You're probably asking a perfectly reasonable question. What is a cyberfeminist? I asked the same when I first heard it.
I read a book recently for a Philosophy class entitled The Dialectic of Sex: A Case for Feminist Revolution. The author is a woman by the name of Shulamith Firestone. I could already see where this was going, and the photo of the hippie-as-you-can-get writer further confirmed the anticipation. We were instructed to “resist commentary” in our exam essay, and I was so disappointed that I decided to make my own critique public.
Let me first say that, as much as I disagreed with Firestone, she made a few valid points. There is a large portion of men that use women as a means to their own ends, be it sex, bragging rights, or defining their “manhood”, rather than treating women as an end themselves. And the first part of her chapter (ch. 6) on love and romance was an accurate assessment for the most part. While true love is not impossible to find as she claims, it is very difficult, as many relationships are made and continued because of the benefit to the individual, rather than the love for an individual that causes you to be willing to sacrifice for them (“charity”, as seen in I Corinthians 13, if you use a Bible that translates accurately). But apart from this, Firestone shamelessly shows off her radical feminist views.
It begins with Firestone’s presuppositions. I don’t know if she had a bad experience with a man as a child (not a sarcastic comment, it has happened) or if her parents were failures, but she has a very perverted view of society and the people within it. First, women can do no wrong. Not even the most minuscule portion of blame for the problems of society, many of which are not problems to someone who is not a feminist, can be laid on females. They are the victims in this scenario, and if you don’t think so, you are clearly sexist and are fueling the fire of patriarchy.
Second, men can do no right. Men are solely interested in power. Anything they do in business, or relationships, or evil religion is done to have power. Within relationships, of course, power comes in the form of sex. This is the sole interest of every man, and apparently is supposed to be the way relationships should operate. Firestone believes that love, the kind of vulnerable love that most would consider the way love should be, was created by men to make women dependent on them. Their dependence, of course, leads to sex. Men are incapable of love, she claims. The nuclear family, schools, and hierarchies have this in common: they were created by men to oppress women and children.
Third, male domination can be seen anywhere, no matter what happens. Because outside of victimization, people like Firestone have no livelihood. Nuclear family? Male domination. Businesses? Male domination. Matriarchy? Male domination. (No, seriously, it’s just a step to patriarchy and oppression. Women are worshiped by men and are manipulated to be okay with their position (in power?).)
To boil it down, like any good feminist, Firestone would not be satisfied. No matter what strides are made, no matter how equal things are, the victimization card must be played. A person that claims to want equality gets it, and then acts like it doesn’t exist so she doesn’t become obsolete. This comes as little surprise from a movement who hasn’t known what it wants since women gained suffrage in 1920.
When you have the worldview of “…God has long-been pronounced dead but has a funny way of reviving himself,” you tend to have some pretty outlandish ideas. (For the 400 years of the intertestimonial period, I’m sure there were those that said the same thing. Then came Jesus.)
Just what is outlandish? Women are created unequal in Firestone’s eyes. Perhaps “evolved” unequal would be a better word. Thanks Evolution. It is certainly in the interest of a “revolutionary” claiming that women have value to drink the Kool-Aid of a theory that tells us no one has value. Firestone claims that the ability to bear children is oppressive to women. I’m sure, somehow, this is the fault of men. She sees physiological differences between men and women as a liability to women. Call me crazy, but I find that they should be accepted if not celebrated. This means we can love. We can carry on the human race. A good part of women want to be able to bear children, counting it as a privilege. Some would do about anything to have the opportunity. Not to say that a pregnancy is easy, but certainly not oppressive. Coming from a radical feminist that believes a nuclear family is oppressive to a child but the dismembering of a child in the womb is a woman’s choice (with no legal input from the oppressive man), again, this should not come as a bolt from the blue.
Allow me to introduce a radical idea. Women are equal by their nature of being human. Because I believe all humans are created in the image of God and are therefore equal. It doesn’t take a feminist to realize that. It doesn’t take refusing to shave our armpits or turning lesbian or using illicit drugs for a woman to know that she is equal. Playing the victim doesn’t empower you.
Firestone believes the key to equality for women lies in technology (hence "cyberfeminism"), where things like artificial wombs will free them from the oppression that is their physiology. Women don’t need technology or government intervention or the “right” to kill their child to be equal. To say that they do is to say that they are not currently equal. Saying they need help to be level with men is already saying that they are inferior. Women don’t need anything to “make” them equal because they are already equal. We must be careful not to confuse differences with inequality. There are obvious differences, physically, emotionally, even mentally, between males and females. They have different strengths and weaknesses, maybe even some different roles, but these differences do not make them unequal. These differences make them compliments. Isn’t it funny how God designs these things? I’m just glad we were able to revive Him.
Saying that women are monogamous, then subsequently saying that a “man goes out and screws ten women” to prove his lack of commitment to his wife isn’t doing you any favors. What of the ten women? Are they all monogamous? Eleven women for every one man? There seems to be a lot of leftover women. Or perhaps women in relationships are monogamous, but for every one of them there are ten single ones that aren’t. Which is then saying that women are not really monogamous.
To fully grasp the depths of Firestone’s depravity, her last chapter must be read, laying out her demands for a full societal feminist revolution. I will briefly discuss them.
Her first demand is to “free women from reproductive tyranny” by using technology to eliminate childbirth, or at least make men share the load of child-rearing. As part of this, nuclear families must be destroyed, as monogamous relationships are not natural, and nuclear families are oppressive to women and children. Instead of “ownership” of children by parents, children will be communally raised.
While I believe men should participate in raising their children, as a whole this runs completely contrary to the biblical view of marriage and the family, the one our society has accepted from the beginning. A full-frontal assault on the family has already been going on for a while. Will we idly sit by and watch it happen, or will we step up?
The second is a demand for “cybernetic socialism” (you can’t make this stuff up) that will offer political autonomy for women and children. Your child over there in the corner eating crayons and throwing Hot Wheels? He should be voting.
The third is like unto the second: complete integration of women and children in society. In case that’s too broad, Firestone includes the need to destroy anything that segregates women and children from society: schools, nuclear families, and children’s games, toys, and activities. While I believe many children are babied too long and not allowed to mature, there is a need for a childhood and a period of innocence. Firestone wants communal families and a system like the aristocracy of old had. Children should fully be treated like adults. Schools should be more like apprenticeships. This again all stems from the idea that the family is oppressive to women and children- which we are not told when it occurred nor how exactly it is oppressive.
It gets better. Firestone’s last demand is for sexual freedom for women and children. Firestone points to poor blacks (the equality activist called black women “whores” earlier in the book) as a decent model, as they are much more in touch with their sexuality, having sex with who they want when they want. Stuffy, old-fashioned white people look down on such behavior. (Why there is a racial distinction drawn, I am uncertain.) Communal living means communal sex. A single household could consist of an 80 year-old man, a 40 year-old woman, an 18 year-old male and his 16 year-old sister, and a four year-old girl, and they all should be able to have sex with any other person. Apparently, sexual and physical development should have no bearing on society setting loose a grown man on a little girl (or a little boy). Don’t tell me it’s a mutual thing; children are not mature enough to reasonably make such a decision. The incest taboo, of course created by male domination, must go as well. Parents, who as we learned early should play a minimal role in their children’s lives, are now able to freely have sex with them.
Seem wrong to you? It should. As I’ve learned, this is the radical feminist demand (those same ones that used eight year-old girls to say the f-word when talking about feminist myths) for our society. Will we accept the direction they’re still trying to take us, or call them out for what they are?