Living in New York I’m surrounded by all sorts of liberals and leftists, so it’s hardly surprising that I’m constantly finding myself in incredibly frustrating conversations about politics.
Of all the various species of leftist that inhabit this fair city, the one most likely to leap at the opportunity to start an argument with me seems to be the Feministus Novus Eboracus. Honestly, telling the average girl in this city that I’m a conservative seems to elicit the same reaction I’d expect were I to tell them I have the clap.
I know that as soon as one of my friends or I mention my political leanings it will be followed inevitably by a chorus of shrill, harpy-like screeching about the “war on women”. What drives me up the wall about many of these “feminists” is that in the same breath with which they attack traditional Western civilisation for being patriarchal or misogynistic or whatever other ridiculous slur some leftist pseudo-intellectual was able to come up with, they will attack our modern society for its “rape culture”, seemingly oblivious to the fact that said “rape culture” is a direct result of the destruction of the traditional values they claim were so awful and oppressive in the first place.
Recently I’ve seen some right-leaning writers deny that this “rape culture” even exists. While I’d like to believe they’re right, all the evidence points unfortunately to the contrary. Even ignoring the fact that women and girls are sexualized to a degree never before seen (not to mention the levels of overtly sexist depravity that have become the norm in pornography), the proliferation of rape jokes and the Steubenville incident alone should make it clear that something has gone very, very wrong in the dynamic between men and women in our society.
Rewind a mere sixty years ago to my grandfather’s generation. In those days men actually treated women with respect, if not reverence. Any decent man, gentleman or not, would tip his hat to a woman as she passed by, hold open the door for her, give up his seat on public transport for her, help her with her groceries, and even pick up her tab – basically anything he could do to make her day that much more comfortable. The average man of my generation, however, appears more likely to trample a woman on his way to work than he is to give up his seat or hold a door open for her. Worse, should he happen upon her drunk and helpless, he is apparently more likely to take advantage of her than he is to protect her.
But hey, a woman can legally murder her unborn child and the government will help pay for it, so things have clearly improved. This must be what feminists believe, because they are constantly telling me that life was worse for women sixty years ago. I fail to see how anyone could make that claim with a straight face unless his sole metric was the legal status of abortion.
Despite what the Betty Friedans of the world may claim, those evil, oppressive customs such as door-holding – historically referred to by civilised people as “manners” – were not a part of some shadowy conspiracy to keep women “in their place”. They were, in fact, the last remnants of chivalry that had managed to survive the sundering of Christendom, rise of commercial interests, and the Industrial Revolution.
Chivalry developed during the medieval period, the effective result of Christian morality applied to the native warrior ethos of the Germanic peoples. An important tenet of developed chivalry was a knight’s duty to serve and protect his lady, as well as other ladies, and in general to treat all women with courtesy and compassion.
Why did this idea arise, one might ask? Well, during antiquity and the early medieval ages there existed in Europe a “rape culture” that makes the burgeoning one of today look like a safe stroll in a well-lit park. Rape was pervasive. Today we might recoil at reports of rape being “used as a weapon” in the conflicts of Africa, but fifteen hundred years ago in Europe rape was part and parcel of warfare. Find a village. Kill its men, infants, and old. Sell its children into slavery. Rape its women. Repeat. That was the basic pattern of warfare, hell life, in Europe from the dawn of time until really the arrival of Christianity and the development of chivalry.
One really cannot overstate the importance of Christianity, with its universalism, central belief in good and evil (native European religion focused more on order versus chaos), and, perhaps most importantly, the idea that man is created in God’s image, in shaping our civilisation’s attitudes towards violence against women.
Prior to the Christianisation of Europe, rape was considered neither good nor bad, it just was. Pagan chieftains who might banish a member of their community for rape would then go on to rape countless others in wartime – this is tribalism at its core – things are only bad insofar as they ruin the peace and well-being of tribe and village, and only good insofar as they help maintain or expand the peace and well-being of tribe and village. There was no sense of good and evil as we, well some of us anyway, understand it today, and it wasn’t until the arrival of Christianity and development of chivalry that rape came to be seen as objectively wrong.
A defining feature of the post-war world has been the accelerated destruction of traditional Western social, religious, and political values.
Almost every last vestige of what was good and beautiful about our culture has been sacrificed to what Wyndham Lewis called “the egalitarian rage awakened”, and manners and the traditional dynamic between men and women were certainly not spared. It should come as absolutely no surprise, then, that the diminishing of traditional Western socio-sexual values has been accompanied by an increase in the sexual objectification of, and sexual violence towards, women.
Our “rape culture” is merely the next evolutionary step of our “hookup culture”. It is the fruit borne by second wave feminism and the sexual revolution which, despite the intentions of some of their proponents, seem to have achieved nothing other than a society of young women who act like prostitutes and of young men who believe it’s acceptable to treat them as such.
It really is tragic, and all the “slutwalks” and protests in the world aren’t going to fix the problem. The truth is that the more we as a society substitute the democratic for the aristocratic and the anti-Christian for the Christian, the more we will approach the barbarism of our ancestors, and the worse things will get for women in our society.
Adapted from a piece originally published on Trending Central, 6 August 2013