Dr. Christina Villegas of the University of California, San Bernardino published a report entitled “The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government” for the Heritage Foundation. It’s a long read, but persuasive in its entirety. I’ve cut out certain parts below for comment and linked to the original document at the end.
Modern feminism, however, has strayed from this narrow mission, embracing instead a far more radical agenda. In the name of promoting “equality,” it has become a movement that seeks to promote women’s full autonomy by eliminating gender distinctions and forcing gender parity (statistical proportionality of males and females) in every area of academic, economic, social, and political life. Achieving these ends requires the vast expansion of centralized government, the redefinition of freedom, and the preferential application of the law to women based on their identity as a specially protected class.
There is no such thing as “full autonomy,” unless you live on an island or mountain, away from everyone else, with no connection to anyone else. If you live somewhere there are other people, you have an inherent duty to not interfere with them, just as they have an inherent duty to not interfere with you, which necessarily limits “full autonomy” (ex: “Kill my neighbor and take his stuff.”).
Feminists often accuse those who defend the U.S. Constitution and limited government of being hostile to the well-being and interests of women. These charges have been so thoroughly imbedded in the public mind that many Americans who do not necessarily support feminist policy prescriptions still presume that the Constitution itself has been an historic impediment to the rights of women.
You mean…the feminists don’t actually deal in history? They’re peddling mythology and metanarrative? (ex.: “#YesAllWomen are the victims of all men since time immemorial because Patriarchy.”)
I need to sit down after taking this truth bomb.
Contemporary feminism, an ideological outgrowth of the second wave, has largely adopted the belief that constitutional forms, which pledge an objective application of the law without regard to sex and limit government power with a view to protecting individual rights, are patriarchal in nature and stunt women’s ability to develop into full and equal citizens. Thus, many prominent contemporary feminists oppose the notion that there are legitimate limits to political authority and that government action should primarily involve restraining individuals from trampling the equal rights of others while otherwise leaving them free to determine the course of their lives.
To oppose limitations on political authority is to oppose constitutional government itself. Until recently in human history, governments did not concern themselves with Constitutions or written limitations on state action.
A constitutional system based on the protection of equal opportunity and individual rights in which males and females alike are able to develop their natural talents and abilities free from artificial legal barriers is problematic for contemporary feminists. They assert that such a system fails to account for the way women are hindered by external discrimination and the internal restrictions that they unknowingly have been socialized to impose on themselves. As Jessica Neuwirth, founder and director of the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition, maintains, “The entrenched historical inequality between the sexes cannot be erased by the creation of a level playing field because the players themselves are at two different levels.”
Did this goofy feminist (Newirth) just imply that men are inherently better than women, but that’s bad, so tear down the Constitution and give us freebies and preferential treatment?”
Several prominent women have written well-researched accounts demonstrating that the feminist vision of what women should want from their lives (financial autonomy and career success) often conflicts with the goals and desires of many real women. Contemporary feminists usually respond to such dissidents by arguing that women who desire to make their career a secondary or partial priority have been socialized by the cultural glorification of femininity and motherhood to participate in their own subordination. In other words, as Betty Friedan lamented, women adopt the values of the system that oppresses them, and because “the chains that bind [women] are often in [their] own mind.”
“Socialization” being the latest repackaging of the old Marxist ad hominem “false consciousness,” in that the opponent of the Feminism/Marxist doesn’t really believe what they are saying, therefore disposing of their argument without actually refuting it.
Modern feminists have further expanded their critique of limited constitutional government by arguing that the Constitution not only fails to grant women the positive rights necessary for self-actualization, but also exacerbates women’s subordination by insulating civil society—including religious and civic organizations, private associations, businesses, and the family—from state involvement or interference. For example, Sally Goldfarb, former NOW senior staff attorney and founder of the National Task Force on the Violence Against Women Act, contends that “[b]y sealing off civil society in general, and the home in particular, as a private sphere where the law may not intrude, the Constitution protects the stronghold of patriarchy.”
This critique of constitutional government has led politically connected feminist groups to support a common agenda of larger and more intrusive government that is more concerned with redistributing wealth and resources and regulating individual liberty than it is with protecting individual freedom, opportunity, and choice. Believing that group achievement for women as a class is more important than the protection of individual rights, feminist organizations rally in support of policies that severely restrict the liberty and property rights of individuals—men and women alike.
Further proving that feminists in general either don’t comprehend or don’t accept the concept of natural rights. They view “rights” as not rights at all, but licenses, to be granted or revoked by Mommy and Daddy Government.
Ultimately, an unfettered state that favors certain individuals based on their membership in a particular class threatens the equality and rights of all men and women. Such a system not only devalues those who are not part of the favored class du jour—whether it be women, racial minorities, homosexuals, transgender individuals, or others—but also deprives those in the protected class of their claim to rights outside of their identity in that class and subjects them to the arbitrary whim of those in power. Only in a regime that limits the scope and character of the law with a view to protecting individuals in the free use of their faculties, regardless of whether their choices lead to different outcomes, can men and women ever come close to enjoying true social, political, and legal equality and freedom.
And we come to the rub: Feminists aren’t interested in freedom; they want privilege. They want an all-powerful state to say “Women may have X, but men may not have X, until at least Y number of women have X.” They want to live in adult kindergarten where a bigger, stronger teacher distributes the juice boxes and toys based on an arbitrary notion of “fairness.”
Feminists are truly the handmaidens of tyranny.