Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Surprising Statement of Purpose

I used to think that NOW (the National Organization for Women) was a flaming-liberal, anti-male establishment. Then I read this:

"We REJECT the current assumptions
that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family,
and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage,
or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman's world and responsibility -
hers, to dominate - his to support."

"We are similarly opposed to all policies and practices --
in church, state, college, factory, or office --
which, in the guise of protectiveness,
not only deny opportunities
but also foster in women
and evasion of responsibility,
undermine their confidence in their own abilities
and foster contempt for women."

Excerpt from National Organization for Women
Statement of Purpose (1966)

If this is flaming-liberal, anti-male rhetoric, then I'm a flaming-liberal, anti-male feminist.

What do you think?


  1. I suggest u check out a blog called

  2. So i just saw your blog for the first time. I'm confused. Are you conflicted about whether or not you're a feminist?

  3. The excerpt talks about opportunity, respect, responsibility and independence. Great values.

    Even the language reflects the shifting value systems, though. Men were primarily responsible for the financial burdens of the home, and women were responsible for creating a nurturing environment and raising children. Men and women DEPENDED ON ONE ANOTHER. Each aspect of this team enterprise in creating, maintaining and raising a family had (and should have) tremendous value (if not equal than more value should be placed on the family, in my opinion). It was a TEAM MENTALITY. And neither engaged in the others' role at all (which, I admit, was too rigid), but benefited from (and appreciated) the fruits of each others' labor.

    It was a division of responsibilities. Much like when a group project needs to be done, individuals take on different responsibilities (sometimes based on strengths, other times interests, and still other times to learn, or a whole host of other reasons), and depend on one another to produce a fantastic result.

    At some point, the two spheres carried different weight so that the world outside the home seemed more important (valuable, desirable) than the world inside the home. And thus began the push for equality outside the home.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe that in today's world independence and opportunity (for women and men alike) are tremendously important - women have so much to contribute to society and also have the basic right to work for their own security and independence. Likewise, having fathers more involved in their child's daily life is absolutely wonderful.

    However, the difficulty I have (and a very strong reason for my traditional leanings) is twofold: (a) the shift of value away from the home (to outside) has many families lacking the care and devotion that used to exist within the domestic sphere -most definitely a result of the diminished value -and which is neither the unique responsibility nor the fault of women or men individually, but a shared focus, which had in the past simply been divided and (b) For two people to be working all day and coming home in the evening, the resulting lack of time and effort spent on the home environment, coupled with the exhaustion from working all day leaves the domestic sphere neglected. Which begs the question - what happens to the home environment, the raising of children, the building of family?

  4. Anonymous:

    Not anymore. I know I'm a feminist now. When I started this blog, however, I wasn't sure.

  5. Ish Yehudi:

    I understand your concern. I do think, however, that there is always a chaotic transition period when important changes are made.

    Think about after Brown v. Board of Education was passed - the National Guard had to be sent in to ensure that black students were integrated into all-white schools.

    The same goes for changes in women's equality - there's a period of difficult transition, but I think we'll all be better for it in the long wrong.

    Also, we're not all that "heartless" as feminists. :)

  6. Frum Feminist,

    I'm not concerned with the "chaotic transition period," which I do see happening in my generation and those growing up now (at least in the secular world).

    I'm concerned about my children and their upbringing. Perhaps that's narrow-minded or short-sighted from some perspectives, but I refuse to allow my children to become a casualty; their well being is far too important to me.

    Don't get me wrong, I plan on being a very involved daddy. In fact that is precisely why I am so concerned about my future children and the home environment that they grow up in. I plan on being a huge part of that environment, as I believe any father should be.

    In that sense, my traditional leanings are balanced by my passion and desire to create a beautiful home and family.

  7. I think on a piece of paper, anything sounds good. What's important are the actions

  8. You write this:

    "I used to think that NOW (the National Organization for Women) was a flaming-liberal, anti-male establishment. Then I read this:"

    Let me ask you this, why did you think that?

  9. Hmm, I am confused. I look at the 1966 Statement of Purpose on the NOW web site and I don't see these words.

    Furthermore, there's a disclaimer at the top that reads: "NOTICE: This is a historic document, which was adopted at NOW's first National Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 1966. The words are those of the 1960s, and do not reflect current language or NOW's current priorities."

  10. OK, I came back and I did find the first part of this quote buried in the NOW post. I also found this interesting -- according to the 1966 statement:

    "Further, with higher education increasingly essential in today's society, too few women are entering and finishing college or going on to graduate or professional school. Today, women earn only one in three of the B.A.'s and M.A.'s granted, and one in ten of the Ph.D.'s.

    In all the professions considered of importance to society, and in the executive ranks of industry and government, women are losing ground. Where they are present it is only a token handful. Women comprise less than 1% of federal judges; less than 4% of all lawyers; 7% of doctors."

    I did a quick Google search and found:

    In 2008-09 school year:

    57.2% of Bachelors degrees went to women.
    60% of Masters to woman
    52.3% of PhD's went to women.

    at (

    Woman now make up about 26% of the state judges and 26% of the Federal judges. And according to women made up more than 50% of the law students in 1993, but their numbers have dropped to 47-48% in 2009.

    I didn't see a good overall statistic on women physicians, although I read where women outnumber men in family practice, OB/GYN, internal medicine, dermatology, etc. They still lag significantly in things like thoracic surgery (about 10% are women).

    So we're making great strides in 35 years!

  11. >So we're making great strides in 35 years!

    Don't worry, there will be plenty more to complain about.