CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of Enemies Of Eros. By Maggie Gallagher.

Oct 25, 1990

Bonus Books, 1989.

A number of helpful books critical of feminism and the sexual revolution have appeared, including Midge Decter’s The New Chastity and Other Arguments Against Women’s Liberation (1972), Brigitte and Peter Berger’s The War Over the Family (1983), George Gilder’s Men and Marriage (1986, updating his 1973 Sexual Suicide), Michael Levin’s Feminism and Freedom (1987) and Nicholas Davidson’s The Failure of Feminism (1988). One of the most recent is Maggie Gallagher’s Enemies of Eros.

The theme of her book is that the twin pillars of the feminist/sexual revolution – the abandonment of both sexual inhibitions and gender stereotypes – have pretty much destroyed love, marriage, home and family.

These are just some of the costs: “women are getting poorer, more exposed, more often beaten and abused, as the fabric of our family life which restrains the untutored aggression of men and binds them to us unravels.

“Our children are fewer in number, too few now even to replace the population. Those that remain are more often battered, beaten, neglected, isolated, sexually-used, or simply ignored. More often girls, seeking love, end up pregnant and abandoned. More boys (seeking gender) end up as thugs and beasts, or as accident and suicide statistics. Brutalized by divorce and paternal abandonment, children long for stable family life, for erotic attachment, but are unable to achieve it.”

Such deterioration has transpired in a relatively short amount of time. Miss Gallagher places the start of this period of decline at 1971, the year when three destructive social movements converged: the sexual revolution, feminism and the population control movement.

The combination of these forces resulted in the attempt to convince us that families, children and traditional sexual roles are passé, harmful and oppressive. Traditional moral values, gender differentiation, and the bourgeois family all were to disappear under the new banners of sexual freedom and sexual androgyny. This feminist/sexual liberationist agenda has now pretty much infiltrated every aspect of society, from academia to popular entertainment. The assault on the old order has been intense and incessant.

Childbearing and motherhood have come under particularly strong attack. One feminist sociologist, warning that we can “no longer persist in our pronatalist attitudes”, envisages a day in the near future when “girls will be given an electric shock whenever they see a picture of an adorable baby until the very thought of motherhood becomes anathema to them”.

Betty Friedan speaks contemptuously of homemaking women, viewing them as prisoners in “comfortable concentration camps”. Popular mass culture has picked up on this theme, making it clear that any woman who prefers children over career, family over self, is a grotesque and pitiable relic of the past.

Miss Gallagher makes it clear, with an abundance of evidence and statistics, that the assault on the family and traditional moral values has severely hurt all of us. But the main victims of feminism and sexual egalitarianism, she says, are women.

Here are some of the benefits of the feminist crusade: “women are more likely to be abandoned by their husbands, to have to raise their children alone, to slip into poverty and to experience all the consequent degradations, to live in crowded apartments in dangerous parts of the city, to experience bad health and poor medical care, to be beaten, stabbed, raped and robbed.

“Domestic violence is on the rise. So is sexual abuse of children while the sexual abuse of women has become the social norm. Reversing historic trends, women today work longer and harder than their mothers did and, under the stress, are more likely to collapse in nervous breakdowns. Fewer women can find suitable marriage partners and many who do marry will never have the children for which they long.”

Children too are a major loser in the sexual revolution which is sweeping our culture – abortion being one of the more obvious results. Indeed, it can be said that abortion is the logical outcome of the sexual revolution: if men are free to have sex at whim, why cannot women be free to abort on demand the unwanted results of their sexual freedom?

Child abuse is also an inevitable fruit of the new morality. Miss Gallagher sees a close connection between abortion and child abuse: “the ethic of the child-batterer is the abortion ethic. Child abusers, like abortion activists, believe in adults’ right to be in control of their lives. Child abusers, like abortionists, believe that only children who gratify parental desires have a right to exist.”

It is hard to believe that the cultural message contained in abortion, the insistent eulogies to ‘control’, and the references to parenting as a right and a pleasure have not contributed to the explosion in child abuse and neglect.

Another result of the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce, is also closely tied in with child abuse. Besides the obvious harmful psychological and emotional damage divorce produces, it also results in a marked increase in sexual abuse. A young child living with a stepparent is 40 times more likely to be abused than a child living with his or her biological father.

These and a host of other empirical findings presented in this book make it clear what the sexual/feminist revolution has unleashed in modern society. The returns of the new morality are in. The wholesale rejection of a long-standing moral code cannot take place without severe and widespread consequences. Miss Gallagher chronicles and details these consequences. The desire to create a society based on pleasure without responsibility, and the attempt to manufacture a genderless society, can only result in a tremendous amount of destruction and harm.

An earlier attempt to restructure society – the Marxist revolution – has proven, after 70 years and hundreds of millions of lives lost, to have been a monumental failure. It is hoped that it will not take 70 years before the sexual/ feminist revolution is seen for what it really is: a destroyer not only of families, women, children and love, but also of communities, nations and civilisations. Reading this book should help to defer, if not reverse, such a destructive trend.

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