Re: (PCT and Feminism)

Robert Parks (
Thu, 16 May 1996 13:36:44 -0400

Dear Reid,

Thanks for the comments. I subscribe to most of the beliefs that comprise
many of the "feminisms" Wendy mentioned. I am simply worried that the term
"feminism" may obscure the very real and very great differences between
"liberal feminism" (which has its conservative versions among economic
conservatives) and "radical or socialist feminism". I'm worried that the
achievements of "equal opportunity" for women in an unequal society may
simply obscure the underlying fact of unjustifiable inequalities.

It is with more than a little trepidation that I have spoken of
"feminism".... and at the risk of offending those for whom the WORD
"feminism" has acquired overriding symbolic significance.

>My personal dislike of "feminism" stems from my belief that, by polarizing
>men and women, it pushes people apart rather than helping them come

I'm sure some polarization occurs... And I may be guilty of precipitating
some of it. But I guess my concern was the reverse - that the unifying
effect of using the term "feminism" as a symbol for a unifying ideology has
an unhealthy effect on the treatment of fundamental economic inequalities.

>Moreover, most of the women I've met who proclaim themselves to be
>"feminists" are embittered, angry, and unpleasant people. And in some
>cases, dangerous.

I trust you would also grant that the anger of misogynists is far more
destructive and dangerous.

>I've worked with a number of women who want nothing more than to find a
>good husband, have babies, do housekeeping, and take care of their husband
>and children; women who are hag-ridden with shame and guilt because
>"society" says they must get a job. While I've always maintained that a
>woman should be as well-educated and employable as possible, I regret that
>women must feel ashamed and guilty for wanting a more old-fashioned and
>traditional marriage.

It seems you are concerned that choices be real, and not imposed on the
diversity of aspirations and values. If so, then I hope you would also
grant the need to make possible real choices for men - so that we are able
to choose the role of "homemakers" also. The reality of the choices depends
on creating a motivational context in which all men could consider such a
life a real possibility. But it also involves dealing as a society with the
creation of work and the creation of families in a way that no capitalist
society has yet been able. The Social Democrats in Sweden have professed
similar aspirations, but havn't yet created the conditions for real

Thanks for the comments.

Bob Parks