Feminism caused by enviromental factors?
Louise Livesey // 1 October 2007
OK, I apologise, it’s such an easy target, but bloggers elsewhere have been arguing that feminism may be caused by plastic production globally!
Mrs Elliott seems to truly believe that “hormones from the pill and hormones from our insatiable appetite for synthetic goods” are leading to the rise in women asking for equality. How? Well apparently because:
Some years ago now, a widely publicised study carried out on genetic gender “mistakes” leading to a rise in reproductive disorders (among other problems) within the polar bear population alerted society to the dangers we’re storing up for ourselves from nearly half a century of the pill and synthetics. (The concentration of hormone levels in Arctic waters is greatest there due to ocean current patterns.) Plastics have also been shown to effect gender in developing unborn mammals. A web report deals with alarming changes in rodents exposed to very low levels of plastic-related hormones whilst developing.
From (I kid you not) Ladies Against Feminism
I do love the idea of plastics “effecting” gender in unborn mammals, as if gender wouldn’t happen without it! Plus the sheer misinformation conflating biological sex and cultural here is staggering. I suspect Mrs Elliott means “affecting” gender which deals with the first, if not the last criticism. However this isn’t an exercise in pedantry – althought Mrs Elliott goes on to misuse (perhaps abuse would be nearer) the concepts of post-modernism, Marxism and Communism too. Mrs Elliott, of course, ignores the fact that the women’s movement, calling for equality, predates the manufacturing discovery of plastics. It’s a fact to be conveniently forgotten, apparently, that suffragists were not exposed to similar environmental factors which were a result of scientific advances some forty years later. However, she ends with a rallying cry of:
We should rather consider […] this frightening new evidence for emerging environmental influences–a Frankenstein’s monster created by our own hand as we meddle with the delicate balance of God’s creation and His natural order. If a true, healthy gender identity is to be rekindled, any environmental influence that hampers both the feminine and masculine identity in men and women must be promptly removed from the equation. Legislating against the reproductive pill and the use of unsafe plastics and their intrusion into our everyday lives on such a vast scale will be a good place to start.Though these suggestions may seem extreme, if a factor has been shown to present danger, are we not morally, ethically, and spiritually beholden to act?
Now I am struggling with the logic here, Mrs Elliott, perhaps you could help out. Whilst I am concerned about the proven impact of plastics apparently inhibiting production of male offspring in some mammals (and I speak as someone committed to environmental action) I don’t see how that creates feminism. Seems to me, following the logic of the argument presented, the way to rid the world of feminism is to stop women being born. But then you also argue for legal banning of birth control pills (a solution which is contrary in it’s impacts as, if this were to happen, the birth rate would rise and environmental degradation due to human action would increase neither stemming the “environmental growth” of “gender” or feminism nor helping with the environmental disaster we are surely storing up (although I’d argue that pandora’s box is open on that one already really).
OK and now the serious point – a little learning is a dangerous thing, particularly when people use it to jam together specialised terms in a way which defies definition and claim it’s “evidence” for anything. We can prove, in a similar way, that climate chaos has increased proportionally to the decline of pirates, but it doesn’t show causality. My sense of outrage at this casual use of language is really this, you can’t debate with someone who uses language thus. But rather than ignore it, we should be taking issue with it and asking (I’d prefer to demand but the “Ladies Against Feminism” might faint at that!) that people at least substantiate their claims and argue from a point of informed prejudice, rather than cutting-and-pasting random words together and hoping it makes sense.
Another site has also critiqued this piece including this gem:
In 1953, Saran Wrap, the same material the military used to wrap its fighter planes in to keep them fresher, longer was approved for use in food packaging. Then, the sexual revolution happened. Coincidence? I think not.