If you want to understand liberals, know that most of their ideology is simply a pseudo-intellectual justification for what feels right to them. As for these feelings, the one stereotypically associated with the left is compassion, which supposedly manifests itself in mercy, charity, forgiveness and temperance. In reality, though, a feeling that far better characterizes the left is envy.
I’m not the first to observe this. Winston Churchill called socialism “the gospel of envy,” and this Daily Mail piece cites research showing that leftists are in fact consumed by the fault. It is true, and it explains the real motivation behind their redistributionist tendencies: It’s not that they care so much that the poor have less. They simply can’t stand the fact that others have more — than they do, that is. But there is something they do want to share with their fellow man, a thing they have in abundance: misery.
Misery does love company, and this brings me to feminism. While the ideology certainly has its justifications — the various grievances, real and imagined (all groups have some grievances) and its spin-cycle theories — these are not truly the wind beneath its wings. For that you have to search the emotional realm, and, if you do, one thing you will certainly find there is envy.
It’s impossible to comprehend man’s behavior without understanding the powerful force that is envy, as it influences so much of what people do. For example, I once had a friend who was a very accomplished tennis player. One day he told me that his non-tennis-playing friends would ridicule his sporting endeavor, saying that it was stupid or “You’re wasting your time.” I immediately told him what I absolutely knew to be true: His friends were simply jealous of him. When people deride a legitimate ambition or activity, the motivation is usually envy. It is the same reason why A-students in the black community are sometimes scorned for “acting white”; it is an accusation used to justify a very dark motivation.
Of course, many of these green-eyed monsters would protest, claiming they have no desire to engage in the “stupidity” they mock. And the irony is that sometimes this is the truth. Sure, many lack the discipline to develop a skill and would take the one in question if it were simply a matter of snapping their fingers. Others simply don’t want it badly enough to put in the necessary effort. Yet others recognize the thing in question as an accomplishment and, not having a corresponding one in their lives, are jealous because they’re either bereft of triumphs or are one accomplishment short. Then there are some who may simply not want others to have any “good” that they don’t have.
This brings us back to feminism. It’s well-known that vanguard feminists look down on traditional motherhood and the sphere in which it’s found, the family, and they have tried their utmost to undermine the two. For example, Simone de Beauvoir, author of The Second Sex, once said, “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” Robin Morgan, founder of the radical feminist group W.I.T.C.H., opined, “We can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” Feminist Linda Gordon once disgorged, “The nuclear family must be destroyed . . . . Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” And Rebecca Walker, daughter of Alice Walker of The Color Purple fame, wrote about how her mother disowned her when she became “the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises — a mother.” The Color Purple? The elder Walker knows more about the color green.
This brings us to a truth about classical feminists: They hate traditional motherhood — which, dare I say, is true motherhood — because they are jealous of traditional mothers. When they ridicule a woman who tends to hearth and home, it’s not so much because she is kowtowing to the patriarchy or not taking her place in the phalanx of the sisterhood. It is because the mother has a good that they, for some reason, cannot have. And women are notorious for being jealous of one another.
Some will point out that devout feminists don’t view motherhood as a good, but this is irrelevant. A thing has certain inherent qualities, and they aren’t a function of others’ perception of them. Motherhood is a good by nature, and people will, as a group, desire what is good (on some level, even if they hate it on another) — and be envious of others who have it when they cannot. It’s also true that devoted mothers are exhibiting virtue — they aren’t sacrificing family on the altar of careerism — and this serves as a reminder to many feminists of how they’ve failed in that regard. Traditional women make them feel bad about themselves.
Another mistake is to think that anti-motherhood feminists’ attitude is merely the result of a lack of a maternal instinct. Most women thus disposed (be it nature or nurture), and I’ve known a few, are only concerned about avoiding motherhood, not ending it. They live and let live, and when they see a woman busily tending to a gaggle of children are only likely to chuckle and think, “Whew! Better her than me!” It’s much like the difference between a communal monk and a communist: One aims to purge himself of worldly desires, the other to purge the world of the desirous. One has taken a vow of poverty, the other vows to destroy the wealthy.
Then, some will ask why these feminists simply don’t have families themselves. But, harking back to the example of my tennis-player friend, people are often their own worst enemies. Perhaps these feminists are too selfish to devote themselves so completely to others, maybe life has dealt them a hand that made marriage unlikely, or perhaps hatred for the good overwhelms maternal instincts. Whatever the case, these are women who could never have the white-picket-fence lifestyle, so they picket the lifestyle.
Evidence for this is that so many devout feminists are oddball, malcontent women. When young, Simone de Beauvoir was a bratty girl who threw temper fits to get her way (that she could get away with it was indicative of bad parenting). She had a father who wanted a boy, and it pleased her when he said that she thought like a man. Her father also told her she would never be married because she would have no dowry. And, although she carried on a long polyamorous affair with Jean-Paul Sartre, she never did marry and had no children. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem conceived a child as a young woman and then aborted him. She would later marry — but not until she was 66 years old. Then, you should read the article I linked to about Alice Walker, as a more horrible person cannot be imagined. And all three of these women had lesbian affairs (in de Beauvoir’s case, with underage girls) perhaps telling us why feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson said, “Feminism is the theory; lesbianism is the practice.”
As for the theme of this piece, some will say that you cannot attribute all of anti-motherhood feminists’ behavior to envy — and I don’t. While they are odd, they are people and as such are complex. And people can, and usually do, have multiple motivations when pursuing a cause, and it’s folly to paint every member of a group with precisely the same brush. I also realize that feminism is used by some as a vehicle through which very dark aims can be realized. As feminist Catherine McKinnon has admitted herself, “Feminism, Socialism, and Communism are one in [sic] the same, and Socialist/Communist government is the goal of feminism.” But is this a surprise? Envy helps drive communists as well. It drives both feminists and communists to hate the successful. And what, after all, is a good mother but the most successful woman imaginable?