Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Absolutely Bloody Typical

I did a nice little Advent Google for "Fathers Luke" and happened to find this essay on heroes and heroines by the sf writer Elisabeth Vonarburg.

I once bought a book by Elisabeth Vonarburg, in the broadminded spirit of international fannish friendship and literary exploration. You will note that I did not seek out another. But when I read the beginning of this essay, I started to think that, gee, this writer couldn't be as bad as I remembered her. She sounds like she likes exciting books; maybe that boring and pretentious thing was a bad translation. Then the woman becomes a feminist. Instead of broadening her tastes, she gradually learns to turn her back on everything she's ever loved.

Either the girl could withstand being criticized for reading boys' books by boys and non-feminists, or none of them ever criticized her. But the peer pressure of feminists, now, that wasn't oppressive. It just made her deeply ashamed of her own instinctive likes and dislikes, that's all. It just made her chop away at her own uniqueness, in favor of some theoretical construct to which she must conform or confess herself an Uncle Tom to men. Now that's inherently liberating. That makes her stronger as a person. Oh, yes.

If you want to see why the fight for women's rights turned so very sick and twisted from the mid-twentieth century onward, you have only to look at this example of Maoist self-criticism.

My idea of women's rights is a good deal simpler. I say a woman should be able to have the same rights as a man, and vice versa. A woman should be able to make her own choices in life, no more and no less than a man. Both men and women should be happy and content with the sex they're born with, and with the opposite sex being opposite. Both sexes should bear with each other, and be as nice to each other as they can get away with. If women want to work, fine. If they want to stay home and work on their kids, fine. If the husband wants to stay home and work on their kids, fine.

But nobody should be made to feel that it's shameful to read books about heroes of the opposite sex. Girls and women like heroines, sure. But women have also always liked pondering male heroes, because duh, they are romantic and droolworthy. And though boys may at times be allergic to reading about heroines, they often grow up and discover that they enjoy reading about beautiful women with big guns. Women may have admired them, but it was men who trooped after Elizabeth I and St. Joan of Arc.

If you have to disown yourself to follow an ideal, you'd better be real sure you're following the right ideal. False gods don't give you anything real to replace what you give up.


  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger Fr. Larry Gearhart said…

    Amen to all that you say.

    There's a brief article in today's Dayton Daily News about what men want from women. The final comment in the article is that men seem to be confused about what they want, but their own data only show that the author of the article is confused. If I were eligible to marry and I had a choice between marrying "a rich, unattractive woman and a poor, attractive woman," I would choose the latter, too, not because I valued good looks over anything else, but because I valued good looks over money. Besides, I'd prefer to support my wife rather than have her support me.

    I'm surprised "Otis" couldn't figure that one out, but then maybe he figures money is more important than anything else.

    Note: The article is online at "Poll: What to men really want?". I've noticed a lot of newspapers require on-line readers to register. I don't know if you can access this link without registering.


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