behind the most damaging of the sociological changes that have happened to this country – the undermining of the family unit – and her seeming inclination towards the basic fascism of a One World government.
I very much doubt that feminists like Clark, still media-fawned on since her return, have changed their thinking, or rather, their feeling. Because the propensity of too many radicalised ‘wimmin’ – convinced of their superior qualifications for leadership, to substitute for the necessity of reasoning their emotional responses to issues – does not substantiate the claim that with women in control of the world the age of wisdom would arrive. After the sheer folly of Angela Merkel’s substandard thinking with regard to her open-border policy for Islamists, and the apparently incompetent Theresa May’s extraordinary conviction that she knows best – in relation to her disastrous sell-out of Britain to the EU – one can only hope that the realisation that extreme foolishness is not just confined to male thinking, may help restore sanity to a pseudo-debate lacking any real relevance.
When, after Dowrick’s address, I questioned what I thought was ridiculous in her analysis implying that men were virtually the enemy and the reason for what has gone wrong with the world, I expected hostile audience reaction. However, she back-peddled, generously allowing other viewpoints in reply to my suggestion that what both sexes have to grapple with are the realities of the human condition, with challenges to each.
Unexpectedly, after the meeting I was bailed up by two or three women surreptitiously saying they supported what I’d said. And I relearned the lesson about individuals leaving it to others to make a stand – instead of, as Jordan Peterson laments, taking on board the reality that it is every individual who counts – and that what is happening in the West is very much a result of too few of the majority opposing the strident extremism of those far fewer in number to whom our politicians inevitably cravenly capitulate.
Declan Mansfield’s analysis, similarly one-sided, argues for the superiority of men with the extraordinary claim, biologically untenable for a start, that if women were removed from society the civilised world would still stand. Few would disagree with his claim of the importance of superior male strength down the ages. However, he lacks recognition of the different but equally vitally important, pivotal role of the female.
Male strength meets its match in female endurance, and the capacity for devotion to their joint offspring upon which the very survival of the human race depends – where, arguably, the women have it all over the men, from childbirth onwards.
Interestingly, the choice of the Vikings to dodge being snowed-up in basically small log cabins throughout the darkest months of the year with ever-fractious offspring is thought to have led to their preferring to brave the worst of the Atlantic winter storms to go marauding. Nor has it been the men, but the women in so many societies dependent upon agriculture who have stooped low, babies tied to their backs, spending hour after hour planting rice or other cereals while the men have lazed about smoking and boasting of their hunting prowess!
The role of women doing the basic work to provide for families, maintaining, feeding, teaching, cleaning, cooking for and clothing their households – contributing their own special wisdom and insights to the survival of all – makes nonsense of any claim that one sex has contributed more to the evolving of our civilisation.