“A backlash against women’s rights is nothing new in American history…It returns every time women begin to make some headway toward equality…” says Susan Faludi, on page 46 of Backlash.
She says people who view the feminist revolution as a straight line getting better and better over time, rather than a cycle that goes back and forth, up and down.
I’ve recently started to be haunted by a terrible thought…perhaps our current liberation in only a tiny peak sandwiched in the middle of a sea of oppression- one in the past, and perhaps one in the future. Hearing about this, about how women’s liberation has been existent in the past and has come and gone, rather than progressed in a straight line, this really started to worry me: is our current liberation permanent…or is it just a tiny speck in a huge sea of darkness and oppression?
Is there really anything special about the present, compared to the rest of history? Are we really safe for good or are we going to cycle around again…into another Dark Ages?
On the next page she says these backlashes we are seeing against women’s rights are a normal historical occurrence, like the financial penalties ancient Rome gave to unmarried or childless mothers, or the charges of heresy against early women disciples of Christ, or the witch killing in the medieval era.
She guesses that maybe since American culture isn’t founded on class distinctions, maybe men clung to the idea of male supremacy to elevate themselves socially. Who knows? Sounds like a good theory to me. She says on page 48 that free women in America usually just used their freedom to choose to go back into dependence again, and that nearly a good half of all the anti-feminist books were written by women.
Recently, the driving force behind the brainwashing of women to make them willfully choose to be subservient to men has been popular culture peddled by the mass media, Faludi says. The Victorian Era- the middle to late 19th Century- was when this all kind of started.
I’m getting especially worried about the very current backlash against women’s rights, from Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Rush Limp-baugh, and others. Will they send us back to a new Dark Ages? Don’t say “but that was a million years ago! We are civilized now!” because if you look at history, lots of times the most uncivilized periods were preceded by periods that were highly civilized and tolerant.
I sure hope this current 20th-21st Century trend of women’s liberation isn’t just a speck among misogyny of the past…and misogyny of the future. I hope that this time, for good, we can be liberated.