The Rights and Duties of Men and Women

October 9, 2008

I’ve been reading up on a lot of feminism issues, economic issues, birth control, abortion – mostly the role of women in society. Women blame men for suppressing them and their pursuits of wealth and their development as an individual. Though a male dominant society with laws made by and businesses run by chauvinists have been an injustice women have necessarily overcome, I expound the idea that we’ve gone too far. In the fight for equal opportunity, sexual liberation, control over our bodies, the basic rights of self-development and self-reliance, we haven’t stopped to ask the question whether men should pursue self-interests much less whether we should follow suit.

This begs the question of what has actually been achieved in all of this. Women have earned their place in the workforce. This is better than being sidelined as a librarian or schoolmarm in order to make a living. We should be paid the same for the same job, have the opportunities to excel at what we’re good at, earn our own living. But now women are told that to have any kind of innate value, they have to be at work and not at home. When we do have children, we’re supposed to put our children in daycare and keep working. The family is low priority and “self-development” is top priority, the goal of many feminists. Women aren’t “just a mom” anymore; they’re thriving, intelligent, happy individuals. Or are they?

Is the workforce that desirable a place to be or does it require hard work, filling needs of others, frustration, tedium, and a lot of time, just like working at home? This isn’t the idealistic vision people have of a career that fulfills your need for self-worth. We don’t live in a world of “Sex and the City”, reality is much more like “Office Space”. This is the real world of working families. Most people work for someone else. Many people hate the job they’re in. Overwhelming majorities of people are in the job for the money, not the love of what they do.

Many families are now double income families, but are no better off for it. The cost of living has increased, and working mothers have become fodder for the capitalist. Although some mothers have to work to support their families, once they have two or more children in daycare it’s no longer cost effective. Maybe it’s not true for all of us, but for most of us it is. We’re pawns in another person’s game of self-interest, and it’s not always a man’s game.

Another facet of the search for equality and self-fulfillment is found in the sexual revolution. Women like Margaret Sanger promoted birth control as a means of ushering in the new race of small prosperous families and elevating women in society. It really just led to women behaving like men. Sexual equality for all! Men have sex without consequences and shirk their responsibilities, women should be able to as well! Now we can. But did anyone stop to think that men shouldn’t do that either? Women are desperately grasping at the right to behave like dysfunctional men. So we successfully have become dysfunctional women.

Again, the capitalist takes advantage of this. They would have you believe birth control and abortion are liberating. They display utopian commercials for Yaz or the NuvaRing that takes away our womanhood altogether. Don’t like being a girl? We’ll give you hormones to stop ovulation! We’ll wreak havoc on your body and make it difficult for you to get pregnant when you actually want to. You can have everything! But we end up with less than we bargain for.

All of this comes from the drive for self-development and autonomy. Women fought so hard to gain the right of acting in self-interest, just as men do. This achievement isn’t the creation of civilization, as Malthusians predicted it. Selfishness is the destruction of civilization, and it began when men started acting selfishly.

As capitalists, men did their best to earn wealth and a prominent place in society at the expense of the less ambitious. Capitalists take advantage of the proletarian; they use the masses for cheap labor and leave them in the dust to rot. The industrial revolution was one of the most heinous times in history, with disease and poverty running rampant among the majority of the population. All the while, the capitalist had his eye on the prize – distinction, greatness, plenty for himself and his family. This is an outright wrong way to behave.

Men left their families behind at home while they worked late nights at the office, devising methods of besting the competition. Men trampled the competition and toasted their success. Men should have been providing enough for themselves, their families, and others as well. They have a responsibility to be there for their family. Even the single man has no reason to chase excess wealth at the expense of others.

Now women are doing the same by leaving their families in the care of another, shirking their responsibilities, denying children altogether, and prioritizing the search for self. I don’t presume to tell anyone what choices they should make in their lives, but I do presume to tell them what their motivation should be.

What we need to do, we all need to do, is give our selves over in service to others. Mothers should serve their children. Wives should serve their husbands, husbands their wives, and fathers their children as well. Single individuals should work in service first to avoid becoming a burden on the public, and then to elevate others past poverty and loneliness.

Every instinct within us screams out in protest of such a call to arms. We have rights! We need justice! This is the only system chosen from the pool of capitalism, socialism, communism, dictatorships, monarchies, democracies, and whatever you can think of, that will not end in corruption and collapse. Unfortunately, this system requires individuals coming to terms with his or her call to service. But the more that do, the better things will become.

Stop being a victim blaming others for obstructing your cause of self-interest and start being a solution in thinking of others first. We need to give up our rights in order to fulfill our needs. The rewards of the abolition of self are unlimited, and will invariably open up the real development of self as we are meant to be. “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”