Why a Good Man is Hard to Find

"Why a Good Man is Hard to Find: Feminism Liberated Men, Too," The Women’s Quarterly, no. 17 (Autumn 1998), pp. 4-6.


IN OUR NEW world of choice Dad seems to have gone, departed, left the scene, flown the coop. Many dads are literally gone, and they make up the statistics of male abandonment, the dead-beat dads whom we denounce. Other dads are physically present but are no longer really dads. They have lost their authority as dads and become something much smaller, feebler, and ridiculous. Sensitive males, they are: new-age guys.

I exaggerate, if you look around at the many functional dads who still do what dads used to do. But I do not exaggerate if you consider the trend of things and the dominant ideas in our time, particularly the idea of choice.

What is the new world of choice? It is something more general than the pro-choice position in the abortion debate, though it does have to do with women because it arises from the movement of women’s liberation that began in the 1960s and 1970s. It is women who have deprived themselves of dads. Or, better to say, feminist women have done this.

The women’s movement wanted above all to liberate women from any definition of woman. All previous definitions had left women dependent on men, suffering under them and behind them as the second sex (the title of Simone de Beauvoir‘s famous book). The feminists did not propose a new definition of women, one that would put women over men and thus reverse the injustice of millennia and repay men for always having oppressed them. Perhaps they could not think of a new definition powerful enough to overturn male oppression; perhaps there was none to be conceived. Instead, they rebelled against definitions as such, not only definitions of woman, and adopted a theory (derived from Nietzsche, one of the most egregious male chauvinists who ever lived) which says that a woman can construct her own identity. Under that theory she can and must choose, and she chooses not only the life that suits her self but also her very self.

UNZ [pdf]