Monday, June 26, 2006

GKC: President of the Woman-Hater's Club?

To hear modern thought say it, the answer would be a resounding "yes." After all, here are some of the things he steadfastly refused to affirm:

1. A woman's "right to choose"
2. A woman's duty to work in the corporate world out of spite
3. A woman's right to disdain children, and spend as little time with her own as she can manage
4. A woman's right to be snarky and disrespectful to her husband, while he himself is of course required to treat her like a delicate pagan goddess lest she file for divorce
5. A woman's duty to rebel against any traditional conceptions of womanhood that may still, incredibly, exist

All this, and more, he did not affirm. The world we live in today has brought us to the point where it is not merely enough to "live and let live" with disagreement in principles; either you explicitly promote the agendas listed above, or you are cast off into the outer darkness.

Alan wrote on Saturday of the various ways in which "women's liberation" has come back to enslave women in even worse ways than they felt they were enslaved before. The "supply" of women will decrease as the years go by. That is a fact. The sexual desires of men will not. This is a fact. The idea of women walking around like ancient Arabian god-queens, draped in finery and with mute masculine harems in tow, is a fallacy both in terms of optimism and ethic. If we must refute its optimism, we could suggest observation of how a group of men long in prison reacts to the presence of almost any woman at all. For indeed, this is the mentality that will grow, in the long term, in such men as remain. If we must refute its ethic, we should turn to the likelihood (and it is a strong one) that a decrease in the number of women would lead, if anything, to a resolute strengthening of those women's radical feminist ideals, becoming as they would be a small elite. They would, in essence, rule the world; and it is worth considering the possibility that they would have, rather than harems, no men at all. Radical feminists aren't known for their extravagant promiscuity, whatever their faults may be, and it's unreasonable to think that they would suddenly dole themselves out to a succession of men if they are generally disdainful of even one.

So it is not even a tarnished utopia to which we can look forward, and this generation is steaming full ahead into Moloch and Astarte's waiting arms. The old gods never die; they merely abide. Yahweh knew this, and He knows it still. With every child modern woman commits unto the furnace of convenience or "personal choice;" with every day modern woman crushes her soul and hardens her heart in the corporate world; with every marriage she disolves "without fault," another offering is laid at the foot of the great idol. In a mad rush to defend their honour, many women have forsaken their dignity and their value. It is an instructive and not unrelated truth that both "dignity" and "value" have been dismissed as vacuous fictions by post-modern thought.

Gilbert spoke grandly on all of this and more, most notably in What's Wrong with the World, but also elsewhere. His strongest and most bewildered comments were reserved for those who trumpetted the coming of "equality between the sexes." Such an event, taken to the conclusion its proponents demanded, would be disastrous; and we have seen that it has been disastrous. It is a not a true equality, measuring similarities and differences alike, and coming to a common equation. It is an equality born of the death of distinction. It creates a world in which women try to be hard and manly, and fail everyone; in which men try to be sassy and feminine, and die a little inside with every passing day. Gilbert took great pleasure in "things being themselves," for they're simply no good at being anything else. The results, says he, are ominous:
Men are beginning to revolt, we are told, against the old tribal custom of desiring fatherhood. The male is casting off the shackles of being a creator and a man. When all are sexless there will be equality. There will be no women and no men. There will be but a fraternity, free and equal. The only consoling thought is that it will endure but for one generation.
I do not see in all this a hatred of women, but rather a fierce and almost desperate love for them, motivated in equal parts by duty, reason, compassion and - what is more - the imminent prospect of loss. I can not be accused of being a "church hater" for crying out against seeing my church turned into a brothel. It is no slander on my country if I should implore her to stay true to the principles upon which she was founded.

It is a sad state of affairs, and I can not close on a happy note.


Anonymous said...

Are you familiar with C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength? The two main characters, the man an academic and the woman finishing her doctorate, are in an intentionally childless marriage, where they are described as being more in love with themselves than with each other. We later learn that they would have given birth to a hero that was to strike a mighty blow against the darkness, had his parents not been so thouroughly modern. It ends with their embrace of their identities as man and woman in marriage, and cuts out right before what is pretty heavily hinted is supposed to be a roll in the sack. Not the typical way a Christian novel ends, but somewhat relevant to what you were talking about.

Nick Milne said...

I am indeed familiar with That Hideous Strength, and had it somewhat in mind when I was writing this. It's a beautiful piece of work, though hardly pleasant. The title alone is enough to thrust greatness upon the text, but thankfully it carries its own burden well.

Thanks for stopping by, Ransom. I was wondering when we'd see you here (though you may have commented before; if you did, I don't remember it).

Anonymous said...

This was my first time here; I've never actually read anything by Chesterton, so it didn't really pique my interest until you excerpted that post.

Now you know where my username comes from, though. THS is probably my favorite book of all time.

Nick Milne said...

Well, good for you. There are far worse books to have as a favourite, and few that are more unique.

I certainly hope that you read some Chesterton at some point, anyhow; Lewis certainly enjoyed him well enough.