With the feminist movement well underway, more than 3,000 people demonstrate for sexual freedom, free contraception, and freedom of abortion in Paris on April 21, 1974. (-/AFP via Getty Images)

Feminism Is a Spent Force

Last week, a woman I don’t know but who follows me on Twitter, tweeted her despair over the “tsunami wave of obscurantism wash[ing] over women’s rights in Canada.” A responder commiserated that it was indeed a “sad time to be a woman” and “especially sad that so many women do not see the threat to our most fundamental rights.” The first writer then tweeted: “All journalists, apart from a few exceptions like @BarbaraRKay, are failing women.”


It would be hard for me to overstate the irony implicit in this compliment. It is true that I have made defence of women’s sex-based security and fairness rights in sport, prisons, and other privacy-paramount spaces a cornerstone of my opinion writing over the past six or seven years. But most of the women who thank me for my allyship identify as feminists, and assume I do too. I do not, nor ever did. In fact, I spent many more years defending boys and men from the inherent misandry in the feminist movement than I have spent defending women from the inherent misogyny in the trans activist movement.



First-wave feminism in the 1960s demanded equality under the law for women and equality of opportunity in education and other pathways to fulfillment outside of marriage. That was good, a necessary reform movement. But second-wave feminism was far more driven by revolutionary Marxist leaders, who took up residence in Women’s Studies departments mushrooming on campuses everywhere. They were not there to teach in any traditional sense. They were there to recruit women as foot soldiers in a utopian revolutionary movement. All such movements require a villain to scapegoat as standing athwart the path to a better world. For feminism, it was men.


These leaders were deeply misandric, and extremely hostile to the traditional family. As late as 2018, the Washington Post published an op-ed by a radical feminist academic titled, “Why Can’t We Hate Men?”


Students in Women’s Studies (later termed Gender Studies) were taught that the patriarchy was the source of all evil, and that all men carried the patriarchy in their DNA. Marriage, they were told, was a friendly institution for men, but bondage for women. A recent Harvard University study proves the opposite, that marriage is better for women on multiple levels. If motherhood it had to be, then single motherhood was admirable, feminists said. It could not be admitted that fathers brought unique value to child-raising, or that boys without fathers were demonstrably less likely to thrive and mature into responsible manhood.


I fought hard against those feminists and the deleterious effect of their theories on relations between the sexes.


Academic feminists, many of whom brought their own experiences with bad men to their theorizing, simply could not bring themselves to acknowledge the larger picture, which includes men’s heroism in war and in dangerous work, and the sacrifices they make for their families. They were not, in the parlance of victimhood today, “seen.” To such women, the good men were as disposable as the bad, because, well, patriarchy confers toxicity on all males in the same way Critical Race Theory perceives whiteness as a form of original sin.


The feminists raging today against the notion that switching genders is tantamount to changing sex are the daughters and granddaughters of feminists who insisted that although sex was immutable, all gendered behaviour was socially constructed. Without social construction, men and women were, they claimed, no different in their sexual appetites, their abilities, and their domestic attitudes. This was never more than a theory, mind. It was never established as a fact.


Quite the opposite. Feminists ignored credible research demonstrating the inherency of sex-linked personality traits. Certainly, social construction accounts for exaggerations of sex-based traits, but it does not account for what is often referred to as the Nordic Paradox—research demonstrating that free women and free men gravitate in numbers that cannot be ascribed to chance to fields associated with general sex-based traits: women to professions that involve high interpersonal engagement, like teaching and medicine; men to professions involving engagement with things and numbers, like engineering and data-based research.


Where first-wave feminists strove for equality, second-wave strove for equity. They still approve of affirmative action for women, even though university student populations are now absurdly female-skewed. Many feminists are perfectly sanguine that their own acceptance into the hard sciences has been achieved at the expense of a better qualified male candidate. They see this artificial levelling of the educational playing field as a necessary part of the equity toolkit. Why can’t they see that today, in sport, trans activists are playing a similar card in the name of “inclusion”? In both cases, the theorists acknowledge that the merit principle can been superseded by social-justice considerations.


In their heavy flirtation with gender fluidity, and their cavalier repudiation of men as necessary collaborators in the business of family and society-building, earlier feminists created an arbitrary red line they could not defend against a new theory annulling the distinction between sex and gender. Queer theory picked up where they left off. Feminist chickens have come home to roost.


Gender-critical feminists are full of righteous anger that I share. But I know a number of men who gaze with dispassion on sex-based injustices women are now suffering. They justify their indifference as a kind of tit for tat. Doctrinaire feminists were indifferent to the suffering of fathers who lost access to their children in family courts heavily invested in the feminist myth that even mediocre mothers are more important to children than excellent fathers. Many feminists shrugged at the plight of campus men falsely accused of rape, their lives ruined without benefit of due process. Many feminists demand equal gender ratios on Fortune 500 boards, but guiltlessly uphold double gender standards that favour women—possibly unconstitutionally—for military registration.


Whatever could be achieved by public policy for women was achieved many years ago. As has become clear from the bizarro alliance between so-called feminists and transgender activists, today’s feminist theorists have lost the plot. Apart from a small corps of gender criticals, those being thanked, as I have been, for supporting women’s sex-based rights are classic liberals and conservatives, not progressives. For us, women’s equality rights are worth fighting for, just as gender-based injustices to men are worth fighting against.


But I wouldn’t lift a finger to save feminism. It’s a spent force.


Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.