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The Business Function
of Feminism

Go directly to "Why Business Loves Women Workers."

BECAUSE OF the superstition that ruthlessly aggressive competition is the primary and necessary factor for success, the businessman sees himself in constant warfare for dominance of the worker. Workers are set one against another as a routine policy, with labor unions a main target. Racism and sexism are deliberate tactics in the war against organization. The fundamental strategy is to dominate the worker at all costs.

It was more important for the Reagan administration to destroy the air controllers’ union than to assure safe operations, a bizarre move that attacked its most important constituency, as business people are the most stable air travel customers.

In the wake of the 1994 Democratic loss of both houses of Congress, some analysts suggested that one factor was the continuing loss of earning power by men. It is a fact that men’s wages have fallen as a direct result of the entry of more and more women into the labor market. To the extent that the Democrats are seen as the party of women and feminists, they lose votes not only from the Religious Right, but also from the broad masses of men who perceive themselves to be at a competitive disadvantage with women.

On closer inspection, it is ironic that the Democrats should bear the burden of this loss, as the feminist agenda advanced by Ms. was an embarrassing break with feminist history, and, with the exception of equal pay for equal work, served the interests of the business community to the detriment of the labor unions. In this sense, feminism helps Republicans, the party of business, far more than it does the Democrats, the party of labor. The Republicans have the advantage of being able to benefit from the economics of the trend as well as the resentment it arouses.

In some cases, the feminist agenda was exactly the same as the Reagan agenda. They were both against Playboy, for example. Meese isolated it as “pornography” to silence a liberal bastion. Other than the glorification of the cheesecake image of female body, however, the Playboy Philosophy shared many feminist values. Despite the belief that Playboy presented women as sex-objects, it was the first mass market magazine in the world that taught men to see women as companions and friends rather than merely as wives and lovers. It pioneered the acceptance of women as intellectual and economic equals. No magazine did more for sexual education, nor for making men understand that a woman’s failure to achieve sexual satisfaction was not a symptom of frigidity but more likely a result of his inept technique. Today, when newspapers routinely discuss the techniques of oral sex, it is easy to forget how advanced the Playboy Advisor was in, say, 1964.

A young English woman vehemently told me, “Playboy turned women into slot machines.” I replied, “It was better than being washing machines.” It also wasn’t even true. Playboy encouraged women to get out of the household slave role, to become economically self-sufficient, to use birth control pills, to have sex before marriage, to masturbate, to expect oral gratification from a man, among other then-shameful caresses. The list could go on and on. I found that most of the criticism of Playboy came from people who never read it, both male and female. They just looked at the pictures and accused everyone else of doing the same. 

The hostility of the feminist movement has been so irrational (turning down the offer of a $500,000 grant from the Playboy Foundation to help fight the anti-abortion movement, for example) that I feel it was generated by government agents. This may sound quite paranoiac, but it is a well-known fact that Gloria Steinem worked for the CIA during the Sixties. This charge came from within the feminist movement and was raised publicly by the Redstockings in a press release sent out in 1976. It was also covered in feminist newsletters, and was edited out of a collection of feminist writings published by Random House. The book was delayed almost two years while they fought about this.

Gloria Steinem admitted that she worked for a CIA front during the Sixties. She organized intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic and got them to attend so-called Social Democratic conferences, which were designed to counter Communist influence by presenting a respectable liberal alternative. She’s claimed that she was an unwitting dupe. Gloria surfaced in New York out of nowhere and went around interviewing writers and worming her way into the New York literary scene. Bruce Jay Friedman introduced me to her and I took her to a freeloading lunch at Georges IV set up by their press agent. She was wearing a magnificent black mink coat and was just fascinated by me. She told me that she felt she was really on the inside now because in reading a blind item about me that Bruce had inserted in a Herald-Tribune article she knew to whom it referred. 

Everything was just great until the bill arrived. The waiter didn’t know that it was a freebie and I had to go through the agonizingly embarrassing experience of straightening this out in front of Gloria. I believe that she was then television comic Milt Kamen’s girl friend and I’m sure I never had a chance. Talk about great-looking, though, and smart! Now if only all that genius had been devoted to legitimate causes such as exterminating yapping dogs…. Her background was obscured by various self-inventions that were eventually exposed in Time. Coupled with multi-millionaire publisher and real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman, she lied to Vanity Fair about his financial aid for Ms. magazine. Not a penny came from Mortimer, Gloria said. Columnist Liz Smith revealed that Zuckerman had put $1.2 million into a rescue attempt and sent his executives to help as well.

There has never been an adequate explanation of the original funding for Ms., nor for the rapid acceptance of feminist propaganda by the mass media in the early Seventies. No radical movement has ever spread with the speed of feminism, which went from little or no organization and acceptance to total domination in less than two years. Obviously, it did touch very deep frustrations in American women, but it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that the existing movement was manipulated very effectively to channel these frustrations to the benefit of the business community and the detriment of women, children, men and families.

Why business loves women workers

The kind of feminism sponsored by Gloria Steinem set men against women in a vicious battle for jobs. Although the business community fought equal pay for equal work, it benefited from the entry of women into the labor market:

  • Women work for less.
  • They are more docile and less likely to deviate from company policies.
  • Women are less likely to join labor unions.
  • By increasing the size of the labor pool, they created more competition for jobs and enabled employers to make better deals.
  • In two-income families, one person is more likely to be willing to work part-time or as a temporary, which employers prefer as it tends to decrease various labor costs, including fringe benefits.
  • The atomization of the family reduces the strength of the individual worker by depriving him or her of a base independent of the company.
  • Taking children away from their mothers at an early age tends to increase their anxiety levels and results in higher rates of tension-relieving consumption as they grow up.
  • The loss of women’s household services increases purchases of various forms of fast foods, which have higher profit levels than home-cooked meals.
  • Declining birthrates are associated with increased purchases of hard goods. This seems ridiculous but it is a well-documented fact, which I first saw in the Scientific American “Energy” special issue in 1975.
  • There is a startling congruence in priorities of NOW and the business community: children are at the bottom, or do not exist except as proto-consumer/worker. Children were Number 14 on the famed NOW agenda of fifteen priorities. Other analysts commented that the Democratic loss reflected a Populist trend in American politics. Any attempt to re-capture the high ground here presents the Democrats with a dilemma pitting its feminist allies against the realities of American life. The issue is family values. The feminist denial of the special role of the mother and her need to be sheltered from the brutalities of the work place does great damage to family values. It also makes it impossible for the Democrats to respond to the deeply felt anguish of mothers and fathers who must sacrifice their children’s well-being in order to feed, clothe and house them.

    Thus, what was originally mostly a lower class problem has become one that crosses all class boundaries. We aren’t all Hillary Clintons, are we? For most of us, the day care center is a new kind of hell that separates us from our children. To the extent that feminists are blamed for this, the Democrats lose votes. Thus, the President’s brilliant and attractive wife contributed to his party’s defeat, because although she may very well represent the aspirations of many women, she also is the symbol of their failure.

    The results speak for themselves. The techniques are quite transparent and obvious once you know where to look. Create false leaders. Erase existing culture. Substitute new values. Sell, sell, sell. Feminism is no different from any of the other campaigns. The world according to Virginia Slims is different from the world according to Adolf Hitler in content, but the aim is the same: to make sure that all energy belongs to the state -- whether the state is National Socialism or Free Enterprise. Cigarettes or gas chambers -- what does it matter? -- the end is the same. Work will make you free. And dead. And someone else will profit.  


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