>One of the things that still surprises me as I traverse the weird online world of anti-feminism is the number of women I’ve run across who think that they have altogether too many rights. I’ve written in the past about women who don’t believe they should have the right to vote. Today, Laura Wood, a proudly retrograde woman who thinks the solution to contemporary “cultural ruin” is for employers to start paying women even less than they do now. According to “Why We Must Discriminate,” a manifesto of sorts on her blog The Thinking Housewife:
Over the last 50 years, America has witnessed the cultural ruin of its women. When women fall, an entire way of life and civilization itself are not far behind. In order to reverse this state of affairs, a profound change in attitudes and prevailing mores is necessary. … First and foremost, we must restore customary economic discrimination in favor of men. America’s businesses and institutions must be free once again to favor men over women in hiring. If they are not, family life will never return to a reasonable state of health; the happiness of women and children will continue to decline; and men will fail to flourish and prosper.
It’s a strange manifesto and a strange blog. Unlike many of the reactionaries I regularly quote on this blog, Wood is not an idiot. Her tone is measured and cautious. If you accept her fairly ludicrous premises — the key ones here being that it would be desirable or even possible to undo decades of economic and cultural history to essentially return to an imaginary, idealized prefeminist world in which men could earn enough to comfortably support a family and women would work primarily for “pin money” — her manifesto almost makes sense. And yet what she is saying is, not to put too fine a point on it, vile.
She is utterly blithe, for example, about the effect her proposal would have on single and divorced women:
Divorced women would still receive the support of their husbands. However, parallel changes in divorce law are necessary to make for less incentive for women to divorce. Women should generally face the loss of child custody and a serious decline in income if they initiate divorce, except in the event of proven malfeasance on the part of the husband. Single women will still be able to find jobs and receive help from fathers and extended family. Most of them will not be rich.
Who needs a man-sized wage when you can just beg dad for cash when the rent comes due?
Wood not only thinks women deserve to be paid less than men for the same work; she’s also wary of women taking on almost any authority at all outside the home. While she’s admits it’s technically possible for women to be, for example, effective drill sergeants, she finds the idea vaguely abhorrent:
When women start barking orders at grown men, the delicate balance of power between the sexes is disturbed. Women are mothers and wives, lovers and friends to men. These roles are damaged by domineering bossiness. Male psychology is radically different from female psychology. After all, mothers are women. There is no more significant fact than that.
There’s more, much more. Troll This Blog has assembled a lengthy list of Wood’s more backwards utterances, from which I drew the example above, including some thoughts on race that would not be out of place at a (very polite) Klan meeting: “Only a society in which white men have been emasculated would see the sort of tolerance for and celebration of intermarriage we are experiencing today.”
Though I found her blog through links on a Men’s Rights blog or two, and her ideology is more or less consistent with some of the more reactionary MRAs out there, Wood is not exactly an MRA herself. Indeed, she has tangled with the Men’s Rights Movement on several occasions — lambasting commenters on The Spearhead for “juvenile” misogyny, and accusing MRA elder Paul Elam of “idiocy and hatred” for his, er, idiotic and hateful statement that if he were on a jury he wouldn’t vote to convict a clearly guilty rapist.
Wood’s enmity towards certain elements of the MRM has been reciprocated. Our good (not) friend at the Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology blog recently took on a “mangina” commenter at what he calls “The (Not) Thinking Housewife” for suggesting that the MRM had its roots in “radical homosexuality.”
This is one of those battles, to paraphrase Calvin Trillin, in which I can only hope that both sides suffer a defeat of humiliating proportions.
NOTE: Before any of the anti-feminists who regularly post here accuse me of lacking “substance” because I do not “rebut” Wood’s “arguments” in detail, I request only one thing: find me something solid to rebut. Wood, like many of those I write about, offers a lot of opinions — see the quotes above, and on Troll This Blog, for numerous examples — but almost nothing to actually support those opinions. Find me an example of an argument she has made that is actually supported with actual empirical evidence, with specific citations and/or links to sources, and I’ll have a go at it.