@corey-devos, Your outline, one which I’ve subscribed to in the past, makes perfect sense. My former self has no issue with any of this. But I’ve since revised a lot of my thinking. At the center of my revision is that women cannot enjoy this level of equality without our contraceptive technologies - most notably, the contraceptive pill, but also including the abortion industry. Our contraceptive technologies represent an unnatural intervention that tampers with biology, which, in turn, tampers with culture. There is much to unpack.
CONTRACEPTIVE PILL TAMPERS WITH BIOLOGY AND CULTURE
The hormonal contraceptive pill tampers with biology. It is not clear how this impacts on the female sex drive. Anecdotal reports vary. Some say that it heightens sex drive, because it relieves women from the burden of childbirth, while others say that it diminishes sex drive because, hey, hormones. More recently, some women have been coming forward expressing dismay at the realization of the effect that the contraceptive pill has had on their lives. Whatever. I cannot comment on this with any authority. Subjective reports that cannot be measured objectively are always problematic. Let’s move on to the things that can be measured objectively.
Objectively, it is self-evident that the contraceptive pill has introduced into culture, options that did not exist before. The sexual revolution could never have occurred without the contraceptive pill. Feminism could never have occurred without the sexual revolution, and, so it follows, neither could have “women’s equality”. The sexual revolution was integral to massive cultural change. But what kind of equality is this? It’s a fake equality where hypergamous women continue to prioritize their choice for provider men (with the boundaries for what “provider” means having been somewhat redefined). For example, women’s choices have moved on from the responsible provider before feminism, to the caddish alpha of the contemporary PUA (pickup artist) movement [internet search engines are your friend, if you are unfamiliar with these terms]. Sure, women can now have careers, but they also continue to have an escape hatch if it all gets too difficult. Culture provides women with the escape hatch of childbirth. It’s an option that is not promoted for men. I first introduced this concept in my 2005 article in Transitions (a men’s movement publication): The Wage Gap Myth is Hazardous to Men’s Health. In contemporary culture, stay-at-home dads are entertained in theory, but the truth of their validation is embodied in the complete disinterest that many women have for “nice guys” and stay-at-home dads… the swaggering alpha wins their hearts every time. That’s a part of the contraceptive pill’s effect on culture. Tampering with biology has consequences because it introduces new options that never existed before. To put it bluntly, in a cultural context, women’s choices today bear little resemblance to the choices that women made before the sexual revolution (aside from the persistence of the dominant “provider” stereotype, albeit in today’s emotionally-stunted adolescent manifestation).
As to the feminist claim that women have been oppressed throughout history, this is also nonsense. But you’ve got to understand the biology of consciousness (the neuroplastic brain) to appreciate why. Recent comments on this forum express indignation at the suggestion that women have never been oppressed, citing the obviousness of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. The reality of the so-called “oppression of women” is much more complex and nuanced. Women are the primary nurturers. They have primary access to young brains when they are most malleable. One estimate is that 90% of a human brain’s wiring is accomplished within the first four years of life (Prof Jill Stamm, from Arizona State University, a child behavior authority)… when mothers wield the most influence. It is from mothers that children first learn what matters (Peirce, pragmatism). It is from mothers that children first learn how to be. Far from being powerless, the primary nurturer wields considerable power over culture’s destiny. Do we want the truth about the oppression of women in so-called patriarchy-dominated cultures? A passage from one of my articles:
Do as your mother tells you
On Australian Sixty Minutes on Richard Carlton’s report on suicide bombers (Carlton, 2001) , a Palestinian woman declared, raising her voice, trying to convince the ignorant westerner, who just didn’t seem to “get it,” that she wants her son to die, to become a hero for the Arab cause - as the camera panned across to the innocent face of a little boy not even into his teens.
In The Australian newspaper, Natalie O’Brien’s front-page headline (2005) reads “Mum’s permission needed for terror plan.” Quoting from evidence before Sydney’s Central Local Court, spiritual leader Abdul Nacer Benbrika is quoted as saying, “Some people claim to love jihad but don’t respect their own parents… You need permission from your parents to go to jihad. If your mother says no to jihad, then no jihad.” Two days later, Mazen Touma (alleged to have been training for jihad) asked for his mother’s permission to undertake jihad. Her response did not appear in the police evidence, and she refused to speak to the media.
This, is the power of mother over son. The sustainer of the known provides the framework to which a boy will refer in his transition into manhood. The sustainer of the known will provide the goals and standards that boys and men will feel obligated to uphold and carry out. Motherhood, femininity, provides the basis for the cultural known around which the explorers of the unknown will gravitate and test the limits. The power of the hand that rocks the cradle is formidable. It is from the mother that an infant growing into childhood first learns about the things that matter.
I’ve also referenced publications discussing the problem of child abuse (e.g., the Child Maltreatment reports by the US Department of Health and Human Services), establishing that women are the primary perpetrators. Child abuse by women - the primary nurturers - impacts on the wiring of the neuroplastic brain. Child abuse is never trivial. In comparison to the role that the primary nurturer has over the wiring of the neuroplastic brain, references to the oppression of women by The Patriarchy is way over-rated. Feminism disempowers women. Turning women into victims can never be empowering.
Factor in the silly choices that contemporary women make with the PUA phenomenon (women love dominant bad-boys), how on earth can we continue to take seriously the notion of women’s oppression by The Patriarchy? Women play a direct role in choosing the kinds of men that “oppress” them. Why? Female sexuality, the thrill of the forbidden, the thrill of “throwing it away” (much to unpack here, save it for another discussion). Men initiate and provide, women submit, they are the recipients, they wield the power of veto… semiotic theory relates. We cannot do this topic justice in a discussion forum such as here. It’s a whole other paradigm with much to unfold.
Neural plasticity and it relationship to the body is critical. Primary nurturers have direct access to that relationship during an infant’s most formative years. It is from the primary nurturer that children first learn about the things that matter. It is from the primary nurturer that children first learn about love, hate, kindness and violence. To hell with because-genes determinism.
There is an awful lot to unpack. There is an awful lot to undo… we are stuck in a broken paradigm that needs to be tossed out. A buddhist koan comes to mind, of a monk pouring tea until the cup continues to overflow, and his apprentice suggesting in alarm to stop “because my cup is already full!” The monk replies that he has to unlearn what he currently knows (empty his cup), in order to be able to receive new wisdom. There is indeed much to throw out, like that anthropocentric, humans-r-speshul determinism that continues to hold us back. There is much that continues to block us from receiving new insights.