who don’t behave like adolescent girls
The myth of Amazon women goes far back and continues to thrive in more modern versions such as the Wonder Woman films. It is easy to uncover true stories of relatively modern female military heroines such as Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko or American spy Virginia Hall, both of whom served exceptionally and bravely during World War II.
However, today, rather than seeing an increase in women who excel in traditionally masculine combat, author Louise Perry makes the case that the modern weapon of cancel culture is distinctly feminine. While male high-school bullies intimidate physically, female high-school bullies use cattiness, gossip, insinuation and the threat of social exclusion to rule the roost. Those tactics have now escaped the school halls and are playing out in companies such as Paypal and YouTube, in multiple media organizations, as well as in government bodies. Men have started fighting like girls while too many women are also behaving like their worst adolescent selves.
I read about this idea in a post by Canadian Tara Henley, and these words of hers set me thinking:
“Indeed, cancel culture is a fundamentally unserious form of debate. It jumps to conclusions, launches personal attacks, calls names, fails to consider facts.”
A favorite homeschooling resource of mine was a collection of copies of primary source documents revolving around contentious topics. We read newspaper editorials from the 1850s calling for the continuation of slavery and the abolition of it; early 20th century pleas for legislating Prohibition and arguments against it; and similarly-dated debates on whether women should have the right to vote or not. Unlike many pseudo-dialogues that take place today, both sides of an argument were represented in good faith.
What happens if you substitute the words “Women are” for “It is,” in the following words of Ms. Henley’s that describe cancel culture? “It is emotional, impulsive, irrational, immature…” Those words could have been taken directly from the speeches of those who opposed women voting in the United States. The words of an accomplished, 21st-century, female journalist agree with the concerns of ‘patriarchal men’ from the 19th and 20th century! In effect, I heard her saying (though I’m pretty sure that she didn’t intend this) that the naysayers were right. Rather than women adopting what Ms. Henley calls, “the calm, fair, logical, civil standard of public discourse we should be aiming for…,” women have co-opted men to think and act like pre-teen girls.
Reversing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution (that gave American women the right to vote over a hundred years ago), is on no one’s agenda as far as I know. Yet the search for women and men with strength of character, firmness of mind, discerning wisdom, and courage, does seem to be a more necessary task today than finding the outlier woman who can physically overcome most men.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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