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On Monday night, speaking at the University of Buffalo, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro bluntly took on radical feminism with a speech titled, “How Radical Feminism Ruins Everything” that was forceful and often hilarious.
After recounting a funny story about the only other time he had been to Buffalo, when he was engaged to his wife and they visited Niagara Falls in the winter, Shapiro commenced his assault on radical feminism by briefly discussing the feminist animus for Justice Brett Kavanaugh before he targeted radical feminism directly.
Here’s the truth: the modern feminist movement, which has radicalized itself, is a disgraceful departure from the original feminist movement. I believe that I am an original feminist. Not because I’m old, but because I just believe in the principles of original feminism. I think original feminism was about certain basic rights, basic human equality — the ability for women to vote, to get any job for which they were qualified, to make decisions about marriage and childrearing for themselves, I believe in all of these things.
But that’s first-wave feminism. Then came the radicals. Feminism moved from being about achieving equal rights for women to something different. Instead, feminism was turned into a fight over three chief ideas: Number 1. Men and women are absolutely identical. Not they have equal rights. Not they should be treated with equal opportunity, but they are absolutely identical. There are no differences between men and women. Second, that the patriarchy, every institution of American society … are reflective of an evil patriarchal system. And finally, we need a new standard; we need new mores, to replace the old patriarchal system.
Shapiro noted that these ideas were based on one central point: that all social problems were based on a power hierarchy. He then outlined how radical feminist ideas wrecked the most important institutions in society and led to less happiness for women. Shapiro appealed to basic science, then offered an amusing reference to gender studies majors that brought laughter and applause from the audience, noting, “I hate to break it to gender studies majors in the room, number 1, I don’t know where you’re going to get a job.” He noted something else for gender studies majors: “Sex is not a social construct and gender is not a social construct.” Shapiro brought another laugh from the audience when he asserted, “Men and women on average are not the same. You know how I know this? Because I have functioning retinas and a functioning prefrontal cortex. … We used to know these things because we had not frontally lobotomized ourselves to facts.”
Shapiro added, eliciting more laughter: “There was an actual push a few weeks ago for people to call vaginas ‘front holes’ because they didn’t want to — I mean, I can’t imagine what President Trump would even say about that on an Access Hollywood tape.”
Shapiro segued to the attitude of radical feminism regarding sex, asserting that while men are far more interested in variety and frequency, women focus on stability, comfort and intimacy. Shapiro triggered what was possibly the biggest laugh of the night, telling the story of a study in which one attractive man and one attractive woman were separately sent into a bar querying members of the opposite sex if they wanted to go home and have sex. As the audience started to laugh, Shapiro grinned, “You’re all laughing because you know the result before I say it.” Shapiro noted that 75% of the men who were asked by the attractive woman said yes while no women agreed to the proposition from the attractive man.
Centering on marriage, Shapiro posited that marriage was innately an amazing institution for women. He noted that marriage used to be focused on the bearing and raising of children, but feminists had regarded marriage as a prison for women. Ripping the “Rom-Com” mentality, he stated, “With the change in how we see marriage as a mutually pleasurable arrangement as opposed to a goal-oriented partnership between two people, are women happier after all this?” He answered, “Well, nope.” He then cited statistics showing men were happier with less-committed relationships while women were unhappier.
Shapiro continued, “Radical feminism hasn’t just impacted marriage in negative ways, it’s also impacted in really severe negative ways, motherhood and childrearing. The death of marriage wasn’t just bad for women and men; it was really, really bad for children. Disconnecting marriage from children didn’t stop kids from being born; it just meant kids didn’t have dads.”
Shapiro cited reams of statistics proving that point, then quoted feminist Gloria Steinem’s famous dictum, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Shapiro responded, “Unless it turns out that there are little fish, then you might need another fish around to help take care of things.”
Shapiro turned to abortion, saying, “Radical feminists have a solution for this: just teach women not to have babies. That’ll solve everything. Then you won’t have to worry about single motherhood.” He added, “Now in order to preserve the myth that work as an accountant is more important than the actual female superpower of creating individual humans with your own body and nourishing them with your own body, radical feminists have convinced men and women that the solution to all of this is abortion, that true feminism relies on abortion.”
Shapiro concluded by confronting the radical feminist perspective on sex. He pointed out that feminists had taught women to act more like men with all the attendant libertinism, then noted the enormous reversal by feminists regarding pornography. He pointed out that in the 1970s and ‘80s, feminists excoriated pornography for objectifying women, while their current position was that pornography empowered women. Shapiro brought more laughter when he commented, “Men will never stop laughing at how they somehow did this. … It is the greatest prank ever pulled in the history of mankind, that women somehow convinced themselves that pornography was empowering. There is not a man alive that watches pornography who thinks, ‘Boy, there’s a strong independent lady.”
At the end of the speech, Shapiro concluded:
So what am I recommending after all of this? I’m recommending a word that’s kind of gone out of style these days between the sexes: dignity. Men and women treating each other as individuals with honor, as creatures of God, everybody made in God’s image. It is your duty and your joy to honor and protect the person with whom you want to be intimate. Women treating themselves as worthy of that honor and demanding that honor from men. That’s what I’m calling for, and if that sounds simple, that’s because it actually is.
It is not complex. Human nature is complex. Human nature is difficult. But setting moral standards is actually not that hard if you’re committed to doing it. But if you’re committed instead to tearing down those moral standards in the name of some brave new world, then of course you’re going to end up in a really nasty gray area which is where we are right now.
What we require right now is a commitment to dignity and to honor, and that requires hard work and it requires a commitment to women. Most of all, it requires decency and if we can all be decent to one another then we’re all feminists in the end.