Men have always tried to isolate women, to keep them as creatures apart. Men have always put women in houses, shut them away behind walls, kept them for themselves, detained them apart from the community. Men used to put women in a harem; now they put them in a house. But the home, like the harem, has considered its own interests rather than the interests of the community, and in so doing it has jeopardized its well-being rather than fostering it. The home, like the individual, is insufficient when it stands alone.
If a man commits an indiscretion all other men protect him. If a woman is at fault, other women, instead of protecting her, are often the first to condemn.
Women in the past have been afraid to lose the respect or the admiration or the love of men by opposing their wishes. In the last few years the suffragists have demonstrated that women do not lose the admiration of the worthwhile men by expressing their own individualities. On the contrary, it has been my experience that the modern man finds the intelligent, socially conscious, individualistic woman a more companionable person than her frightened sister who fears to speak or move lest she offend him.
Women gain far more than they lose by an attitude of independence.''
The above is from a magazine article from 1922, called Women as Dictators, written by a Mrs. Oliver H.P. Belmont, president of the National Women's Party.
Notice how the writer asserts that men, all men, men in general, have 'shut women away behind walls' or 'in a harem.' She does not specify which men, where, but indicts all men as guilty of doing these things.
The earlier waves of feminists were little different than the later, post-1960s feminists in this respect. They refused to differentiate between men in the Western countries, the men who were their own forebears, and men in the Islamic world or the Eastern world where purdah was often practiced, and women were truly secluded and treated as children or worse. No; they convicted all men of doing these things, without exception. And in this respect they were also following the pattern of today's liberals and leftists, the first rule being 'never give your own people any credit for their good points, and never fail to criticize and condemn every imperfection of your own people.'
It's ironic that in the part of the world where women have traditionally enjoyed the highest status and the greatest degree of personal freedom, feminism of the most militant type arose.
The very women who already had the most privilege were the ones who complained the loudest about oppression and 'discrimination.'
Maybe this is not so ironic after all; it does follow a pattern. One of my black political science teachers in college said that the 'oppressed' groups only organize to demand their 'rights' when the Oppressor (guess who that would be?) takes his foot off the neck of the 'oppressed', thus giving them room to stand up for themselves. So the 'victim' groups who are organizing to make demands and to push back against their perceived oppressor are already in an improved position, or they would not have the chance to rebel or 'resist'. Organized 'activist' groups are by definition in a position to push 'back'. Were they truly denied any power or any 'rights', their protests and complaints would either be ignored or silenced. Their complaints and grievances would not even be heard, and in fact, they would be too harried or distracted to organize on their own behalf, if they were truly oppressed or persecuted.
And there seems to be a truth here. All the aggrieved 'victim' groups have the freedom to organize and accuse and complain and even to engage in open defiance of their supposed victimizers. This in itself discredits, to some extent, their claims to being helpless victims.
Most of the perpetually aggrieved minority groups already have considerable privilege and status. Few are really 'oppressed' or persecuted or even discriminated against. Why are the 'oppressors' so willing to put up with the constant accusations and demands? This is not what we would expect from a ruthless oppressor class of people.
If we look back in history, we can see that even in supposedly 'backward' ages in the Western world, women enjoyed much better treatment than their counterparts in the East, particularly in the Islamic world. The Western tradition of chivalry, which I've written about here in the past, was part and parcel of the Christian culture of Europe, although it can be argued that the Northern and Western European cultures, even before Christianity, were inclined to monogamy and an elevated status of their womenfolk.
Christianity, as often happens, is and has been blamed for 'holding women back' or 'keeping them subservient', with the blame being laid mostly on the apostle Paul and his politically incorrect remarks about women obeying and submitting to their husbands. But the rest of the quotes in question involved Paul's instructions to men to love their wives. It was not a one-way street; the Bible implies that men and women both have rights and both have duties in marriage and in the world in general.
The militant Mrs. Belmont quoted above rails against Christian male dominance:
The church has been very, very hard on women. It has done its best to keep us in subjection and to restrict us mentally. Women are beginning to feel very bitter toward the church or the men who control it. They haven't driven us away from the Christian religion. They can't do that. But by their dictatorial discrimination they are driving us out of the churches as they are organized -- out of the edifices.
Women have given their time, their energy and their money to support the church. We are allowed to sit in the pews, but not to stand in the pulpit. The men of the church accept our support, but are not willing to share their exalted position with us. We are required to acknowledge man as our spiritual superior. We do not acknowlege him as such, and we know that Christ did not so acknowledge him.
If man wants to make a little god of himself he will have to do it by himself and for himself. He may stand in the pulpit and sit in the pew, but we must also stand as well as sit.''
Mrs. Belmont may not have anticipated that her feminist successors would, a few decades later, be talking about women being 'goddesses', and even introducing goddess worship into 'Christian' churches.
I wonder, though, if Mrs. Belmont would even be troubled by that; I suspect she would find it reasonable, and in that light, she and other feminists would be doing what they accuse men of doing: making 'little gods' (or goddesses) of themselves. And that is a picture of our age: the 'self' is the true god of much of the world.
On another front, Christianity is now being blamed for the perverted altruism and pathological refusal to discriminate that is killing the West. But again, Christianity is not to blame, but a corruption thereof.
Chivalry arose as part of the Christian culture of Europe but the original pre-Christian cultures of Europe contained the seeds of chivalry in the great degree of equality between the sexes. The sexes were not considered the same, as among today's deluded feminists and egalitarians, but different and complementary. There can be a kind of parity without pretending that the sexes are 'equal' or 'the same.'
There's a very good piece here about chivalry and feminism. The writer quotes Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts on the subject of chivalry:
A man without chivalry is no man.''
I've heard some men curse chivalry as being another damaging practice from the past, like Christianity, and men are often understandably embittered by the excesses of feminism and leftism/liberalism generally. But it seems to me that chivalry, and the Christianity of which it was a development, actually strengthened men, and of course, society at large. It may seem paradoxical, but it certainly appears that the West was far stronger in the days in which we were Christendom, and in the days in which women and men had their separate spheres.
If we look to find the causes for the rise of feminism and of the left in general, I think it's easy to overlook the decline of Christianity and the loss of faith of much of the Western world. Into the vacuum steps the counterfeit Christianity which is the gospel of humanism and egalitarianism, with its bogus heaven-on-earth notions of a socialist multicultural utopia.
Instead of the 'easy yoke' of Christianity we now have the heavy hand of totalitarian political correctness, which has more 'thou shalt nots' than the Bible has, and which is enforced with a harshness that the strictest Christian sects cannot compare with.
I have no magic prescription of how to find our way out of the maze, except to say that I think men will have to assert their rightful leadership positions and simply stop bowing down to feminism and all the works and pomps of liberalism and leftism, which is after all the ideology of a coalition of the failed, frustrated and envious of the world: weak men and militant women.