A Requiem for Feminism
It all seemed so exciting during the heady days of the 1960s and 70s as radical feminists jumped on the civil rights bandwagon, demanding equality with men. Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Bella Abzug and others led the push for women’s equality, including the right to abortion on demand.
Now Steinem is 80 and wearing T-shirts that proclaim “I had an abortion.” Steinem’s T-shirt headlines what feminism considers its crowning achievement. Abortion on demand at any stage of gestation is radical feminism’s gold standard. It is upheld as an absolute right by the Democratic Party and its candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.
But abortion on demand and the aggressive transgender movement are proving to be the Achilles heel of feminism.
Who among those eagerly promoting abortion decades ago could have foreseen the development of technology that revealed babies smiling, sucking their thumbs, yawning and stretching while in the womb? Who among those ardent activists could have foreseen that ultrasound would reveal the sex of the unborn infant, and that female babies would be aborted because of they were not the preferred sex? Who could have known millions of girls would be aborted in favor of boys, skewing the male/female ratio of countries like China and India?
While it is public knowledge that sex selective practices have continued unabated despite exposure of the facts, feminists have clung to their commitment to abortion as a sort of untouchable sacrament central to the women’s rights movement. Most remain unmoved by the slaughter of unborn girls, though they say they are committed to the rights of girls who are actually born. They are also unmoved as 90% of Down syndrome children were and are aborted. Other children with disabilities such as spina bifida or even cleft palate are sacrificed as well. Scarcely a word of protest is uttered by feminist leaders.
The dehumanization of the unborn child, which is regarded as disposable material, has led to other horrors undreamt of by even the most ardent feminist of fifty or sixty years ago. But even the discovery that Planned Parenthood was selling baby body parts was met with callous disregard by pro-abortion feminists, including president Cecile Richards, who defended the practice and who resented the “shaming” of her organization.
What also was not foreseen by the feminist vanguard was that when the unborn are seen as mere material rather than as human beings with rights, experimentation on human embryos would be inevitable, as the recent birth of a so-called three parent baby boy has revealed. As Nature magazine points out, “CRISPR technology can be used to alter the genome of almost any organism with unprecedented ease and finesse.”
Whatever is possible is done without regard to ethical concerns when humans are not regarded as human. God alone knows what other genomes are being altered in countries without restrictions on CRISPR technology, which is rapidly outpacing governmental efforts to regulate the technique. It is well known that government’s sclerotic pace is completely unable to keep up with technological developments. Those who know the tech proceed without regard for supervision behind closed doors. Who knows what hellish chimeras, once the stuff only of nightmares and science fiction, are now becoming reality?
Anything can be done when tiny human beings are regarded as mere material and are without any legal protections. It was feminists who relegated the unborn to the status of non-being. It was feminists who embraced the right to kill on demand. Given the fact the unborn have long been stripped of any legal status as persons, are we really surprised that people are willing to experiment on embryos?
Also unforeseen by radicals such as Steinem, Greer, and Friedan was the dehumanization of humanity itself by the transgender movement. Pope Francis realizes the idea of gender fluidity means the annihilation of man -- and woman.
Transgenderism is fatal to feminism, which has relied on the binary distinction of humanity in order to foster the idea of equality between the sexes. Eliminating the patriarchy and allowing women to have the rights of men was the rationale for why feminists of the 60s and 70s pushed for the integration of formerly male academies and colleges; it is why they urged that all fields of human endeavor be opened to women; it is why they insisted women’s sports should receive funding along with men’s sports; and it is why they pushed for changes in the English language that they saw as more inclusive. Hence the term “letter carrier” replaced the older term “mailman.” All terms ending in “ess” were eliminated. Thus “poetess” became “poet.” And so on. And so forth. The idea was to make the English language gender neutral.
What feminists did not foresee was that the transgender movement would detach every human being from the binary male/female identity feminism used as a means of comparison. Transgenderism would argue for the fluidity of gender itself, rendering the distinctions between male and female as meaningless. Thus the measure of equality feminists used to advance their agenda was completely removed and rendered null and void. The new equality meant that an androgynous human being who had control over even sexual identity could demolish the privileges and opportunities feminists had carved out for women. For instance, men who claimed to be women could enter women’s sports and compete. Unfortunately, their innate physical abilities meant the biological males would win.
Transgenderism’s version of equality meant the disestablishment of feminism’s ideas of equality. But actually the new ideology merely took the feminist idea of gender neutrality a step or two further. The result means there is a possibility of the establishment of a new -- probably biologically male -- hierarchy of power women could not compete with; for if the idea of distinctions between the sexes were to be annihilated, power -- be it physical or intellectual -- would be all that counted. No longer could feminists complain there weren’t enough women represented in a particular field. Gender doesn’t compute.
In sum, radical feminism finds itself on the horns of an unsolvable dilemma. Transgenderism has taken the old feminist concept of gender neutrality and moved it to a level in which the idea of male and female is completely annihilated in the name of equality. After all, was it not feminists who argued that the distinctions between the sexes were due to the way boys and girls were brought up and that no particular characteristic or inclination is inherent to either sex?
Therefore, feminists can’t protest because the transgender movement is the logical outcome of the rationale feminists themselves used to create a society that was to empower women. On the other hand, if transgenderism is not opposed by feminists, they will see the demolition of many of the achievements they worked for, women’s sports being only one of the more obvious casualties.
As for feminists’ sacramental devotion to abortion on demand, their reluctance to speak out about the abortion of females falls right in line with transgender ideology. Abortion of females no longer matters, as the gender identity of the unborn is fluid in that it can be decided by the child later. It doesn’t really matter what the biology of the unborn actually is. Abortion becomes gender neutral.
Both abortion and transgenderism have presented feminists with a dilemma they brought on themselves. It is salutary to recall how they have routinely scoffed at and rejected the ideas of the sacredness of unborn life, of human beings as created man and woman imago dei, of marriage and family. Feminist progressivism rendered such antique notions outdated.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, solutions they come up with to unravel the Gordian knot feminists themselves have created.
Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology. Her thoughts have appeared in many online publications, including National Review, CNS, RealClearReligion, and Russia Insider.