Monday, January 17, 2011

How the 60s failed us

When Karen Owen first appeared in the news, I decided not to take up the debate.  Rather, I would leave it to the people who were more gifted in wisdom and words.  My wait was worthwhile.  From Caitlin Flanagan in the most recent Atlantic:

 "As I read the woman's report, and imagined the tones of outrage and hurt and violation in which it was surely given, and as I lingered on her account of how drunk she'd been, a very old-fashioned phrase suddenly floated through my mind.  It was a phrase I hadn't thought of in years, a simple formulation that carried within it a world of assumptions and beliefs, 'She's angry,' I thought to myself, 'because he took advantage of her.'
. . . In those days, we relied on our own good judgment to keep us safe, but also--and this is the terrible, unchanging fact about being female--on the mercy of the men around us."
While I may have used a word other than "terrible" to describe the truth of women relying upon the mercy of men, I believe Flanagan has hit upon a truth we have ignored.
"We've made a culture for our college women in which they have been liberated from the curfews and parietals that were once the bane of co-eds, but one in which they have also shaken off the general suspicion of male sexuality. . . "
And not just our college women, but our young daughters as well, as evidenced by the alarming fashions available in the "girls" section of any clothing store.  We have not taught our women and girls to guard themselves, but encouraged them to be seductive in the name of beauty, and therefore have left them vulnerable to the pain only a man can bring upon a woman.

God grant us wisdom as we teach our daughters what is good: to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Flanagan's full article here.


  1. I'm so glad you posted this. When I read the article earlier this month (and another one on pornography in the same issue), I was struck how my generation of feminists are (finally) realizing that their liberation is another form of bondage.

    Unfortunately, as you point out, they see the old order as still "terrible." They don't see that if you don't submit to the man who loves you, who has your best interest in mind (usually a father or husband), you will be enslaved by men who don't love you, and will only use you. I suppose the modern feminist wants a third option--maybe no men in the world, extreme individual isolation, people who don't sin and aren't complicated.

    I loved the part about Owen's dad answering the phone for her and telling a NYT reporter his daughter has nothing more to say. I think Flanagan meant to show the event as part of the tragedy--Owen's self-destruction and abuse resulted in her fleeing to her dad's protection. But I saw it as hope for Miss Owen.

  2. The article on pornography was quite interesting, too.

    I would agree with your third option for the modern feminist being "no men." Did you read the article "The End of Men" a few months back? Hanna Rosin wrote it. Kind of paints of grim picture of our culture and what we've done.