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True Feminism Needs a Revival
February 27, 2001
by Joe Goodson

Ever since childhood, I've always thought of females as equals. I've constantly believed that everyone has the same potential at success in all areas of life -- regardless of their race, sex, creed, or sexual orientation. Culturally I'm very liberal, and naturally, I'm a feminist.

But unlike many of today's modern feminists, I don't believe in forcing my progressive values on everyone else.

Many Americans today assume that anti-discrimination regulations, pay-equity laws, sexual-harassment restrictions, and government welfare programs are absolutely necessary for women to achieve equality. Without them, they assert, we'd still be living in the Dark Ages.

But nonetheless, what good does it do for someone's self-esteem when politicians portray her as a "lesser" individual who needs state assistance to become equal? How does it affect a woman's personal sense of sovereignty when she must depend upon big government in order to be successful?

Historically, regimes have been the worst suppressors of the inalienable rights of women. Over a century ago, the law forbade them from voting, owning property, holding certain jobs, and using birth control. Has government suddenly become the good guy, now that it pampers women instead of restraining them?

In a free market, employers want the most productive work force. The way to obtain this is by hiring the most qualified candidates, treating them with dignity, maintaining a positive workplace environment, and building a good reputation. Even if every business in town discriminates, it would take only one entrepreneur to stop doing so, and immediately she would gain a competitive edge over her rivals.

Some readers may cite the fact that women make 75 cents for every dollar a man makes. But when age, education, and work experience are considered, the wage gap is smaller. Furthermore, women ages 27 to 33 who have never had children earn 98 cents for each male's buck. Clearly, we must account for many factors -- including the probability of someone leaving to raise a family -- before suggesting anything about pernicious pay discrimination.

Next comes the issue of nonviolent sexual harassment. If the social environment in a workplace makes somebody feel uncomfortable, she should inform her supervisor, and possibly that person's boss. If no one fixes the problem, then it's time to start searching for a better employer. Simply being a jerk should never be against the law.

In contrast, discrimination must never be allowed in government or military positions, or in any subsidized program. Bigotry is unprofessional, uneconomical, and is just plain wrong.

But what justification do we have to tell private companies how to run their businesses? If they aren't committing fraud, physical force, or damages to anyone's property or physical well-being, wouldn't we be forcing our values on them? Isn't this what Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan try to do to everyone in America?

When we attempt to control the peaceful decisions of others, it usually creates more problems than it solves. Free speech may be violated. Companies may be required to employ less qualified candidates. Some people may have more difficulty finding jobs. And I'm sure most of us remember the lawsuit against Hooters Restaurant for refusing to hire drag queens as waiters!

Individual liberty and free enterprise are feminism's best friends. They make employers choose between their prejudice and their pocketbooks. They allow women to start their own businesses, and give everyone the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Today there may be a few companies who would discriminate willingly if allowed to do so, but that doesn't mean all of them would. If some owners want to be idiots, we ought to let them reap as they sow. They could face boycotts and tainted reputations. Besides, why would you ever want to work for someone if he doesn't want you there?

Lastly, welfare traps women into poverty. It discourages them from finding work as soon as possible, and keeps them from moving up the proverbial ladder. Handouts make women dependent, passive, obedient, and irresponsible. Male chauvinists, if anything, should be the ones supporting such government folly -- not aspiring feminists!

Women are strong. They have what it takes to succeed in every area of life. Many of them are better at overcoming adversity than men.

For the first time in history, governments need to start treating women and minorities like their white male counterparts. They deserve just as much confidence and respect as anyone else.

As Ayn Rand said, "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

We cannot continue to behave like the "Pat Pack" by attempting to force our desires on others. We cannot keep abandoning our own feminist principles by whining to "Big Daddy" about life not being fair.

Let's forget about being victims and look forward to the future instead. Let's take our lives back into our own hands and make the most of them. Maybe then we will encounter our true selves, and perhaps then we also will rediscover genuine feminism.

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