The call-in show over lunch today on the CBC, as I enjoyed my very first kefir smoothie (quite enjoyable, in fact, made more so as I thought it was not invented by, nor named after, Kiefer Sutherland…somehow, I connect him with the CBC, perhaps going back to that anti-Catholic CBC screed of a movie he was in in 1984…). Anyway, I digress, the theme of today’s CBC show was on women in politics, and in power positions in general. They had a representative from Equal Voice, which advocates for 50% of MP’s (and MPP’s) to be female, for ‘equal representation’. Currently, roughly one quarter of the seats of federal Parliament are filled by females. Not nearly enough, cry the women. By hook or by crook, there must be more. To be precise, they want 52%, since there are slightly more females than males in society, for genetic reasons that are, to say the least, mysterious (but just wait until gender selection abortion makes its inroads, fully tolerated by the ‘feminist’ and ‘woman-loving’ Liberals and NDP). The Equal Voice ladies may also want a bit of payback for all those aeons of male dominance, for why should the less-fair sex now expect fair treatment?
Here is our current harridan-in-office, who also happens to be a lesbian, but I am not allowed to say that that influences her worldview, for such would be construed, gaspi gasporum, as homophobic. Of course, they are permitted to say that my own worldview is coloured by an aversion to homosexuality, but the tables are never fair, are they? But it seems Ms. Wynne also wants to stick it particualry to the men. Here she is, as quoted on the CBC:
We must never retreat, never explain, never apologize, get things done, and let them howl.
I presume the ‘them’ in ‘let them howl’ refers to the men, fathers of families and so on, looking on impotently as Ms. Wynne sets out to corrupt their children by a pornographic sex-ed curriculum, and is soon set to tax their paycheques (yes, the private sector only) about 2% for a vague, future ‘pension fund’ where they may get about $6400 a year in ‘old age’. Try living on that now, never mind in thirty years. How much of that wynne-fall will actually make to the coffers of a future pension, and how much in the present tense shoring up the ballooning debt in which our province is mired? But more on that later.
Ironically, the only reason Premier Wynne has any power at all is due to the fact that she, and the ‘laws’ she is set to instantiate, are protected by an almost all-male phalanx of heavily armed police officers, who will put you rather forcibly in jail if you resist. The law, like the truncheons the enforcers carry, is indeed a blunt instrument.
The debate over women in politics of course is part of the much larger debate of women, and men, in general, their roles, their purposes, their identities, yes, their very genius.
I am not sure if it is politically correct anymore to speak of the specific ‘genius ‘ of Man and Woman. I would think people, including women, would quite enjoy discussing their particular genius. But the fact remains that we, as sexually dimorphic beings, do have a specific genius. People often speak of genius as a particular, even unique, talent or skill (and we all have some degree of that), but the word originally means a trait, or set of traits, that belong to a thing by its very nature.
By being born, or I should say conceived, as male or female, we develop a set of traits, first physically and biologically, then psychologically and culturally, as we mature, which belong to us as masculine and feminine. Pope Saint John Paul II discusses the feminine genius marvelously in his 1988 Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity of Women). To paraphrase the great Pontiff: Woman, become what you are!
Our modern world would like to deny this, claiming that all sexual identity is ‘culturally conditioned’, an amorphous spectrum. Indeed, I fear that it may soon be illegal even to label someone as male or female, to say nothing of masculine or feminine. Already toy stores are removing their ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ sections, for how dare we pre-determine what kind of toys a child may enjoy based on their, what was the right word, gender, so much kinder and gentler than ‘sex’. The same goes for bathrooms, which now must be unisex, as I discussed in a blog on the so-called transvestite-questioning-transsexual identity politics.
The only identity politics we really need is whether you are male or female, easily done by quick inspection at birth. We must ask as a culture, is there a specific identity to male and female, which we as a society have a duty to foster and promote? Or is it a free-for-all, and the devil take the hindmost?
It has been the accepted wisdom of our civilization, east and west, north and south, that the primary role of men and women is to be fathers and mothers. Everything else flows from this initial and fundamental family unit. Human beings are primarily members of families, existing in relation to their parents, siblings and extended family units, not as individuals. As such, the male, the father figure, has been the protector and provider, while the female, the mother figure, has, due to the vulnerability that pregnancy and children bring, been in need of protection and providing.
This may sound ‘sexist’ to some modern, sensitive ears, but not so: Taken to extremes, yes, but in the main, it is what men and women do ‘best’, it is their respective ‘genius’.
One may try to breed, educate, beat or berate this genius out of the sexes, but to no avail. It is how we are built and created. Men will always bring some notion of ‘fatherhood’ into whatever they do, while women will bring the same notion of ‘motherhood’. Men will always act in some instinctive way to protect women, and will always find it somewhat unnatural to compete with them, to shout them down, to criticize them (as is necessary in politics), or to be protected by them. One female MP on the talk show today complained about being drowned out by the ‘opposing party’ while she was trying to speak. She demanded her right to be heard without straining her low-key feminine voice, not nearly loud enough to drown out the male-dominated bobonos in the peanut gallery.
Fair enough. I am no fan of modern politics and the simian antics that pass for our modern democracy, but the problem is that men will always act differently when there is a women present, either being too delicate, or overdoing their attempt at machismo. There is always, always a tension in the air when a woman is in the mix.
Is this a good thing? Does it make men more peaceable? Can men and women work together amicably, without sexual tension? Oh, I suppose so, to some degree, and I do work with women. Although I long for more segregation, I realize that we will likely never return to the days of yore, when, in that mournful dirge of Archie Bunker, ‘girls were girls, and men were men…’ And, I discovered happily as I re-listened to that tune after many years, ‘we didn’t need no welfare state, for everyone pulled his weight’
However, in the midst of our current androgynous culture, we must maintain some fundamental distinctions between what it means to be male and female, masculine and feminine, a distinction being whittled away, or perhaps a better word is demolished, in our culture.
Witness modern movies, the puerility of which I am not sure how people tolerate, but one thing I have noticed is that almost every current action movie has to have the killer femme-fatale, a 115 pound svelte female, who preferably looks like, and more than likely is, a Swedish model, throwing men around like yoga mats at an ashram. In the recent instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise, which thankfully I have yet to see, said female assassin not only saves Tom’s 53-year old heinie three times, but takes on the eight-foot giant with ease and finesse, while Tom stands by like a doe-eyed castrati.
Ho-hum. Not only is this impossible, but, as such, it is boring. When will directors get the hint that the more reality is strained in movies, the less watchable they are. It is necessary to identify with the characters, to believe in some way that we could do what they do, to care. (Incidentally, that is why Superman is the least movie-able of the superheroes, and why they have to make him ever-more ‘human’, which is to say vulnerable, in his various incarnations).
But on a moral level, is it to this that we want our young women to aspire? Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games? Merida in Brave? That Israeli-model as Wonder Woman? Angelie Jolie in Salt? Halle Berry as Catwoman? (Wait, scratch that last one).
To bring this back to politics and public authority, is the only way for woman to fulfill herself to become, in the lyrical words of Henry Higgins, more like a man? And, in the movie franchises, a tortured, disordered man at that?
Should we not in some way at least begin once again to exalt the vocation of motherhood? Instead of something a woman does ‘on the side’ while advancing her real career, we should see, as we have always seen until recently, that motherhood is itself a full-time, and fully fulfilling, vocation. Nurturing, teaching, and raising children is the greatest and most complete natural work one can perform.
Why would we want to make this a part-time job, relegating the raising of our children to nannies and daycare providers, while mothers leave the home, which then becomes just a house, to get out there in the dreary, slave-like ‘workforce’ where ‘real’ life takes place?
And politics, of all things? Even Hilaire Belloc back in the first decade of the twentieth century in England saw parliament as an exercise in near-futility. But not complete…I still do believe to some degree in politics. Sadly, that belief is being tried by our current gallery of parliamentarians, often relegated to the role of marionettes in the whim-driven hands of their party leaders sniffing the ever-changing wind of cultural opinion.
I’m with Belloc, that of things women could do, politics (to say nothing of the life of an assassin) is a rather limited option. Rather, as has always been, and always will be, not only is motherhood (and, in a different but related way, fatherhood) the most naturally fulfilling, but, as the saying goes, even in the world of power and influence, it is the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world…