Flip-Flop On Feminism—Is Race Next?
Taking Sex Differences Seriously, a fine
new book by
Steven E. Rhoads, a professor of government at the
University of Virginia, documents that just about every
male-female stereotype you ever heard is
true. Most of them stem from disparities in
Reading Taking Sex Differences
Seriously was something of a nostalgia trip for me.
The questions Rhoads grapples with were ones of intense
personal concern back in the early 1990s. At the time,
feminists dominated public discourse with their
insistence that distinctions between males and females
But somebody forgot to give my baby
son the memo. In 1990, at only 15 months old, he
suddenly developed an intense disdain for all things
girlish, along with a corresponding passion for watching
strong men hit balls with sticks. My wife
discovered, to her exasperated boredom, that
her baby boy instantaneously began to whine anytime
she tried to flip past televised
baseball or, God forbid,
golf. Whenever we left the house on a walk, he`d
immediately have to find a
stick to brandish menacingly, like the
killer ape in 2001.
And he began throwing store-aisle
temper tantrums whenever his mother denied him a
flashlight (or toy sword, gun, spear, rocket ship,
baseball bat, bow and arrow, screwdriver, slingshot, or
whatever other “projection” device struck his
She learned there was only one way
to silence him.
"That`s a Girl Flashlight,"
she`d explain. "They`re all out of Boy Flashlights.
Do you still want it?"
socialization isn`t what differentiates the
sexes—it`s the only hope of their ever getting along
Then, in October 1991, the world
seemed to go crazy over the
Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas brouhaha.
To me, it appeared obvious that
Hill was another attractive, accomplished black woman
whose biological clock was ticking loudly as she
searched for that rare black man of even greater
achievement. Perhaps the crime of Thomas, the most
eligible bachelor she had known, was that he had not
propositioned her when he had the chance. And, worst of
all, he had gone on to
blonde. Now, the woman scorned was having her
But the press, propelled by women
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, went
bananas over the story. In the aftermath, feminism ruled
unchallenged, with deeply stupid books like
The Beauty Myth and
Backlash jet-propelled up the bestseller lists
by the media frenzy.
Faludi argued that the media was
severely biased against
feminism. But of the 40 reviews of her book I found
in the media, 37 were favorable. Which didn`t exactly
add up to a backlash.
I had been traveling to Arkansas
frequently to call on Wal-Mart. (I used to be a
contender!—working in marketing, not journalism.)
Arkansawyers regaled me with tales of their Gov.
adulterous exploits. So, in December of 1992,
shortly after his election, I wrote an
article beginning: “A specter is haunting the
Clinton Presidency, one that the President-Elect needs
to defuse immediately.”
Forgive me for quoting from my 1992
essay at length, but it proved prescient:
was an investigative reporter wishing to make a name for
myself as the Woodward/Bernstein of the 90`s, I`d be
highly intrigued by these facts: Governor Clinton has
for many years presided over thousands of female state
employees…He is widely reputed to be a man like any
only more so… It seems likely that some enterprising
reporter is going to think it worth his while to go
Pulitzer hunting among the secretarial pools and law
offices of Little Rock… At any moment over the next four
years, a vast brouhaha may erupt. While initially
amusing to contemplate, the thought of a Watergate-like
paralysis of the executive branch … is not.
“If Mr. Clinton has any secret worries on this score,
he should act now. A vague confession and apology would
cause a short flurry of tsk-tsking, but the ultimate
loser would not be the President but the expansive
definition of sexual harassment.”
publish my article. But one of the magazines I sent it
The American Spectator, did what I advised and
sent David Brock to
Little Rock. He found Paula Jones, who sued Clinton
sexual harassment (and eventually collected
$900,000). Jones` lawyers asked the
President about his affair with
Monica Lewinsky. His perjury led to his
So maybe it
was all my fault.
unexpected dividend from all this: Clinton`s survival,
which depended significantly on his near-unanimous
support from hypocritical feminists,
ended the era in which intelligent people took
intellectual demise has not hurt its institutional
strength (yet). Thus Rhoads documents how Title IX
forces colleges to dump male sports like wrestling and
add scholarships for
female athletes in sports like golf that few young
women care about. Rhoads argues that colleges should
instead label cheerleading as a sport, since tens of
thousands of young women love it.
Rhoads` book would have been far more daring a dozen or
more years ago when feminism was so much stronger.
Indeed, way back three decades ago, City College of New
York sociologist Steven Goldberg`s classic
The Inevitability of Patriarchy, which proved
impact of sex hormones on society, won a place in
the Guinness Book of World Records by being rejected by
69 publishers before it finally appeared in print in
1973. Today, in contrast, the newsweeklies routinely
publish articles on hormones with only a derisory amount
of bowing and scraping before feminist dogmas.
interesting question: will the discussion of race
differences some day undergo the same intellectual
I`d say the
long-run prospects are good. The onrush of the genetic
analyses will soon settle these questions once and for
integration brings people of different races in closer
contact. For example, interracial marriage is one
little-noticed cause of more people becoming personally
aware of racial differences. Quite a few of the leading
race realists, such as psychometricians
Charles Murray and
Chris Brand and essayist
John Derbyshire, have married women of other races.
So expect the climate to get worse
before it gets better.
But ultimately, as the Great
Flip-Flop On Feminism demonstrates, freer days are
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and