With a rash of sexual harassment allegations against them, powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, and Roy Moore are facing a day of reckoning. Ironically, so is feminism – a movement that claims to fight for women's rights, but clearly has done a miserable job living up to its own billing.
As social critic Caitlin Flanagan recently argued in a scathing piece in the Atlantic, feminism betrayed women in the 1990s when it chose to defend Bill Clinton rather than the victims of his alleged sexual harassment, assault and rape. Now, women are finally realizing that feminism is not the great champion of women. It is, as Flanagan noted, "a weaponized auxiliary of the Democratic Party," willing to sacrifice its dubious principles on the altar of political expediency.
When news of Bill Clinton's alleged sexual misconduct with young intern Monica Lewinsky first surfaced, Betty Friedan, the woman credited with launching second-wave feminism, said: "Whether it's a fantasy, a set-up, or true, I simply don't care . . . Clinton has started the national childcare policy, and appointed some very strong women. He has also stood firm on abortion."
Similarly, feminist writer Nina Burleigh crudely declared that she not only was willing to overlook Clinton's predatory ways, she'd actually perform a sex act on Clinton "just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."
But perhaps the greatest betrayal of women came in the form of a 1998 New York Times editorial written by feminist icon Gloria Steinem. In it, she grossly minimized Clinton's misdeeds, claiming that his alleged groping of Kathleen Willey (whom Steinem curiously noted was "old enough to be Lewinsky's mother") was not sexual harassment, but merely "a gross, dumb, and reckless pass."
She also characterized as a "pass" Clinton's alleged groping and indecent exposure of himself to Paula Jones in a hotel room. "Even if the allegations are true," Steinem wrote, "the President is not guilty of sexual harassment," but merely a "candidate for sex addiction therapy."
Gloria Steinem's defense of Clinton was "one of the most regretted public actions of her life," Flanagan wrote. Steinem's piece in the New York Times "slut-shamed, victim-blamed, and aged shamed," and urged "compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused."
Yet even now, Steinem is not apologizing for what she did. Neither is celebrated feminist Hillary Clinton, who reportedly tried to silence Bill's victims, including Juanita Broaddrick, the woman he allegedly raped in 1978.
In the 1990s and subsequent decades, feminism revealed itself to be shockingly Machiavellian. At a critical time, when the nation's attention was trained on the plight of women exploited by a powerful man, feminism essentially told female victims to suck it up and move on. Is it any wonder that women like actress Natalie Portman have been rendered numb to the sexual harassment they've routinely endured?
Portman recently disclosed that when the allegations against Weinstein first surfaced, she thought, "Wow, I'm so lucky that I haven't had this." Then on further reflection she realized she's been the victim of sexual harassment a hundred times, but had learned to dismiss it as "part of the process." "I've had discrimination or harassment on almost everything I've ever worked on in some way," she said.
Feminism also told powerful predators like Bill Clinton that if they support liberal causes, they can have their way with women and feminists will have their back. Is it any wonder that the Harvey Weinsteins of this world took this message and ran with it?
Let's face it. We're in this current cultural moment because of feminists, not in spite of them!
But it's not just feminists' protection of predators that has contributed to the epidemic of sexual harassment and abuse in this country. The entire ideology of feminism renders women as tools for men.
Take their keystone political platform – abortion. What is abortion other than a get-out-of-sex-free card for men, absolving them of any responsibility for their actions? Feminists continue to champion abortion like it's an essential means of liberation for women, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Women don't want abortions; men do. In fact, a study reported in the Medical Science Monitor found that 64-percent of women who abort feel pressured to do so. Similarly, Frederica Matthewes-Green, who talked to hundreds of women about their decision to abort for her book, Real Choices, found that women aren't having abortions because they are poor, or because a child would interfere with school or career plans. They're having abortions because the men in their lives tell them to do so.
Matthewes-Green reported that 88-percent of the women she interviewed said their trip to the abortion clinic was not a choice, but a capitulation. They didn't feel empowered; they felt isolated, overwhelmed and sad.
"No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche," Matthewes-Green concluded. "She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg."
Yet abortion remains enshrined as the holy grail of feminism. The National Organization of Women (NOW) names so-called "reproductive justice" as one of its five main campaigns. Reproductive Rights is also cited as one of the Women's March main "unity principles."
Feminism's commitment to abortion is downright fanatical. As one of Hillary Clinton's biographers, Dr. Paul Kengor, once wrote, "(Abortion) is Hillary's hill to die on. I believe Hillary Clinton would give her life for Roe v. Wade."
Abortion is necessary to achieve feminism's goal of making women the functional equivalents of men. But women aren't the functional equivalents of men. Perhaps someone should inform feminists that women have a womb; we nurse babies; and we'd prefer to have our unique maternal functions protected, rather than obliterated.
We'd also prefer feminists to call predatory men to account – not just the Bill Clintons and Harvey Weinsteins, but the "Alexes" and "Martys." These are the guys who bragged to a Vanity Fair reporter about their "Tinderellas," the dozens of girls they've slept with and discarded after finding them on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge.
Feminists should be up in arms over the wanton abuse of women inherent in the current hookup culture; instead so-called "third-wave" feminists are actually promoting it.
These "sex-positive" or "porn-positive" feminists are so deceived that they actually think freely prostituting one's body is somehow in women's best interests. Heavily influenced by the message of the sexual revolution, these daughters of second-wave feminists believe sexual freedom is essential to women's freedom and, as a result, oppose controlling or limiting sex in any way.
Sadly, their errant ideology is killing them. As a female student at Boston College told Vanity Fair, "Sex should stem from emotional intimacy, and it's the opposite with us right now, and I think it really is kind of destroying females' self-images." Her classmate agreed and added, "But if you say any of this out loud, it's like you're weak, you're not independent, you somehow missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism."
Unfortunately, men haven't missed the memo on third-wave feminism. They've hopped on it just as gleefully as Weinstein would on a hot actress. But it's sick and perverse and horribly misogynistic. And it's about time women, and those who love them, begin saying so.
And to those conservatives, who like Friedan and Steinem are saying they don't care if Roy Moore is guilty of molesting young women: as long as he's pro-life, they'll vote for him. May history deal with you every bit as harshly as it is dealing with Friedan and Steinem today.
Conservatives care about conserving timeless principles. But if you are willing to sacrifice the principle of protecting women and children for political gain, you are not a conservative; you are a grotesque pragmatist. Your day of reckoning should not be any less severe than those in whose footsteps you are walking.
But for the rest of us, let's make today a day of reckoning for feminism and reject it once and for all. And instead, let's embrace God's vision for womanhood – one that honors and values women as women, and refuses to use them as tools, but instead protects and cherishes them.