The New Line of Attack on Elisabeth Badinter

The woman-haters who have their knickers in a twist over the new and brilliant book by the leading feminist philosopher of our times Elisabeth Badinter have now come up with a new way of discrediting her. Since they are too stupid and lazy to read her book and too intellectually impotent to argue with the points she makes, they now claim that Badinter is old and why do we need to listen to the opinions of an old woman anyways? Besides, she is rich. A rich old woman, what can she know about feminism?

Don’t believe me? Then see for yourself. One of such ageist freakazoids left a comment on my blog claiming that Badinter is too old to have opinions worth listening to. Ageism always makes me absolutely livid. Useless losers who have achieved nothing in life are the only people who hold their youth as some sort of a major qualification that makes their stupid opinions count more than anybody else’s.

The idea that women lose all value once they are past the age of fertility has been one of the biggest weapons of women-haters anywhere. This is precisely why the woman-hating commenter who dared to promote her vile hateful rantings on my blog claims that since Badinter is too old to have children, she cannot possibly be capable of writing a book of feminist analysis.

I just visited the Amazon’s page of Badinter’s The Conflict and the ratings are very low. There is no doubt in my mind that most of those reviews have been left by brainless idiots who haven’t read the book and who are alarmed by the rumors spread by naturalists who promote women’s enslavement. I think it’s a good sign that the book is provoking so much rage. It means that Badinter is right and that the woman-haters are threatened by her message.

33 thoughts on “The New Line of Attack on Elisabeth Badinter”

  1. Your review has made me want to read Badinter. That being said there is something highly “illiberal” in the way you treat your opposition. Notice how quick you are to treat them as if they are “mentally ill.” You assume they disagree not out of a set of principles, but because they are “women haters” or because they are against old people. This breaks down any chance of being able to engage in any dialogue. To be clear, it is perfectly reasonable for you to challenge opponents to make a case and not to simply explain Badinter away. This makes it all the more important for you to do the same for them and not cross the line into name calling.

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    1. My friend, I have said many many times that efforts to engage in a dialogue with people I despise were never my goal in starting this blog. I have no interest in any dialogue with anybody other than people I have chosen for that purpose myself. The blog allows me to lower my blood pressure by unloading aggression verbally. It has been highly effective for this purpose. I’m blogging not to educate anybody or convince anybody but to have fun and lower my BP. This is how I do it. 🙂

      I’ve never made it secret that this was my only goal.

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      1. It is certainly not my intention to tell you what you should do with your blog. If you wish to blow off steam go ahead. That being said I am struck by the fact that you would “despise” strangers who have not lied to you, stolen from you or caused you any physical harm for the simple sin of being wrong. Would it make sense for a basketball player to despise people who could not dribble through their legs?

        There is something “anti-liberal” in such a mindset. It implies a worldview in which there is the I blessed with the Truth and all these other people who are “Wrong.” This is not just that an idea is right or wrong, but that there can be people, who embody these things. As a liberal I do not believe that I have some special access to the “Truth.” Rather I am part of what I hope will be a life long process of learning through the application of rational methods of thought in a discourse with other people, who I may disagree with strongly. Since I am in no way better than they are, how can I despise them?

        For the simple sado-maschoism of it you may want to read Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling. It is a pro-attachment parenting guide. It has lots of “nature is wonderful” and you need to spend every minute with your child.

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        1. “That being said I am struck by the fact that you would “despise” strangers who have not lied to you, stolen from you or caused you any physical harm for the simple sin of being wrong.”

          – I think you are surprised that my system of values is different from yours. 🙂 In my system of values, lying is not cause for contempt. If people lie to me, I always look to myself to see what I’m doing to make them fear being honest with me. Stealing from me is also not necessarily a big deal. But I do despise housewives with a passion. I despise even more people who review books they haven’t read. 🙂 You and I simply have different value systems, that’s all.

          I have no problem with being “anti-Liberal” or anything else.

          “As a liberal I do not believe that I have some special access to the “Truth.” Rather I am part of what I hope will be a life long process of learning through the application of rational methods of thought in a discourse with other people, who I may disagree with strongly.”

          – That’s all great but I believe that attempts at discussion with certain people are completely useless. I don’t think that every point of view deserves my respect just because it brands itself as a point of view. If I don’t believe I will gain anything useful from a discussion with such a person, then I’ll just ridicule them and make them useful in such a way.

          Treating bearers of certain ideologies as rational discussion partners equals granting validity to those ideologies. I refuse to do that.

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          1. I demand a baseline for discussion, mainly that the person’s beliefs have to be the result of some sort of rational thought process otherwise I have nothing to discuss. I spend most of my time trying to understand people who thought the world was about to end. So I am pretty open about trying to understand people with different world views. I do not have to be nice to everyone. I do not have to give them a platform, but it is my job as a historian to understand people as they understand themselves. So saying that someone hates women or old people in not likely to be very helpful since very few people see themselves in this light. This applies to early modern witch hunters as well as natural mommies.

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              1. In understanding them and their motives. This is important because last I checked we live in a country full of “irrational, bigots, who never got over their mommy and their sky god.” :p

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              2. “In understanding them and their motives.”

                – The person in question came to my blog and left her comment. The contents of the comment made it clear to me that this person cannot possibly interest me no matter what happens. Even if we were the last 2 people on earth, I would prefer to stay silent forever than discuss anything with her. She criticizes a book she hasn’t read and I will waste my time in understanding this sort of a super profound human being? No, not likely.

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  2. It’s not surprising to me that they’re engaging in ageism- the naturalist movement is plum full of ableism, by touting this belief that “natural” is the only proper way, they deny “real” motherhood to women with physical and mental disabilities. Ageism and ableism often go hand-in-hand, since being nondisabled and young are, by naturalists, seen as the natural, default state.

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    1. You are right, there is a weird sort of logic to this position. If childbirth is a woman’s only role in life, then it does make sense that they would discount anything offered by a woman who is not bearing children right now for whatever reason.

      The irony of the situation is that nature itself always punishes ageists. They can’t avoid getting old no matter how much they hate the idea.

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  3. It’s been a long time since I read Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, but I bet if it were being written now, people like these naturalists would be cited as an example of the phenomenon.

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  4. What really gets the knickers of these people into knots are women like me: single, older than 35, never wanted and never had kids, and perfectly happy with our lives. What’s the matter with us? Don’t we know a woman’s only reason for existing is to spawn some man’s precious gene bank? How lonely and bitter we must be! Etc. etc.

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    1. It’s the “perfectly happy” part that bugs them. As Badinter says in the book, the people who rant the most about the horrible selfishness and the supposed misery of childless women are precisely those who only became parents because they felt they had to and who are unhappy about that choice.

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  5. The fact that her screen name is “Mommy Psycholgist” says everything. She has subsumed her entire selfhood in to the fact that she is a “Mommy.” Everything else, including her career, her relationship, her very “selfness” is lost under the identity of “Mommy.” No wonder she is troubled by Badinter. And now I too want to read that book too! It sounds like the _Feminine Mystique_ for the 21st century. After Friedan first published, she got similar complaints/critiques.

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    1. “The fact that her screen name is “Mommy Psycholgist” says everything. She has subsumed her entire selfhood in to the fact that she is a “Mommy.” Everything else, including her career, her relationship, her very “selfness” is lost under the identity of “Mommy.” ”

      – You are absolutely right. Now imagine what will happen when her children grow up and have lives of their own. When you can’t base your entire identity on being a “Mommy” any more but you haven’t created another identity for yourself to fall back on, then who are you? That’s why they helicopter around their adult children so much: because they have no other identity.

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  6. Another interesting point on Badinter-criticizers is that they see the only possible cause and effect relationship involving Badinter’s business affiliations as “she has economic interest in X, therefore she pedals Y ideology”. I wonder why it is so difficult for those people to believe the reverse – that for some people, Badinter included, ideology may come first, and the decisions about which business is ethical enough to engage in come second, based on ideology…

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    1. This is also a very good point. I know I’d feel bad about Badinter if I discovered that she was investing in breastfeeding classes, but here she invests in a product she considers useful and always referred to as useful. It’s as surprising as if I invested in the Amazon Kindle.

      Besides, the book is SO far from being formula propaganda as anything can possibly be. Badinter says, “A situation where 100% of women choose to breastfeed is as unhealthy as when 100% of women choose not to.” She advocates letting women CHOOSE whether they feel like breastfeeding based on their personal circumstances. The book is so not a “Gormula for everybody all of the time!” manifesto. All it does is very gently suggest that nothing horribly tragic will happen if you choose not to breastfeed, that’s all.

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  7. Here is an interesting review of the book………………………………………..Hmmm…………

    I am a mother Elisabeth Badinter despises & feels sorry for…,
    but I must ask you to please not feel sorry for me. I had to have a good laugh because the author IS particularly judgmental.

    I must give thanks I live in 2012 in the USA with my 4 & 6 year old (& that I wasn’t born in some other time period).

    I must give thanks I was able to get my masters degree (“intellectual dowry as Badinnter refers to) before marriage & having my children.

    I must give thanks I had the CHOICE & DESIRE to stay at home with them for the first years of their lives. My mother did not have that choice. My life with my kids will be different from the life I had with my mother.

    I must give thanks I have the ability now to take them to school at 8 a.m., then go to work, then pick them up again at 1:30 each day.

    I must give thanks its 2012 & I have the CHOICE to be able to work AND stay at home with them. According to the author I should not have been able to see beyond those 5 1/2 years I took off from working to be home with them. How I ended up not being “infantile” as Ms. Badinter says is beyond me.

    Yes, as you say, Ms. Badinter homemade baby food is terrific. I do know how to steam it & put it in the Cuisinart. It takes me less time & effort to do that than run to the supermarket & buy a jar of Gerber.

    And who are you to question my happiness? I live a very balanced, full life. It include myself, my husband, my children, my extended family, my friends. I love my life & I love the balance I have. I would not trade my life for anything. How are you to accuse me of being full of anxiety & guilt that I never do enough for my children? My children are loved & taken care of so well. They know how to entertain themselves when I don’t have my undivided attention to give them (which is more often than not).

    And goodness, Ms. Badinter blames breastffeeding for intimacy issues in couples. The intimacy issues come from exhaustion & low libido from hormonal changes, not breastfeeding. Breastfeeding had no impact on my sexuality. I do not understand how she finds the two to go hand in hand. Being a tired, new mom definitely affected my sexuality (& my husband’s, too – he was just a tired as I was & he wasn’t breastfeeding). My children were breastfed for a year & we all benefited from it. For the author to question the benefits of breast milk, give us all a break. Not all mothers can breastfeed, that is a given. But for the author to say “frankly, the formula manufactured today is almost as good”, she needs to do her research. Her message is irresponsible.

    As women in a free society, we need to embrace CHOICE & support each other with these choices. I do not look down upon my mother friend who is a working doctor & had her baby during her residency & has worked her butt off to get to where she is. I do not look down upon my mother friend who is a physical therapist & decided to hang her degree up to care for her children. I do not look down upon my sister-in-law who put both of her children in day-care when they were newborns to pursue her dream to be a psychologist. I do not look down on my best friend for making the decision to stay home & volunteer her time instead of going back to work. You see, we all have choices. You cannot look down on these women or pass judgement for their choices.

    I think the author needs to just stay in her French territory because I don’t think she’s going to find a warm embrace in this country, especially with the polarizing nature of her book. She’s just feeding the flames of the Mommy Wars. Best of luck to her but I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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    1. I’m sorry, could I be spared this stupid blabber on my blog? I don’t know who the author of this brain vomit is but I normally avoid being exposed to texts of this degree of stupidity. A person who concocts a sentence, “For the author to question the benefits of breast milk, give us all a break” is beneath my notice because s/he is an ignorant, stupid freak.

      Jeez, and then this idiot is upset that people despise her. Learn to write, you brainless fool, and then impose your stupidity on others.

      Yes, you freakazoid, I do look down upon you because you are illiterate and your “choices” are as stupid as your “opinions.”

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      1. Yes, you freakazoid,(Clarissa)

        By far, your best phrase. 🙂
        No one can EVER question your passion, now, whether you leave your brain at the door is another question. 😉

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      2. Oh wow. The “response” to Badinter that TfT posted made my mind bleed. I actually think that there there is no such thing as a “choice” to be a STAHM. Any woman who chooses to stay home has internalized patriarchal norms to a sad and troubling degree. It’s like when African American women “choose” to bleach their skin. Is someone forcing them to do bleach? No of course not. But the fact that some AA women feel compelled to bleach their skin indicates that their psyche has been claimed by our fundamentally racist culture. I think it’s simlar with housewives. Noone actually chooses a position of disempowerment and financial castration. I actually feel sorry for the woman TfT quoted. It’s like she has Stockholm Syndrome.

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        1. It’s also very cute how this believer in respecting all choices can’t bring herself to respect Badinter’s choice to express her opinions in a book. Such people always want everybody else to shut up about their choices but give them a chance to vilify every choice they don’t approve of.

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      3. Oh wow. The “response” to Badinter that TfT posted made my mind bleed. I actually think that there there is no such thing as a “choice” to be a STAHM. Any woman who chooses to stay home has internalized patriarchal norms to a sad and troubling degree. It’s like when African American women “choose” to bleach their skin. Is someone forcing them to do bleach? No of course not. But the fact that some AA women feel compelled to bleach their skin indicates that their psyche has been claimed by our fundamentally racist culture. I think it’s simlar with housewives. Noone actually chooses a position of disempowerment and financial castration. I actually feel sorry for the woman TfT quoted. It’s like she has Stockholm Syndrome.

        @Clarissa

        Is this the type of mindframe you actually relate to? Honestly?

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    2. “Yes, as you say, Ms. Badinter homemade baby food is terrific. I do know how to steam it & put it in the Cuisinart. It takes me less time & effort to do that than run to the supermarket & buy a jar of Gerber.”

      – Ravings of an unhinged lunatic who also hasn’t seen the book even at a distance. The funny thing is that people will read it and accuse Badinter of promoting Gerber and Cuisinart when she probably never even heard of these brands and definitely didn’t mention them in the book that this ignoramus who is unfamiliar with the basic rules of the English language is trying to review sight unseen.

      “You cannot look down on these women or pass judgement for their choices.”

      – Yes, we can, you pathetic little robot.

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