Unlike in America, where bestsellers goad already overworked and underpaid women to Lean In even further, the assumption in Denmark is that feminism is a collective goal, not an individual pursuit. Danish women are less likely to be financially dependent on men and therefore feel less pressure to “settle” or change their behavior by, in Roosh’s words, “adopting a pleasing figure or style that’s more likely to attract men.” [...] Roosh comes to the conclusion that women who aren’t as dependent on men for financial support are not susceptible to the narcissistic salesmanship that constitutes phase one: “attraction.” That’s why Roosh fails to advance to the second level—”trust”—without being creepy. Thus “seduction” is almost always out of the question...American Prospect: How the Left Sees Liberty
In her essay “A Marxist Theory of Women’s Nature,” philosopher Nancy Holmstrom argues that women’s lives are less free than men’s under capitalism “both because they are dependent on men and because they have children dependent on them.” Therefore, “traditional sexual values constrain women more than they do men,” and women “are less able to act to realize their own desires” and must be “more passive and oriented to other people’s wishes than men.”
But in societies with a less marked sexual division of labor, those sexualized generalizations dissipate. Marginalized women who need male spouses to flourish might, indeed, find pick-up artists alluring. But women in countries that have gender-equalizing policies supported by an anti-individualist culture may not.
The problem with libertarian and right-wing notions of liberty is not just that they implode; it’s that there is a more plausible notion of liberty offered up by progressives that is only achievable through leftist political economy. [...] When individuals have their economic well-being secured, they do not have to put up with mistreatment from those whose private economic support their life might otherwise depend on. Freed from the specter of want, women do not have to tolerate abusive would-be spouses, workers do not have to tolerate abusive bosses, and people of color do not have to tolerate racial subjugation. When protected against the possibility of economic retaliation, people can speak more freely, associate more freely, and practice their faith more freely. In short, having their livelihoods publicly secured gives people much more genuine liberty to do what they’d like. And that’s what really seems to matter when we talk about liberty, not some property rights formalism.Washington Monthly: Social democracy offers many outstanding benefits. Shutting down sexist, predatory jerks is one of them
Deeply unequal societies like ours are also breeding grounds for a host of simmering resentments, petty tyrannies and everyday sadism. You see these in abundance with the PUAs. They are full of rage because they believe they have been denied the effortless access to the hot chicks to which they are inherently entitled. This rage is misogynist in nature, but it also contains more than a hint of a class element. The PUAs frequently express fury that the women they are attracted to are supposedly only interested in rich guys (see: their crackpot theories about hypergamy). But rather than doing something politically constructive with these resentments — like advocating for social democracy! — they end up taking out their rage on the women who are even more powerless than they are. That’s depressing, for sure. Even more disturbing is the larger media and internet culture of rancid misogyny in which these guys operate. But Baker’s intriguing article gives me hope that there is a way out of this mess.Stephanie Coontz in the NYT: Why Gender Equality Stalled (previously)
When family and work obligations collide, mothers remain much more likely than fathers to cut back or drop out of work. But unlike the situation in the 1960s, this is not because most people believe this is the preferable order of things. Rather, it is often a reasonable response to the fact that our political and economic institutions lag way behind our personal ideals...*Girls' Globe: Feminism and Motherhood in the Nordic Countries
This is where the political gets really personal. When people are forced to behave in ways that contradict their ideals, they often undergo what sociologists call a “values stretch” — watering down their original expectations and goals to accommodate the things they have to do to get by. This behavior is especially likely if holding on to the original values would exacerbate tensions in the relationships they depend on. When you can’t change what’s bothering you, one typical response is to convince yourself that it doesn’t actually bother you. So couples often create a family myth about why they made these choices, why it has turned out for the best, and why they are still equal in their hearts even if they are not sharing the kind of life they first envisioned.
Under present conditions, the intense consciousness raising about the “rightness” of personal choices that worked so well in the early days of the women’s movement will end up escalating the divisive finger-pointing that stands in the way of political reform. Our goal should be to develop work-life policies that enable people to put their gender values into practice.
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