Ottawa Sun

November 7, 1999

Feminists can't keep their heads on straight

By R. CORT KIRKWOOD-- Ottawa Sun

Two women in Georgia, professors at Kennesaw State University, recently struck a blow in the crusade against domestic violence, but like any blow struck for any crusade, it turns out to be dubious indeed.

Their victory was forcing Wal-Mart to remove a World Wrestling Federation toy from the shelves.

The toy is a likeness of wrassler Al Snow holding a woman's head. Mr. Snow carries a mannequin's head for his live WWF act, and he takes to beating that head when he loses a "match."

Appropriately, "help me," is written across the mannequin's forehead.

Well, one of the lady professors saw this toy in the store and rightly said it might teach her son that beating women is acceptable. The store manager agreed with her presumption, and they both wrote to Wal-Mart.

But it wasn't until the two women published a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Wal-Mart cried uncle.

Undoubtedly, store officials worried it could lose 0.01% of its $100 gadzillion in profits if anyone got wind it was promoting a misogynist toy.

Yet the paradox of the controversy, if controversy is what you call it, is that feminists are unlikely to go the extra mile by asking whether other positions they have adopted, such as pushing girls into wrestling and football, or even onto the battlefield, also promote what the professors call the "brutalization of women."

Women, for instance, now wrassle men in the WWF. The other evening I was surfing by WWF and saw one of these Amazonian beauties toss a man from the ring. He grabbed a folding chair and was about to crack her skull when she fled the scene with her companion.

If this isn't promoting the "brutalization of women," nothing is, but we don't hear anyone complaining about it. Perhaps that's because in the brummagem world of wrestling, the women defeat the men, just as they do in the equally brummagem world of Xena the Warrior Princess.

Another example is the clamour to put women in combat assignments, a desire undoubtedly energized by the Xena myth. The radical feminists argue that combat assignments will allow them the same potential for promotion as a man, the ultimate goal being for a woman in uniform to head the armed forces.

The general idea is to show that women are the physical equals of men, not just the intellectual equals, which will increase the respect men have for women and therefore decrease domestic violence. On its face, it sounds like a reasonable ambition in this age of liberation. But it isn't reasonable, or even desirable, for the following reasons.

If women are to be treated as the physical equals of men, if they are to be trained for combat, for instance, they must be treated equally in training. That not only means requiring identical fitness standards, which would mean less women in combat roles, ironically enough, but also conditioning men to accept the brutalization of women who succeed.

And that means, for the sake of proper training, a man must be trained to brain a woman with a pugil stick during training. In real war, things would surely be worse. Consider what the enemy might do to extract information from a POW who is a man: By torturing and raping his fellow POW who is a women. Presumably, he would have to ignore her screams.

The feminists say the first POW would simply have to ignore those screams, but again, consider what that would require: Teaching men that brutalizing a woman is no different than brutalizing a man, which is exactly the opposite of what the feminists want men to learn about domestic violence; i.e., that it's wrong.

Well, which is it?

Maybe in the feminist utopia, men will be required to divine when brutalization is acceptable. On the gridiron or battlefield, it's fine. At home, it isn't. Problem is, men will be inured to violence against women on both counts. That won't help stop domestic violence.

The women in Georgia are right about this WWF toy. But society mustt take their logic to its conclusion and question the premise of the feminist position.


Kirkwood writes on U.S. affairs for the Sun.
Letters to the editor should be sent to oped@sunpub.com.

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