Jessica, a writer for Friendly Atheist, has a fascinating post up today in which she analyses and responds to a conversation about feminism that took place between two right-wing radio hosts. This piece is instructive as well as maddening, because the radio hosts, Swanson and Buehner, employ essentially every anti-feminist stereotype and straw man out there. Here is the clip:
If you don’t have a moment to listen, don’t worry, because Jessica took the time to transcribe the entire thing. I’m going to give you an excerpt from Jessica’s post, follow with a short summary of the rest of the conversation, and finish with some of my own thoughts on Swanson and Buehner’s comments.
I’m going to go ahead and walk you though the crazy:
Kevin Swanson: And remember the goal is that these women have to be independent.
So, off to a strong start here. ”The goal is that these women have to be independent”… I guess that’s fine, right? Independence is great! Even though he said it with quite a bit of snark, I am all for independent ladies!
The goal is lots and lots of birth control. The goal is lots and lots and lots of fornication. The goal is abortion. The day after pill will help, and will help a lot.
Wow. Okay, um, I guess the birth control goal is sort of close to true, right? I mean, I’m usually into quality birth control over quantity. (Same for fornication.)
But… the abortion thing? What? The goal is abortion? And if that’s the goal, the morning-after pill will not be too helpful at all.
So, if you’re keeping score, here are the feminists’ goals so far:
- Lots and lots of birth control
- Lots and lots and lots of fornication
Remember, the goal is to get that girl a job because she needs no stinkin’ husband; she’s got the fascist corporation and government-mandated insurance programs and socialist welfare that will take care of her, womb to tomb. Who needs a cotton-pickin’ husband?! Who needs a family? That’s pretty much the worldview that’s dominating, my friends. That’s what the college is all about.
So, as a woman, I want a job so that I don’t need a husband so that a corporation with government-mandated insurance and welfare will take care of me.
So I need a job… so I can get welfare? And if I did have a husband and went on his insurance plan, how would that make the corporation less fascist?
And that, my friends, is what The CollegeTM is all about!
Dave Buehner: Because her feminist professors have told her [that] her husband will abuse her; she will be like a slave to him. Instead, she will just go to the slave market and sell herself, at least sell her body to the highest bidder. See, that’s much, much better.
What classes is this Fictitious Feminist gal taking? I kinda want in on it.
So instead of getting married, all of us single feminist ladies are going out and literally prostituting ourselves. Seriously, I barely ever missed classes in college. I cannot believe I missed the entire “Your Husband Will Hold You In Slavery” unit.
Swanson and Buehner go on to say that there are two groups of feminists. The first group are the attractive ones who use their looks to get a leg up in the business world and the second group are the ugly ones who get angry and go into academia. Both groups dispense with both husbands and children. Swanson and Buehner go so far as to say that feminists not only don’t care about having children but also have actually ceased to love either children or husband. Buehner concludes by saying that feminists are “selfish, narcissistic, family-destroying whores.”
Jessica does a great job taking these guys down, especially regarding their constant talk of birth control and welfare, but I wanted to take a moment to add a few things.
First, while I wholeheartedly endorse the decision some women make to not marry or not have children (decisions that are far from selfish or narcissistic!), the vast, vast majority of women who identify as feminists do marry and do have children. Swanson and Buehner’s suggestion that being a feminist means that I don’t love my children or my husband is incredibly offensive. Given the absolutely unrealistic nature of Swanson and Buehner’s straw feminist, I’m wondering if they’ve ever actually met any feminists. But then, I suppose that if they were to meet me they might well simply assert to my face that, because I don’t stay home with my children, I don’t love them. Do you know how annoying it is to be telling that you believe one thing while they insist that, inside, you really actually believe something else? Yeah, it would probably be like that.
But that leads into the next point. If a desire for financial independence and a career means a woman can’t love her husband and children, what does that say for men? In Swanson and Buehner’s world, men are to be financially independent and have careers—but wouldn’t that mean men can’t love their wives and children? I mean, if I can’t have a career and earn money while also loving my spouse and children, why would Sean magically be able to do both? (Perhaps Swanson and Buehner think Y chromosomes are some sort of magic.)
One final note. Did you catch just how focused Swanson and Buehner are on women’s looks? This annoys me to no end. Can we stop dividing feminists into “attractive feminists” and “ugly feminists” already? Can we stop assuming that whether a woman is considered attractive or not by a given person might not be the most important thing about her? Can we stop assuming that a woman’s attractiveness or lack thereof governs her success in life and her happiness? And can we stop assuming that there is one standard of attractiveness? Honestly this is one reason I’m glad I blog under a pseudonym: this way I don’t have to worry about people on the internet discussing at length whether or not I’m attractive, as though that was some sort of critical question!
And having said that, I’d like to encourage you to go read Jessica’s post.