What Women Want

September 26, 2014

Multiple Pages
What Women Want

When you take into account the entire world, feminists have a point about 80% of the time. The other 20% is where things get unreasonable, especially here in America. If feminism were a month, it would be rational for about 25 days and totally absurd the remaining five.

I recently attended the “2nd Global Symposium On Gender in Media” in NYC on a lark. But “gender” doesn’t include the other side: Out of a good 300 guests, I was one of maybe four males, and the whole conversation was about getting more inspiring women on the big screen.

Geena Davis Institute founder Geena Davis began the symposium with a charming talk that was self-effacing and rational with only a few plot holes. She began her institute when she was watching movies with her daughter and noticed the lack of female role models (she acknowledged that rolling off a cliff isn’t what she wants for her kid). “It’s entertainment,” she admitted, but why can’t there be more movies for girls?

“Who says women need to be kick-ass protagonists in 50% of films? Story heroes tend to be leaders, and storytelling in general may naturally favor males.”

All right, that makes sense—or perhaps made sense when she was childrearing in the early 2000s. Today my daughter can choose from a master Scottish archer, a princess with cryokinetic powers, and a chick with magic hair that can beat up anyone. (When she gets older, I might let her watch Kick-Ass 2, where the heroine is so powerful that one of the male, liberal actors decided the film was too macho and refused to support it.) My sons have to fight to avoid these films. They’re everywhere.

Davis lamented the way women are portrayed globally; fine, but then she claimed America is responsible for 80% of the world’s media so it’s our job to fix everything. Things got even weirder when she bemoaned the fact that women are expected to be slender and beautiful in movies: as she spoke, photographers feverishly snapped pictures of this thin and attractive woman who made a fortune being thin and attractive.

The other speakers were academics, UN appointees, or beneficiaries of some bullshit institution like Davis’s that guilt-trips money out of corporations—they want women in the workforce but they’re basically on the dole. One of the few truly employed, Dete Meserve, runs the production company that did the film What Women Want. I started to wonder exactly that.

If it’s equal opportunities, they got it. As C.H. Sommers (the “factual feminist”) points out, American women do not earn $0.77 for every dollar a man makes. Yes, there are fewer female CEOs than males. That’s because women tend to value homemaking more than moneymaking. This is why female resumes do worse than the male equivalent. Men are a better investment.

That’s not a bad thing. Motherhood is a miraculous and beautiful gift. Why are feminists devaluing it? Today’s feminism is young, dumb, and full of myths. It’s no longer about making women equal to men. It’s about eradicating traditional female roles and replacing them with male ones. Ladies, I’m in the workforce. It’s a bitch.

Davis said that although the number of women running companies in the real world is low, in the fictional world of film “CEOs can be 50/50 tomorrow”—if movie makers listen to her institute. Once again, social scientists are handed piles of guilt money to do research without questioning the original hypothesis. Why would anyone think women need to be kick-ass protagonists in 50% of films? Story heroes tend to be leaders, and storytelling in general may naturally favor males. They’re the ones who are responsible for taking down the bad guy in real life.

(It’s also strange to assume directors need to be 50% female, which came up a lot. Directing is a whore of a job. You need to be an asshole mathematician to pull it off. If we need more women in that role, we also “need” more gay males in golf.)

The free market can keep it real without research institutions. When liberal Hollywood tries to force anti-war or anti-fracking movies down our throats we barf them back up. When they bite their lip and glorify an arms dealer who kills terrorists, everyone’s happy. If more inspiring roles is what half of the population wants, they’ll get it.

But the conference’s main weird fixation was absorbing the sins of the non-Western world and correcting them via our own propaganda. United Nations Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka gave a talk in which she mentioned United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson. The Harry Potter cutie is part of a new commitment called HeForShe where men sign in and commit to fight sexism. (I tried it. Nothing happened.)

During her now infamous speech to the UN, Emma talks about how fortunate she was not to be valued less because she’s a daughter. Has she been to Wal-Mart lately? Dads are clamoring to get their daughters the Huffy Disney Frozen bike. Things are rough for daughters in China, India, and the Middle East, but here in the West, we fucking ADORE our girls. As Larry O’Connor over at Truth Revolt said, “Emma Watson Lectures all the Wrong People on Feminism.”

And yet the conference taught us that the U.S., Britain, and India are “at the back of the pack” when it comes to “gender prevalence” (a hopelessly complicated term which basically just counts how many women were onscreen). If you doubt that stat, check the footnote on the program, which clearly states: “The chi-square analysis for gender prevalence by country was significant, X2 (11,5799)=60.11, p.01, V*=10.” Who is this research for, robots?

The speakers repeatedly thanked The Rockefeller Foundation, McGraw Hill Financial, “platinum sponsors” like Google, and “bronze sponsors” like CBS and Disney. Seeing all these autistic geeks get paid to salivate over data kinda makes you wonder about the bias scientists succumb to when they see the funding available for climate change. Questioning the hypothesis = biting the hand that feeds you2. It reminded me of a seminar I attended last year called “Hacking Creativity,” where hordes of scientists were fed cash to look at studies involving creativity. We were told how few studies were done on music while a ridiculous amount focused on fine art. That’s nice. Can you hack creativity? I don’t know. It never came up.

I believe women want what they’ve always wanted: To feel appreciated and respected and safe. Watching these speakers crowbar Third World injustice into America’s criminal record made me wonder if they also just love complaining. Last year, Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote a tired missive about her “One-Night Stand Life,” where she declared her fealty to the world of being single and crazy. Last week, she updated her commitment with a wedding announcement. I guarantee you she will be moaning about divorce in a couple of years. That’s what Alisa Valdes did. She wouldn’t shut up about the patriarchy and how antiquated our views of masculinity are—until an alpha male offered to fuck her and all bets were off. She wrote a book renouncing her feminist past called The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story and was dumped soon after. Her response was that her book is a lie and she’s a head case.

If you’re a feminist and you are outraged by honor killings, if you are sick of hearing Islam called a “religion of peace,” if you are disgusted by the abortion rate in China and what their one-child rule has done to the female population, if the dowry system in India makes you puke and the thought of sati fires give you diarrhea … in short, if you are focused on non-Western sexism, I’m all ears. If, however, you want to whine and moan about how horrible it is to be female in America today, please step out of the way. I’m trying to watch the game.

Daily updates with TM’s latest