Where Feminism Went Wrong

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America.

In October 2003, Dr. Crouse gave a lecture at Princeton University on the intersection of conservatism and feminism. It is the best analysis I’ve read on why feminism has lost its influence among American women.

Somewhere along the way, feminism lost its way. The movement forgot that “having it all” included the personal dimension. Life is not just profession and career. Success is not measured JUST in paycheck and status.

The 2003 young businesswoman of the year, Gabrielle Molnar, explained that she didn’t want to be called a feminist because feminism doesn’t support the cause of women.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Feminism has lost sight of what it is that women REALLY want. Most women want to love and be loved. They want the freedom to be all they can be and they want to be treated with dignity and respect. They also want the opportunity to have meaningful careers and productive lives — but most aren’t willing for their ambition to harm their relationships or damage their children.

The issue is no longer about equality of opportunity for women. That was settled a long time ago — Dr. Crouse’s own career is ample evidence of that. The problem with modern feminism is that it has been so tightly linked to radical politics, hatred of all men, and deconstruction of the traditional family, positions that turn off most women.

Of course, this distinction is lost on the mainstream media, who run to NOW for a quote every time a “women’s issue” comes up.

UPDATE: To further buttress Dr. Crouse’s point, here is what an Australian feminist, Virginia Haussegger, wrote about what her commitment to the feminist ideal got her:

The end result: here we are, supposedly “having it all” as we edge 40; excellent education; good qualifications; great jobs; fast-moving careers; good incomes; and many of us own the trendy little inner-city pad we live in. It’s a nice caffe-latte kind of life, really.

But the truth is – for me at least – the career is no longer a challenge, the lifestyle trappings are joyless (the latest Collette Dinnigan frock looks pretty silly on a near-40-year-old), and the point of it all seems, well, pointless.

I am childless and I am angry. Angry that I was so foolish to take the word of my feminist mothers as gospel. Angry that I was daft enough to believe female fulfilment came with a leather briefcase.

It was wrong. It was crap.

In my own personal experience in the corporate world, I see more and more young women — smart, talented, capable of anything they want — make a deliberate choice to either quit work altogether, or at least scale back their careers, in order to devote their energies to something they value more highly: their marriages and kids. Radical feminism has lost these women for good.


10 responses to “Where Feminism Went Wrong

  1. Firstly, I don’t agree with your comment: “The issue is no longer about equality of opportunity for women. That was settled a long time ago”. Women do not have equality of opportunity. Ever heard of the glass ceiling? Furthermore, the world is bigger than just white, upper middle class America–millions of women around the world don’t enjoy even the most basic of human rights. Even in academia–most senior staff are men, not women. The only exception being traditionally femine concerns like women/gender studies. Even in your world, the very fact women have to choose between their careers and raising a family demonstrates my point. Men don’t have to choose between career and family and until women have the same choices, the battle for true equality is far from won.

  2. It amazes me that, firstly, feminism was for women of a certain class and background, rather than the majority; secondly, that feminism attempted to adapt women to male-dominated (Western) societies, rather than look at the importance of the more “feminine” traits of both men and women; thirdly, that people fell for it!

    Feminism, to me is just another example of secular, Western societies attempting to apply (an objective(!)) morality to events. Some of the basic Feminist principles were reasonable, but the majority of ideas are unreasonable, extreme and extraordinarly biased/false.

  3. I see your point Deborah but you seem to be missing the point altogether. Women now are doing what they choose to do and many are choosing to be wives and mothers.

    There are male dominated fields simply because of a lack of female interest. Sexism has little to do with it in most cases.

    My wife worked up to 50 hours a week before our 3rd child was born. Now she is barely full time by her own choice. I change just as many diapers , fed him just as many bottles, wipe snotty noses, put bandaids on knees, read as many stories, fix as many dinners as she does. She simply wanted to do it.

    I have to work more because I make more money. Why? Because I went to college and she didnt. If reversed then I would work less to do more with the kids. My income pays the bills completely but she works because she wants to. But she wants to be a mother more.

    Feminism sought to force women into positions and fields they didn’t want to be in and totally left out the biggest right of all……….choice. Feminism seems to be telling women what they should do and not asking them what they want to do.

  4. feminism for equality is still needed in many parts of the world

    but this surely is an interesting perspective. 🙂

  5. Let be known: If you live in a modernized/developed country, where everyone has equal rights & opportunities..and your a feminists..then YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!


  6. Apparently now if less of a gender work somewhere it is sexist. No, wait, I worded that poorly. If less WOMEN work somewhere it is sexist. Well, in the eyes of a feminist at least. I see sexism as violence or extreme exclusion of a gender, not the amount of a gender. That is ridiculous!

  7. To all feminists: don’t complain when you grow old alone.

  8. Feminists feel like they speak for all women and know what every woman wants. For example, feminists are fighting to serve combat roles. Do you think most women would be happy to find out that they can now be legally conscripted into the army?xample, feminists are fighting to serve combat roles. Do you think most women would be happy to find out that they can now be legally conscripted into the army?

  9. Biggest question is how to undo the new wave feminism in modern world?

  10. Anonymous Canada

    To all the staunch – immovable feminists – who despise the human male: just remember the next time you drive on a road/highway (men built it) or go up an escalator (men built it) or go to the hospital (men built it) or look up in the sky and see an airplane/helipcopter/satellite (men built it) or use the phone (man invented it) or look through a telescope or take a photograph (men invented/built it) or take a shower (men built it) or walk into your apartment or house (men built it) or walk over a bridge (men built it) or travel on a train, subway, car, bike, etc (men built it) or turn on the light (men built it) or use the washroom (men built it) or put your baby in a buggy (men built it) or kiss and love your baby (men ignited the life inside you)!!

    Remember to respect and love what the intelligent creator created (both man and woman) with their own strengths – each to love and respect the other. Once you can love man – only then can you truly love yourself – woman!

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