I have a deep dark secret to confess: I enjoy reading feminist literature.
Well, to be more specific, I enjoy reading literature that bashes feminism (maybe I should call it anti-feminist literature). I just do, that’s all.
If you haven’t yet read the Flipside of Feminism, I highly recommend it. And at the moment I’m re-reading a book called Women Who Make the World Worse by Kate O’Beirne. Today's blog post was inspired by O'Beirne's chapter on daycare. The author discusses the pervasive feminist mindset that children do better away from the constant, smothering care of their mothers. Preschoolers should be thrust into institutionalized day prisons in order to learn egalitarianism. Or something.
Ms. O’Beirne quotes a passage from another book called The War Against Parents by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (which I haven’t read but would like to) as follows: “Important strands of liberal thinking are antagonistic to the parenting enterprise. Scratch the surface and you will find that many folks on the left don’t particularly like marriage or children. In their view, the enormous quantity of other-directed energy absorbed by families gets in the way of freedom of choice, and ultimately of self-realization. This is particular true for women, which is why some radical feminists tend to see motherhood as a plot to derail equal rights and lure women back to subservient, submissive roles within the family.”
It was the terms “subservient, submissive roles within the family” that annoyed me. What would a radical feminist have to say about the dynamics of the Lewis household, for Pete’s sake, where I freely admit my husband is my hero? Not only my hero, but the acknowledged head of our household?
Yes, he’s the Head of this family, and frankly I like it that way.
However much feminists want to deny biology, the fact remains that men and women are different. (Shocking, I know.) I like to think that God in His divine wisdom came up with the spiffy concept of a division of labor for the sake of efficiency.
Feminists call this oppression.
But why is it oppressive to look to one’s husband for guidance and strength, rather than to feminists? Why can’t it be a freeing thing for a woman to lean on her husband? Isn't it nice that women don't have to "do it all," including leading their family? (Unless they're without a husband, of course.)
Perhaps it’s because feminists can’t acknowledge how men – True Men – don’t throw their weight around, either physically or psychologically.
I’m reminded of an old story. Apparently a heavyweight boxing champion and his friend boarded a subway train with standing room only. Shortly after a new passenger came on who pushed and shoved his way rudely past the other standing passengers. The boxer was shoved so hard he almost fell. But he did nothing except straighten up and re-grip the overhead strap.
His friend was annoyed. “You’re the heavy-weight boxing champion!” he scolded. “You could have decked that guy! Why didn’t you?”
“A heavy-weight boxing champion doesn’t have to deck that guy,” the boxer replied. “He’s strong enough to know when not to throw his weight around.”
It’s that way with men who truly assume the mantle of Head. My husband doesn’t have to throw his weight around, physically or psychologically. Such behavior merely indicates insecurity and would not garner respect from his wife and children. True men don’t force their wives into submissive, subservient roles. They know diamonds are too valuable to treat like glass.
I am the Heart of this household, and as everyone knows, a body is no good without a heart, just as a body is no good without a head. We need both, and the fact that I view my husband as my Head in no way diminishes my importance as his Heart, which is my role. But someone has to have the final say in a house for peace and order to prevail, and that job goes to the man.
A wise Head takes advice and counsel from his Heart. Don and I discuss all household decisions and mutually agree on nearly everything. But if there is a dissenting opinion between us, and unless I can demonstrate why my opinion is superior, then I defer to his guidance.
Oooh, sacrilege to the feminist cause. Feminists, presumably, must always have the last word, which I interpret as meaning feminists try to make their husbands submissive and subservient.
And here’s something most feminists don’t have: Domestic harmony. Because Don and I each understand our unique and critical roles in our marriage, we are blessed with domestic harmony that is the envy of many. But we are not unique in this. All our happily-married friends do the same thing. It’s like we’ve discovered the “secret” to happy marriages that no modern-day feminist will ever admit has worked well for, oh, several thousand years.
Don and I had an interesting conversation with a neighbor last night. She’s in the middle of reading my book. Naturally I asked for her candid opinion. The first thing she said was, “It’s a praise fest for Don.” What she meant was, my admiration for my husband permeates the entire book.
The discussion segued to the tendency for women to bash their husbands (one of my pet peeves). If you get a group of women together without their men present, just about the first thing they start to do is gripe about how stupid their husbands are.
My mother never did this to my father. I never do this to Don. I pray my daughters will never do that to their future husbands.
See, I tend to look at things from the opposite perspective as these griping women. I tend to assume that every woman has the potential to be as happy with her husband as I am with Don. This attitude is confirmed by many of my friends' attitudes toward their husbands. To hear our neighbor Enola Gay talk about her husband is a beautiful thing.
But to feminists, this is anathema. A happy, harmonious, and (worse) traditional family arrangement can no longer be admitted as the best environment for raising children. It is no longer politically correct for a woman to honor her husband because it’s interpreted as (cough) subservient and submissive.
Remember the parents (Charles and Caroline) of Laura Ingalls Wilder? I once saw it written that Caroline went wherever Charles took her, but Charles would only go where Caroline let him. In other words, they worked together as a team. Being the Head of a household doesn’t mean a man is a nasty dictator. In means taking wise counsel from others, primarily one’s Heart, to discern the best path for a family to take. So an important task for a woman in choosing a husband is to pick a man who truly understands what it means to take his place as Head of the household.
Much of the hostility toward stay-at-home moms appears to stem from the notion that home is an awful place to be. And frankly if I had to live with a feminist, I would agree – it would be an awful place to be. But a home ruled over by a domestic diva is a lovely, warm, welcoming place, a refuge from an often cruel world, an anchor of peace in a tough economy, a haven of tranquility against the rigors of the outside world.
And men know this very very well, because they are the slayers of dragons and our knights in shining armor whose efforts permit us to create those homes.