Smoke & Mirrors

by Vyckie

Libby Anne makes an astute point in her recent post at Love, Joy, Feminism:

Vision Forum focuses on problems in society, inflates them, and then blames feminism and modernity. Then Vision Forum seeks to fix the problems by turning back the clock to a time that never existed. The version of the past that Vision Forum sells is a myth. The problems we face in society today are not new. Substance abuse, the challenges of balancing motherhood and work, and the devaluation of women have always been with us. Looking back to some idealized imaginary past where families had no problems, mothers happily stayed home and devoted their time to raising their children, and women were valued and esteemed in return for surrendering their freedom and rights does not actually fix any problems!

For example:

A Devaluation of Women
Vision Forum speaks with disgust of the ways young women are treated today as the young men around them treat them as accessories and pressure them for sex. Vision Forum is looks in horror at the ways women are portrayed in advertising, and at the pressure to conform to some sort of perfect body image that women are faced with every day. Vision Forum is completely aware that women are devalued in our society.
Yes, be very, very horrified by that image and the accompanying text. I only show it to point out that there are real problems here. Women in today’s society are often treated as sexual objects and devalued as “blond bimbos” or “simply emotional.” But somehow, Vision Forum does not realize that the root of this problem is sexism, and instead blames feminism. Seriously,what? Feminists are not complicit in this misogyny; rather, they are working to end it. But for Vision Forum, the solution is once again not to fix the problems we face in the here and now, but to turn back the clock.

Vision Forum points back to a time when young women were valued and protected (by their fathers). Once again, this picture was never reality for more than a sliver of society. Most women were working class and fended for themselves. They lived with the reality of sexual violence and exploitation.

But there’s more to it than that. Vision Forum tells women that they can be valued and have their position in society elevated - if they surrender their rights and accept male authority. They do not see misogyny as the problem, but rather blame the way families today push their young women out of the home at age 18 and launch them unprotected into the dangers of society. Young women will be protected from the debauchery of college men, Vision Forum promises – if they stay home and obey their fathers. Middle aged women will be free from the pressure to conform to an idealized image of sexy, Vision Forum asserts – if they stay home and obey their husbands. What is this? You will be valued and protected if you surrender all your rights and obey your male authority? THIS is the solution Vision Forum offers!

Meanwhile, feminists believe that women can be valued and have equal rights. In fact, feminists hold that the key to ending the devaluation of women is not accepting women’s subordination to males but rather bringing about true equality. Accepting a second class status for women only furthers the root problem here, which is sexism and misogyny. Vision Forum doesn’t see this, because it believes that women are “weaker vessels” which need protecting. Furthermore, feminists work to fix the problems in our society today by actually working to fix them. The solution is not to turn back the clock or to ask women to surrender their rights in return for protection. The solution is to combat sexism and misogyny and work toward actual equality. But somehow, Vision Forum identifies that as the problem.

Read the full post here …

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum. Comments are also open below.

Libby Anne lives with her husband and toddler somewhere in the U.S. She has left patriarchy for feminism and has found freedom. She is a graduate student with big plans for her life. You can read her blog at Love, Joy, Feminism.

Read all posts by Libby Anne!

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 


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