Feminism destroyed adulthood

That’s basically the message of this New York Times Magazine article.  Most of it is the usual PC crap celebrating the coming demise of the oppressive white patriarchy.  The interesting observation comes near the end:

Looking at those figures and their descendants in more recent times — and at the vulnerable patriarchs lumbering across the screens to die — we can see that to be an American adult has always been to be a symbolic figure in someone else’s coming-of-age story. And that’s no way to live. It is a kind of moral death in a culture that claims youthful self-invention as the greatest value. We can now avoid this fate. The elevation of every individual’s inarguable likes and dislikes over formal critical discourse, the unassailable ascendancy of the fan, has made children of us all. We have our favorite toys, books, movies, video games, songs, and we are as apt to turn to them for comfort as for challenge or enlightenment.

This captures a key difference between the feminist-liberal and the traditional imagination.  The feminist doesn’t want to be just an archetype.  The traditionalist doesn’t want to be just an individual.  Does it constrict the soul or enlarge it to participate in a role that pre-exists and transcends the individual person?  Feminists are happy to smash the ideals of man and woman even as they realize that this will leave nothing left of our identities but childish consumer choices.

12 Responses

  1. […] Source: Throne and Altar […]

  2. Yes, to be an adult is “to be a symbolic figure in someone else’s coming of age story.” One useful description of narcissism is that the narcissist thinks his life is a movie, he is the star, and everyone else is a supporting actor. Children are natural narcissist. Their life is the story, and everyone else around them–adults especially–is a “symbolic figure. In our brave new world, this childish understanding of the world continues to death. Imagine a world of wrinkled babes sucking their thumbs and clutching their “favorite toys, books, movies . . .” Feminists don’t hate men. They hate children. And they hate children because they are jealous of children.

  3. “Feminists don’t hate men. They hate children. And they hate children because they are jealous of children.”

    Great line. And isn’t it just like children to be hateful out of jealousy?

  4. JMSmith:

    I see. I thought it was the “symbolic figure” that they object to, but you think it’s “somebody else’s”. Your idea sounds very likely.

  5. Feminism, in general, is too confusing and confounding to destroy anything. Its appeal, in my experience, is to minds already befuddled and in search of an outlet for their projections among the similiarly disposed. At worst, it crystallizes and hardens the hearts of adherents; but [again my experience] most self-identifying feminists do not reach for anything beyond the facile. People are always attracted to things already like them or what they aspire to be, and the only way such sentiment could ever be fought is if one encourages the adoption of the Marxian position- Groucho, not Karl- to only joins clubs that wouldn’t have themselves as members.

    What is destroying adulthood, as understood here, is two fold. First, it is a new metastasizing of a perennial problem. All peoples covet a pagan conception of immortality. It is as simple as that. Historically, people have spent blood and treasure towards renewal rituals to ward off a very real psychological distress in knowing that you and your people, will pass from this earth and from living memory. Now that most of us in developed nations have our living needs met, we see even more time and treasure allocated to warding off things that will remind one of death. What better way to do that than hide in perpetual adolescence?

    Second, the 20th century wrecked havoc on people’s confidence in their institutions. I can’t think of one that survived the 20th century without sustained attack. By the mid-century, you have a revolt against the future. Religion isn’t good, familes aren’t good, capitalism isn’t good, communism isn’t good, arts aren’t good; all governments lost credibility and there is (from this time period) a very strange compulsion to declare time and history over. And not even history in the German Idealist sense, just a total rejection of the future being meaningful. In a such a doubtful world, is it any wonder people have trouble adjusting to a psychological adulthood? Adulthood is very context dependent, and requires confident institutions we do not possess at the moment.

  6. So you all prefer to be the objects of ther people’s decisions? You are all male, and therefore won’t ever have to live under the strictures you decree for women. In your world women exist only as wombs attached to scrub brushes. Almost anything is better than that.

  7. kerenjo12@ No, wombs attached to scrub brushes exist only in your world. It is a grotesque caricature. Men who have seen their wives in this way have always been condemned in Christian society. At the same time, traditionalists have noted that women do have wombs and that women are, by and large, more concerned than men with the cleanliness (if not so much the cleaning) of the house. Thus, to the traditionalist, there is a natural connection between women, childbearing and and housekeeping. We did not “decide” or “decree” that these connections should be, but rather found (or believed that we had found) these connections in reality.

    To relate this to the specific topic of the post, we traditionalist find (or believe that we find) connections between the stage of life known as adulthood and the social role of bringing young people to adulthood, whether as parents or teachers. Are there times that we wish the world was still “all about us”? Of course we do! But, so far as we see it, this is built into the nature of the world.

  8. Subjects, KarenJo12. Subjects of other people’s decisions, just as men are. The existence of the male-only Selective Service (aka military draft) in this feminist country should be a faint clue.

  9. karenjo12 is closer to correct than JMsmith. There is nothing natural about arranging the irreducible domestic labor of a household so that women are isolated, overworked and poorly treated (the actual situation of most conservative women staying home). Patriarchy is great when it’s really there. What America has tended towards is not patriarchy, but a frenetic individualism and worship of the nuclear family at the cost of the truly patriarchal social structures that do allow women more than being wombs with scrub brushes.

    A medieval wife was more than that, even though feminists would claim otherwise, but she had more leisure and status in society than the average modern SAHM in a “traditionalist” setting. And she had that even though there was in many ways more direct physical labor for her and her household to perform.

    As a Christian housewife who very much would like other women to return to the domestic sphere where they’d be better off in both secular and religious ways, I wish “traditionalist” men would stop airily dismissing the very real problems with how anti-domestic American society has always been and is specially prone to be now. The current setup is neither natural, normal or all that great of a tradition, though for Americans it has been going on long enough to be considered a tradition in some lights.

  10. @ The Practical Conservative

    karenjo12 is closer to correct than JMsmith

    So JMSmith is wrong, and he thinks of women as closer to wombs with scrub brushes than he says he does. How are you aware of this and not he?

    Or did you mean that karenjo12 is closer to correct in her view that women ought have a cynical mistrust of men?

  11. Practical Conservative @ I agree that the is “nothing natural” about a domestic arrangement that leaves a woman “isolated, overworked and poorly treated.” But this is not the stated goal of traditionalist men; nor is it an inevitable if unintended consequence of the sex roles they endorse. This is not to say that there are no bruits flying the patriarch’s flag, or that there are no SAHM’s who are isolated, exploited and abused–but traditionalists typically censure the former and pity the later. We do not deny that patriarchy is open to abuse, but do deny that it is inherently abusive.

    Those of us who are married recognize that there are times when our wife is relatively isolated (when there is an infant in the house), when she is overworked (when there are house guests or aged parents), and when she has been poorly treated (mostly by supercilious career women). When this happens we do what we can to lighten her load. We undertake local remedies, not revolutionary changes in the “current setup.”

    What changes do you propose in the “current setup?”

  12. EVERYTHING boils down to the problem of the ego / big ego. (Self-centeredness or solipsism, not selfishness as such.) Time to stop being surprised about it – yet another difference discovered between modern and traditional modes of experience will almost certainly just demonstrate yet another aspect of it.

    Feminism is nevertheless useful. Essentially what happened in the First World is that the life of wealthy white straight men got more or less ruled by liberal ideas. Feminism and other social justice movements demand its extension to everybody. Hence they demonstrate what is wrong with those ideas the first place – that civilization hardly survived even implementing them for that group of men.

    Feminists and other social justice warriors are very right in demanding equal treatment: the solution to that is to stop treating wealthy white straight men according to liberal values.

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