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Joan Walsh vs. Caitlin Flanagan

Here is the title of the article I am analyzing today and where you can find it:

“Yes, Caitlin Flanagan, You Can Stay a Democrat!” Joan Walsh. 05/02/2006.


I'm going back a few years for this article, but I'm using it because it does so much to illuminate the differences between feminism and womanhood. Joan Walsh's articles are the full, terrible, ideology of a liberal, radical, and socialist feminist. Caitlin Flanagan – a Democrat, which is fine – is a woman.


Walsh writes, “The editors of the Huffington Post have offered me space to reply to Caitlin Flanagan's latest fantasy, published in Time magazine, that Barbara Ehrenreich and I are trying to drive her out of the Democratic Party because we 'can't stand' her lifestyle choices.”


Walsh admits in her article that she does coordinate with Ehrenreich on political projects. Ehrenreich is an Honorary Chair for the Democratic Socialists of America, which is explicitly socialist and “deeply feminist”.


Flanagan presents a big problem for feminists because of the Bernard Goldberg effect. It is one thing for Rush Limbaugh to say the Feminist Media is biased, but after Goldberg said it, the media had a hand grenade thrown in its lap. Feminists can just ignore conservative women, but their ideology is exposed when a Democrat like Flanagan dissents.


“[Flanagan's] reference to herself in Time as 'the beaten wife of the Democratic Party' is an analogy that beaten wives everywhere are sure to appreciate,” Walsh writes sarcastically.


Apparently, the analogy of a “beaten wife” is too much of a stretch and a little too maudlin for Walsh, who now regularly carps about the “war on women.” Walsh believes it's basically world war three and the Holocaust was a kosher picnic at the beach compared to what women in the U.S. are going through right now.


Walsh would never stoop so low as to use a “beaten wife” analogy. She usually takes the high road and just calls anyone who disagrees with her sexist or racist. For a feminist like Walsh, everything is petty. Every word presents an opportunity to score catty points.


Walsh writes, “Flanagan's shtick isn't so much about enduring domestic violence as it is about selling books and getting rich and, really, that's fine with me, I've got plenty to do myself.”


She uses several phrases accusing Flanagan of “creating straw women”, “a lot of self-delusion”, and “a lot of self-dramatization”. (Guideline 24a: Mean girls and even meaner women.)


Anyone who has read Flanagan's work knows that she writes wonderful, thoughtful, insightful, articles. Feminine, yet much more powerful than any of Walsh's articles. The reason, I think, is because Flanagan's articles are purposeful. Walsh's articles are just a caustic reaction against those proposing less extreme feminism.


It must have hit Walsh hard to have a female Democrat criticize her. Feminists hate being treated the way they treat everybody else. Walsh likes to second-guess right of center people, but she hates it when it is done to her. Walsh's articles are sufficiently inconsequential that few people are watch-dogging them. Feminists count on that. There are too few people providing steady opposition to the Feminist Media. (See my entry in the Daily Vos page: “Why so Little Opposition to Feminism?”)


Walsh and Flanagan are within a couple years of being the same age, but Caitlin's name is younger sounding by decades. And, if you don't think women notice things like that, then you don't understand women. Of course, the disagreement goes a lot deeper than that. Both of them are rich and successful, but in Walsh's opinion Flanagan is showing poor taste feeling happy about it.


Don't misunderstand, Walsh thoroughly enjoys her unequal success too, but she knows she needs to fake a measure of guilt for her sin against socialist feminism. Her remorse is to hate the institutions that helped make her success possible. Her act of charity is to impose burdens on the working- and middle-classes to equalize our success and “privilege” down to the level of the underclass. (Guideline 29a: “liberals see it as the responsibility of the state to impose just burdens and to allocate just benefits.”)


Feminists act as if the only real, authentic, American is one who is a member of the underclass. An example of their ideal resident is a non-white (preferably) woman (of course) with an IQ of 90. A woman with the good fortune not to possess any “privilege,” but richly blessed with “victimhood.” A woman who made efficient use of her government education by dropping out of high school, then demonstrated resourcefulness by becoming dependent on the government's welfare services. A strong, sexually free, woman who conscientiously avoided the trap of traditional marriage and nuclear family by having several illegitimate kids with several men. And, of course, a feminist woman with just enough sophisticated ignorance to blame all of her problems on everybody else who made good use of the institutions of education, employment, and marriage.


I am good at criticizing feminism. Expounding on the past 2,500 years of Western philosophy is much more difficult. But, I know this much. The Ancient Greeks had a word for striving after virtue and excellence: Arete.