Thoughts of the Times; Thanks, `Radical' Feminists

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), February 20, 2000 | Go to article overview

Thoughts of the Times; Thanks, `Radical' Feminists


While reading the February 17th Reader's Forum entitled ``Radical Feminism,'' I couldn't help but disagree with Mr. Eller's ideas on what ``radical feminism'' is. I also can't help but wonder if he was beaten up by a girl on the playground in front of his friends when young so as to explain why Mr. Eller only responds to the Korea Times Op/Eds when they are concerned with women's advancements.

``Radical feminism'' is a term made up by conservative men who are scared to death that woman may eventually get equal treatment in society. This equal treatment would cause man to lose some of the power he has held pretty much since the dawn of time.

Mr. Eller spends half of his words trying to convince us that man has had as difficult (if not more difficult) a life as woman. The other half of his words are spent in venting his personal dislike of President Clinton by attacking two of the women he has appointed to high-level positions. As I feel that job performance reviews of Madeleine Albright and Janet Reno are lengthy matters that one could spend an entire article on, I will focus, instead, on the issue of feminism.

Mr. Eller says that ``feminism has always been with us.'' and that ``Women...have relied on manipulation and deceptions to obtain power since Eden. Feminism is nothing but female double-talk used to obtain power which women have always had.''

One does not need to be a feminist scholar to know that this simply isn't true. Please tell me how woman has had power? Up until the 20th century in the West, and in many countries even today, woman has not been able to vote in political elections, has not been able to own property, has not been able to have custody of her children in a divorce, has not been able to take part in politics in any way (Unless trying to persuade her husband to see things her way counts. But even here, the man always has the final say.), has not been able to have the same educational opportunities as man, has rarely been able to pursue a career of her CHOICE, and has suffered gross inequalities in the legal system, etc.

Yes, millions of men have died in wars throughout history. But who started these wars? Certainly not woman. And when man has gone off to war, woman was left behind to manage the whole household by herself. Woman has always supported her man in wartime by assuming the jobs that men usually did, by making do with limited war rations, and often bore the brunt of occupying armies. How many millions women have been raped and murdered by soldiers? How many women have been rendered war widows, forced to support their families by themselves when work opportunities were extremely limited to them? Throughout history men have created wars, and marched off (some willingly, some unwillingly), and women have suffered because of them.

Yes, life for a Korean male peasant was and still is difficult. I believe the peasant woman has a much more difficult life than her husband. He works the fields. She works the fields, takes care of the house, cooks the meals, raises the children, and (up until a few years ago) bore them with great risk in conditions that were usually less than sanitary. Aside from having fewer duties than his wife, there was opportunity for man to advance. There are lots of success stories of Korean men who started with nothing and became very successful. One never hears these stories of women because 60 years ago, it was virtually impossible for the peasant woman to make a fortune. Woman was not allowed to make her own way. They were fated to marriage and economic dependence on man.

Because woman was stripped of her power through economic dependence on man, she used the only means left to her--manipulation and deception. If man is upset by this common characteristic of woman, then he has no one to blame but his own gender, for man gave woman no other options. …

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