Tyler showed me this op-ed by Marjorie Dannenfelser in National Review. Dannenfelser espouses feelings that I have found quite common in conversation lately, feelings about how Women's History Month, Black History Month, and the like, are nearly discriminatory because of the way that they single out the accomplishments of certain members of certain segments of the population. In conversation, I also heard the opinion that such months were completely unfair because there is no such thing as "White Men's History Month," and, you know, white men built America.
Dannenfelser seems very adamant about trying to come off as being pro-woman, but in some large ways, I would have to say that she falls short because she is missing some things in her evaluation of Women's History Month.
"Of course there are accomplished women who came before and are all around us. Do we have to keep bragging about it? The proof of our accomplishments is in the pudding, and when we succeed, it isn’t solely a 'woman’s success,' it’s a human one. Are women so weak and fearful that they need constant reassurance, like a first grader struggling to read? It should be assumed that women have unique talents and are capable of greatness. Why do feminists think we don’t know that?
Sometime after its beginnings in the organized suffrage movement, the American women’s movement lost its way. Somewhere along the path to Roe v. Wade, The Vagina Monologues, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the hierarchy of values inverted: The anatomy of the person serving the cause became more important than the cause itself." (emphasis mine)
There is an inherent problem in believing that women's accomplishments are the same as "human ones" because to believe that means that one must also believe that gender is an inconsequential aspect of life since being human does not specify a gender. That is not true.
Women in America do enjoy more rights than many women in the world, but that does not automatically translate to "women have the same opportunities as men," and it is in this difference that make the idea of "women's accomplishments" and "Women's History Month" seem reasonable to me.
If women had the same chance for promotion as men, were not limited in their career choices by the burden of parenthood (which still largely falls on women), and had equal representation in the highest levels of the government that rules this country, maybe I could sympathize with the idea that a Women's History Month was condescending to women. But that is not the present state of American society.
If Dannenfelser was really as pro-woman as she claims to be, she would be better able to understand women's experiences, and how they are still sometimes adversely effected by American society.
I also feel that Dannenfelser is wrong in her presumption that "The anatomy of the person serving the cause became more important than the cause itself." The causes undertaken by more modern feminists have retained their importance, and feminists have struggled for them with enduring vigor. Reminding people that women who have accomplished something in a society that still does not afford women the same opportunities as men is not something to shy away from, because gender still matters in American life.