“All we ask for is equal respect and rights.” – Ophelia
“Feminism was born out of a genuine need for gender equality…” — Morghan
Ophelia. What a great name. A tragic case of a woman who didn’t understand her own worth, who was too weak to deal with the unfolding tragedy around her, but a beautiful name all the same. I quote the lesser known Ophelia, along with Morghan, not out of a desire to disparage or “gang up” on those who feel differently, but because these comments, with which most men and women would agree, are premised upon a fallacy.
I, too, feel that women are better off the more confident they are, and the more they are able to live their true selves. I just happen to believe that modern feminism, while certainly beneficial if it ever inspired a woman to further her education in a volitional manner, and made no further inroads to various forms of oppression, obsesses about that which can never be fixed, and clutches at The Ring in the process. The problem for modern feminists is that the “equality” they seek simply does not exist.
Now, it is certainly true that 2 + 2 = 4. This is equality, yes. It is comprised mainly of the idea that numbers, abstract representations of both the separateness and sum of existing entities, can be equal, given the correct circumstances. 2 is not equal to 4, but two 2s are. Likewise, 3 + 1 = 4, although 3 is not equal to 2. Algebra, not to go off on too much of a tangent, takes this abstract idea even further to denote that if 2 + x = 4, then x = 2. In this scenario, x also equals 1 + 1, but not 3. Therefore, haven’t I just proven my previous comment incorrect?
No, I haven’t; not the “equality” mentioned in the two quotes. You see, for mathematical purposes, equality is quite useful. If I have two rabbits’ feet, a pencil, and small box to put them in, I have 4 items. 2 rabbits’ feet + 1 pencil + 1 box = 4 things, but the things themselves are not equal. They are all different. Even the two rabbits’ feet are not the same, although they have a great many more similarities between them than the pencil or the box. To categorize existing entities, to call them “pencils” or “rabbits’ feet,” is to make use of language to communicate. If I ask for one of the rabbits’ feet, I don’t want you to hand me the box. Are you deaf?
A rabbit’s foot is not equal to a pencil. They both exist in the broad category of “thing.” Men and women also exist in the broad category of “thing.” Narrow it down, and they exist in the still-broad category of “living thing.” Narrow it further to “animal,” then “mammal,” then “great ape,” and finally “human being.”
Feminists see the category of “human being,” and this is where the faulty idea of “equality” comes in. As an individualist, I can see that all individuals who fall into this category of “human” ought to be treated with a certain respect. (I think this respect is what a lot of people refer to when they say “equality.” The respect afforded, however, is thoroughly arbitrary and can never be “equal.”) As a life-oriented individual, I believe in the Non-Aggression Principle, which is essentially to refrain from the implementation of aggression (or my preferred term “coercion”) against other “humans.” This does not mean that I believe in equality. A woman whose shoe is untied does not need my help; a small child does. I’d jump to help that kid, but I probably wouldn’t even bother watching the woman. (Yeah, I know a lot of you would watch, but stay with me.) In that instance, the woman and the child are hardly equal. Yet, I hold first to the Non-Aggression Principle with both. That’s as far as “equality” goes with me.
Now let’s talk about a woman who is (or ought to be) an icon for feminists everywhere: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Of her own volition, she went to numerous medical classes that had traditionally only admitted men, was barred from a few, and spent her spare time as a nurse cutting up body parts to learn. This is a woman who knows what she wants, and sets about getting it. This is wonderful. It is unique, not just as a woman, but as a human being. Most men, if the systems of coercion that were used against her were also used against them, would probably not have done as much. This is persistence that, I have to admit, even I do not possess. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is not my equal. Nor is she my better. But what she did is inspiring. It led to a great many women doctors who know what they’re doing. I am eternally grateful to the female doctor who irrigated my right ear. (Small digression: As a former French Horn player, I can tell you that few other Horn players have any idea how much they depend upon the right ear. I couldn’t tell whether I was playing in tune or not. Another digression: If you’ve never had your ear irrigated, well then, you’ve missed out, boy.)
Anderson does not need to be anybody’s equal to become a doctor. She simply has to study the human body. Her brain, separate and unequal to anybody else’s, will learn what is required or not. Any time spent searching for “equality” was time spent away from the scalpel, the books, the body parts, the classes, and the sick whom she aided.
Anderson was taller than some women, and shorter than some; fatter or thinner, depending on the other woman; more easily aroused sexually, or less; quicker-tempered or far more phlegmatic; longer or shorter hair; larger- or smaller-breasted; a more or less fine-tuned sense of humor; a greater or lesser capacity for remembering crucial medical facts. The list could go on endlessly; such is the amazing nature of individuality. There were realms of this one woman’s mind that remained unknown even to her, and none of it was ever equaled.
Although I am more interested in men, I have always championed women, and preferred a woman who could show her stuff in a traditionally male-oriented sphere, simply because the individuality of that woman would have a tendency to stand out. Her individuality does not become worth more than another’s, but it gets noticed.
I started watching “Seinfeld” because Julia Louis-Dreyfus made me laugh when she took too many painkillers while visiting Jerry’s parents. Mi-ran Jang also made me laugh when, after a successful lift of more pounds than my back would ever allow me to heft, she went all girly and started crying at her triumph, bear that she is. Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg gets my vote for her brilliant interpretation of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, based on two notes only. That’s right: two notes. When a woman succeeds, not at the expense of another, but of her own volition, she impresses men like me, and turns a great many of my brothers on big time. (Well, Louis-Dreyfus anyway, probably not Jang.)
So, in order for a woman to achieve greatness in medicine, comedy, music, or weightlifting, what “equality” is needed? Are we talking about equal access? Should a private medical school be forced to admit women? If a woman lives fifty miles away from the nearest improv comedy theater, and most of the men are within walking distance, should a special tax be heaped upon everyone to get the wannabe Louis-Dreyfus to the theater on time for rehearsals? Should money be taken from the populace by force to give every little girl a violin? Should North Korea invade South Korea to ensure that all girls who want to play with weights have the exact same weights to play with, in gyms that look exactly the same, staffed with employees who, for the most part, look and act the same?
Let’s put six little Korean girls in a big gymnasium and watch. What are they going to do? One is going to be perfectly bored, because she’d rather be home. In fact, she’s getting homesick. Another one gets up to go to the drinking fountain. Two of them start doing cartwheels. Another watches, makes the attempt, and fails. The other two don’t seem to care. The sixth is contented to stretch various limbs. Feminists everywhere, please make these six little girls equal.
Put a man three blocks east of a university, and a woman three blocks west. Both walking paths have identical traffic lights and traffic patterns. Both students are charged the same tuition, and come from financially equal backgrounds. Is access equal?
Not quite. The woman is a foot shorter. She must take more strides, and a little more time, to get to the university. Okay, move her a block closer. Is it equal access now?
No, it is not. You didn’t bother to make their brains equal. Furthermore, prior to your moving her a block closer, since he always arrived at the steps of the building before she did, she was distracted every morning with the curve of his muscular butt as he walked up the steps in front of her. (Lady, I sympathize.) That’s not fair, is it? Now she’s thinking of his manly ass while sitting in the lecture hall, thoroughly distracted. So take her out of a coed university, and put her in the exclusive company of women, who have no bulges in the fronts of their pants to admire… Where was I?
Oh yes. So now she’s at an all-female university, free of sexual distraction. We’ll leave aside the fact that the few lesbians at this university have plenty of distractions, making some inequality already apparent. We’ll also leave aside the fact that, thanks to laws largely championed by feminists, they have had to hire a male professor, complete with bulge and man-butt, who is distracting this young woman even more. (For you straight boys, I need to point out that a gorgeous man cannot compete with a gorgeous man with salt-and-pepper hair.) Beyond that, it was a beautiful fall morning, something which most of these New England “progressive” women have seen every Fall since they were girls, but this young woman, fresh from San Diego, has never seen anything like it. I mean, it’s positively fluorescent! Gorgeous! So now she’s distracted by leaves. Her quest for equality will only result in continued frustration. It does not exist. 2 women plus 2 more women may equal 4 women, but there the equality ends.
Ophelia, Morghan, their fellow feminists, and “progressives” everywhere are looking for equality, and humanity is paying the price. You cannot have that which does not exist in nature. One of the principle ideas behind individuality (and anarchy, as I see it), is that you shouldn’t want it. Once you embrace the idea, it becomes an obsession. In an effort to enforce “equality” on all Cambodians, Pol Pot ordered everyone shot who wore glasses, the “logic” being that anyone who had glasses obviously spent more time with books, and everyone should be equally smart. An extreme example, and not something with which most “progressives” would agree. In fact, most of the examples I give above are probably considered too preposterous (especially the “man-ass” one) to be taken seriously. But that’s where “equal access” and “equal opportunity” lead. When the desired “equality” does not come about, the blame lies everywhere else — the patriarchy, the glass ceiling, discrimination, sexism, mass media influence, substandard schools, stereotypes, people with glasses, a guy’s butt, etc. — because the “equality” premise is taken as truth.
The premise, however, is completely false. It does not exist. You may not even apply the Non-Aggression Principle equally, as I explained above. It certainly feels like aggression to a child who can’t tie her shoe, standing there and choking back tears, because she can see that a fully grown man sits and passively stares while her frustration is obvious. For me to do this would be to aid her own mind in initiating coercion against the truth, and coercion is death. A child who experiences such coldness immediately begins lying to herself, during which process, volition — in the absence of reality — dies, along with a little part of her individuality. A woman who stoops to tie her own shoe does not endure this. Two separate and completely unequal reactions to the same, simple dilemma of an untied shoe.
Take the government’s guns and direct them in the name of equality, and what do you have? Divorce courts that ruin men’s lives, wars started by liars who now make cannon fodder out of women “equally,” everyone on a particular land mass stolen from “equally” to fund this or that project to aid women and men, old and young, black and white, gay and straight, in the absurd quest for a nonexistent, abstract falsehood. The search for equality is “equal” to the idea behind government: that we exist not as individuals, but as a collective. With the advent of modern feminism, women are seen as a collective, in spite of the fact that each woman in this collective is an individual, with her own mind and her own volition. Every single one of those bored housewives that Betty Friedan interviewed had separate problems, but somehow the solution is supposed to be the same for each. Not so.
If a woman wants to be a fighter pilot, so be it. (Just don’t steal my money.) Very few women are up to the task. Oppression, you say? Well, I don’t feel terribly oppressed, but I couldn’t last ten minutes with those boys. Is it because of their muscles? Not really. Put untrained men who are far more muscular than I am in the cockpit, and they won’t last, either. Is it the training? No, because the muscle is also required, along with the brain. Is it the mathematics? Only in part; you need to spend time in the cockpit, and you need muscle. Is it the attitude? Oh, yeah. That’s most of it, in my opinion. I am unequal to all of them, because I do not possess the attitude, nor can I even fake it very well. Men who fly fighter jets have minds that are incomprehensible to someone who weeps at the end of Stravinsky’s “Orpheus.” I am not their equal. Most women aren’t, either.
Nor are they my betters; they’re just different. Put fighter pilots in a group (preferably with as little clothing on as possible), and you only have a rough, categorical assemblage symbolizing a particular type of “equality.” Each of those fighter pilots is an individual. None of them is equal. One of them likes comic books, one of them beds every woman he meets, one of them misses his mom terribly, one of them is fascinated by geology, one of them is a closeted gay, secretly in love with the budding geologist. The one interest and talent that unites them is flying fighter planes. Great. (Just don’t steal my money!)
If women currently searching for “equality” really want to band together like a group of fighter pilots, it’s perfectly alright to find similar interests and act upon them. However, they should never forget the following:
1. At all times, use the Non-Aggression Principle, aided by the Golden Rule.
2. Each and every woman is an individual.
3. Collectives exist only in your mind (with the possible exception of biological families).
4. Don’t steal my money!
5. Equality is impossible, because it does not exist.
6. Leave B.R. Merrick out of it. I’m far more interested in individual men and their problems, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that little bit of inequality. I give you leave, however, to impress me with your individuality.
B.R. Merrick writes for “Strike The Root” and “A Voice for Men,” lives in the Northeast, is proud to be a classical music reviewer at Amazon.com and iTunes, and in spite of the poisonous nature of television, God Himself will have to pry his DVDs of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” out of his cold, dead hands, under threat of eternal damnation.