Last Saturday we saw women protest “gender inequality” throughout the nation. As ridiculous as they may have looked and behaved, all the carrying-on served a vital purpose: Like a religious ritual, it enabled women to think they are doing something important, something to improve their lives. You see, first feminism simplifies the complexity of women’s lives. The problem, we are to believe, is not that women are torn by conflicting values and interests. Rather, women are oppressed by men, who are creeps besides. Then feminism tells women to join together with other women to resist their oppressor.
This creates opportunities for all sorts of emotionally charged affairs, from the cheering of angry slogans to the shaming of famous men (who may or may not deserve it) in magazines and on television. It is fascinating to notice that such phenomena, more and more, serve as substitutes for the inner psychological drama that women used to experience in the form of romantic relationships. Now that men and women no longer know how to make relationships work, women use feminism not only to “explain” their condition; feminism becomes a de facto husband. You are wedded to the doctrine, with all its emotional highs and lows. It’s you two against the world—that is, against men. By this means women’s passions are powerfully engaged. Their strange world seems to make sense; they understand their misery and what to do about it. They even have a sense of solidarity with other women, which is not found in the workplace, where, alas, women as a whole struggle to keep up with the ablest men.
The point I am trying to make is that feminism needs to be understood from a psychological point of view. We need to understand why feminism makes sense to feminists. It is an ideology, and that means it does not have to be rational. Thus, it does not matter how many times the wage gap myth and the rape culture myth are debunked. Feminism is still highly seductive. For, while understanding the complexity of your situation would entail recognizing the need to make certain difficult trade-offs, that anguished endeavor can be ignored by simply believing all of your woes are due to men. Now, moreover, women can exercise the hysteria that, as the old stereotype about women suggests, is so characteristic of the fair sex. The psychologist Robert Bartholomew has written that
throughout history, groups of people in cohesive social units have suddenly fallen ill or exhibited strange behaviors, from headaches and fainting spells to twitching, shaking and trance states. But whether it’s an outbreak of spirit possession at a shoe factory in Malaysia, a collapsing marching band at a school gala in England or a twitching epidemic in a Louisiana high school, the pattern is invariably the same. Most, and often all of those affected, are females. In fact, of the 2,000+ cases in my files which date back to 1566, this pattern holds true over ninety-nine percent of the time.
Nothing annoys feminists more than equating women with hysteria; still, women’s behavior certainly merits the description, especially the behavior of feminists. In how they arise, the witch hunts we have seen in the media lately are not so different from the hysterias Bartholomew references. It is evident that women, with their lack of independent judgment, are highly susceptible to the feelings and beliefs of other women. This is why where a man simply makes a decision for himself, a woman typically turns to another woman: her mother, or her sister, or her girlfriend, or whomever. It is necessary to know what so-and-so thinks or would do. This is also why it takes just one upset woman to set in motion a vast chain of hysterical events. Hence women unintentionally cause one another (not to mention men) a great deal of trouble. It happens constantly, under the influence of another woman, that a woman who feels merely ambivalent about a man, or feels some regret about sleeping with him, suddenly comes to believe that she has been “used” or “assaulted.” Behind a woman’s bad decision how often there is another woman.
Far more than men, women, with their maternal endowment, are by nature very interested in other people’s business, and their frequent mischievous gossip and opinions regarding matters that do not concern them represent a profound need for emotional intrigue of some sort. Here truth and justice are much less important to women than the intrigue itself, which requires occasions, as it were. Recently a woman said to me about a woman we know who had fallen sick: “I have to go see her; I haven’t seen her since she’s looked like that.” It was immediately plain to me that that was a woman’s thing to say. Indeed, it is quite unthinkable that any man would have made such a remark. The women journalists who wrote about Aziz Ansari’s bad date with a typical neurotic and oblivious millennial woman left many of us men scratching our heads. Is that pettiness and humiliation really news? To women, yes. The American media and America’s universities have taken an hysterical turn. Given the overwhelming influence of women, that was bound to happen. For the most part, intellectual women are soap operas at bottom.