My email box is still bulging with angry email about that column I wrote last week on feminism and Kate’s book. I don’t mind criticism and disagreement, but there’s one dumb blog-talking-point knee jerk response that I find a complete bore. People keep writing to tell me that I’m too stupid (Kate too) to understand that Kate’s book and/or a thousand other good things wouldn’t be possible if it hadn’t been for feminists in the first place. While some of their examples are dubious, the basic point is entirely fair. Many of the accomplishments of earlier generations of feminists were important and valuable. I certainly don’t want to deny women the right to vote or the right to work at any job they’re qualified to hold (arguments about the military notwithstanding). Neither does Kate and she says so many times in her book and she did in that Meet The Press appearance.
In fact, I conceded the point in the column itself. I wrote: “Many of the changes wrought by the first generation of feminists were important and valuable. But those battles were won a long time ago, and yet the would-be revolutionaries won’t lay down their weapons or change their very stale talking points, casting age-old progressive schemes, and newfangled feminist ones as essential tools in the battle against ‘discrimination.’”
And, yet I keep getting this email from people who say I’m too dumb to understand a point I conceded.
What they don’t seem to understand is that simply because a movement was right about some things a long time ago, doesn’t mean it continues to be right about something else entirely today.
Actually, scratch that. These people undoubtedly do understand this point when it comes to, say, the founding fathers because that is the liberal argument in a nutshell. “Times have changed,” we’ve outgrown our constutution in ways the founders never could have imagined, etc etc. But, when it comes to feminism, not only were the founding mothers right about everything but new generations of feminists must be right too.