Last week, President Obama penned a ridiculous piece in Glamour magazine. It dripped with self-regard and oozed with moral preening. Barack Obama, said Barack Obama, is a true feminist. This, of course, might not have been obvious from the fact that the Obama White House has paid women 89 cents for every dollar earned by a man, as of July. It might not have been obvious from the Obama administration’s belief that even men can be women, so long as they think it so – and they can invade women’s bathrooms, based on that subjective belief.
But Obama, said Obama, is indeed a feminist.
And he is also here to change souls. “The most important change,” he lectured, “may be the toughest of all – and that’s changing ourselves.”
How should Americans change themselves? Obama explained: “We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.”
This sort of unearned moral righteousness induces nausea. Notice that Obama doesn’t offer any solutions to these supposedly widespread problems – he just throws out the notion that he understands women’s problems. To borrow some feminist language, that’s an extraordinarily patriarchal attitude – to condescend to tell women that you understand their problems and therefore need not present solutions. As the subtext goes, all women really want is someone who can feel along with them.
But it’s worse than that. According to Obama, “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.” But why should anyone be rewarded for their sexuality? Do we reward people for other bodily functions and choices? Do we reward people for their eating habits? How about their bowel movements? The only sort of sexuality that society should celebrate is the kind that takes place responsibly within the bounds of marriage, given that if sexuality produces children, we want children to be born into solid, two-parent families, with their parents present. Society should be – at best – neutral about other sorts of sexuality. It seems bizarre that feminism should ask for promiscuity to be treated as virtue for women just because bad people have done so for men.
This stuff isn’t feminism. It’s just politically correct virtue-signaling.
I fully believe in the basic notion of original feminism: that women should be able to make whatever career choices they want, based on merit. I grew up in a home in which my dad was a stay-at-home dad and my mom ran television and film companies. My wife is a doctor. I’m certainly at home with the kids more than she is, but she took time off for both of our kids. I want my daughter to be able to pursue whatever dream she sees fit.
But I don’t believe that America’s soul needs changing. That’s because I know that Americans agree with me. If they didn’t, my mom’s career wouldn’t have been possible, and neither would my wife’s. I don’t spend every day worrying about my daughter’s possibilities, because in a free country she can go as far as her skills and decisions take her. If she faces obstacles from sexists, I’ll be right there calling for action, if she wants my help. But I’m not going to pretend for the sake of political correctness and popularity that sexism is widespread and pervasive. It isn’t. America is a glorious place for women, and the only way to make it even better is to target actual sexist activity, to stop slandering men as sexists without evidence and to tell our daughters that there are no glass ceilings, just a world of options waiting for them.
After all, that happens to be the truth.