The Challenge of Raising a Traditional Feminine Daughter in a Hostile Feminist Culture

Teresa, a feminist who follows Libby Anne’s Love, Joy, Feminism blog, made a comment under the Gynocentrism, Fairness, and Morality post that I would like to respond to:

“But I think the book [Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”] was written for people like me- a former homeschooler, who didn’t want the role I was taught to expect (marriage and motherhood- neither one of which I actively dislike, btw.)

I can’t help but identify with the woman who didn’t bother educating herself for a real career, because she never expected that she wouldn’t be “taken care of”. That was me, and adjusting to THIS life, and THIS career, and THIS society that expected me to support myself and rely on no man- was a LOT harder for me, precisely because of my misplaced (and, perhaps, archaic) expectations.

So when Betty talks about “being forced to grow up”, I know exactly what she’s talking about. And, I wouldn’t wish such a difficult and humiliating struggle on anyone. If I had a daughter I would try to spare her that- if only for the selfish fear that she’d one day come to hate me, for crippling her.”

This to me is a heartbreaking comment; and there is so much in it to address. So, apparently, Teresa was home schooled by very conservative parents who focused on preparing her for marriage and motherhood and taught her to expect a man to “take care of her” after marriage so that she herself would not have to prepare herself economically with any expectation of her needing to be self-sufficient. Then Teresa met the cold cruel world where apparently no man showed up to “take care of her” like she was taught to expect.

First of all I am a bit confused by Teresa’s comment saying she “didn’t want the role I was taught to expect” regarding marriage and motherhood. Does this mean Teresa didn’t want to get married and be a mother or does it mean Teresa didn’t want to have to fulfill the expected gender role associated with being a wife and a mother? Teresa expecting a man to take care of her implies Teresa planned on marrying and therefore wanted to marry suggesting it was not marriage and motherhood that Teresa didn’t want but that she was uncomfortable with the feminine gender role expected of her within marriage early on.

I am wondering what exactly about being feminine and submissive and dedicating herself to her children and being taken care of by her husband did Teresa not like? Was it feminist messages from the wider culture saying negative things about traditional women that Teresa absorbed? Was there something wrong with the family dynamic or something wrong in Teresa’s parent’s marriage? Did Teresa have a temperament less traditionally feminine that she inherited? There has to be some reason why Teresa felt uncomfortable with the traditional feminine role that her parents were teaching her.

Then the paragraph:

“I can’t help but identify with the woman who didn’t bother educating herself for a real career, because she never expected that she wouldn’t be “taken care of”. That was me, and adjusting to THIS life, and THIS career, and THIS society that expected me to support myself and rely on no man- was a LOT harder for me, precisely because of my misplaced (and, perhaps, archaic) expectations.”

Ouch! This paragraph hurts! So, the men Teresa encountered as an adult were not willing to provide for her like her conservative parents taught her to expect from men. This implies Teresa was not in a self-sufficient sub-culture with men her age raised with the same beliefs she was raised with available to her, that instead she had to look for a man in the “free market” where feminist ideology reigns supreme and men are universally taught that women are their “equals” and that they therefore have no responsibility to “take care of” women. Faced with this reality Teresa felt she had to adapt to the wider feminist culture that her parents did not prepare her for at all precisely because their intention was that Teresa would be part of their conservative anti-feminist subculture rather than Teresa integrating herself into the wider feminist culture which is what she felt she had to do since no conservative traditional men were around to “take care of her” like she was counting on.

Then, supporting the idea of Teresa passing on her feminism intergenerationally to her daughters, Teresa writes:

“So when Betty [Friedan] talks about “being forced to grow up”, I know exactly what she’s talking about. And, I wouldn’t wish such a difficult and humiliating struggle on anyone. If I had a daughter I would try to spare her that- if only for the selfish fear that she’d one day come to hate me, for crippling her.”

What Teresa is saying here brings up the issue of trying to promote cultural change, in particular trying to promote cultural change through the means of how you raise your children and what you teach your children. Do you teach your children conformity with the wider culture so they can “fit in” or do you teach your children absolute moral standards whether the wider culture supports such beliefs, particularly regarding gender roles, or not? Feminism is very totalitarian and will put forth great effort to discredit and destroy anybody who goes against it. A man by himself wanting a traditional woman will have great difficulty finding such a woman if he is immersed in a feminist environment where all women will be taught to be feminist and to hate men who are traditional. Likewise a woman by herself wanting a traditional man will have great difficulty finding such a man if she is immersed in a feminist environment where all men will be taught to be feminist and to hate women who are traditional.

So the solution to feminist bullying is to give into the pressure and become a feminist to? This is problematic because feminism itself is immoral and destructive of relationships between men and women and it is also degenerative in that under feminism children always end up worse off than their parents on average. This is borne out by the statistics; the ever rising divorce, ever rising out-of-wedlock births, ever rising numbers of married women working, the ever worsening social indicators of all sorts that feminism brings.

Feminism will definitely punish you if you go against the tide by alienating you from the opposite sex but embracing feminism will also destroy your relationships with the opposite sex because feminism is based on women attacking men and men abandoning women which in its own right damages relations with the opposite sex. Even more so feminism is based on men abandoning women and women in turn abandoning children due to the men no longer taking care of the women. This means that feminism is about adults stealing resources from their children so that the children of feminism are less prepared for adulthood than their parents were. Hence the intergenerational deterioration of family indicators that is seen with feminism.

Doing what is right is not always easy. Sometimes creating positive change requires sacrifice and fighting against the pressures imposed upon oneself to “fit in” and “go along with the crowd.” The “crowd” is not always in the right. Teresa was never under any obligation to “adjust to” the social pressures that were applied to her to get a career and become independent and turn feminist and reject the teachings of her parents. The men Teresa dated were most definitely obligated to pledge to “take care of her” in the event of gaining her hand in marriage but Teresa was never obligated to become a career woman and “pull her own weight” regardless of how often or how many times the men Teresa encountered pressured her in that direction as a way of escaping their own responsibilities as men. Teresa may have felt forced to turn feminist to protect herself from men’s likely demonstrated intent to abandon her and not fulfill their responsibilities towards her as they were taught to do by feminism itself but Teresa was never under any obligation to conform to the demands and expectations placed upon her by the feminists since such demands and expectations were intrinsically immoral and meant to destroy Teresa’s value as a woman; Teresa’s particular value and strengths derivative of her femininity and her identity as a woman.

I can see how Teresa might resent being set up as a martyr for somebody else’s cause; her parents’ cause of anti-feminism and traditionalism. Maybe her parents didn’t prepare her well enough on how to navigate life as a young adult and how to find a good man in an environment hostile to men supporting women. At the same time feminism is a dead-end so there really is no choice but to fight against the culture if one wants to preserve their soul. To just continue blindly with the self-destruction of feminism is no good.

I hope Teresa understands that it was not “men” who abandoned her and failed to fulfill their obligations to “take care of her,” it was feminist men in particular. If Teresa was surrounded by healthy men, by traditional men, by men who believed in and supported patriarchy; then Teresa would have been treated right by men and given what she deserved as a woman, her right to be “taken care of” by a man would have been honored and fulfilled.

Teresa then says about feminism:

“I thought- rightly or wrongly- that the entire point of feminism was to give women freedom and choices, and to encourage them to aspire after more courageous and more fulfilling lives.”

No, the entire point of feminism, at least from the man’s point of view, is to legitimize the man shirking his responsibilities towards women and make his abandonment of women seem heroic and good. That it is giving women “freedom” and “choices” to no longer care about what women do one way or the other, to no longer care about fulfilling ones duties and obligations as a man.

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About Jesse Powell TFA

Anti-Feminist, MRA, Pro-Traditional Women's Rights Traditional Family Activist (TFA)
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3 Responses to The Challenge of Raising a Traditional Feminine Daughter in a Hostile Feminist Culture

  1. mhornbeam says:

    Haven’t heard from Teresa but I would like to try to answer without putting too many words in her mouth.

    “First of all I am a bit confused by Teresa’s comment saying she “didn’t want the role I was taught to expect” regarding marriage and motherhood. Does this mean Teresa didn’t want to get married and be a mother or does it mean Teresa didn’t want to have to fulfill the expected gender role associated with being a wife and a mother? Teresa expecting a man to take care of her implies Teresa planned on marrying and therefore wanted to marry suggesting it was not marriage and motherhood that Teresa didn’t want but that she was uncomfortable with the feminine gender role expected of her within marriage early on.”

    She seems to have been raised in a kind of fundamentalist community. Women have one choice in that life – get married, serve your husband and raise children. Any other option is seen as a failure (up to and including infertility as punishment and failure). Many women don’t want the husband and the children but have no other path open to them. She may well have wanted a husband and kids but I am almost certain that she did not want to follow the ways of the community she grew up in. Teresa wanting a man to take care of her was the only way to keep approval and acceptance in her community. It was the only choice given to her. Many people resent having their life decided for them with no input. Most likely, I believe, she was very unhappy with the prospect of either staying there in a life chosen for her or escaping that life and potentially losing her friends and family forever, the only society and support she had ever known.

    “I am wondering what exactly about being feminine and submissive and dedicating herself to her children and being taken care of by her husband did Teresa not like? Was it feminist messages from the wider culture saying negative things about traditional women that Teresa absorbed? Was there something wrong with the family dynamic or something wrong in Teresa’s parent’s marriage? Did Teresa have a temperament less traditionally feminine that she inherited? There has to be some reason why Teresa felt uncomfortable with the traditional feminine role that her parents were teaching her.”

    I think Teresa would say that there is nothing wrong with being feminine, submissive, dedicating one’s life totally to one’s family and being taken care of by the man as long as that is what the woman herself wants. You have women who post to this site who want and have exactly that. If that is not what the woman wants then there ‘is’ something wrong with it. She did not want the life her community insisted on, so she would be uncomfortable in that life. I doubt that when she started feeling that way that she would have been exposed to many feminist ideas at all, especially in some groups where the children are carefully sheltered from the world.

    Continued next post….

  2. mhornbeam says:

    Continued…

    “Ouch! This paragraph hurts! So, the men Teresa encountered as an adult were not willing to provide for her like her conservative parents taught her to expect from men. This implies Teresa was not in a self-sufficient sub-culture with men her age raised with the same beliefs she was raised with available to her, that instead she had to look for a man in the “free market” where feminist ideology reigns supreme and men are universally taught that women are their “equals” and that they therefore have no responsibility to “take care of” women. Faced with this reality Teresa felt she had to adapt to the wider feminist culture that her parents did not prepare her for at all precisely because their intention was that Teresa would be part of their conservative anti-feminist subculture rather than Teresa integrating herself into the wider feminist culture which is what she felt she had to do since no conservative traditional men were around to “take care of her” like she was counting on.”

    From what she said it sounds like there could be many reasons there were no available men. Most likely there were more women in the community of a certain age than men. This happened in my son’s grade school class, he was one of 6 boys in a class of 30. In a more closed society sometimes imbalances of the sexes happen.

    However, I think you are wrong about what she is talking about. Betty Freidan spoke of a ‘problem with no name’ the restlessness and dissatisfaction with life that women in the post WWII era felt. Going from having freedom to going back to being trapped in the house showed women that there was a wider world than they ever got to experience and they felt the loss of their freedom keenly. Ms. Freidan was mainly talking about women working outside the home and I believe that that is what Teresa is addressing here. She and her parents and her society believed that she would be a homemaker and mother. When no man came along she had to fend for herself. When one is only trained for one job, they find it very difficult to find work in the wider world especially as our society becomes ever more technological. It’s as if you trained to be a farmer all your life, your family and community were all farmers and then the weather turned bad, the crops failed and you were forced to go find work and all you found were jobs for trained astronauts. Absurd, yes. But sort of how it feels for a woman trained only to cook, clean and raise babies to find jobs that utilize none of her skills and in fact call for whole sets of new ones.

    As to her possible daughters – again that is, I think, what she is talking about. She wants her daughters to be educated and know how to get a job and career if those daughters want to work. She does not want her daughter coming back hobbled by not knowing how the world works.

    Teresa, feel free, obviously, to correct me where I have gotten your story or intentions wrong.

  3. Kanchana says:

    “But I think the book [Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”] was written for people like me- a former homeschooler, who didn’t want the role I was taught to expect (marriage and motherhood- neither one of which I actively dislike, btw.)
    I can’t help but identify with the woman who didn’t bother educating herself for a real career, because she never expected that she wouldn’t be “taken care of”. That was me, and adjusting to THIS life, and THIS career, and THIS society that expected me to support myself and rely on no man- was a LOT harder for me, precisely because of my misplaced (and, perhaps, archaic) expectations.
    So when Betty talks about “being forced to grow up”, I know exactly what she’s talking about. And, I wouldn’t wish such a difficult and humiliating struggle on anyone. If I had a daughter I would try to spare her that- if only for the selfish fear that she’d one day come to hate me, for crippling her.”

    The author (Teresa) does not seem to indicate any true despise or dislike ‘identifying with the woman who did not bother educating herself for a real career’. Also her expression that such a woman would also have to expect to be taken care of while on the other hand she agrees that the process is also a ‘lot harder’ demanding, strenuous and involves a hefty amount of ‘adjusting and readjusting’ in order to be able to independently support oneself. This she clearly does not wish to undertake, because though she very plainly understands that her expectations may have been ‘misplaced for her’ ; further, she would not encourage the daughter’s of this world (the future generations) to take on to challenging the traditional patriarchal structure or the feminine role. I want to understand the author, how does she rationalize her being? not to make any value judgments per say (not that it is fit to do that either). And I also strongly wonder, whether it bears any worthy truths perhaps left very well unsubstantiated, of remaining within a masculine and feminine framework of complementarity which may perhaps not be as plain or simple as one would like to imagine.

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