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Real Feminism: A Male Perspective
By Richard Girard
Neofeminism: The irrational belief that there are no natural behavioral differences between the sexes and that all gender (other than genital dimorphism) is "socially constructed". Neofeminists believe that if infant boys were "socialized" in the same way as girls they would act exactly like girls, even into manhood. The female standard of behavior is viewed as the "correct" one, thus normal male behavior is considered pathological.--Maggie McNeill, "Lexicon," The Honest Courtesan, August 13, 2013. Used with permission.
Maggie McNeill is a woman with whom I sometimes disagree but deeply respect. She is an unabashed libertarian though not doctrinaire: she is more than willing to listen to other opinions, even those of an unabashed Franklin Roosevelt-William O. Douglas Democrat-Liberaltarian such as myself. She is a retired professional sex provider (prostitute for those who are slow on the uptake) and librarian who writes for her own blog, The Honest Courtesan, on a wide array of subjects including literature, music, and politics; but especially the politics, history, and sociology of prostitution; the legal and moral advantages of decriminalizing the "oldest profession"; the exploitation of the myth of widespread human sex trafficking by government, religious zealots, and "Neofeminists" (a category of female for whom neither she nor I have any patience) in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Ze aland, and Western Europe; as well as the abuse, oppression, and exploitation of sex workers in particular, and women in general (yes, t he two are related) around the world.
I first became acquainted with Maggie when I was working on my March 24, 2012 OpEdNews article "Making Sex a Crime, " in which I wrote about the overstatement of the prevalence of sex trafficking in the United States and other Western democracies. I provided real statistics--not the alarmist ones we see on the TV news magazines or read about in newspapers like the New York Times--for sex workers here in the United States and other developed nations in the West. Maggie was kind enough to take a look at my article before my submission, and made some very useful suggestions.
Maggie and I disagree on decriminalized prostitution in two areas: I think some zoning of where street prostitutes work may be needed--no trolling for customers in front of a school is the admittedly extreme example I give; I also believe that all of the sex workers--exotic dancers, phone-sex operators, professional sex providers, etc.--should organize into unions or guilds to maximize their political power and potential benefits (Health care, child care, negotiating rates with hotels, etc.). Maggie disagrees with me, but we can see each others' points and reasoning for our positions: she has the stand on your own/no limitations libertarian ideal; I have the strength in numbers, together with the "some people are too dumb, ignorant, or pigheaded not to make a public nuisance of themselves and ruin it for everyone else (even though I wish they weren't)" liberal ethos. But we also agree that for the majority of sex workers today, especially professional sex providers, the greatest danger isn't pimps or customers, it's law enforcement. Decriminalize prostitution, and the cops lose much of their ability to abuse the professional sex provider as well as becoming answerable for their abuse in both civil and criminal court.
Maggie and I are in absolute agreement on one thing: we do not want to see the "legalization" of prostitution, with the attendant regulation in such an action. This would simply make the state in general, and law enforcement in particular. It is law enforcement who, under our society's current system of criminalization, represent the greatest threat to today's professional sex provider, and not only in the legal sense. Legalization, and its inherent over-regulation, would turn law enforcement into de facto pimps. I am certain this would open the way to even greater abuse of the professional sex provider by members of law enforcement.
The Neofeminist Mistake
There are many faults with both the culture and the ethos of the Neofeminist. The first of these is that they see women as men with breasts and a vagina, and men as women with a penis and testicles. This is related to one of the general errors made by the collectivists in the Second Wave of Feminism as a group (and I am thinking of Simone Beauvoir in particular, whose book The Second Sex was the catalyst for the Second Wave), reducing every individual to the lowest common denominator possible in their dealings with others. In doing so, they forget that it is the differences in human beings that makes every human being unique and in their own way valuable. It also gives lip service to equality of the sexes, but most Neofeminists no more believe in the reality of equality than they believe in the Man in the Moon.
The Neofeminists have no interest in the reintroduction and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (changed in such a way so that it takes into account the biological differences between the two sexes, while at the same time making it inclusive of the LGBTQ community), or real equality in any cultural, social, political, or even economic sense. I believe that the Neofeminist philosophy is divided primarily into two groups: those who wish to destroy the patriarchal control of society, replacing it with a matriarchy; and those who simply wish to subvert the patriarchy and use it for their own ends. In the end, both sides desire to dominate and control society replacing male domination with a "kinder, gentler" female one.
This has always been the greatest weakness of collectivism; a collectivist system not only permits but encourages its members to turn people into things--oftentimes numbers for a faceless, uncaring, dehumanized bureaucracy--rather than celebrate and support those self-same people whose uniqueness represents the very best in what humanity and their nation have to offer.
I believe that a real feminist is not a one-size-fits-all collectivist, trying to shoehorn all of humanity into a small number of easily defined slots in the message center of reality. Nor is the real feminist a Thatcherite individualist who believes that there is no society, only individuals and families. A real feminist is a communitarian: someone who believes in the symbiotic and empowering positive relationships that exist between the individual and their community (or communities); in which every single human being in that community is a unique and valued member. The communitarian ideal recognizes the need for the careful balancing act between the needs of the many and the needs of the few or the one. The communitarian idea figures prominently in the philosophies of such diverse individuals as Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln. To quote Judith Ayers and Barbara Sostatia from their article "What Would Libertarianism Look Like, If It Wasn't Just White People,", "Despite the libertarian rhetoric of individualism, we are all intricately connected, and have been given the opportunity to craft our communities and government together."
Individualism and Its Faults
Individualism as a personal philosophy has the unfortunate tendency toward selfishness as a basis for personal morality. Because of this, there are individuals in the United States who wrongly believe they have rights that have neither limits nor concomitant responsibility. Many of these individuals hold public office or other positions of influence. They are wrong; such a belief is nothing more than a crypto-fascist aristocrat's selfish pipe dream.
There is the traditional limitation on individual actions, going back to colonial times, which says that your rights end at my nose. This is just plain common sense for most people, but there are individuals who for some reason believe that their rights are superior to those of other individuals. This air of superiority is the attitude of those who desire to be an aristocrat: someone whose very blood makes them superior to the average American; an attitude that is not supported in the United States by its history, law or custom. It has no place in our history except in a small number of mostly local or regional examples that were overthrown within a few generations due to their misuse and disrepute. Slavery is the best-known, longest-term example of this type of glaring evil.