Hefner and Marilyn
I am reminded of something I read: Joe DiMaggio, out of Marilyn’s various husbands and lovers, the man whose baby she miscarried (or perhaps aborted to extend her career) faithfully carried flowers to her grave, and her other paramours never took the time or made this gesture.
Tangentially, this article also reminded me of the puzzlement I have always felt toward the proposition that the Sexual Revolution was a friend to Feminism. Free Love is always presented in terms of Women’s Liberation, but I submit the two are antithetical.
Removing the sacredness from marriage, the honors paid to motherhood, the courtly behavior expected from suitors, the expectation that brothers and fathers would protect their womenfolk from cads, bounders, and mashers, the normalization of adultery: none of them are the proper business of Women’s Liberation, as all these things rob liberty from women.
What the suffragettes wanted was the vote, ownership of property, the normalization of women in business and trade. In other words, an ability for a woman to move about in the free market without an escort or a protector: equality.
What the Sexual Liberation movement wanted was removal of the social barriers, the protective wall, around potential sex objects, most importantly the wall called marriage, which forbad sexual coupling for light or transient reasons, but allowed it only for couples where the man had made a public and irrevocable vow and commitment to love, honor and cherish, forsaking all others, his beloved–in other words, to match his deeds to his words, and to see through any logical and natural results of the sexual reproductive act, including if the reproduction act led to (as it is want to do) reproduction.
In economic metaphor, what the Sexual Liberation movement wanted was a lowering of the transaction costs, and a way for the man to escape the burdens and consequences of reproduction. If the women fell in love with him, but he was bored with her, or if the woman had a child he did not care if lived or died, the society’s new rules would allow him to walk away without public shame, and therefore would allow him to maneuver the woman into being his demimondaine without public disapproval.
The whole point of the Sexual Revolution was to permit men to seduce, exploit and abandon women without the woman having any support or recourse. It was a trick, like telling the princess you mean to kidnap that her bodyguards are her jailors, to get her to order them away.
The advantage to the men is clear, particularly young and thoughtless men. I am not sure what the women get out of it, except a sharp reduction in status, and an ability to indulge in meaningless sex that (in the strict economic sense of the term) cheapens their worth. If the relationship goes sour, the women bear all the costs. Again, in terms of an economic metaphor, this is like the easy credit policy of the pre-Depression days: the rational investor takes irrational risks when someone else underwrites the risk, merely because he can afford to. If you lower the transaction costs, the public commitment, for relationships, you get more men willing to seduce you without any commitment on his part.
Instead of being able to move freely through the free market, when the social barriers are removed, women have fewer places they can go, not more, without being exposed to the aggression of male sexual predators. If adultery is a norm, married women must fend off unwelcome suitors with the same wariness and care that a maiden must. In the workplace, if it no longer socially unacceptable to court without courtliness, then awkward (and easily misused) sexual harassment laws must be brought in to take the place of what had been dismissed—namely, the old social mores. As if we drove all the umpires off the field in a ball game, and replaced them with policemen in riot gear. The sought-after equality is gone, because the inequality is now enshrined as a matter of law, namely, sexual harassment law.
If women could compete equally with men in affairs of business, there would be no need of such laws: but the masculine psychology (which is as predatory and lusty as it was in the days when Achilles and Agamemnon quarreled over who should possess the slave-girl Chrysies) makes civilized behavior with women impossible: until and unless the rules and customs of civilization, the boundaries and sanctuaries evolved over centuries, are allow to check the reckless impulses. Removing those boundaries in the name of liberation is counter-productive. Throwing down a prison wall does indeed liberate the prisoners, but throwing down the wall of a fortress merely exposes you to the Huns.
Ladies, take it from a guy who has been a guy almost all his life: guys are Huns. But if we can be cowed into submission by any force, rational or irrational, Church or Custom or Peer Pressure, then the wedding ring becomes a magic ring, which forms a Ward not even the Great God Cupid tempts us across, a boundary to restrict our loyalties to our oaths, or to repel, as from the freezing glance of Diana, any of the peeping lusts of Actaeon. Laws will not substitute. The machinery of lawyers and juries much slower than the immediate sense of shame a man carries with him, and enforces himself on himself.
The final blow dispelling any illusion that Feminism was friendly to women was struck when the National Organization of Women came out in public support of President Clinton’s adultery. Now, by any normal standard, an affair of this kind betrays the wife and exploits the mistress. In the case of a powerful and lusty man, who has enormous powers at his beck and call to intimidate witnesses and blacken the names of his accusers, not to mention get the IRS and the Secret Service to harass people, the Harassment Law will be no threat. One would think this is the very sort of man, a ruthless exploiter of women, that all women would band together to denounce, restrain, and shame. Instead, the ladies of the NOW serviced Bill Clinton much in the same way as Miss Lewinsky did.
Feminism at this point had finally and clearly departed from seeking equality for women, or protecting them from abuse at the hands of men, and declared allegiance to the exploiters, abusers, pornographers and panderers, and other men of the type who want to use women merely as a convenient hankie to squirt their semen in, and then discard.
The Ancient Greek Sexual Harassment Law: Have him torn to bits by his own dogs!