The Family in Global Transition

By Gordon L. Anderson | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
FEMINISM AND THE FAMILY

Patricia Lança

The overthrow of mother-right was the defeat of the female sex, an event affecting the history of the world. The man seized the reins in the house also, the woman was degraded, enslaved, the slave of the man's lust, a mere instrument for breeding children.... The first division of labour is that between man and woman for child-breeding...the first class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage and the first class-oppression with that of the female sex by the male.

-- Friedrich Engels1

The history of "the woman question," as it used to be known in the nineteenth century, is, of course, essentially the history of the family. The quotation cited above serves to illustrate where gender-feminism actually began. Engels' treatise The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, was not a history of women's place in the home but an attack on the family. Ultimately, as Engels knew, the history of the family involves the woman question.

It is the purpose of this paper to demonstrate the falsity of Engels' position as well as the depths to which his views have led in our day in radical feminist thinking. They constitute a generalized attack not only on the family but on social stability and a healthy relationship between the sexes. What I want to

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