Forumet - Karen Straughan får en fråga om feminism.

Karen Straughan får en fråga om feminism.

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""Was it not once a noble movement?"

Nope. At least, not in my opinion. That doesn't mean there weren't noble causes to fight for, but I've investigated far back in the feminist movement, and every victory they brought about was one where women got equal rights while maintaining female privileges.

Let's look at marital property. Feminists, particularly after industrialization and urbanization, and the establishment of a "cash economy", believed that coverture laws that dictated a woman's property and income be subsumed by her husband were unfair.
Under the law at the time, a married woman's income and property were ceded to her husband's administration, and he had a legal and social burden to use all the income and property of the family to support the family. A man could be jailed for failing to support his wife to the best of his ability.

So what did feminists do? Beginning in the 1860s, they changed the laws so that married women's income and property became her solely held property, as if she were still single. Her husband (and children) had no right or claim to it, and indeed, had no right to even demand documentation of it. Yet the law of the time still held her husband as the sole administrator of the family income and property, with the sole and ultimate responsibility for the material support of all members of the family, including his wife, even if she was wealthier than he was. So. She could earn income, own property, and he couldn't touch it.
But he was still required, through the income and property of the family (of which her income and property was no longer a part), to provide her with all the material "necessaries" of life. This obligation even extended to the tax burden on the wife's income and property, which, being a necessary expense, was his obligation to pay.
If he could not pay this sum, after paying for all the other expenses of the family out of his own and the children's income, or if she refused to provide him with the necessary documentation (which he no longer had any right to demand of her) so that he could pay it, he could be imprisoned for tax evasion. There were men who WERE imprisoned for tax evasion over this.
The most famous was Mark Wilks, a schoolteacher, who was unable to pay his physician wife Elizabeth's income tax. In court, he argued that even if he had the money to pay it, he could not because she had refused to provide him with the necessary documentation.
He was imprisoned for several months, and then released on clemency due to the media circus and his failing health. He died some months later.

So feminists took a situation where "what's ours is ours, but the buck stops with the husband" and turned it into "what's mine is mine and what's yours is ours, honey, oh, and the buck still stops with you." And even with the laws being what they were, such that if a woman were put in a position where she was supporting the family out of her own income (say, her husband was out of work for a few months), she could later sue him for every penny she'd spent on his, their children's and even her own support... even with that, some feminists were still dissatisfied.
She could earn and own as much property as she wanted, yet she was still entitled to her husband's financial support for all of her material necessities and she had no obligation to financially support her husband or children.... and there were still feminists of that time claiming the marital property laws discriminated against women. Why? Because mothers did not have an equal right to control and administer their children's income and property--that right fell to the father, who had sole financial responsibility for those children. Somehow, the law believed it was only fitting that the one person with the obligation to feed and shelter the children should be the person to control the children's property and income.

Yet feminists of that time (1910s) complained that this was unfair to women as it gave fathers more rights than mothers. At no time did any of these suffragette women ever lobby to place an equal burden on women to provide for their families or spouses. At no time did they lobby to impose a burden of self-sufficiency on women (to eliminate a wife's legal and social entitlement to the support of her husband, or a daughter's legal and social entitlement to the support of her parents). At no time did they do one damn thing to relieve men of the ultimate financial burden which formed the justification for their ultimate financial authority. They reformed the laws so that the laws said, "She can earn what she wants and keep it all to herself, but you still have to pay for everything, including all of her necessities, no matter how much money she has and how little you have. Oh, and guess what? She doesn't owe you or the kids jack." Most of this situation remained relatively intact until after the ERA was defeated in the 1970s.
Phyllis Schlafly successfully convinced several states to back down from their support of the ERA because the ERA would give women no rights they did not already have, but would remove privileges and exemptions they had always enjoyed under the law--such as the privilege of being financially supported by their husbands, and exemption from responsibility for marital debts.
So you know what? I'm willing to go on record here as saying that I don't think feminism was EVER about real equality.
That there were real inequalities back then, I happily concede.
That those inequalities needed to be renegotiated, I happily concede.
That feminism was ever about real equality? Not by a long shot." - Karen Straughan.