Patriarchal blogger Lori Alexander maintains a chat-room of “like minded” women that she consults on various questions or issues. See, for example, her introduction to a recent post:
The radical feminists’ leaders were clear that they didn’t like men. Feminism’s entire purpose was to promote competition with men and even wants superiority over them. (Why do you think they are clamoring for a female president?) They falsely believe that women are better than men. Modern women now claim that they don’t need men. They are strong, independent, and free. I asked the women in the chat room to imagine a world without men and here is what they came up with.
This is a completely butchered reading of what feminists actually say and believe, of course, especially given the fact that feminism is not a monolith. Feminism does not seek to “promote competition with men” or “superiority over them.” In addition, claiming not to “need” men (Lori’s phrasing, not mine) is absolutely not the same thing as wanting to live in a world without men.
The problem is not so much that Lori does not know what feminists actually want or believe as it is that she willfully misunderstands what feminists actually want or believe.
So. What do the women in Lori’s chat room think a world without men would look like? Buckle up, because this is going to be a wild ride!
“Where would we live in? I can’t imagine our roads and buildings would be what they are right now.” (Paulina Marie)
These women think so little of women and their abilities that it almost hurts. Do they really think women are not capable of building houses or maintaining roads? I find this especially maddening given that, in my family, I am the one who fixes and builds, not my husband.
“Our cars would mostly be broken. I know just a little about turning wrenches, but most women don’t. Even what I do know would be useless once the fuel supply ran out … Very few women work in the mines or the oilfield..” (Rachel)
You know what? The vast majority of men also cannot fix their own cars. Frankly, cars aren’t really designed such that they can be fixed by laypeople anymore, male or female.
“Houses to love in, trees to cut down for fire wood, protection during the night when we hear something, and hard discipline issues with pre-teen boys! So, so many things I could list!” (Jennifer)
Do these people honestly think women can’t chop wood? I’ve chopped wood! And what exactly sort of discipline issues are we talking about here? Frankly, I am creeped out by that sentence. Are we talking about a level of corporal punishment only men are capable of meeting out? Yikes.
“We would probably be walking in wooded over-grown places and be poor, lonely, homeless, and it definitely wouldn’t be good!” (Heather)
Does Heather have any idea how many completely helpless men I’ve met? This claim that men are all wilderness experts who can build houses, chop wood, and fix their own cars is utter nonsense.
“Men are the majority workers in anything physically demanding: oil fields, mines, factories, mechanical, construction, police officers, firefighters, and even the women EMT’s call in the men for heavy patients. Women are the physically weaker sex. We cannot do everything a man can do. It’s impossible. Even if there is a manly strong woman, that’s a rarity and would not be enough to sustain our race.” (Cassie)
You know what’s odd? These women are typically the same sort of people who also valorize pioneer women. Pioneer women chopped wood, pulled plows, and built houses with their own two hands. The idea that women are weak or delicate is the product of an upper middle class Victorian worldview that arose in the 1800s. Women are neither weak nor delicate, and never have been.
It’s true that many careers have a gender imbalance, including careers like construction, car mechanics, and energy extraction. It does not follow that women cannot, or would not, do those jobs in a world without men. They can, and they would. There are many, many women who do these things now—and many, many women who are far more adept at such work than their significant others.
See, I grew up believing just as Lori and her chat room friends believe. After I got married, I expected my husband to be our family’s handy man. I expected him to fix things when they broke; I expected him to build things when things needed to be built. He did neither, and I grew frustrated. He was supposed to be doing these things! Things would be broken, and they would stay broken.
Then one day I realized how ridiculous I was being. I got out some tools and I fixed the things myself. I fixed and I built, and as I did so, I realized that I’m actually really good at this. Not only that, I realized that I like fixing and building! I have sometimes wondered whether I went into the wrong career.
To go from this to reading Lori’s friends bemoaning the fact that, in the absence of men, there would be no houses or chopped wood or roads or anything built—it’s like reading something in a foreign language without any ability to comprehend it. It’s not just that it’s wrong, it literally does not make sense.
I don’t want to live in a world without men because I like my husband, and my son. They make my life richer by being in it, not because they fill some sort of set function, but because they are human beings that I have relationships with—people I care about, and people who care about me in turn. Lori and her friends should try this. Individual relationships are far better than expecting someone to fit a type.
Also, dudes with no hands-on aptitude or interest in fixing or building—I see you. You still have value.
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