Feminism as a religion

Steve (tramont@iinet.net.au)
Thu, 03 Sep 1998 08:45:53 +0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 08:45:53 +0800
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
From: Steve <tramont@iinet.net.au>
Subject: Feminism as a religion

At 11:33 AM 9/1/98 -0500, Aaron Lynch wrote:
>Your problem seems to be that you are criticizing "feminists" rather than
>specific beliefs or scientific assertions. "Feminism" does not mean just
>one thing. So rather than attempting to analyze "feminism," I suggest
>analyzing specific ideas. For instance:

"Feminism" may not mean just one thing. But, with only a very few exceptions
(like Christina Hoff-Summers, Camila Paglia, etc, who get hounded out of the
feminist movement by the sisterhood as not being "true" feminists), the
different streams of feminism are, for the most part, dominated by the
following assumptions:
1) Women are the moral superiors of men;
2) The "patriarchy" is responsible for the oppression of women.
Women have no part to play in the creation of patriarchy.

Aaron, I don't have much time at the moment to address in detail, the
specific points you raise. But for the moment, let's have a brief look:

>"Female genital mutilation should be abolished."

A couple of years ago, I found an excellent article outlining a young girl's
induction into womanhood. From memory, she was from a tribe in one of the
African states. What was fascinating was how she looked forward to going
through the procedure as a part of the process of "becoming a woman". This
process, to her mind, was her "coming of age" when she ceased to be "just a
little girl". In many ways she was a "victim" of peer pressure and, in turn,
she became one of the enforcers of peer pressure. She sustained her
culture's memes both as victim and as oppressor. Another extremely important
dimension of female genital mutilation is that adult women play a central
part in enforcing it. Yup, it is true that men often wield the knife (men
are frequently expected to do women's dirty-work), but women supervise,
pressure, cajole little girls into undergoing the process. It is never ever
a case of men conspiring to do this to women but rather, men *and* women
playing a part in the spreading of cultural memes that make everyone an
equal participant. An important feature in the spread of memes is that
everyone in a culture is somehow a participant.

>"Marital rape should be outlawed."

Again, there are several dimensions to this point which I don't have time,
at the moment, to elaborate on. Briefly: Men and women choose each other.
Women, like men, should take responsibility for the choices they make.
Violence should and is outlawed. If a man beats his wife because she refuses
him sex, then he is breaking the law. Why should government intrude any
further than that? If sex is rape, then marrying for money is prostitution.

>"Women should get equal pay for equal work."

The difficult, dangerous and dirty jobs are done by men. These are the jobs
that are unpopular and, which should pay high salaries to attract the men
that have traditionally been expected to be the bread-winners. Market forces
rule. Engineers, welders, etc will be on site in the heat and the dust while
clerical jobs will be performed in air-conditioned offices. Clerical jobs
don't pay as well, but they're very much easier to do and, they're less
physically demanding. So, where do women tend to work - on site, or in
air-conditioned offices?

Market forces rule.

My sister, whose case is fairly typical, is a feminist and was a chemical
engineer. She went through university and earned her degree. She got married
recently. She stopped working to become a devoted, full-time mum. In doing
this, she pulled herself out of the career lifestyle, and did not have to
bother with retaining her skills and building on her engineering experience.
Her marketability was eroding. Why should an employer hire her over an
equally qualified engineer who will not go on maternity leave and, who will
safely be expected to devote his life and long hours to making sure the job
gets done? Why should an employer hire someone who has the freedom to choose
stay-at-home memes over someone who has no choice but to be driven by career

Market forces rule.

For women, career is a pick-and-choose option. In the backs of their minds,
they know that culture allows them to be stay-at-home mums. Men do not have
this luxury. Women have more memes to pick and choose from. Men are confined
by the career memes. For men, work is not something you do if you like,
something you do if your fancy takes you. For men, work is a matter of
survival. And for this, men are paid more.

Market forces rule.

Because men do not have the sorts of freedoms that women do, they are more
likely to work full time, while women's freedoms allow them to work part
time. To what extent has this been taken into account when determining the
73 cents (or whatever) in the dollar that women earn?

Aaron, your own book refers to "marry money memes". What is the role of
these memes in the so-called 73 cents in the dollar that women earn?

In your book you also refer to the female courtship role that you call
"girlish helplessnes" in terms of its effect as a family man finder. The
bottom line is that a woman's choice in helplessness together with the
expectation that the man will rescue her becomes the reality that makes men
more able to compete in the world of management and takes away from women,
the ability to move beyond the so-called "glass ceiling". All feeding back
to affect women's opportunities and salaries and promotions (actually, this
is where I bring my own ideas into play, as defined in my web site - that
is, that the memes we choose to habituate become the memes that form our
personalities. When women choose helplessness memes, they habituate those
memes that conflict with the survival memes).

>"All oppression comes from the patriarchy."

The success of patriarchy involves both men and women, equally. Men and
women are equal participants in the spread of memes, even though memes tend
to be gender-specialised. To suggest that patriarchy is something that men
do to women is to belittle women, to trivialise their role and to make them
appear less than what they really are.

>"We need to establish a matriarchal world devoid of males."

No culture can survive on "nurturance" memes alone. My own view is that men
are the producers of variety and women the filters of variety, and this is
because the mind-body relationship *predisposes* men and women to these
roles (ie, it's not genetically programmed). When you do away with the
producers of variety, change, etc, society will gradually devolve. So, for
any matriarchal society devoid of males - good luck.

>"Women should have the right to vote."

There is an argument emerging from within the men's movement that women
should have to *earn* the right to vote. When men are expected to fight in
wars to protect country and womenfolk, when men do the dangerous, dirty jobs
while women have the pick-and-choose memes that land them at home or in
comfy, air-conditioned offices, then, the argument goes, women are not
earning their right to vote. There is also another argument that says that
even stay-at-home housewives make decisions about which schools to send
their children, how to spend the family income, etc, and, these decisions
should also play a part earning the right to vote. The women's vote put Bill
Clinton into power. Have feminists been honest and responsible in relation
to the controversies surrounding Clinton? The controversies surrounding
Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, etc have left feminists silent, and their
hypocrisy with regard to these matters suggests that their manner of
politics is not exactly responsible. For men like me, who appreciate
independent, free-thinking, and responsible women, the right to vote is an
inextricable part of such a mind-set. But, it is fair to ask ourselves, in
light of the Clinton saga, are feminists behaving responsibly? Are they
setting an example that *earns* women the right to vote?

>These beliefs have different prevalences in society at large and among
>those calling themselves feminists. They can also be analyzed in terms of
>their specific transmission mechanisms. You may also find yourself
>believing in some of these assertions while disbelieving others. If you
>talk about "feminism," you might be talking about one set of ideas and your
>discussion partners may be talking about a completely different set of
>ideas. Clarity would be best served by discussing specific memes, and by
>defining meme complexes in terms of their component memes.

Religions are memes that provide component memes that compel people to act
in the interests of the religion's survival. Feminism is no different. It is
a religion in the same sense, peddling the same calibre of nonesense. For
example, we have the following types of virulent mind-viruses:
1) All men are rapists;
2) All sex is rape;
3) Women are oppressed by men;
4) "Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women
between ages 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents,
muggings, and
rapes combined. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation,

Some of feminism's memes are one-sided exagerations that omit the full
picture, and ignore women's roles - eg, "all men are rapists" - ignores the
fact that *some* men are rapists, that men are expected to protect women
from rapists and that women often *choose* rapists as husbands (when a woman
chooses a wife-beater, she casts her vote in favour of what she thinks all
men should be).

Other memes, such as the fourth one citing FBI statistics are pure, blatant
fabrication. The reality is that men also, are victims of domestic violence
and, that domestic violence is more complex than men beating up on women. DV
is a systemic phenomenon where little boys and girls learn patterns of DV
from their parents - and if single parents are more often female, then
little boys get beat up on by their mothers, and little boys grow into men
who faithfully carry on the tradition.

Stephen Springette

Newton's Laws of Emotion:
There can be no complexity without simplicity

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