Feminist View of Motherhood, Marriage, and Career
Hillary Proclaims a Daycare ‘Crisis’
Hillary Rodham Clinton staged what a White House spokesman called a “focused comeback” to proclaim what she described as a “frontier issue.” She followed the usual liberal formula: proclaim a “crisis,” wrap it in “children,” and try to intimidate Congress into funding a new middle-class entitlement. Make no mistake: this is the start of another grab for power like Clinton’s 1994 effort to federalize the health care industry.
Hillary’s daycare “crisis” was carefully orchestrated by all the bigwigs of the Clinton Administration before an exclusive audience in the East Room of the White House. They included government officials who can influence public policy on daycare, reporters expected to write about daycare, a few academic types paraded as “experts,” and a large number of daycare providers who can be turned into lobbying troops to gather the cash spoils of federally subsidized daycare. The audience included those two Democratic Senators who like to pose as models of fatherhood and family propriety, Senators Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd. Conservative and pro-family leaders were excluded.
President Clinton is demanding $300 million over five years to train 50,000 daycare workers, improve the pay of daycare workers, and direct Americorps student volunteers to look after latchkey kids. In addition, he is ordering Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to jawbone private employers to provide free on-site daycare.
Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, the chief lobby for raising children in a “village,” said she hopes that Hillary’s conference will be “a launching pad for significant re-investments” in daycare. In the Clintonian lexicon, village is a synonym for government and investment is a synonym for taxes.
Conference participant Joyce Shortt, who runs a daycare organizing group, said, “As long as we are promoting an economic system where two parents or single parents work, it is the responsibility of the federal government” to promote affordable and accessible daycare. No doubt, she sees federal subsidies heading toward her bank account.
The chief guru of the federal daycare lobby is Edward Zigler, a psychology professor at Yale University and director of Yale’s Bush Center for Child Development and Social Policy. He advocates a national daycare system costing $75 to $100 billion annually.
Zigler wants daycare centers reconstituted as “schools of the 21st century” and “family resource centers.” He wants daycare to extend as long as the workdays of mothers and fathers, before- and after-school care, and summer care for children up to age 12. He deplores the “hodge-podge of profits, nonprofits, and family daycare homes” and the fact that 60 to 75 percent of daycares are not registered. Those with a social parenting agenda think that government can do a much better job of regulating and financing the needs of children ages 1 through 12.
A drive for federally financed and regulated daycare led by Zigler and Edelman is, as Yogi Berra would say, déjà vu all over again. This same cast of characters carried on a tremendous national campaign for the same goal during 1988, 1989 and 1990 — and they lost because Americans don’t want to pay taxes to provide babysitters for other people’s children.
Instead, American mothers and fathers want tax cuts so they can spend their own money and make their own decisions. The 1988-90 debate ended up with modest tax credits for children. This year the Republican Congress provided the best and only correct federal answer to the problem of child care costs: tax cuts. With the Clinton Administration dragging its feet, resisting every step of the way, this year’s Republican budget included a $500 per child tax credit for children under age 17 in taxpaying families. That is a lot of new money in the pockets of 27 million families with 45 million children.
Then, Congress expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit to reach 15 million people, giving significant extra help to workers of very modest incomes. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is in addition. The Republican Congress also voted a tremendous increase in daycare spending as part of the 1996 welfare law. A new program of federal grants to the states, designating $13.9 billion over six years to fund daycare, represents an increase of more than $4 billion or nearly 50% over what would have been spent under the previous law.
The New York Times called Hillary “reborn,” but her daycare proposals are just warmed over Big Government spending plans that have been exhaustively debated and rejected by the American people. Tax cuts are the best way government can help families cover the costs of raising children.
The Feminists’ War Against Marriage
The war on marriage that the feminists in academia are waging hit me this year when I received the Winter issue of my alma mater’s alumnae magazine, the Radcliffe Quarterly. In 52 pages under the heading “Scenes from the Family,” the editors didn’t include any discussion of a successful family based on a man and a woman honoring their solemn promises “to have and to hold . . . for better, for worse . . . till death do us part.”
Instead, the feature article laid down the feminist line that a woman’s identity disappears in marriage and that “marriage is bad for you, at least if you’re female.” Without any shame, the author admitted that she acquired her husband by breaking up another marriage that had lasted 15 years and produced three children. She argued that, “Instead of getting married for life, men and women (in whatever combination suits their sexual orientation) should sign up for a seven-year hitch.” If they want to “reenlist” for another seven, they may, but after that, the marriage is “over.”
Another article described a “marriage” of lesbians in San Francisco. Still another extolled the wonderful life of a child born out of wedlock, and yet another explained divorce as “a significant life event that confronts individuals with the opportunity to change.”
The New York-based Institute for American Values recently completed a study of 20 post-1994 college social science textbooks used in 8,000 college courses. Called “Closed Hearts, Closed Minds,” the report concludes that most of these textbooks give a pessimistic if not downright hostile view of marriage, emphasizing marital failures rather than its joys and benefits.
College textbooks view marriage as especially bleak and dreary for women. The textbooks are inordinately preoccupied with domestic violence and divorce, and view marriage as archaic and oppressive, not just occasionally, but inherently. Some textbooks are larded with anti-family rhetoric. Changing Families by Judy Root Aulette focuses on battering, marital rape and divorce, with no mention of any benefits of marriage.
The textbooks give the impression that children don’t need two parents and aren’t harmed by divorce. They omit all the evidence that children in single-parent homes are far more at risk than children in two-parent homes.
Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well by Ashton Applewhite is an example of the new genre of books attacking marriage as a bad deal for women. The author dumped her husband after reading feminist Susan Faludi’s Backlash. Now Applewhite seeks social approval for her walk-out by encouraging middle-aged women to find independence by doing likewise. She gives advice on how to deal with lawyers, manipulate child custody arrangements, and find new relationships.
The publication of another new book, On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America by Melissa Luddtke, attracted Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Senator Ted Kennedy to a book party at the home of PBS journalist Ellen Hume. Mrs. Clinton was thanked for her assistance as a “reader of the book in progress.”
When the sexual revolution and the feminist revolution blasted into America’s social consciousness in the late 1960s and 1970s, the voices raised against them came primarily from older women. Now we are starting to see acute bitterness from the generation that believed the liberationist lies and have discovered that, contrary to feminist ideology, women, indeed, have a biological clock.
The Independent Women’s Forum has just published its Autumn 1997 issue of its Women’s Quarterly (2111 Wilson Blvd., Suite 550, Arlington, VA 22201, $5), and it is guaranteed to enrage the feminists. Called “Let’s Face It, Girls: The Sexual Revolution Was a Mistake,” it levels a broadside attack on the feminists for teaching young women that liberation and fulfillment come from romping around like men in casual sex while building their all-important careers. They are angry because they discovered too late that the cost of uncommitted sexual relationships is that “the window for getting married and having children is way smaller than one can possibly foresee at age 25.”
So, we hear the anguish of babyless fortyish women frustrated by their inability to get pregnant, spending their money and tears on chemicals and on clinics dispensing procedures with high failure rates. They’ve even realized that a lot of female infertility comes from exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, and that’s a high price to pay for those dead-end serial relationships.
In this Women’s Quarterly, Carolyn Graglia exposes the consequences of the foolish feminist notion that men and women are equal in their sexual desires. This myth, which is contrary to all human experience, has deprived women of the societal support they need to refuse to engage in casual sex.
Far from being empowered in their relations with men, this myth has caused women to lose control over ordinary relationships. Adult, educated women are now demanding that the government (or plaintiff attorneys) protect them from “date rape” and “sexual harassment” in situations that, in the pre-feminist era, unsophisticated high school girls could handle with confidence, knowing that a No would be respected.
G.I. Jane: Feminist Role-Model
G.I. Jane, directed by Ridley Scott, is a fitting sequel to his 1991 movie Thelma and Louise. Both movies try to idealize the macho victim, the foul-mouthed, gun-toting woman who triumphs over the perceived discriminations perpetrated by an unfair male-dominated society.
But sic transit gloria! Thelma and Louise freed themselves from an oppressive patriarchal society by driving their automobile off a cliff. Their double suicide proved they were liberated women because they made that death decision independently from male coercion!
G.I. Jane (Demi Moore) proves she is a liberated woman by getting herself beaten to a bloody pulp, almost raped, and subjected to extreme bodily harassment. To the feminists, this is okay because her goal is to be treated just like men.
This is the kind of equality the feminist movement has always sought (and why they remain a ridiculous subset of the left wing of the Democratic Party, far outside of the mainstream). The feminists’ legal oracle in the years before Ruth Bader Ginsburg emerged, Yale Law School Professor Thomas I. Emerson, described the goal of gender equality in the Yale Law Journal (April 1971): “As between brutalizing our young men and brutalizing our young women, there is little to choose.”
The movie G.I. Jane was apparently designed to make Americans believe the myth that women can perform in combat just like men, even in the toughest branch of the services, the Navy Seals. But the movie really doesn’t help the feminist cause because the villain is a loud-mouthed Texas female Senator (supposedly modeled on Patricia Schroeder and Ann Richards), whose sport is to humiliate military officers for not fully integrating women into combat jobs. In order to keep her Senate seat, she spikes G.I. Jane’s career in the Seals by falsely accusing her of lesbianism.
G.I. Jane proves that women can take a beating as well as a man, but so what? The movie shows that she lacks the upper body strength to pull herself out of the water into a boat, a rather elementary test for anyone seeking to be a Navy Seal. The pretense that G.I. Jane could do everything the Seals do is a Hollywood fiction created with trick photography, make-up, and a stand-in for the star. It’s all as make-believe as the scene where her Seal commander talks to her in the shower and somehow doesn’t notice that she’s nude.
But more important than the dishonesty of it all is what the feminists are doing to America and to the relationship of men and women. When G.I. Jane is being beaten and almost raped in the movie, we can see the horror in the faces of the Seals who watch, and their contempt for the Master Chief who performs this exercise. They joined the Navy to become real men, and now they are being trained to be passive while watching a woman beaten and raped! It’s called sensitivity training to desensitize men about the abuse and mistreatment of women. Such courses are now part of U.S. military training.
Training civilized young men to suppress their inclinations to be protective and courteous toward women is not merely wrong and stupid, it is evil and wicked. We have no respect for the men who participate in the evil of programming men to treat women as though they are men. Civilization is on the chopping bloc. The feminists have not given us progress for women; they are turning men into the stereotype of the caveman who drags his woman by her hair.
The Kelly Flinn Flim-Flam
Kelly Flinn, the first female B-52 pilot, was the Air Force’s poster girl of the supposedly successful sex integration of the Air Force. She was the golden girl who “proved” that women in the military can “hold their own” with men. She was the answer to the Pat Schroeder battalion in Congress who were demanding that women be put in combat jobs.
But Kelly blew it by indulging in adultery, perjury and disobedience. She committed the particular kind of adultery (called fraternization) that clearly cannot be tolerated in a military officer, namely having sex with an enlisted man and then with the husband of an enlisted woman.
When the Air Force disciplined her, the media went into a “feeding frenzy,” allowing the feminists to portray her as a victim, and she became something of a feminist cause célèbre. Dick Morris, Bill Clinton’s political consultant (who rose to notoriety and a lucrative book deal after a particularly gross adulterous relationship), predicted, “I think she may become a very significant feminist figure and spokesperson.” Fortunately, his prediction has not come true.
The evidence against Kelly Flinn was so overwhelming that the Air Force had to press charges. She was not “singled out,” but was treated highly preferentially compared to the 60 men whom the Air Force court-martialed for adultery the previous year and the many male officers whose careers were destroyed for much lesser offenses.
The aggrieved spouse, Airman Gayla Zigo, explained in her eloquent letter to the Secretary of the Air Force: “Less than a week after we arrived to the base, Kelly was in bed with my husband having sex. . . . In several occasions, I came home from work and found her at my house with Marc. While at my house, she was always in her flight suit flaunting the fact that she was an Academy graduate and the first female bomber pilot.” Airman Gayla’s letter quoted Kelly as saying that “she wanted to settle down with someone.” Gayla added, “I didn’t know that that somebody was my husband.”
The military is to blame for leading young women like Kelly to mistakenly believe they can do a man’s job. Of course, she can pilot a plane, but there’s a lot more to being a military pilot than guiding the plane’s controls. She tried to excuse herself on CBS’s 60 Minutes by saying, “I was only 25 years old and I was confused.” Can we afford to have someone confused who is piloting a B-52 carrying nuclear weapons?
Kelly’s position required the emotional maturity and stamina to work at a base where her pilot peers had wives, but she did not. Kelly was lonesome. Her mother, whining about Kelly’s predicament, said that the cad whom Kelly called her “first love” was “the first man who made her feel like a woman.”
Pardon me! We have been endlessly told that women in the military can perform just like men. Sex integration in the military was supposed to prove what Robin Morgan said years ago on the Phil Donahue Show, “We are becoming the men we once wanted to marry.”
Now we learn that the top female bomber pilot really wanted to be treated like a woman! When the Air Force handed Kelly a written order to break off her relationship, she chose her lover over her spectacular career, telling the New York Times, “I figured at least I’d salvage my relationship with Marc [Zigo].”
Having lost their battle to save Kelly Flinn’s Air Force career, the feminists then took revenge on Air Force General Joseph Ralston, who was nominated for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. To sabotage his appointment, the feminists dug up an old case of his adultery. The feminists’ real purpose was to get Kelly Flinn’s discharge upgraded to honorable.
Ralston’s case was completely different from that of Kelly Flinn’s (she was guilty of fraternization, disobedience and perjury), but the difference was lost under the feminists’ tirades. So, we endured a public debate of several weeks on whether adultery should be a bar to promotion to high office.
Opinion surveys of the media elite over the past decade have consistently shown that the nation’s top opinion makers do not believe that adultery is wrong. They would like to make it socially acceptable. The New York Times, for example, ridiculed the military’s “antiquated adultery rules.”
The Gallup Poll reports that 94% of Americans say adultery is wrong. The advocates of unfettered sexual activity are trying to paint those who affirm the standard of marital fidelity as hypocrites because the evidence shows “Americans do it anyway.” But that doesn’t mean they are hypocrites; it just means that they have sinned. Christians believe that man has a fallen nature and is prone to sin, and forgiveness starts with admitting you’ve done something wrong.
The sexual revolution that started in the sixties hasn’t lived up to its promise of freedom and fun forever. It has produced record rates of divorce, illegitimacy, social diseases, and messed up lives.
There is a culture war going on inside America. It has caused a great many casualties and will cause many more. Setting up a commission to write new morality rules for the military will only prolong the agony; the old rules are still valid. In the long run, there will be fewer casualties if the military leads the way to a restoration of duty, honor, and the sanctity of marriage.
What Caused the Gender Gap?
Media Research Center thinks it has come up with an explanation for how Bill Clinton and the liberal Democrats developed a pipeline to the so-called soccer moms. Too many have been swallowing the pro-Big Government propaganda fed to them by women’s magazines whose circulation is in the millions.
A joint Consumer Alert/Media Research Center study of 13 women’s and family magazines for one year prior to the November 1996 elections revealed that they carried articles that portrayed government activism in a positive light by a ratio of more than six to one (115 to 18). The 13 women’s and family magazines included Good Housekeeping, Redbook, McCall’s, Working Woman, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, and Glamour. The largest number of articles calling for government intervention concerned health issues, such as demanding federal action to stop “drive-through deliveries” and more federal funding for medical research.
The magazines directed their readers toward support for “universal” (i.e., federal) health coverage. Not a single article mentioned Medical Savings Accounts, the private-enterprise option that would allow individuals to own and manage their own health care.
During the past year, these women’s magazines carried 23 articles urging women to lobby for expanded government programs, and not a single one to lobby for less government or for spending cuts. To urge more federal funding, Good Housekeeping even provided form letters (“Join the Good Housekeeping Lobby”) that needed only a signature before mailing.
The women’s magazines published favorable profiles of many liberal female activists but none of conservatives. The favorite was Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, the leading exemplar of using children to expand government programs and regulations. Researchers looked in vain for articles in these women’s magazines that urged a reduction in the tax burden on families, or a reduction in the regulatory burden that is costly, and even harmful, to families and small businesses.
The successful Clinton campaign of 1996 tapped into the propaganda flowing through women’s magazines by pursuing what U.S. News & World Report called a “Redbook strategy.” The rest of us laughed when Bill and Hillary promised that their Administration would force employers to give women time off to attend a PTA meeting or take their dog to the vet, but such talk apparently resonated with the readers of women’s magazines.