Friday, January 27, 2006

Putting words in the mouths of past feminists

National Review has posted an excerpt of Kate O'Beirne's book, Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports.

In the excerpt, Kate quotes America's early feminists as calling abortion things like, "the ultimate exploitation of women," "child murder," "infanticide," and "antenatal child murder." These early feminists also called abortionists "child murderers" and called places where abortions take place "infant butcheries." They said women who commit abortion were "awfully guilty" regardless of their motive and said it is "degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

To me these quotes are a strong indication that early feminists were opposed to abortion 1.) because it killed an unborn child 2.) it distorted the feminist values of equality and non-violence.

However, some feminists bloggers read things like "child murder" and "infanticide" and somehow come to the conclusion that the real reason early feminists opposed abortion because was it "was then a dangerous procedure often forced upon them by men" and "abortion was a symbol of male dominance–women could be raped, sent to abortionists against their will, left dead or disfigured, all because they were viewed as subhuman objects whose very lives were considered less important then men's desires. Abortion symbolized male control over women."

Also notice how Amanda (the latter link above) in her haste to erect strawmen arguments to knock down fails to read the first quote she takes from O'Beirne properly. She beats O'Beirne to death for quoting a feminist for life for saying that motherhood was against Victorian era social norms. The obvious problem is that O'Beirne is quoting a modern day feminist for life talking about today's social norms where we have a "wombless model of success society."

Motherhood wasn't looked down upon in Victorian era society but pregnant women were and that's something Stanton protested against by going out in public while visibly pregnant which was what was against Victorian-era society norms. According to a web site dedicated to Victorian era health "confinement" and "lying in" were synonyms for pregnancy. In the Victorian era, pregnancy was equated with an illness and pregnant women wore "invalid gowns."

Or as another web site notes: "The Victorian view of sex placed pregnancy in an unusual position. Maternity was thought to be a woman's glory, but at the same time it was an obvious result of sexual intercourse. As a result, pregnant women of the upper, more refined classes stayed indoors rather than show their change in condition."

Or as Dr. Raul Artal notes in his foreword of a pregnancy exercise book, "To the Victorian lady, pregnancy was a state of confinement and it was considered unseemly for pregnant women to engage in active recreational or social activities. It was even inappropriate to be seen outside her family setting."

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