POSITION PAPER OF THE LEAGUE OF MEN FOR FEMALE EQUALITY
POSITION PAPER OF THE LEAGUE OF MEN FOR FEMALE EQUALITY
Change of Basic Guidelines Recommended
Absolute Confidentiality Imperative
No Woman must ever see this memo!
FOUNDING MOTTO OF THE LEAGUE – WOMEN SHOULD BE EQUAL TO MEN
URGENT NEED FOR REASSMENT OF BASIC GOALS
Recent analysis has led to the conclusion that the traditional energies of the League must be sharply curtailed, and perhaps redirected entirely. The very success of our two-century endeavor has led us to a point where we can realize that our efforts, however well-intentioned, may have been equally ill-advised. The present paper is intended to prepare the core cadres of the League for this eventuality.
VITAL! DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO FALL INTO ANY FEMALE HANDS!!!
As you are all well aware, the League was founded two centuries ago by a group of altruistic and far-sighted men, including Wm. Godwin, Leigh Hunt, and Percy Shelley, who recognized the possibility, as well as the justice and desirability of the female half of the human species taking an equal part in the responsibilities and rights of the race.
WOMAN AS ITEM OF HABERDASHERY:
The League was, of necessity, conceived from the start as a secret organization. It is difficult to realize the animosity with which the very idea of female equality was viewed in those days. The expected roles of the vast majority of women, in their own eyes as in those of most men, simply ranged the gamut from utilitarian doormat to ornate bed covering, frequently both. The few women who broke from this mold and demanded more of male-dominated society were viewed as insane and/or criminal. All too often, as in the cases of Mary Wollstonecraft and Harriet Martineau, they over-reacted to such views in a self-fulfilling manner.
APOLLO IN A QUANDARY:
As for the even fewer number of men who openly felt for the oppressed co-members of their species, they were castigated as traitors to society and reason; i.e., male society and male reason. Hence their foundation of a League to work for the day when females could take their rightful place beside males in an equal society of merit.
It took great insight, even faith, given the generally benighted state of Woman in the early 19th century, to believe that She could become Man’s equal, even when all repressions were lifted. Too many women had swallowed the fallacious view of Woman as an inferior appendage to Man, and expected no more of themselves. But the Founders of the League acted in the noble belief that Woman was indeed capable, if all inequalities superadded by society and culture and erroneous beliefs were removed, of becoming Man’s equal (or anyway close enough as made no never mind.)
The extent to which such equality may not be attainable by such means, is only now becoming apparent, and will be dealt with more at large hereinafter.
ANY LEAKAGE OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS PAPER TO ANY PERSON OF THE FEMALE GENDER IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN.
THE INVISIBLE HELPING HAND:
Moreover, both as a measure of altruism and wisdom, it was determined that women themselves must not know of the existence of the League. They must believe that advances towards female emancipation proceed primarily from their own actions on their own behalf. This would be far better for their eventual self-esteem and practical ability than if they knew the extent to which an organized body of sympathetic males had paved the way. (Isaac Asimov, who of course was one of us, sketched this sort of situation in his “Foundation” stories, for which indiscretion we had to severely scold him.)
Thus our extreme care not to be discovered led us to the more subtle forms of aid to the feminist cause, (we are still proud that a League member [male, of course] chaired the first meeting at Seneca Falls, since none of the women knew the rules of order,) and the more blatant forms of commitment (e.g., the men who secretly joined suffragette marches in female attire) had to act without League support.
IF WE’RE SEXIST, EVERYBODY IS!
The League prides itself on having escaped the pitfalls, in any of its manifestations, of what is now called sexism. Even if Woman had not proved to be the full equal of Man, She would still have to be granted Her Right of Equal Attempt to Attain Whatever Status or Position She was capable of. We have never denied the extreme courage and address with which women, not knowing they had a strong but secret Helper among the opposite gender, fought for their liberation. Now that we have brought Woman so nearly to a perfect equality, we recognize that we could not have done so without Her.
And the fruit of our efforts has now arrived; it has become clear that the time shall soon arrive when male and female shall share equally in the powers and positions, the rewards and responsibilities of humanity, on the basis of ability alone. We can now predict accurately that this state of affairs will be reached within the next two generations.
PAUSE FOR CLEARING OF THROAT:
Unfortunately, it is at this point that some observations have been made that cast a new light upon the above pattern. Perhaps they should have been evident before, but there is scant profit in unearthing past oversights at this stage. This may lead to a radical change of direction on the part of the League, for reasons we can no longer put off explaining.
Let it be repeated, we are very far from being sexists. We continue committed as always to equality of the sexes. But the way to that goal seems less clearly linked than we had assumed to the support in all ways of female access to all social institutions at all levels on a basis of equality.
WATCH OUT FOR WIVES, DAUGHTERS, MOTHERS, BABY-SITTERS, AND TUPPER-WARE SALESPERSONS. THEY HAVE SNEAKY EYES. BURN THIS!
THE TWO POSSIBILITIES:
The League has been striving for an equal playing field, and equal rules. The question has been whether, under such conditions, women would prove capable of equal achievement with men in all areas, or only in some, or in none. In any case, they would have an equal try to do so.
We can now see the results as the present trends demonstrate clear future realities. Women will be equally able to achieve commanding positions in all areas of endeavor (except a few odd corners like sumo or chug-a-lug, where they really don’t even try.)
Recognizing normal fluctuations, half the American senators and representatives will be women, half the Supreme Court, half the cabinet . . . half the Presidents of the United States. Half the business executives, half the top scientists, half the highly paid authors. (Possibly a trifle over half, if the slight preponderance of the female population continues.) This was the dream.
THE UNEXPECTED THIRD AND ACTUAL POSSIBILITY:
However, if women are capable of equal achievement with men, when granted equal admission to the field, and if that field is historically molded to the abilities and preferences of men, then given a truly equal field, based on the abilities and preferences of both genders, women will prove superior. In other words, the very ability of women to play an equal part in men’s institutions demonstrates an absolute superiority.
None of us can say we expected this, but the more we look at the data, the clearer it appears. Man’s ancient suppression of woman was, in actuality, a device for keeping down a potential supplanter. (Particularly when Man continued insisting on activities like war, politics, and contact sports, which Woman saw no need for at all.)
But, with iron logic, worse is to follow.
THE WORSE WHICH FOLLOWS
The more women take their part in equal input, in politics, the arts, the sciences, and business, the more they are changing, and will continue to change, the very structure of those fields. In small increments at first, but in ever-increasing measure, they are beginning to reshape the nature of the playing field.
This should be obvious. As more and more women enter the publishing business, for example, as well as becoming authors, it is natural that a female idea of literature will press against the traditional male idea. This does not involve only the types of books available, but also how they are marketed and sold.
If Woman does achieve equal participation with Man in the running of the institutions of society, those institutions, and that society, cannot remain unaltered. Inevitably, they will gravitate towards a “playing field” that is no longer devised by males alone, but one equally constructed by men and women. Not only the decisions, but the very structure of courts, executive boards, general staffs, cabinets, editorial boards, and review committees, will modify in a direction more preferential to females. This would seem not only inevitable, but desirable, from the point of view of the equalizing ideals of the League, except for one further obvious point . . . that if women are capable of equal entry and achievement on the basis of ability, on a masculine playing field, they will enter a gender-balanced one at a clear advantage; in other words, there will be more women than men, at higher positions, in such a situation.
If only it ended here. But the very fact that more women than men are playing roles, at every level of every institution, will virtually assure that these institutions will no longer remain as originally instituted (under male auspices.) We cannot really imagine what would result from a Supreme Court with seven female Justices; an advertising agency or newspaper with 70% female positions at the top (though men might hold a higher proportion of low-prestige positions, through demands for equality in hiring); much less a predominantly female military staff or (the heart staggers) professional sports league board.
Some institutions may disappear under the strain; others we will find unrecognizable. They will all tend to be run in the ways that women feel more proper, in ways that are comfortable to women, not, as historically, to men.
This process will not stop benevolently, at a slight female preponderance. Once female mores have an edge in all parts of society, the vicious spiral will continue of necessity. As society adapts to a more female type of leading institution and demanded behavior, an increasingly greater proportion of females will be able to excel under the new social rules; and the more there are who achieve higher status and power, the more rapidly society will change.
Our most optimistic projections do not allow of a cessation of this feminization until less than 10% of the male population are in the paid work force, (assuming that “work force” is one of the categories allowed to exist under the new regime). What men will be called upon to do will be decided by the new dominant class, but it seems likely that they will be expected to take over responsibilities like house- and child-care, and in general provide background support of the comforts and ego of the higher paid and more esteemed female.
THE FLUNG GAUNTLET OF EQUALITY FOR MEN
The position the League must take at this prospect is obvious. We were formed to strive for equality of the sexes. The scenario described above is not equality. We must not allow such a travesty of our ideals to come to pass. We must hold to our Founding Motto – “Women should be equal to Men”: — not superior.
Much as we admire and respect our female counterparts in the human species, their needs and interests are not identical to ours in all things; we cannot assent to their achieving such an oppressive superiority over us. To live under a regime in which all our natural ways of thinking and behaving are over-ridden by those who think and feel differently is not acceptable. We cannot contemplate tamely acquiescing to such a tyranny of gender.
And we would not respect anyone who could!