Women embrace the system in which they share unequal benefits for the same reasons men do: for the rewards conferred, obviously, but also because it relieves them of responsibility to re-create society and redefine the world according to a better vision. Such a responsibility would force women to allocate their energies outside the home without being co-opted into the male system. This reluctance to rock the boat instead of the cradle, and the compromises women have accepted over the ages, stem from the original division of labor in which woman’s focus is her children and the hearth, while man’s focus is the dangerous world beyond, first of nature and then of other males and their ambitious schemes, from which women continue to benefit on the sidelines. But all are bound together in a pecking order, to the lottery system of capitalism, whereby anyone supposedly can rise to the top, though obviously not everyone. The fact that there can be moderate winnings for many, and extreme winnings for some, induces most to support the system on the gamble of success, even those who by any rational calculation stand to lose. The price paid for subscribing to the myth of social mobility is to tolerate the disproportionate wealth and power of the top layer at the expense of the whole of society. And then, it is far too easy for women in particular to ignore their complicity in maintaining their recessive position within a repressive society. For one thing, the struggle for “equality” is a motherhood issue—forgive the expression. It is a mythical catchword and a diversion from real issues. Sexual equality within patriarchal society can only mean the right to be a functional male. Women who seek parity in the male-dominated system are chasing the same chimera as governments and social policies that seek economic success by embracing modernization and consumerism without succumbing to cultural imperialism. The failure of feminist critique to propose significant alternatives to faulty masculine rule reflects more than a lack of imagination. For, it is far safer to demand equality and strive for recognition within the male system, while continuing to reap its ill-gotten benefits, than to propose a radical rebuilding of society, which would be based on entirely different principles and which might preclude the privileged lifestyles to which women too have grown accustomed. No one, male or female, wants to rock the boat enough to sink it; and that it is sinking anyway is not a thought we care to dwell on.
RELATED TAGS: [co-opting woman(en), feminine betrayal/compromise (of feminity), (myth of) social mobility, feminine value, sexual division of labor, woman’s place (is in) the home, lottery system of capitalism, Horatio Alger, rags to riches, strike it rich, self-made man/woman, gender/sexual collusion, female/woman’s complicity, feminist critique, motherhood issue, functional/virtual male, sexual parity/equality, cultural imperialism, sexual equality/parity]
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