The Spectacle Blog

Slouching Toward Androgyny

By on 6.22.13 | 6:15AM

One of the seminal triumphs of the conservative movement was Phyllis Schlafly's successful crusade in the 1970s that prevented ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Strange to say, Schlafly's success has been almost entirely abandoned by conservatives who, evidently fearful of being called "sexist," have embraced the culture of androgyny against which Schlafly rallied American women.

For years, I have sought to explain that this is why conservatives are losing -- and now, appear ready to abandon altogether -- the defense of traditional marriage. As I wrote in January 2009:

Are men and women equal in the fullest sense of the word? If so, then equality implies fungibility -- the two things are interchangeable and one may be substituted for the other in any circumstance whatsoever. (La mort à la différence!) Therefore, it is of no consequence whether I marry a woman or a man. ...
This is why so many of those who would defend traditional marriage find themselves unable to form a coherent argument, because traditional marriage is based on the assumption that men and women are fundamentally different, and hence, unequal. Traditional marriage assumes a complementarity of the sexes that becomes absurd if you deny that “man” and “woman” define intrinsic traits, functions, roles.
To declare men and women unequal, however, puts one outside the law -- you are guilty of illegal discrimination if you say that there is any meaningful difference between men and women. Yet if you refuse to argue against sexual equality, you cannot argue effectively against gay marriage, and find yourself subjected to lectures about “accessing the positive social norms” with nothing important to say in reply.

A cowardly unwillingness to confront the egalitarian myth of feminism, therefore, has crippled conservatives in their confrontation with gay-rights radicalism. The history of this intellectual surrender has seldom been examined because the conservative movement evidently does not wish to remember its former successes, which contrast so starkly with its recent failures.

Because conservatives have surrendered to the culture of androgyny, they were ill-equipped to combat the absurd "war on women" theme that emerged in last year's presidential campaign. Rather than interrogate the fundamental assumptions of this liberal madness (i.e., that taxpayer-funded contraception is the essence of "women's rights"), the best that Republicans could do was to answer, "But we're for equality, too!"

Good luck with that. Feminism Lite is not a popular brand.

Because there is no longer any organized and committed resistance to the radical egalitarian demands of feminism, American society has become increasingly anti-male, a phenomenon Dr. Helen Smith describes in her new book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream -- and Why It Matters.

One must truly pity the young fellow on today's college campuses, where coeds are indoctrinated in misandry by Women's Studies professors and performances of The Vagina Monologues. This deliberate demonization of masculinity is complemented by an assault on what used to be understood as the female prerogative. We can scarcely expect men to extend the traditional deference of courtesy and chivalry to militant trollops shrieking radical slogans as they march in annual "SlutWalks." Yet the surest sign that the Sexual Revolution has ended in a shameful surrender is this startling headline:

Poll: Americans Want Women Drafted

Strange as it may seem, 59 percent of respondents in a recent poll said they want women to be eligible for the military draft. This danger -- that Americans might be compelled to send their daughters into combat -- was one of the strongest arguments that helped Phyllis Schlafly defeat the ERA back in the '70s, when memories of the horrors of the Vietnam War were still fresh in the public consciousness.

Forty years, however, have apparently sufficed to erase all those memories and one wonders what it is that the conservative movement, having retreated in panic and abandoned everything worth fighting for, now expects to conserve.

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