April 27, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
It’s a safe bet that anyone who denominates herself a “very evolved woman,” and certainly one whose grasp of the English language is as tenuous as Dufu’s, probably isn’t. It’s equally safe to bet that she doesn’t know the basics of her chosen topic, and sure enough, no one will lose money on Tiffany Dufu (The Independent, 4/19/17).
Now, to her credit, when she calls on women to “drop the ball,” i.e. to stop doing so much housework and childcare and demand that their husbands do more, she doesn’t forget to tell men to drop their ball as well.
While she devotes her book and activism to women, she also thinks men need to drop the ball too. Their ball is the “unrealistic expectation that men should strive to be breadwinners at all costs” even at the cost of meaningfully engaging with their family and supporting the women in their lives, Dufu says…
“It is a very difficult ball for men because they are not allowed to express their commitment to their family at (sic) a way that does not jeopardise their manhood… Women are allowed to use our families as a justification to (sic) why we make decisions in our careers but men are not,” she says.
Fair enough, as far as it goes, which, predictably, isn’t very far. Yes, there are plenty of social messages to the effect that men should be breadwinners first and everything else afterward. But, exactly as I said of women, men are also free to ignore those messages and many do. I know far, far too many men (and know of far, far more) who haven’t toed that line for me to believe that, whatever the message, men can’t develop for themselves a much more balanced approach to earning and everything else in their lives than Dufu wants us to imagine.
I’ll also set aside Dufu’s twin and contradictory beliefs that (a) societal messages constitute some sort of prison into which women particularly, but men too, are thrust, never again to see the light of day and (b) that both need to and can change.
Note the language Dufu uses throughout the article connoting an absence of adult agency in women: “in the way society expected,” “women have been told,” “everything still has to be managed beautifully,” “you’re a failure one way or the other,” “society’s expectations of women,” “I can’t say that,” “women are allowed,” etc. All that and more is freighted with the notion that societal messages aren’t simply that, but demands that women (and men too) ignore at their peril. Dufu wants her readers to believe that she and everyone else are helpless victims of “family models and advertising.”
The reality of course is entirely different. Dufu may see herself and others as helpless victims, but adults know differently. Adults have an idea of the consequences of actions and make the best choices they can, for themselves and their loved ones, under the circumstances. Few make perfect decisions and fewer still care. Societal messages control no one who doesn’t want to be controlled.
More importantly, how would Dufu and others of her ilk have it? Should, for example, women who value motherhood more highly than any other endeavor be denied a voice simply because weak women like Dufu claim to be unable to bear hearing about the joys of motherhood? Should men who find fulfillment in their careers be told to shut about it so that Dufu’s husband won’t feel like he has to enslave himself to his employer?
The simple fact is that there are a great many people living in this country and they don’t all think alike or value exactly the same things. That means there are many voices, many messages to be raised and heard. And most of those messages should be heard. Mothers have as much to say about motherhood as career women do about their employment. That society as a whole gives expression to those and countless other messages is a good thing, despite what Dufu would have us believe. Adults living in a country that values free expression have to find ways of figuring out which of those messages are important to them and which aren’t. Everyone over a certain age does this and for most of us, it’s not a particularly onerous part of life.
But Dufu believes that, prior to her reincarnation as a “very evolved woman” at least, she was helpless before the exhortations of every ad on daytime TV.
And what about those sex rolls Dufu’s so eager for all of us to set aside? She apparently doesn’t know the first thing about how they came about or why they persist. For her, patriarchal society is bent on keeping women barefoot and pregnant and men chained to their office desks or the factory floor. As I’ve said before, that’s just bunk.
The fact is that our male and female body chemistries strongly influence what our choices are. For decades now, feminists have been alternately pleading with and browbeating women to farm out childcare to strangers and go to work. That hectoring has met with essentially no success as women of all classes and races say they prefer tending their kids to the corporate grind and act accordingly. Dr. Catherine Hakim has found overwhelming preference on the part of women for exactly that.
Of course women prefer raising kids; powerful sex hormones released during pregnancy and afterward tie them to their kids and no amount of whining by the likes of Dufu is going to change that.
For their part, millions of years of evolution that has proceeded in great part by female mate selection have produced men who seek their highest value as being the provider of resources and protection for women and children.
Societal messages express those longings by men and women, they don’t create them.
With every passing day, the coin of feminism loses more and more value. It seems they can go only so long ignoring obvious reality and acting like overgrown children (ever the helpless victims) before people start tuning out the message. Some 18% of Americans call themselves feminists. In the U.K. where the linked-to article was published, just 7% do. If it had been an election, feminism would have lost in a landslide of unprecedented proportions.
But people like Dufu keep peddling their nonsense and a few desperate publications keep giving them space. (The Independent’s circulation in 2016 was less than one-third of what it was just six years previously.) I suppose that’s a good thing. Otherwise, how would people know how truly out of touch with reality these people are? Tiffany Dufu is certainly doing her part to inform them.
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