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Our Pantyhose Culture: Eulogizing Feminism Is PrematureGerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
September 25, 2002
Recently, Cathy Young wrote: " But while America may not be embracing traditionalism, it is true that the feminist movement, already at low ebb, has slid further into irrelevancy." In the same week, Walter Williams opined, "Allow me to speculate on how we became a sissified nation. In a word or two, we've become 'Oprahized" and "Springerized.'"
At first glance one might agree with Cathy Young if the criterion for the feminist movement is organizations like NOW or NCWO (National Council of Women's Organizations), the latter being the arch nemises of Hootie Johnson and the men-members-only Augusta National Golf Club. Yes, NOW has become more the voice of lesbianism and other out-groups. And yes, NCWO is engaged in trivial pursuits when it launches its 6 million members in a campaign of intimidation against one of the few remaining vestiges of the male-bonding ethic. But to say that feminism is approaching irrelevancy is a vast overstatement.
Walter Williams also understates the condition of the culture when he calls it sissified. Oprahism and Springerism are but half a loaf.
The intractability of feminism lies in the fact that it is our new Janusian goddess. Radical attacks on the military, VMI (Virginia Military Institute) and other previously all-male citadels have been criticized ad nauseum. And the bottom line too which critics most often subscribe is the "softening" of structure, and the diminishment of previous male-based physical performance criteria - another form of softening.
But in these attacks are what has emerged as the two faces of feminism. On one side is the aggressive, and often rageful male-bashing and in-your-face confrontation. On the other is the incessant appeal to maudlin sentimentality and emotive phrasing.
The representative of the former is the masculine caricature / stereotype of the hard-bitten business executive. Dressed in her male-mimic business suit, complete with figure suppressing pantyhose under those well-creased slacks, the arch careerist kicks corporate butt aplenty. You can see, and hear (expletives included) her coming a mile away. But the representative of the latter, emotive contingent is often less attended to. Yes, Oprah is one of those, but this face of feminism is worn by both females and males-in-drag, pantyhose politicians. These are the members of the for-the-children crowd.
To paraphrase Walter Williams, in two words, we have now the "Mysculinist" and the "Emotivist" branches of the former women's movement. Together, they have become the intractible "pantyhose culture".
What the early women's movement accomplished in establishing hiring and middle management parity for women, the pantyhose culture now shapes and defines.
At some time, during every day, you will encounter the mysculinist; from government offices to fast-food takeouts. These are the women that eschew softness and any hint of tender ministration, at least when dealing with their male counterparts. They unabashedly recreate the scrooge-like stereotype of the patriarchal forebearer.
For every mysculinist there is at least one emotivist who is harping on better day care, a muscled down military, and the sad, ubiquitous condition of the abused wife and her deadbeat (usually former) husband, boyfriend, etc. Actually, there are probably two or three of these emotivists for every mysculinist because their ranks are grossly swollen by the incessant coadjuvancy of the male pantyhose politician. In his case, he seeks to hide his potentially dangerous masculinity behind the emotive appeals for more women's shelters, more draconian child support enforcement, more "quality" day care, and CEDAW (rhymes with hee haw).
The pantyhose culture that has devolved from the feminist movement is deceptively pervasive. From girl football players to male stewardesses, the previously defined characteristics of the two sexes have been both turned inside-out and dissected amongst several "alternative" genders. Culture's new role models are the virtual transgendered male and female.
The imperiled pawns of this sad devolution are those whose name is most often invoked with great veneration by the anointed. They are the children; of the hard-core career mothers, dropped off in a daycare warehouse within 90 days of birth; of the now venerated single-parent "family"; targets of the homosexual predator; trophies of the pantyhose politician; estranged offspring of the disenfranchised husband/father.
Feminism has "slid further into irrelevancy"? No, it has metastasized into a vast pantyhose culture; one from which we may never extirpate ourselves.
Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D. [Clinical Psychology] is the founder DA*DI. Since founding DA*DI in 1994, he has been devoted to researching, advising and disseminating information on the issues that he believes threaten to engulf and diminish the American culture; the same issues that are driving the divorce industry and the deconstruction of the family and fatherhood. DA*DI's latest campaign proclaims Dads Have The Right Stuff.
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