A secular cult that should call itself the Sisters of Perpetual Grievance, feminism is far more a part of the problem than part of the solution
When writer Hanna Rosin recently published an article on Slate.com stating that “the patriarchy is dead,” much of the feminist response amounted to “burn the heretic!” New Republic editor and blogger Nora Caplan-Bricker accused Rosin of “mansplaining” — the femosphere’s pejorative term for supposedly obtuse and arrogant male arguments on gender, apparently now also applied to female dissent — and being the patriarchy’s unwitting tool. San Jose State University philosophy professor Janet Stemwedel tweeted her gloating over Rosin’s Wikipedia page being vandalized to read, for a brief time, “Hanna Rosin (born 1970) is a terrible human being.”
Ironically, the feminist tendency to shoot the bringer of good news was the very topic of Rosin’s essay, adapted from the new epilogue to the paperback edition of her book “The End of Men” — which, despite its title, is more about female ascendance than male decline. Rosin noted with bemusement that rebuttals to her report on women’s rising fortunes were greeted with palpable relief — not by male chauvinists but by feminists. (It isn’t just Rosin: When a recent study demonstrated that female political candidates are not judged more negatively than male ones, not even for their looks and dress, feminists reacted with either silence or sniping.)
So where is this dreaded American patriarchy Rosin is covering up? Some critiques of her argument boil down to “it’s only affluent white women who are doing well” (and poor minority men are presumably basking in privilege). A gentleman critic, fellow Slate.com author Matthew Yglesias, cites men’s numerical dominance in corporate America — as if Rosin might be unaware of these statistics. (One figure he omits: Women control 60 percent of the wealth in the United States.) But mostly, Rosin’s detractors focus on women’s abuse by men and on pervasive cultural biases against women, from beauty pressures to so-called “slut-shaming.” Patriarchy, says Caplan-Bricker, is “living in a society where both women and men save their harshest judgment for women.”
Do they, though? Such nebulous statements are nearly impossible to prove or disprove. Actually, researchers such as feminist social psychologist Alice Eagly of Northwestern University have consistently found that both sexes tend to view women more positively than men. Sure, this pro-female bias has its flip side: Women’s perceived “niceness” may cause them to be seen as less fit for leadership and to be penalized for not being nice. But crude generalizations about misogyny bear little relation to real life in modern Western society.