‘You must make women count as much as men; you must have an equal standard of morals; and the only way to enforce that is through giving women political power so that you can get that equal moral standard registered in the laws of the country’ - Emmeline Pankhurst, 1913.
Eighty years later…
‘You grow up with your father holding you down and covering your mouth so another man can make a horrible searing pain between your legs’ - Catharine MacKinnon, 1993.
What’s gone wrong with feminism?
Feminism used to be about equality, not female superiority
Many modern-day feminists engage in man-bashing rather than making dignified demands for equality, as the feminists of the early twentieth century did. So Robin Morgan unashamedly admits, ‘I feel that man-hating is an honourable and viable political act’. The view many modern feminists seek to spread, in the words of Marilyn French, is that ‘all men are rapists and that’s all they are’. A Feminist Dictionary goes so far as to define ‘male’ as ‘a degeneration and deformity of the female’. This is an effort to make men seem inferior, not to elevate the position of women. It starkly contrasts with the goal of feminists of old, which was to make women be viewed as equal, not superior, to men.
Feminism used to be about freedom, not censorship
Recently, feminists have supported moralistic wars on porn, the Sun’s Page 3, and misogynistic Twitter messages. They are essentially advocating more government intervention into our private lives and our freedom of speech. Yet 43 years ago, Germaine Greer wrote in the The Female Eunuch that ‘freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it’. Whereas feminism was once concerned with increasing the freedoms of women, and by extension all inhabitants of society, now it tends towards demanding the reduction of freedoms.