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TONE DEAF FEMINISM 

Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment forty-one years after it expired in 1979 reflects the tone-deafness that is a key problem in feminism.  American Democracy and discourse requires due process, transparency and public comment.  The so-called three-state strategy represents the opposite of that.  Feminists continue to live in their own Never Land completely divorced from reality and resort to their favorite tactic that all unpopular and unwanted revolutions resort too – lying.

After Virginia “ratified” the Amendment the National Organization for Women issued a press statement “We’re All Part of the History Being Made in Virginia Today – Statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt.”  Any number of feminists have rushed to push a narrative that they SHOULD and most likely DO KNOW is false.  However feminists and their media allies have continued to represent a narrative that is blatantly untrue.

Contrary to multiple false media fly by reports and ERA proponents, the 1972 ERA amendment expired un-ratified and is legally dead.  Conservative Constitutional Lawyer Michael P. Farris detailed the reasons in his Op-Ed “Why Starting Over is the Only Reasonable Way to Pass the ERA” (The Washington Times,  Wednesday, December 25, 2019 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/25/why-starting-over-is-the-only-reasonable-way-to-pa/) detailing the many errors and problems with the 1970s ERA ratification process.  An opinion that was shared by the late Phyllis Schlafly, the ERA’s biggest opponent and also a Constitutional Attorney.  Unfortunately for die-hard feminists, this is an opinion also shared by the Attorney General of the United States and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (National Review, “Justice Ginsburg: ERA Ratification Process Would Need to ‘Start Over Again’ September 13, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/justice-ginsburg-era-ratification-process-would-need-to-start-over-again/).

FEMINIST STRATEGY 

But feminists are not listening, which is central to their strategy for success.

For decades Americans have been propagandized to de-escalate or even worse appeasement in the face of conflict.  Public schools deprive school kids of their right to self-defense by creating policies that a victim must allow a bully to hit them multiple times before fighting back.  Mugging victims are encouraged to simply hand over their money and phone because it’s not worth it to resist.  And on September 11, 2001, the entire United States suffered from decades of the idiotic “total compliance” rule, which encouraged pilots and cabin crews to comply with the hijackers’ demands.  The entire mindset is that Americans should simply give in to the most unreasonable, psychotic individuals, that resisting should be avoided and the resisters shunned.  Feminists know it and have tailored their entire strategy around exploiting this psychological weakness.

This was evident in the Democrat House leadership election in 2019.  When Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, rather than stand up for their principles multiple Congress members broke promises to their constituents that they would not vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.  The result has been a breach of trust with voters and an elderly eighty-year-old woman subjecting the entire country to the same absurd petty power struggles that she did the first time she was the Speaker.  During those years, Pelosi first meddled in Middle-Eastern Foreign Policy by meeting with Syria and Israel trying to broker deals behind the President’s back, while alternatively banning smoking in the Capitol.  Her second time as Speaker started out with her refusing to allow the President to address the American People with the State of the Union. Currently, she has dragged out an impeachment process so absurd that Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted Present and even Democrat Senators lost patience telling her in the words of Mao Zedong “shit or get off the pot.”  In all this, she has used the feminist playbook of psychosis, hyperbole and avoidance that has exhausted and frustrated the entire country.

And it has momentarily worked due to the mindset Americans have allowed themselves to adopt.

The entire so-called “three-state strategy” involves first psychosis by creating a false reality and secondly avoiding another national ratification process that would result in another national dialogue about the ERA (and feminism in general) disrupting that false reality.   This passivity is what the feminist movement is relying on to secure its goals. Feminism lost the culture wars when the ERA expired in 1979 and Ronald Reagan was elected President.  Another ratification process would be unbearable for the National Organization for Women, due to the fact that feminist momentum has relied on a pseudo-history that never happened.

HISTORICAL REVISIONISM 

The foundation for feminist psychology and movement is that women have been historically enslaved and oppressed by men.  The Information Age has not been kind to many of feminism’s dearly held beliefs.  In shaping feminist mythology, the evidence is carefully accumulated and selectively quoted, one of the most famous being Abigail Adams letter to John Adams at the 1776 Constitutional Convention;

“I long to hear that you have declared independence and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husband. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention are not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

That your Sex is Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as of the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”

Less often quoted is John Adams reply;

“Depend upon it, We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice, you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat . . .”

The system of laws Abigail Adams was specifically referring to is ‘coverture’, the practice of suspending a woman’s legal personhood and identity upon marriage and taking her husband, provoking feminists to refer to marriage as a form of “slavery” or “legalized prostitution.”  In reality, though ‘coverture’ was more comparable to the relationship between a homeowner and their bank or insurance company.  John Adams response that the title of “master” or promise to “obey” was tongue in cheek male riffing.  John Adams was not sneering at his wife as he has often been misrepresented, most recently by Garrett Epps in The Atlantic, who wrote an entire article based on feminist hyperbole attempting to legitimize the three-state strategy that as a Constitutional Law Professor he is well aware is illegal. (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/trump-doj-era-constitution/605047/).

Despite railing against marriage throughout her speeches, Elizabeth Cady Stanton revealed in her Autobiography “Eighty Years and More” that when she married in 1840, Marriage was already considered a partnership between equals:

. . . the next difficulty was to persuade him to leave out the word “obey” in the marriage ceremony. As I obstinately refused to obey one with whom I supposed I was entering into an equal relation, that point, too, was conceded.”

And this was not an anomaly.  Laura Ingalls Wilder recounted a similar discussion with her fiancé in the 1880s, in “Those Happy Golden Years” :

“Laura was silent again.  Then she summoned all her courage and said, “Almano, I must ask you something.  Do you want me to promise to obey you?”

Soberly he answered, “Of course not.  I know it is in the wedding ceremony, but it is only something that women say.  I never knew one that did it, nor any decent man that wanted her to.”

“Well, I am not going to say I will obey you,” said Laura.

“Are you for women’s rights, like Eliza?” Almanzo asked in surprise.

“No,” Laura replied.  “I do not want to vote.  But I cannot make a promise that I will not keep, and, Almanzo, even if I tried, I do not think I could obey anybody against my better judgment.”

“I’d never expect you to,” he told her. “And there will be no difficulty about the ceremony because Reverend Brown does not believing in using the word ‘Obey.’”

In 1917, Journalist Rhita Child Dorr writing for an American audience in her report Inside the Russian Revolution commented on the power relations in the marriage between Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and compared it to that of American women;

“Much has been made of Alexandra’s influence over the weak and yielding Emperor. It is said that the Empress, when arguments failed to move him, resorted to hysterical fits which invariably brought results. But this may be the merest gossip. Alexandra’s influence over her husband was probably as strong as the average wife’s . . .”

Facts however have never been feminist movement’s strong suit and they have never allowed it to get in the way of they’re carefully rehearsed dramas.  The Duchess (2008) staring Keira Knightly played up this feminist hyperbole, portraying the Eighteenth-Century English Aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish as the oppressed and suffocated wife of a brute.  What it left out was that the Duchess of Devonshire was among many other things a gambling addict who accumulated astronomical amount of debt even for the 1700s.  Further legal responsibility is left out of the fictional narrative altogether.  Wifely obedience in an age where contracts related almost exclusively to financial transactions and unsecured debt were unknown, ignore that very real fact that husbands were liable for their wives’ debts.  He was essentially the source of income and co-signer promising to repay any and all debts.

The most dramatic part of this feminist drama was the favorite lie invented about marriage that conjugal rights were “marital rape.”Again the information age has not been kind, revealing that feminism did not make marriage a healthy mutual relationship, although it damn near destroyed it.  Conjugal rights is based, in part, on Christian teaching that marriage is an inherently sexual relationship and that the sexual relationship can only be suspended by mutual agreement between both a husband and wife, not at the whim of one spouse using the other when it is convenient for them.  Spouses are to be viewed as fellow sexual beings with sexual needs, not a sex toy to be used and discarded.

The Apostle Paul described this in his letter to the Corinthians:

“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Husbands and wives had a right to expect sexual attention and gratification from the other had promised “to have and to hold . . . while forsaking all others” and wives did in fact demand their rights.  Katherine of Aragon demanded Henry VIII give up his mistress Anne Boleyn and return to her marital bed, with an order backed up by the Pope.  Flash forward to 1882, Georgina Weldon successfully sued her husband for the restoration of her conjugal rights.  1894 and 1901 Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell was sued by his first and second wives for the restoration of Conjugal Rights.  Recently Stanford University revealed that the first sex survey in modern history conducted 1892 by  Dr Clelia Duel Mosher, was about sexual habits, behaviors and desires of women, finding that 78% of women said they desired sex, 53% felt pleasure for both sexes was a reason for sex and that a number of wives complained their husbands were bad at sex because “Men have not been properly trained.”

While women being “barred” from economic independence has always been a key to feminist hyperbole, the reality is that ineffective contraception, frequent pregnancy and worst of all non-existence of antibiotics and modern workplaces with electricity, labor-saving machines and air conditioning were the real obstacles to economic independence prior to the twentieth century.  Mary Wollstonecraft was a contemporary of the Duchess of Devonshire and a financially independent woman who lived off royalties from her books only to die from sepsis resulting from complications with childbirth in an age before antibiotics.

Likewise, the same facts have been carefully erased from discussions about women’s suffrage.  Anti-Suffragist Helen Kendrick pointed out in Women and the Republic, that men had the right to vote and they also had additional civic responsibilities including the draft, jury duty, poll taxes and sheriff posse duty.  Even after female voters obtained the right to vote they escaped the additional responsibilities men have been forced to shoulder.  Ultimately that additional civic responsibility has been the primary reason that no Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified in the one hundred years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in all fifty states.

During the 1970s, when the Women’s Liberation Movement broke into popular consciousness, feminists were shocked to discover that their mother and grandmothers generation of women did not share their assessment as an oppressed class. In a 1978 appearance on the Phil Donahue Show with an all-female audience, an elderly woman in the room spoke up shocking Donahue stating;

“I have had equal rights all of my life, I don’t need an amendment to the constitution to give them to me. . . why do I have to go out and get that protection in advance? Nobody has ever taken away from me anything that I wanted that I felt I was entitled too.”

When an incredulous Donahue asked:

“You’ve always felt you’ve received equal pay for equal the work that you –

She cut him off:

“Absolutely . . . But let me say, I prepared myself to do a job and I did it.  And I could still do it!”

(“For Girls Only” – Phyllis Schlafly talks ERA on Phil Donahue | 1978) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgf69rh71HE  )

This was also not an isolated moment.

That same year Donahue asked Ayn Rand :

“You don’t deny that there have been grievances?  You don’t deny sexism? You don’t deny prejudice against women?”

Rand took a bite out of him:

“I deny all that! Except unequal wages.”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKzdW7kVOIs)

The unequal wages Rand was referring to applied to protective labor legislation that gave women lower wages in exchange for additional workplace protections and benefits that later would become standardized in the workplace for men and women.  Dick Cavett would discover the generational divide every time he tried to bring up Women’s Lib, being shot down by Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and Katherine Hepburn.  The older generations of “oppressed” and “enslaved” women did not take kindly to this characterization of them or their lives.

WOMEN LOBBIED AGAINST THE ERA

In the battle for the ERA, feminism displays it’s worst historical revisionism, namely that men are responsible for preventing its ratification.  In reality, having obtained the right to vote in the 19th Amendment, women aggressively lobbied against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment out of fear that they would finally be expected to help shoulder the civic responsibilities men have always had forced on them.

During the 1920s the leading political opposition to the ERA’s ratification was the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee, made up of multiple women’s organizations including the newly formed League of Women Voters, National Consumers League and Women’s Trade Union League and National Association of Colored Women.  Notable resisters of ERA included Carrie Catt Chapman (president of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association),  Esther Peterson (Assistant Secretary of Labor and Director of the United States Women’s Bureau), Florence Kelley, (Co-Founder of National Consumers League and NAACP) and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (U.S. Delegate and Chair of the UN Human Rights Commission and Chair of the 1961 Presidential Commission on the Status of Women).  All of these women and women’s organizations aggressively and successfully lobbied Congress not to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, decades before Phyllis Schlafly and for the same reasons.

Phyllis Schlafly and her army of women emerged on the scene in the 1970s. Schlafly later said she was asked to debate the issue and didn’t have much of an opinion on the subject until she started reading what feminists believed they could force as policy and court rulings once the ERA was ratified. Horrified, she successfully mobilized the majority of American women to successfully not only block the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment but persuaded multiple state legislatures to rescind their ratifications.

Today opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment continues to come from women’s organizations including the Independent Women’s Forum, the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America,

As 1976 Presidential Candidate Ellen McCormack put it in an interview with The New York Times “The feminists have convinced politicians they represent all women. But I am a woman, too. I differ with some of their beliefs. I believe in child care for the poor, but I don’t favor child care for the middle class. I think we are teaching working mothers it is more prestigious to work than be home with their children.”

THREE-STATE STRATEGY

While I support ratifying the 1943 version of the amendment or some variation modeled off of the Wyoming State Constitution, the Virginia push was not it.  It is a three-state strategy to avoid contact with reality at all costs, including suspending American Democracy and Constitutional Government.  If Congress, or the Supreme Court, can change and challenge modes of ratification decades after the fact, then can it also un-ratify past amendments by simple majority votes?

The fact is that it will change nothing for the feminist movement.  Like the war in Iraq, the Feminist Movement must continue to move the goalposts and create conflict and tilt at windmills to maintain their fantasy that they are womankind’s saviors.  They will never declare “mission accomplished.”  As we saw with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Revolutionaries must always create a state of perpetual war against “counter-revolution” to maintain their relevance and the feminist movement is no exception.  Like these “people’s revolutions” that exploited the people’s suffering for power while ignoring real people, feminists have been hiding from reality working to liberate their imaginary woman from “patriarchy” and avoiding real women with real needs.  The three-state strategy has become how feminism hides from real women and genuine female problems.

As Camille Paglia pointed out in Sexual Personae : Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990):

“In its argument with male society, feminism must suppress the monthly evidence of woman’s domination by chthonian nature.  Menstruation and childbirth are an affront to beauty and form.  In aesthetic terms, they are spectacles of frightful squalor.  Modern life, with its hospitals and paper products, has distanced and sanitized these primitive mysteries, just as it has done with death, which used to be a grueling at-home affair.  An awful lot is being swept under the rug: the awe and terror that is our lot.”

The proof is apparent in the feminist movement’s recent protest history and priorities.  In 2004, the March for Women’s Lives for legal abortion on demand became the single largest mass protest in Washington D.C. History and feminists have harassed state lawmakers for state ERA’s.  During the same period of time there was no march for:

  • Re-starting the Equal Rights Amendment National Ratification Process in Congress and making the case again.
  • Tampon Tax remains in almost all states
  • Sex-Selective Abortions remains legal
  • Black Maternity crisis has emerged
  • Sex Trafficking has become a crisis in the United States
  • Women are being erased and “Transgenderism” has been popularized in beltway Media claiming that women are the equivalent of mutilated men who undergo plastic surgery and are “women on the inside” despite never having dealt with menstruation, pregnancy or approached sexual relationships from that perspective.  In other words, Aristotle’s claim that “the female is, as it were, a mutilated male” is being normalized again.

Instead, feminists have done their best to avoid any sort of confrontation, by calling abortion rights “settled law” and discarded any national movement for the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress.  Feminism will never be satisfied because it is not invested in the lives of real men and women or their happiness.  But Feminism will continue to make power grabs using lies they tell, themselves and others, as power justifications.  But only if we allow them too.

While there has been unfair treatment of both men and women throughout history on account of sex and yes many laws (as man-made laws always are) were poorly written to address complex human situations (often failing to keep up with light-speed changes in society since the Enlightenment), the reality of the situation as Paglia adequately points out:

“Woman’s current advance in society is not a voyage from myth to truth but from myth to new myth.”

Americans should neither abandon Constitutional Government or apologize for American history.  America is not a misogynistic society, nor has it ever been.  There is no written in stone Commandment that feminism must triumph, or that the Equal Rights Amendment must be ratified at all.  The U.S. Constitution and American Men and Women have survived for nearly two hundred and fifty years without it.  Requiring proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment to go back to Congress and petition to restart the ratification process is not patriarchal totalitarianism, it is the dialogue that serves as the foundation of American Democracy and necessary to amend the Constitution.  If ERA proponents do not go back to Congress and submit their proposal to what Jeane Kirkpatrick once termed “the searching tests of popular acceptability” then they are not genuine in their proposal and certainly not heirs to Alice Paul’s Suffragette movement that successfully lobbied Congress and engaged in campaigns to keep the issue of women’s suffrage before the American public.  Support for the Equal Rights Amendment does not have to come at the price of American Democracy or acceptance of psychosis.  Americans are more than capable of having a healthy and honest national dialogue about whether the ERA should be in the U.S. Constitution without sacrificing principle.  What’s more, we have the ability to do so by contacting media outlets that publish false narratives and members of Congress demanding hearings and investigation into this deliberate misinformation campaign and hijacking the Constitutional process.  While pushing back against hysterical FemiNazis is never pleasant more Americans should grow a pair and do so.

Author: David Krouse