Sure, you might think women and men deserve equal rights and opportunities, but that alone is terribly old-fashioned. Do you doubt that women are constant victims of a sinister overarching patriarchy? Sayonara, lady! Do you think that abortion is about a life, not a right? Be gone! Do you largely appreciate free markets and capitalism? Oh, dear. Do you think the vast majority of university Women’s Studies departments have largely run out of things to do, sometimes cooking up ridiculous theories simply because they’re bored? Skedaddle! Do you vote for Republicans? How dare you? You are not, at least according to the movement’s current leading lights, a feminist.
The weirdest element of today’s progressive feminism is also its most ironic: The movement is obsessed—and here we are back to old Captain Ahab—with a dreadfully tired script.
When my own mother was growing up, she thought she could be only one of three things: a teacher, a nurse, or a farmer’s wife. By the time I was a kid in the 80s, thanks to earlier renditions of feminism, we’d come a long way: I wanted to be an archeologist or a Supreme Court justice or, on my crazier days, a writer. Today, young women, repeatedly told they can do and be anything they might dream, are dominating on college campuses, the workforce, and beyond.