The hidden classism of modern feminism

On Halloween, an acquaintance of mine was celebrating the fact that she had convinced her three young daughters to dress up not as princesses, but rather as male superheroes.  I said that next year, she should really go for the jugular: her girls should dress up as plumbers and truck-drivers.  She laughed and agreed, although I don't think she understood what I was getting at.

This friend is a classic feminist, believing that empowerment comes only in the form of traditionally masculine traits, such as physical strength and professional ambition.  To her, a male superhero represents all that a girl should be told she is: strong, brave, powerful, one of a kind.  This mentality certainly follows from the current feminist narrative that women are excluded from male-dominated professions due to a culture that does not convince girls thoroughly enough that they are the same as, or even better than, boys. 

Yet what I've noticed recently, and what I actually meant when teasing my friend about next year's plumber and truck-driver costumes, is that within the feminist grievance narrative, there is no whining about women being "excluded" from working-class male-dominated professions.  There is more than plenty of talk about the dearth of women in science, in engineering, in upper management positions, and as CEOs.  But there is no one asking: where are all the female garbage-collectors, the female elevator technicians, the female landscape laborers, the female oil rig workers?

All of this reveals that feminist clamoring for "equal representation" is not about equality at all.  It is about power and prestige.  The whole concept is built on the notion that because women are not becoming engineers or CEOs at nearly the same rate as men, our culture is broken and oppressive.  The remedy is to forcibly change the culture so that women can attain these positions more easily than men can; the system needs to somehow artificially cater more to women so they can "have a seat at the table."  This rhetoric goes only so far as positions of power and prestige are concerned.  If proponents of this social reworking were actually concerned about a supposedly male-oriented society, they would care just as much about working-class women and bolstering girls who might dream of being firefighters or active combat military.  It ignores the logic that women are not generally drawn to careers as engineers or CEOs for similar reasons as why they are not drawn to careers as construction workers.  Many of those required skills simply do not come naturally.

Related to this is a conversation I recently had with a female friend regarding working mothers and how the high cost of childcare deters many mothers from returning to full-time work.  I pointed out that this complaint, while seeming to support the labor of women, undermines the interests of the (almost exclusively female) providers of said childcare.  The more feminists complain that childcare costs are too high, the more they indicate that we as a society are overvaluing the work of the women who are essentially raising the children of upper- and middle-class women.  Apparently, not all female labor should be treated equally after all.

Feminists want society to bend to meet their demands of giving women the things they want simply because they want them, because they have somehow been denied them.  But this is limited to the wants that come with power and prestige.  Underneath the heart-tugging rhetoric is a dark secret, the same secret that drives all of leftist ideology: envy of and resentment for the wealth-creators and a disdain for the common laborer.

What follows is easy enough to predict: if these people believe that their envy is not only justifiable, but virtuous, then they believe they have a right to demand the spoils of ambition and hard work without proper ambition and hard work.  They should not have to ponder the implications for those who have less, because those people are beneath consideration.  Feminists do not want to work harder than they already do.  They do not want to step outside their comfort zone for any job or profession.  And they certainly do not want to spare any outrage or compassion for the working-class folks who rank beneath them.

This is where the superhero ideal comes back into play.  Well meaning parents want their girls to dress up as superheroes because they have been told that is the best way to set their girls up for success.  What they don't see is that they are teaching their girls to seek out power and prestige without needing to earn it.  After all, what is a superhero but an average Joe magically bestowed with supernatural abilities through little or no action of his own?  And our girls are also learning through the selective classist focus of the feminist agenda that should their desires ever benefit from taking advantage of the working class, that is virtuous as well.

So the question is, do you think these girls will grow up being more or less likely to find fulfillment in their lives thanks to modern feminism?

On Halloween, an acquaintance of mine was celebrating the fact that she had convinced her three young daughters to dress up not as princesses, but rather as male superheroes.  I said that next year, she should really go for the jugular: her girls should dress up as plumbers and truck-drivers.  She laughed and agreed, although I don't think she understood what I was getting at.

This friend is a classic feminist, believing that empowerment comes only in the form of traditionally masculine traits, such as physical strength and professional ambition.  To her, a male superhero represents all that a girl should be told she is: strong, brave, powerful, one of a kind.  This mentality certainly follows from the current feminist narrative that women are excluded from male-dominated professions due to a culture that does not convince girls thoroughly enough that they are the same as, or even better than, boys. 

Yet what I've noticed recently, and what I actually meant when teasing my friend about next year's plumber and truck-driver costumes, is that within the feminist grievance narrative, there is no whining about women being "excluded" from working-class male-dominated professions.  There is more than plenty of talk about the dearth of women in science, in engineering, in upper management positions, and as CEOs.  But there is no one asking: where are all the female garbage-collectors, the female elevator technicians, the female landscape laborers, the female oil rig workers?

All of this reveals that feminist clamoring for "equal representation" is not about equality at all.  It is about power and prestige.  The whole concept is built on the notion that because women are not becoming engineers or CEOs at nearly the same rate as men, our culture is broken and oppressive.  The remedy is to forcibly change the culture so that women can attain these positions more easily than men can; the system needs to somehow artificially cater more to women so they can "have a seat at the table."  This rhetoric goes only so far as positions of power and prestige are concerned.  If proponents of this social reworking were actually concerned about a supposedly male-oriented society, they would care just as much about working-class women and bolstering girls who might dream of being firefighters or active combat military.  It ignores the logic that women are not generally drawn to careers as engineers or CEOs for similar reasons as why they are not drawn to careers as construction workers.  Many of those required skills simply do not come naturally.

Related to this is a conversation I recently had with a female friend regarding working mothers and how the high cost of childcare deters many mothers from returning to full-time work.  I pointed out that this complaint, while seeming to support the labor of women, undermines the interests of the (almost exclusively female) providers of said childcare.  The more feminists complain that childcare costs are too high, the more they indicate that we as a society are overvaluing the work of the women who are essentially raising the children of upper- and middle-class women.  Apparently, not all female labor should be treated equally after all.

Feminists want society to bend to meet their demands of giving women the things they want simply because they want them, because they have somehow been denied them.  But this is limited to the wants that come with power and prestige.  Underneath the heart-tugging rhetoric is a dark secret, the same secret that drives all of leftist ideology: envy of and resentment for the wealth-creators and a disdain for the common laborer.

What follows is easy enough to predict: if these people believe that their envy is not only justifiable, but virtuous, then they believe they have a right to demand the spoils of ambition and hard work without proper ambition and hard work.  They should not have to ponder the implications for those who have less, because those people are beneath consideration.  Feminists do not want to work harder than they already do.  They do not want to step outside their comfort zone for any job or profession.  And they certainly do not want to spare any outrage or compassion for the working-class folks who rank beneath them.

This is where the superhero ideal comes back into play.  Well meaning parents want their girls to dress up as superheroes because they have been told that is the best way to set their girls up for success.  What they don't see is that they are teaching their girls to seek out power and prestige without needing to earn it.  After all, what is a superhero but an average Joe magically bestowed with supernatural abilities through little or no action of his own?  And our girls are also learning through the selective classist focus of the feminist agenda that should their desires ever benefit from taking advantage of the working class, that is virtuous as well.

So the question is, do you think these girls will grow up being more or less likely to find fulfillment in their lives thanks to modern feminism?