Do you ever get tired of the lame bumper stickers or slogans that say, "Obedient women don't make history"--I know I do. I laugh when I hear women repeat this mantra--mainly because of the hypocrisy. Many feminists expect such strict adherence to the tenets of feminism that there are no allowances made for anyone who is "disobedient" in following their agenda.
You know the drill of feminist dogma--all women are victims, the patriarchy is evil, all women must be pro-choice, read Reviving Ophelia,
vote as Democrats and wet their panties when Bill Clinton enters a room. If you are a self-assured female who believes that women can get by on their own merits, votes Republican on some issues, doesn't hold women out to be victims, or sees Condi Rice as a better role model than Hillary Clinton, you better watch out because your disobedience will not be tolerated by the enlightened.
The enlightened in this case is the author and blogger, Arianna Huffington, who gives misguided advice to women on how to make it as a fearless femme fatale
in today's world. In her new book On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life,
Huffington sets a new low for standards of fearlessess.
My favorite chapter is the one entitled, "Fearless About Leadership and Speaking Out: The Power of One." Huffington describes her run for the governor of California in 2003 and how then-Lieutentant Governor Cruz Bustmante rolled his eyes a few times whenever she would make a point or open her mouth (frankly, I would be right there with him) and Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his displeasure at having to debate a fullthrottle female--this she discerns by his suggestion that she drink more de-caf. Huffington writes that this debate made her realize how "deeply engrained our culture's fear of assertive women is and how much of this fear women have unconsciously internalized." ..."A man who doesn't toe the line is not only tolerated but even hailed as an appealing scamp or rogue..." Could it be, Ms. Huffington, that your opponents just did not like what you had to say, whether you were a man or woman? After all, they are your opponents. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And if a man who does not toe the line is tolerated and hailed as an "appealing scamp or rogue," what the hell happened to President Bush? It seems like the whole world calls him one name after the next
with no regard for his maleness. If people just suggested that he drink more decaf, he would probably consider that a walk in the park.
There are assertive women out there who are talented and have reached leadership positions just like Ms. Huffington suggests. How does Ms. Huffington treat them? Like trash.
In her leadership chapter, she describes how to be fearless at any cost. She discusses the consequences of speaking out fearlessly, and decribes a Mommy Dearest
moment with her own daughter, Isabella.
Her daughter's godmother was Elaine Chao, who Huffington described as:
Married to Senator Mitch McConnell, whom I had often castigated for having been--among other things--one of the biggest obstacles to campaign finance reform. As if this were not enough, George Bush went ahead and nominated Elaine to be Secretary of Labor. ..So there she was, part of an administration that I kept insulting on pratically a daily basis. She was gracious enough to give Isabella a tour of the Labor Department when we were in Washington for spring break a few years ago, but it was clear that Isabella needed a godmother whose relationship with her goddaughter was not encumbered by her mother's political views. So I asked Isabella to pick a new godmother among my girlfriends.
So the champion of women's fearlessness has now taught her daughter the lesson that if a friend or family member does not share your political views, you can just substitute someone who does--with mothers like this, it's no wonder girls grow up to be scared to speak their minds. What if Isabella turns into (gasp!) a Republican, for goodness sakes, will her mother disown her, like she did her godmother?
Ms. Huffington closes the end of the leadership chapter with "whatever the price, we must speak out about what matters. The world needs the leadership of women now more than ever. We may lose friends in the process, but we can no longer afford to remain silent."
With friends like Huffington, who needs enemies? If we want to teach our daughters to be fearless in expressing their opinions, we probably shouldn't give them the idea that their friends will disown them for expressing a controversial idea. Men seem better at tolerating other points of view and keeping a friendship than women. Maybe tolerating dissenting points of view is how we should be teaching our daughters to be fearless.Update
: A couple of commenters have claimed that I do not allow dissenting views or that I am equally as intolerant to dissenting views as Huffington is. Huh? You are posting your opinion here freely on my blog
and then accusing me of being intolerant of other points of view? That makes no sense. This post is actually about the lack of guts women like Huffington have when they are so intolerant that they kick out family and friends from their clan for dissenting points of view. If one is so fragile that they would get rid of a friend or family member because they have a different set of political beliefs, it seems that they are full of fear, not fearless.