Archive for September 6th, 2011

The danger [of feminism] is that the study and contemplation of “ourselves” may become so absorbing that it builds by slow degrees a high wall that shuts out the great world of thought.  –  Rheta Childe Dorr

In 867 AD Saint Æbbe the Younger, the Mother Superior of a convent in Coldingham, Scotland, is said to have cut off her nose and urged her nuns to do the same so that approaching Viking raiders would find them repulsive and would therefore not rape them, thus preserving their chastity.  Apparently, the plan worked too well; the Vikings were so disgusted that they burned down the convent.  This legend and others like it (which are actually not unusual among hagiographies) is the probable source of the European idiom “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face”, meaning to overreact to a situation in a petulant and self-destructive manner.  Ironically, when I was researching this column I encountered a comment from a good, brainwashed little feminist who insisted that the story couldn’t be true because (all together now), “rape is a crime of power and control, not sex.”  Obviously, 9th-century Scottish nuns must have known of and believed 20th-century American feminist dogma.  And though this silly woman’s denial of reality is somewhat amusing, the more widespread feminist denial of reality is not; if anything, it’s quite sad.  Feminist writers live in an echo chamber where nobody ever questions their highly-questionable interpretation of reality, so when someone comes along and states facts which are as obvious as the nose on one’s face yet contradict feminist dogma, the writers must attempt to shout those facts down.  And if the knowledge would actually give women some advantage in the world, but would require abandoning cherished feminist beliefs in order to put it to use, modern feminists advocate following the example of Saint Æbbe.

Regular readers may remember Dr. Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics, whom I mentioned in my column of January 11th in conjunction with her findings that, as I put it, “many if not most women are simply not interested in all-consuming, male-style careers and prefer to ‘marry up’ or take jobs which allow them to enjoy their lives and concentrate on their families rather than forcing them to sell their souls to corporations as so many men do.”  Now she’s published a new book entitled Erotic Capital which outlines her insight that economists need to consider women’s erotic power as a form of capital alongside the three recognized (and unisex) forms of capital (economic, cultural, and social).  She suggests that there is nothing wrong or immoral with women using their looks and sexuality to get ahead, and that one of the reasons patriarchal societies have suppressed women’s sexuality is to prevent our using that sexuality to our advantage.

Anyone in her right mind knows that women already do this, and anyone who really cares about the happiness and self-actualization of women should be glad someone with Dr. Hakim’s reputation and credentials has pointed it out.  So of course feminists have greeted the book with accolades, pleased to see that young women are being encouraged to use their personal assets in order to succeed, right?   Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  You’re so funny!  Of course they haven’t, because acting like women and using their female power are things women can do for themselves, without the help of feminist “leaders”, and femininity, flirting and being charming and sweet are anathema to a cult steeped in androgyny, misandry and neo-Victorian prudery.  Furthermore, the idea that young, intelligent third-wave feminists and {gasp!} women who don’t identify as feminists at all might be able to use their feminine charms to outcompete aging, pudgy, bitchy second-wave feminists isn’t going to sit well with the latter, who are naturally going to reject the realization that if female sexuality is indeed a form of capital, they’ve been essentially using cash as toilet paper for decades.

So, how would you expect the Guardian, that bastion of responsible British journalism, to report on Hakim’s book?  Why, by assigning an aging second-wave feminist to interview the author and a younger second-wave disciple to review the book, of course!  The results reinforce nearly every stereotype about how women are supposed to hate other women, but of course these writers are just too busy spiting their faces to recognize what they’re doing to their noses.  The interview by Zoe Williams is so awful I had to read it in three sittings; it’s like a cross between a Hollywood gossip column and Maureen Dowd on a really bad day.  The second paragraph is representative of the whole:

We meet in Covent Garden, over fancy tapas.  She arrives and says, “I must go and brush my hair,” which she really needn’t have done, because I don’t buy her theory.  I don’t care what someone’s hair looks like, I find hair neither impedes nor accelerates a discussion about ideas.  I did not say so, thank God, even in jest, otherwise our encounter could have been even worse than it was.

Because, you know, what a middle-aged feminist cares about is exactly the same as what a man cares about.  And it just degenerates from there.  The review by Elizabeth Day isn’t quite as venomous, but it’s bad enough:

There is so much to object to in this book that it is hard to know where to start…according to Hakim, none of that education or career nonsense that our mothers and our grandmothers fought so hard to give us access to carries much weight any more.  In fact, as the fairer sex, our time would be far better spent getting a spray tan, slimming down our muffin-tops at the gym and emulating the “vivacious” personality of the glamour model Katie Price…That, apparently, is how we can earn more money (the most attractive among us, says Hakim, can earn 12% more than those dumpy trolls who haven’t made the effort) and enjoy more fulfilling relationships with those around us.  I’m sorry.  Did I fall asleep and wake up in the 1950s?  Is Hakim seriously suggesting that prostitution should be legalised, that surrogate pregnancy is an untapped income stream for women, that pimping is a good thing (“a win-win arrangement”) and that the extent of human trafficking has been whipped up by the media to provide “the latest excuse for moral panics and crusades over the sex industry”.  Yes!  Yes, she is!

Prostitution legalized?  The horror!  Call out the Ladies Gospel Temperance League!  I must admit it’s fascinating to watch militant feminists trumpeting their ignorance as wisdom; prostitution is already legal in the U.K. despite tyrannical laws “regulating” it, and as my readers well know the extent of human trafficking has indeed been exaggerated as an excuse for a crusade against the sex industry.  Well, I guess you don’t need facts when you’ve got rhetoric.

Of course, not all female British journalists have their heads up their own bums; Samantha Brick, writing for the Daily Mail, points out that any woman with sense uses her looks and charm to get ahead:

…[Men] adore being flirted with, love to have their egos stroked and…yearn for the attention of an attractive woman…you don’t have to be born beautiful to learn how to use your erotic capital.  I was a shy, overweight, dumpy child, who grew into a self-conscious, spotty, plump teen, the proverbial ugly duckling.  To my surprise, at 16 I transformed into a swan…My confidence grew, along with my flirting skills, my social charms were finessed and, after years of being the wallflower — someone guys confided in rather than chatted up — I was at ease in male company.

…I discovered early on there is no such thing as a free lunch.  It is a transaction between you and the man you are dining with.  The food is irrelevant.  Conversation, flattery, where you’re seated, who your fellow diners are, and, tellingly, who you’re introduced to are what’s important.  In return, the man gets to sit with an attractive woman, who makes him feel good about himself…you grab every opportunity to trade on your erotic capital in order to benefit your own lot in life…Why anyone else wouldn’t behave as I did is beyond me.  While I never slept with anyone, I deliberately wore outfits that the decision-makers appreciate…I’m sexually attentive to my husband and in return I know I can splurge…without guilt — I don’t have to justify or even hide my purchases…I’m 40 and have no intention of letting my erotic power diminish…Define what your best assets are:  long legs, lustrous hair or even if you have a particular talent, exploit it.  It’s time to be realistic because that is the way the world works for successful women.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

One Year Ago Today

The Biggest Whores” reports on the closure of the Craigslist “adult services” section, explains why escort services are rarely prosecuted even when individual girls are hounded, and speculates on why politicians hate us so much.

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