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Female Virtue Takes a Beating at Abu Ghraib
May 26, 2004
by Carey Roberts

Feminists preach the absolute equality of the sexes in all respects, save for one. They believe in the unequivocal moral superiority of women over men. The notion has become so entrenched that people don't bother to question it any more.

Originally, people believed that morality also resided with the male sex. Indeed, the word "virtue" comes from the Latin root "vir," meaning man. And in Colonial America, fathers were expected to be the moral exemplars and preceptors of the family.

But then the Industrial Revolution swept the nation in the mid-1800s. As the primary breadwinners, fathers were forced to leave their farms to labor in the factories, the mines, and later the corporate high-rises.

Soon mothers moved to fill the domestic void. Women came to be viewed as the Guardians of Goodness to shield their families from the contaminating influences of the outside world.

When feminism came along, it preached that the Patriarchy was to blame for the misdeeds of women. Take the feminist dogma on domestic violence, for instance. Research shows that DV is instigated equally by men and women. But feminists continue to insist that women strike their husbands only because they have been abusive and controlling. How's that for a silly excuse?

So misbehaving women were able to have their cake and eat it, too. They got away with murder - sometimes literally - content in the smug belief that their moral compass always points north.

Then came those shocking pictures from Abu Ghraib, including the one with Leash Lady gleefully mocking the prisoner's genitals. Of the 7 soldiers charged with misconduct, 3 are female: PFC Lynndie England, Spc. Megan Ambuhl, and Spc. Sabrina Harman.

This time around, the ladies couldn't blame their actions on the male power structure. The prison was directed by Gen. Janis Karpinski. And the top U.S. intelligence officer in Iraq was Major Gen. Barbara Fast.

So here was female barbarism and debauchery, all on full-frontal display in the newspapers.

It's not an exaggeration to say that what passes for radical feminist discourse these days is sometimes hard to distinguish from a clinical state of hysteria, narcissism, and paranoia. So who would have expected the awful pictures would trigger a round of remorseful introspection by feminist commentators?

Mary Jo Melone of the St. Petersburg Times starts off by admitting, "Feminism taught me 30 years ago that not only had women gotten a raw deal from men, we were morally superior to them." Melone scrolls through the usual litany of implausible explanations, and then finally laments, "Or am I just making excuses, unable to believe that women are incapable of this?"

Writing for the Washington Post, Melissa Embser-Herbert voices similar angst: "In Abu Ghraib the tables are turned. Men - men who have been characterized by many as evil, or at the least not to be trusted -- are on the receiving end. And women, long held up by our society as a 'kinder, gentler' class of persons, are engaging in abuse and humiliation."

But it was Barbara Ehrenreich whose confession was least expected. First toeing the feminist line that women are assumed to be "morally superior to men," Ehrenreich is then forced to concede, "A certain kind of feminism.died in Abu Ghraib."

Ehrenreich's admission is notable because she is the most radical-left of the three writers. Ehrenreich is an ardent socialist and allegedly serves as honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The problem with the "women are morally superior" dogma is not just that it's wrong. The real danger is this belief is only a tiny nudge away from the outright gender bigotry that one often sees on feminist websites these days.

Evil is not a gendered phenomenon. It's just that men and women personify evil in different ways.

So it is refreshing to hear card-carrying feminists finally admit that sometimes women do act like mere mortals. And those sins cannot be blamed on men.

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