The story of a typical third wave feminist can be summarized like this
- Women as a social group who are reeling under a patriarchal system are forced to do unpaid labor like housework.
- Men who are the oppressors conspire consciously or unconsciously to propagate the system so that they can enjoy the privileges
- Any observed differences amongst sexes are simply a result of social conditioning which young girls are subjected to by the patriarchy in order to keep the existing status-quo in place.
Is it actually so?
Let’s turn our gaze on a typical Indian family where most of the house work is done by the mother and the father takes care of the bulk of the earning and most of the matters outside. Generally, on almost 99% of the cases including those of feminists’, women marry men who earn more than them and also having a higher social status. The difference is usually such that the man often earns double than the lady. Age difference also plays a major role here which too is almost always a preference by women (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2003/mar/02/evolution.genetics). We also see more number of women voluntarily opting for careers like nursing, teaching or regular office jobs which provide more security, community and harmony but also pays less. In the end we end up in a situation where in more than 90% of married couples the man earns considerably more than the lady. Higher paying jobs also demand higher commitments which is a result of basic economics (principles of demand, supply and increased competition higher up the hierarchy). The man thereby ends up spending more of his time trying to earn for the family. In such a scenario the two individuals with the common goal of providing stability for the whole family naturally ends up dividing responsibilities among themselves. The lady who holds a less stressful and less demanding job uses her spare time and energy to take care of the house and children. What I see here is not oppression but cooperation. It takes a good amount of corruption and cognitive dissonance to interpret this particular scenario seen in majority of families as oppression. However this is not the case everywhere. There are situations where the woman both earns more and also is expected to do the house work. That certainly is not fair and nobody in their right minds should think that it is fair. I am not saying that either. The man should support the family and the house in such a scenario and it is indeed the right thing to do. But there is a world of difference between misinterpreting cooperative division of responsibilities as oppression and voicing for those who are genuinely facing issues.
Of course, it is not just about the money. One certainly would not bargain with his partner on how much money each makes when requested to help with something. What I am saying is simply that it makes most sense for that person who is capable of doing something rather than bring some sort of stigma or narrative into it and making a taboo out of it on either side.
If reducing women for their sexual value is objectification then reducing men’s needs to just sex is certainly “beast-ification”. It is just as dehumanizing as the former. And this is exactly what feminists do when they peddle the narrative that a guy performing duty for his family is motivated by sex. No, he is in fact motivated by gratitude instead. What a man needs most is value. Being valued for who he is matters most for 9 out of 10, if not all men. Constant vilification and attack on honest hardworking men and portraying them as part of an evil patriarchy erodes their morale at their core. This is a move towards dismantling the integrity of “the family”. And I do think this is an intentional move motivated by desire for power.
Third wave feminism and their narratives are not a phenomenon which is different from the typical politics. It is simply a move by certain set of elites to rise in prominence and power riding on top of the cost of the life of the average woman.
The essential ingredients in controlling a group and use their approval to rise to power are:
- Cement the idea that this group has an identity distinct from the rest of the society
- Convince members of this group that they are in danger from the rest of the society by spreading narratives of fear and victimhood.
This playbook has been repeated by destructive leaders all through history which led to events culminating in WW2 and is still being employed by SDPI in Kerala till BJP and RSS in the north.
This is a matter which needs to be discussed out in the open. Those who keep silent fearing vilification and attacks must realize that by being silent it will not get any better but only worse.