How I became a Mensch:
After Feminism Stole my Identity
August 8, 2001
When I was 21 years old, and living in Israel, I received a letter from my mother. She had taken my savings and invested in a town house.
"Now, you are a mensch," she said.
I wondered what she meant.
How did owning a house make me a man? I wanted to be defined by my character, not by my property.
I came of age at a time when youth was "looking for identity." I was searching for it in Israel. Later, I became a Canadian nationalist. In each case, I didnit find identity in "community."
I had a strong patriarchal father, an excellent role model. He built a successful career, and supported a family. "Work is the backbone of a man," he would tell me. This the most important decision a man makes. A wife is the second most important.
But for some reason, his example didn't register. Why didnit it?
For centuries men have defined their identities in terms of masculinity. Why was I so clueless?
I was a feminist.
I grew up in an era that has bought the feminist lie that men and women are identical. In our culture, women are encouraged to do everything men do, and vice versa. I believe in equal opportunity but I mistook "equal" with "identical", and this retarded my personal development by 25 years. I doubt if I am alone.
"Identical" made me look for a mate who was not only my equal but also my equivalent. In essence I was looking for myself. I was literally attracted to lithe young women with cropped boyish haircuts: my own persona.
Thus, I put a woman on a pedestal because she had my identity. She could give it back to me. Some women were immediately repelled. Others enjoyed the adulation for a while, but eventually lost respect.
What I needed was someone quite different from me, my feminine complement.
It hasn't hit us yet but eventually feminism will be recognized for what it is: a virulently anti social, anti-feminine, anti heterosexual ideology that has achieved extraordinary power by pretending to champion women's rights. By thus fooling society, they have been able to enact policies which emasculate men and encourage women to become masculine. In other words, women have usurped the masculine identity, and in the process, both sexes have lost their own.
Unbelievably, the destruction of heterosexuality is the stated goal of feminists who believe gender difference is not only unnatural but also the source of all injustice. Most people don't realize that the current feminist movement is a living anachronism from the cold war and the Marxist revolutionary sixties. Most of the leading feminist thinkers, including Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir, have been Marxists, and many have also been lesbians. But they would not have succeeded if they had been up front about their bizarre revolutionary goal, which is to coerce heterosexuals into the closet. In this light, terms like sexism, political correctness, and sexual harassment, take on new meaning.
Feminism is about power not choice. "No women should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children," said feminist founder Simone de Beauvoir. "Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one" (Saturday Review, June 14, 1975). If feminism were really about choices, it would not indoctrinate women to enter the work force and become "independent." It would not demonize men and heterosexual love. Feminism is essentially a lesbian movement in the sense that lesbians have always been women who coveted the male role. It is based on Marxist notions of "equality" and class conflict that have been discredited and rejected, notions that have no relevance to a mystical reality such as love.
The breakdown in the traditional family caused by feminism, is quite simply, the main reason for our social, personal and existential problems. People have always derived their primary meaning and purpose from familial roles (e.g. daughter, wife, and mother) and from the life-cycle rituals, (marriage, birth and death). Indeed, marriage and family are a God-given Path to achieve love and personal fulfillment.
We do not find wholeness by trying to incorporate masculine and feminine in ourselves but by uniting with our opposite. Heterosexual love is the attraction of opposites. Indeed, as heterosexuals we define themselves in terms of these differences. If we are male, we are not female, and vice-versa, like dark and light. Because I denied these differences, I didn't know who I was. I didn't understand women, and I didn't know how to relate to them.
I was almost 50-years-old before I solved the riddle. A book The Flight from Woman (1964) by Karl Stern, a prominent Canadian psychiatrist, confirmed what my instincts were telling me. My mother had been right all along. A man makes the house; the woman makes the home.
According to Stern, masculinity is defined by "power" over the natural and social environment. Men provide the physical and cultural context for the private world of love. They are the do'ers: adventurers and builders, protectors and providers.
Femininity is defined by "loving relationships." Feminine psychology is founded on nurturing and loving husbands and children, and thereby being needed and loved. Women are the engines of love, acting much like the heart in the body. They create the family that is the fundamental building block of society and the foundry of the future.
Men define themselves by deeds; women simply are love: beauty, grace, faith and goodness. Men tend to be rational and objective; women subjective, intuitive and emotional. Distinctions like these need not constrict us. They are a theme upon which to play our own variations. For example, my wife mows the lawn; I do all the shopping and cooking. But without the theme, there is confusion and chaos.
The feminist gospel that traditional sex roles are "oppressive" is wrong. For many people, a flexible interpretation of traditional roles may be essential for happiness and fulfillment.
I extrapolated from Karl Stern's distinctions. If man is motivated by power and woman by love, heterosexual love must be an exchange of the two.
A woman surrenders her power, in trust. This is how a woman expresses her love: by trusting. In this way, women actually empower men. If a man betrays this trust, he loses his power.
In return for her power, a woman gets what she really wants: a man's power expressed as his intense, undivided love.
He includes her in his sphere of self-interest: this is how two people become one. Her happiness is his happiness. He can't hurt her without hurting himself.
Teaching women to seek masculine power prevents them from getting what they really want.
Women want to be possessed by a man's love. God's love of Creation is mirrored in a man's love of a woman. A girlfriend once told me, "I want to be used." In a way, a man channels God's love to a woman by making her a wife and (possibly) a mother. Women want masculine power, but it must be in a man. The same girlfriend also said that without a man, she feels "like a rudderless boat." Similarly, a man without a woman is a rudder without a boat.
A man cannot love a woman who is competing with him for power. Relationships between so-called "equals" are like mergers, or roommates. One psychiatrist, Irene Claremont de Castillejo, calls them "brother-sister" marriages (Knowing Women: A Feminine Psychology, 1973). They cannot achieve the intimacy as when a woman surrenders her will to a man, and a man returns this trust with his wholehearted love. Some psychiatrists say her sexual satisfaction is also linked to her ability to trust and surrender.
Feminine women are creatures of God. In love, they sacrifice their "selves" for love, which in many religions is the key to transcendence. Helen Deutsch remarked on this masochist-narcissist syndrome in her The Psychology of Women: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation (1944). The majority of women only achieve fulfillment as wives and mothers. In their hearts, they know it.
Nor can women love men with whom they compete. Women are hypergamous which means they seek men of higher status than themselves. Even the most ardent heterosexual feminist only can love someone more powerful than she.
The struggle for power is poisoning male-female relations. It is the death of love. Men cannot give up their defining characteristic and expect to be men. Women cannot criticize and challenge men and expect to have satisfying relationships. When I comprehended this, I felt liberated. I established a healthy relationship with a woman who is my female complement, and married her.
In conclusion, the universal complaint is that men no longer know how to be men; women don't know how to be women. It helps to see heterosexual love as a mystical dance. In a dance, the male leads, the female follows. You canit have a graceful dance without each partner playing his part.
The dance is based on love. The male is always considering his mate's wishes, because he loves her. In some cases, he will ask her to lead. As in a ballroom dance, who can say which role is more important. Both partners are of equal value. The dance requires both the leadership and dynamism of the male; and the beauty, love and grace of the female. In the dance of love, two people become one, and the fruit of this mystical union, is often a child.
Henry Makow, is the inventor of the board game Scruples, and the author of A Long Way to go for a Date. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto. He welcomes your feedback and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.