Hanna Rosin: This is what a feminist looks like
By Carey Roberts
A couple years ago the National Organization for Women came up with a new PR campaign. The program duped unsuspecting college students into wearing a T-shirt carrying the gratuitous slogan, "This is what a feminist looks like."
The campaign was designed to dispel the popular notion that all women's libbers are Helen Thomas look-alikes with a hooked nose, deep-set eyes, serpentine lips, and rhinoceros-hide skin.
For a while, the program seemed to working, mostly because the persons wearing the T-shirts were 20-something college drop-outs – men and women alike -- who were more than happy to don free apparel that appeared to be advancing a worthy social cause.
But all the social redemption garnered by the N.O.W. campaign has now been undone in the single stroke by a disaffected journalist by the name of Hanna Rosin. If Ms. Rosin has not yet appeared on your loony-left radar screen, here's a quick run-down.
In 2007 she unveiled her book, God's Harvard, written as a satirical expose of Patrick Henry College, a Virginia-based institution that seeks to promote conservative religious ideals.
A couple years later she penned an expose in The Atlantic titled, "The Case Against Breastfeeding." As we know, millions of American women are to this day being oppressed by breastfeeding. In response to the article, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted simply, "the author skims the literature and has omitted many recent statements."
And earlier this year, Rosin was nominated for a National Magazine Award for her story about transgendered children. Thank goodness someone had the courage to take on that long-neglected topic.
Having solved the problems of evangelism, breastfeeding, and transgender, earlier this month feminist Rosin decided to try her hand at social commentary. Titled "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin's article in the current issue of The Atlantic could just as easily been called, "Feminists Dancing on the Grave of Western Civilization."
For starters, Rosin sings hosannas to the growing tide of women who are "forgoing marriage altogether." As a result, out-of-wedlock births have spread out of the barrios and trailer parks and are "creeping up the class ladder."
W. Bradford Wilcox, head of the National Marriage Project, is quoted as making the astute observation that these changes have been "bad for kids." The sequelae of female-headed households is the well-documented litany of "crime, drugs, sex, teen pregnancies, suicides, runaways and school dropouts," Rosin acknowledges in a flash of lucidity.
But Hanna is not troubled by indicators of galloping social disintegration, just so long as they carry the patina of ever-expanding female empowerment.
The main focus of Rosin's soliloquy is not the nuclear family, children, or the fate of civil society, however. The brunt of her venom is directed squarely and unapologetically at men. To erect her dystopian mythology, Rosin indulges in a noxious mixture of historical revisionism, gynocentric narcissism, and shameless stereotyping.
Reflecting on African-American social mobility, Rosin asserts that "Typically, women's income has been the main factor in determining whether a family moves up the class ladder or stays stagnant."
Of course that's a preposterous example of Ms.-Information.
The reason why so many African-American families remain mired in the cycle of poverty is the marginalization of the male breadwinner by policies that demand the woman be single and have child custody before she can qualify for welfare benefits. And getting men re-involved in the family holds the key to upward social mobility.
For years, feminists abhorred gender stereotypes as an ideological anathema. But when stereotypes are applied men, Rosin revels in them, like a female mud wrestler poised to take the plunge. And many would look askance at the seeming illogic of a self-proclaimed New Age woman who indulges in rabid anti-male stereotypes.
I've read accounts of Jim Crow, that dark era in American history when African-Americans were systematically deprived of their civil liberties by Democratic carpetbaggers. And I have trouble distinguishing the racist musings of White Citizens Councils from the chauvinistic prescriptions of Ms. Rosin.
Men are the "new ball and chain," men are "fixed in cultural aspic," and men "spur each other to make reckless decisions," she writes. In contrast, women are "making all the decisions," women are a "maternal rescue team," and women "do it a whole lot better."
Then Rosin approvingly recounts the video Telephone, in which two women go on a homicidal spree targeting men, then flee in a yellow pickup truck, with one woman bragging, "We did it, Honey B."
Most women I know express genuine compassion and concern when they learn of lagging male enrollments in higher education, shorter lifespans, and the 6 million unemployed men caught in the eddies and backwaters of the current economic recession.
But to Hanna Rosin, we live in a bipolar, zero-sum world in which everything is viewed through the prism of gender and power. For her, all that matters is women on top.
And that's what a feminist looks like.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.