EDITOR’S NOTE: Herewith one of the Queen of Spleen’s first forays into the pages of National Review was the following article that appeared in the November 18, 1992, issue (the cover story: “The Goddess that Failed–Reflection on Feminism”). Who better than Florence to reflect upon “a society that has had all the feminism it can stand?” She is, as usual, too funny, and you must, as usual, read this.
Another must is STET, Damnit, The Misanthrope’s Corner, 1991 to 2002–the complete and unabridged collection of Miss King’s eye-poking back-page NR columns. This wonderful book is available only from NR, and may/must be ordered (securely!) here.
EVE FATIGUE is an affliction that comes over a society that has had all the feminism it can stand. Say, for example, you are shopping by phone and the person taking your order for a shower curtain asks you what color you want.
“You have a choice” You don’t even hear the rest; your mind shuts down because every lurching move a woman makes is called a choice. The nullipara of all choices is, of course, abortion, but now feminists are saying that women should be able to choose whether to serve in combat, and rape victims should be allowed to choose whether to let their names be published.
On June 18, during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, the chiefs of the four military branches voiced such blunt objections to women in combat that they sounded Pattonesque. The Air Force representative frankly admitted that he considers male gender the premier qualification for a fighter pilot, and calmly justified his views with the first completely guiltless and public utterance to fall from the lips of a white male in two decades: “Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t help it, that’s the way I feel.”
Another sign that the Pentagon may be moving from the Potomac marshes to Eve Fatigue Flats was a July 1 news story about Captain Linda Bray, America’s first war heroine, who liberated a dog kennel during the Panamanian action in 1989. Linda Bray is no longer in the army. She is now a housewife, her sporty look exchanged for frosted hair and long pointed nails painted “Maui Mango.” As they say in Gothic novels, What terrible thing happened to Linda Bray?
She was hounded out of the Army.
Writes Scripps Howard reporter Peter Copeland: “When she and her company returned home to Fort Benning, Captain Bray was visited by investigators from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division asking what had happened to the dogs at the kennel. A Panamanian soldier had accused American soldier of killing the dogs several days after the invasion.”
No one is more susceptible to Eve Fatigue than former feminist role models. Warning women against careers in the infantry, the five-foot-one, 105-pound Linda Bray recites a cautionary tale worthy of Phyllis Schlafly: “I carried too much weight. I always felt pressure in the military. ‘You don’t have very much weight in your rucksack. Why don’t you carry a little more?’ I kept adding more until my hips broke. I can’t run, jump. I can’t even go grocery shopping without having to sit down because it hurts.”
Eve Fatigue replaced the seventh-inning stretch on July 5 when Washington’s Orioles’ baseball channel ran a Children’s Defense Fund public-service ad. It shows a crowd of concerned citizens picketing a white marble government building. Some of the picketers are male, but the camera lingers on careerish women in business suits. One such woman has brought her baby in a carriage, but she gets so immersed in clamoring and petitioning that she leaves the carriage perched precariously at the top of a long marble staircase.
As the voice-over recites statistics on America’s soaring rates of infant mortality, malnutrition, and child neglect and abuse, the baby carriage starts to roll backward down the steps. The statistics fly faster and faster, and so does the carriage. Finally the politically active mother remembers her child and turns around, but it’s too late. As she watches in helpless horror, the bough breaks and down goes baby, cradle, and all.
Running this ad during a baseball game, when the viewership is overwhelmingly male, meets the definition of that ubiquitous act of our times known as “sending a message.” Eve Fatigue is “on the table,” and feminists are so panicked that Washington Post columnist Judy Mann detects that old devil “linkage” between a Betty Friedan speech and another news event of the same day.
“Ten minutes after she finished speaking, President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Four times, the President referred to him as the ‘best man’s for the job, suggesting that only men were considered. It was one of many ominous signs of what’s to come.”