One of my biggest problems with left-wing identity movements is that they seem to identify an oppressor — and then adopt the oppressor’s values as their own. If whites have discriminated against blacks in the past, they say, that can be fixed by adopting that racism and discriminating against whites now.
This never works, of course. All racism goes on one side of the scale: the devil doesn’t care who does the hating as long as the hating gets done.
But nowhere is this moral error more destructive than in the philosophy of feminism. Feminists have essentially proclaimed that male power can be equaled only by women willing to accept male values and play by male rules. Virtually every movie seems to feature a woman who is shown to be “strong” in the ways men are strong. They throw punches, they pose with their fists on their hips, they look grim and macho. Feminine attributes like tenderness, nurturing and generosity? Forget it. That’s girl stuff.
I think this is bad news for women for the simple reason that, unlike the races, the two genders are really very different from one another. Forcing one sex into the other’s roles not only tends to make most people unhappy, it also damages society — which is, after all, built on the bedrock of human nature, not the other way around.
This week, the illogic of the feminist outlook was dramatized in the realm of popular music. Pop star Taylor Swift, soon to turn 30, was asked by a German interviewer if she would like to be a mother someday. Swift said, “I really do not think men are asked that question when they turn 30, so I’m not going to answer that now.”
Now it’s not news that a pop star says something silly, but this was a representative silliness. Men are not asked the question because men don’t become mothers, and women only have a certain period of time in which to bear.
But Swift felt this was demeaning because it suggested that motherhood is somehow a defining experience for women. But, of course, that’s exactly what it is — and if saying so feels demeaning, it may only be because feminists have adopted male values that set other occupations above motherhood.
Mind you, I don’t blame men for telling themselves that running a company or being a soldier or getting your name in the newspaper is more important than creating and nurturing new humans. But why should women accept those judgments? After all, it’s entirely possible men puff themselves up over their endeavors to compensate for being the less important sex.
All this matters greatly. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that U.S. fertility rates are plummeting and have hit a record low. American women are no longer having enough babies to replace the generations. Leftists leapt to explain this phenomenon in economic terms: it’s so expensive to have children, there’s no paid maternity leave, we don’t have universal health care, and so on.
I guess it’s too much to expect leftists to wonder if maybe the cause is leftism itself. But if you live in a society that denigrates motherhood, why should women aspire to it?
A counter example to Taylor Swift likewise appeared in the pop music world. An excerpt from the show “America’s Got Talent” went viral on social media. It showed the performance of a young man named Kodi Lee, who is blind and severely autistic. His mother Tina brought him onstage and explained to the judges that she had seen his eyes light up when he first heard music and so she had nurtured his ability.
Kodi’s piano and voice rendition of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” was spectacular and sparked a standing ovation. “That’s all for you,” Tina whispered in his ear.
Yeah, the kid got the applause. But watching Tina, all I could think was: There ought to be a Nobel Prize for motherhood. In fact, that’s the only Nobel Prize there ought to be. Watching that video was like watching the opposite of an abortion: a heroic battle against the forces of death, not in the name of mere life but in the name of human fruition. The hero of that epic was Tina — and as such, she was the representative of every mother who surrenders body and soul not just to create biological life, but to make life in full: real, loved, nurtured life.
I enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, but let’s be honest: If there were no more Taylor Swifts forever, who really would give a damn? But to lose even one Tina? That would be a vast moral tragedy.
Money, fame, applause — these all attend on traditionally male achievements, I know. Men have built the world that way in honor of themselves.
But why shouldn’t women have a value system of their own?