National Post

June 22, 2002

The Charter Challenge ladies are dangerous

Elizabeth Nickson
National Post

What kind of work would someone with a degree in Women's Studies look for? Would you hire a woman with a degree in Women's Studies? What would they bring to the table? This is a puzzlement to me because we do turn out such young women, from a score of such departments in Canada, and have been doing so for 30 years. So what are they learning anyway?

Luckily, last week, the Independent Women's Forum in Washington, D.C., published Lying in a Room of One's Own, How Women's Studies Miseducate Students. The report, by Christine Stolba, analyzes the standard, commonly used texts of this quasi-discipline, and, what is even more valuable, fact-checks those texts. If someone from Women's Studies turns up at your personnel department, this is what they have been learning:

"Internalized oppression" haunts the female of the species, who were trained by "mothers who themselves were bent to the yoke as we are meant to be." The system is "rigged against women," who must practise "compulsory heterosexuality." "Heterosexuality is maintained by social control" and a "culture of romance." "We are all members of a subordinated group who are victims of a false consciousness." Our culture has "institutionalized practices that presume that women are innately sexually oriented towards men."

"Hidden away in many of those suburban homes of the 1950s, were drinking problems, bickering spouses and bored wives." "Women who take traditional gender norms at face value and become full-time mothers and homemakers are rewarded by being the most economically and psychologically vulnerable of all women."

"The modern form of the family leads women to be economically and emotionally dependent on men and, as a result, the traditional family is a source of social conflict and a haven only for men."

"An even more perfected form of slavery was one in which the slaves were unaware of their condition, unaware that they were controlled, believing instead that they had freely chosen their life and situation. The control of women by patriarchy is effected in just such a way."

Had enough? Luckily, the Patriarchy released its own study this Monday in the guise of the Strategic Counsel, which used actual statistical analysis. It is called Canadian Attitudes on the Family. The unconscious enslavement thing must be working quite well. Canadians, men and women, 80% of them, consider maintaining a stable marriage as their top priority, and 76% consider being good parents as the second. Work? Way down on the list.

Eighty-eight per cent say that having children was the best thing that ever happened to them. Seventy-six per cent say that they'd rather one parent be able to stay at home with their children. An equal number say that both parents work because they have to, not because they want to. Eighty-two per cent say that taxes should be reduced so that one parent can stay home.

Most desired family size? Growing. Edging towards four. Yes, four. Double the number that Gallup found in 1994.

The younger the respondent, the more likely he or she was to disagree with divorce as a solution to family problems.

Seventy-eight per cent believe that "the importance of family life is undervalued in Canadian society today" and 83% agree that encouraging strong families should be a top priority of governments in Canada."

Well. Two entirely different pictures have emerged. Now I know many people who cherish their families, but almost no one who subscribes to the intellectual blather we pay universities to teach young women.

But after all, why care? Kids will be kids. They need to rebel, be taught bunk and learn how to think for themselves. They need to worry about "compulsory heterosexuality" and play silly buggers with the police in Calgary because making mistakes is how they grow.

Yes and no. Feminism has a much more malign intent, and it's not just greater and more pervasive government intrusion into private life, though certainly they want that, as long as they form part of the government. Law professor Catherine MacKinnon frankly argues against free speech, because in a society pervaded by "gender inequality," so-called free speech simply disguises and ratifies the dominance of powerful men over victimized women. In fact, rational thought and individual responsibility are called into question. "False consciousness" must be jettisoned in favour of "group consciousness."

OK, so that's not really all right, is it? This strikes at the very heart of democracy. And as it becomes clearer, every day, democracy is not a given. It needs to be cherished, protected, and actively transmitted from generation to generation.

In Canada, newly fledged feminists have the Charter Challenge. Let me quote from the recent issue of Herizons, Canada's leading feminist journal: "the success of pending Charter claims for 'economic and social rights' -- rights to adequate food, shelter and health care, for example -- will tell us a lot about whether the Charter is really something to be cheered. The Court Challenges Program stands to be an even more valuable resource in that fight if it is expanded to cover challenges to discriminatory provincial laws, as well as federal ones."

Let me make clear that what the Charter Challenge ladies want is the right for anyone, anyone at all, to be fully financially supported by the government. And the rest of us, no doubt enslaved, in order to pay for that support.

Oh, don't let me forget. University of Michigan Law Professor Marilyn Frye, a professor of Women's Studies at Michigan State University, says the "key mechanism of the global phenomenon of male domination, oppression, and exploitation of females is near-universal female heterosexuality."

It was Aristotle who said women did not have the capacity for rational thought, but it seems that Women's Studies professors are insisting that prejudice be re-enshrined in law.

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