Belinda Brown: Selfish feminists put women’s interests before the wider good of society

Anne-Marie Slaughter underwent a Damascene conversion where she realised she couldn’t completely ignore the needs of her family and remain happy. Fortunately for her, this happened when her sons were nearly grown-up, so there wasn’t really too much family work to do. Nevertheless, she downgraded her career from Hillary Clinton’s adviser to Professor of Politics and International Relations at Princeton – she must have been home for supper at least three times a week.

Less of the sarcasm and cattiness.  That a career woman with the skin of a rhino can eventually recognise the needs of her family should surely fill us with hope.  And while it may have taken her 15 years to realise what the vast, silent majority of mothers know anyway, this 15 years was well spent for it gives her message far more authority, influence and clout than us mothering mothers could, in a year of Sundays, ever hope to achieve.

What is more she sends a seismic shift through feminist ideology which her feminist declarations only thinly cover-up. For if, as she suggests, women should be allowed to spread out their careers and pursue non-traditional routes, inequality of outcome, which is fuel to the lavish funding of feminist causes, such as getting more women into boardrooms and senior professional jobs, suddenly becomes justifiable. We now have it on good authority (in case we didn’t know already) that family preferences are the reason why women are less senior and why their careers are more likely to peak late.

Ms Slaughter also recognises that the high-flying career is what she was conditioned to want rather than a reflection of her real desires. And we know that feminism is the instrument through which that conditioning occurs.

And while her emphasis on family and caring is a useful ploy to ensure that women can have their cake and eat it, a focus on the importance of family is a much needed balm to a severely over-heated commercial world.

But Ms Slaughter places herself firmly in the feminist camp and I think this is not simply to stay in with the great and the good. By declaring herself a feminist, Ms Slaughter is adding to those powerful voices which ensure that women’s interests are one of the most important organising principles of the Western world.

This means that desirable though they appear some arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny. Others are patently absurd.

So, for example, she reiterates the claim that those looking after small children need the analytical skills of a physicist and adaptive abilities of a crisis manager. This is simply not true.  A truly kind and loving person with emotional intelligence by the bucket load can bring up wonderful well-adjusted children. You need to be filled with love; you don’t need to have a high IQ.

Working flexibly certainly has much to recommend it, but not in all professions. Further, much of the research proving its effectiveness is ideological and as I have argued elsewhere there has been a resistance to counting the costs. The idea that managers and colleagues will support and cover for those with a family suggests that Slaughter is so senior she is out of touch with the realities involved. A survey by Red Magazine (September 2013)  found that 40 per cent of working non-parents felt that they work longer and harder than their colleagues in order to  cover parents’ work and unsurprisingly they felt  that this was unfair. “I am extremely resentful about colleagues with kids leaving me to finish their work when they have to leave early”, says a senior editor at a large production company.

And I haven’t even explored the impact of flexible employment through zero hours contracts and insecure employment on those who are less well off.

Then Slaughter tells us that she would never hire someone who told her that work would always come before family. This might be okay for work where there is a low level of responsibility -  although in fact those who do these jobs are forced to put work before family because they are so badly off.

However, it is not alright for education ministers,  GPs, soldiers, priests  and those running our local authorities.  In fact, it is not even alright for the teacher of my daughter at school. We  need to know, in a range of professions, particularly those which are about supporting individuals and the family, that those involved in doing so will definitely be prioritising their work. For this, those individuals need someone who is responsible for the home. And this is where a world based on feminist principles really falls down.

Those in public office, or providing an invaluable service, can, whether they are men or women, really only do so if they know that someone will be there to pick up the slack in the home.  Likewise, families require their personal representative, one who knows and understands each individual’s needs and interests, who can help ensure that these are being met through the institutions in the public world. For such a person their work will be unambiguously secondary, and this requires someone able to support them so they can focus on the needs of the home.

Such a functional system cannot be provided by feminism where a woman’s desire to do a bit of mothering and have a bit of a career provides a hotchpotch of a model that has to be emulated by everybody to ensure that the educated woman gets what she wants.

It can be better provided by a partnership between a man and woman, who, functioning as a unit work out between them how the needs of the family and demands of the workplace can best be met.  This requires moving the focus away from female fulfilment to the needs of others. From the self to  the family, the community and the public realm.

This would provide a far more functional model for organising the world but for this to happen women need to abandon feminism. This only encourages women to think of, but not for, themselves.

 

Belinda Brown

  • 5th column traitors

    I couldn’t agree more Belinda.

    Ironically most males would rather spend less time in the office/on the road/in meetings and more time with their family. A fact that the feminist crusade appears to have missed, and it is only when they get their goal of being “fully equal” to males in the work place with all that entails – such as long hours stuck in the office attending mindless meetings, weekends away in dreary business hotels, late nights working on various endless documents etc – they suddenly realise that actually being a parent too is also quite good fun.

    True workplace equality doesn’t just mean getting the same pay for the same job title – or indeed having the opportunity to get the title – it means having to do all the other not so fun stuff that comes with it as well.

  • Jenny L

    Once again an excellent piece. I love reading your articles.
    Just like 5th column traitors, “I couldn’t agree more Belinda”.

  • Marie

    People seem conditioned into believing success means size of the pay packet, but not because of feminism but due to other pressures – consumerism, a global system that measures success on GDP, and mass marketing of relationships/humans as capital ( including commercialisation of childcare and care generally ) rather than looking at overall wellbeing and community/family ties.

    Children’s needs are not prioritised in the economy. In the longer term that’s a disaster for the economy in the future as mental health problems soar..

    The value of care isn’t properly understood.

    Feminism isn’t all about ‘selfish’ feminists. Maternal feminists are challenging the movement from the inside.

    Selfishness is widespread but it’s far, far from being just a female thing.

    There are more powerful forces at work than feminism. Who is really pulling the strings?

    • 5th column traitors

      The first steps to personal freedom are to not subscribe to the consumer society model and to be debt free. And for the love of God make sure your children are brought up to not be a part of the materialistic society.

      I hear time and time again people claiming they buy things to “make them happy”. Which is of course utter rubbish. They buy things (other than the essentials) to make other people think they are successful, because, as you rightly say, “success” is measured by the amount of stuff you have and the labels on the stuff. And that’s just how governments like it because that keeps everyone on the wage/tax/slavery treadmill.

      I for one am very glad to hear of the “maternal feminist” movement inside the more materialistic feminist movement.

      • Marie

        And how can we have socio-economic systems that depend on growth that’s dependent on debt, when debt causes so much human misery….!! So yes, absolutely agree. Point is can we turn the clock back? Seriously worrying times. Feminism in that respect is probably a mere tool of distraction from the bigger ‘machine’.

        • Mez

          Our monetary system is basically the Jewish system which was acquired from the ancient Babylonians. Debt foregiveness on regular intervals ensured that economies were able to grow past the ‘debt’ ceiling. Also we have the biblical example of dealing with the business cycle -ie saving during the 7 good years to compensate for the 7 poor. Today the state goes into long term spending mode instead, and just regularly adds to the compound interest mountain, with minimal histrical restraint on private debt (which is the real problem behind the housing crisis- you can’t force the market price up if you can’t borrow). The Fed reserve was originally set up to buy ‘corporate investment paper’ during the down wave of the business cycle, but it was altered in WW1 to allow the state to go into debt, and that has never been corrected .

          The difficulty is that the problems are a web of connected issues. Trying to change one thing automatically potentially affects a number of others. People being ‘weaned off’ welfare and debt, involves most people being generally free & critical thinkers, ie educated that way, and to have the confidence to avoid ‘the state system’, with a viable alternative. To achieve that people also have to be confident wealth creators (not automatically the same as employees).

          When the population is predominantly ‘more’ critical and capable, there could be a natural disinterest in paying large amounts of tax, (which helps fuel the need for a continually expanding economy).

          The idea of ‘fiat’ money is really so that govts can attempt to artificially inflate/boster the economy during the ‘down’ sine wave of the business cycle, which reduces the vaue of debt in real terms – providing wages rise at the same time. The siuation we’ve had since the 1990’s though has been about the former communist block entering the global economy and labour market in a serious way – which really hasn’t happened for around a century. Rather than allowing wages to increase that added competition seems to have made the situation worse. Milton Friedman said that immigration itseslf isn’t bad for an economy, more people participating in the economy eventually created more jobs while everyone is buying and selling more stuff. The problem is sharing welfare.

          http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/07/we-have-forgotten-what-the-ancient-sumerians-and-babylonians-the-early-jews-and-christians-the-founding-fathers-and-even-napoleon-bonaparte-knew-about-money.html

    • Belinda Brown

      Why do you call yourselves feminists?

  • Mr_Twister

    Thanks Belinda, in a strange world, you always leave me with some optimism, because, you do get it…. I hope quickly enough, others will, en masse.

    • Belinda Brown

      thanks mr twister

  • Bogbrush

    Radical feminism can’t work because it’s based on having to change all the rules of competition to reward less successful behaviour, equal pay for less work being one (well they get away with it in tennis but it’s absurd even there). You can dictate it must happen but it will always come unravelled once customers get to decide who to buy from and competition demands that only the best offering is accepted.

    Until people come to find fulfilment from suiting themselves there is no chance of a turnaround. We men have been locked into the role of working and fighting for resources for thousands of years and believe me we don’t actually always enjoy it, but since we can’t bear children it seems a fair role in the business of reproduction. I have no idea why women even want to emulate it, what sick mind pushed the idea that satisfaction for a woman has to come from a career?

    • 5th column traitors

      “what sick mind pushed the idea that satisfaction for a woman has to come from a career?”

      The government(s) and their various agents.

      Problem: How to achieve an even greater level of state control and feed the international Ponzi scheme with more fuel? Especially after you manage to kill off a few million of the male slave labour in global wars.
      Solution: Get all the females into the slave labour market.

      Once you eliminate the need for indigenous females to produce the next generation of male tax slaves and state cannon fodder you can enlist them as additional tax and cannon fodder. But like always if you want to change a mass mindset you first you have to make sure there is a problem they will be affected by (“inequality” in this case) then provide the solution, (Which just happens to also meet the goals of the coercers).

      By the way…
      “Career”: To move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way.
      Who would want that?

      • Bogbrush

        I think the mass Ponzi thing is a late arrival, exploiting a mad idea that was already there. We weren’t in this economic madhouse 30 years ago when much of this was already on the go.

        • 5th column traitors

          I think the ideology has always been there, after all the idea of global domination has always been around, only the definition of what global means has changed. Of course like all ideologies it hasn’t stood still, it has morphed a bit as technologies allow and since the inception of the true “global village” with the arrival of mass near instant communications they have really gone to town on it. The properly mass global Ponzi scheme as we know it is layered on that, but a Ponzi has always existed nonetheless. Only the extent of it’s ambition has grown.

    • Mez

      “what sick mind pushed the idea that satisfaction for a woman has to come from a career?”
      Women who can’t have kids?, never met the ‘right’ man?, women who just have a different focus in life (eg medicine, missionaries – they’re still around). There are all sorts of people in this world and they don’t all fall into one useful stereotype. Thats the problem with public policy which wants to address everyone the same way; and dictate the same; liberty is the way to go IMO – fairest for everybody when we each have a choice.

      • Bogbrush

        You’ve quoted my words so you’ll agree I used the word “HAS” not “CAN” in the sentence “what sick mind pushed the idea that satisfaction for a woman has to come from a career?”

        It’s fine if women can gain such satisfaction, the problem is that it has now become de rigueur for girls to be indoctrinated with the message that this is what they “should” do. This is crazy.

        We men don’t have the option because we can’t bear children; all we can do really to support the next generation is provide the sperm, and after that it’s all about resources for the female and offspring to survive, so most of us readily accept that is where we go. Evolution has produced some reward for that duty – a “satisfaction” from it’s achievement – but truthfully most of us eventually get a bit tired of it and wish we had something else to do. Maybe that’s why so many of us retreat to hobbies or other silly things that have our wives looking quizzically at us.

        My beef is with the sick minds who pressurise women into copying what we have to do; take it from us, it might be a fun idea at the time but it’s a pain when it’s truly not optional.

  • Dave Brown

    Women want the status that comes with careers, but they also want a higher status male.

    This is called trying to have your cake and eat it. I do not even blame feminism for this, I blame female nature.

    MGTOW all the way.

    • Mez

      Ok, so men want the high status that comes from careers and are also interested in a higher status woman … difference? hmmm. There’s always going to be somebody with a different perspective on who’s going to best meet their needs.

      • 5th column traitors

        Not all men I can assure you. Some of us want a loving, sharing family and would much rather spend more time with them than in an office making other people rich.

        Don’t forget for a long time men have been conned into believing that the only way a male can be “successful” is to climb the greasy career pole, while selling their souls to the devil of corporatist greed. Just so they can be binned and put out to pasture when their “usefulness” has finished. Now women too are being conned into that.

        Have fun ladies, I can assure you working yourself to the bone day and night on pointless projects, sucking up to idiots just to get that next pay rise or promotion, being subjected to mind numbing corporate bull day in day out then being retired for some young gun when you start to question the point of it all and why you have missed out on your kids childhoods because you had to spend most of it in endless tedious meetings is not fun and not what most men want.

      • Belinda Brown

        no men aren’t interested in higher status women. They are interested in pretty women and kind women. And if they had to choose between pretty and up her own backside or kind but not so pretty – they would choose kind each time.

  • Barry Sheridan

    It does me good to read articles like this Belinda, thank you for having the courage to speak out.

  • Joey GF

    Amazing to see a few American woman have their brains still attached.