My review of “Domestic Tranquility: a brief against feminism” by F. Carolyn Graglia
A standing ovation for Mrs. Graglia, please. I have had this book for quite some time and refer to it often. It is only now that I am getting around to writing a review. Domestic Tranquility knocks down every mainstream belief about modern feminism. The last decade has seen divorce rates go down slightly and women’s workforce participation decline slightly and maternal death rates have increased quite a bit. These are the only things that have changed since this book was first published. But, “no-fault” divorce still exists in every state, divorce rates are still extremely high even if it has been at somewhat of a halt (they’re blaming the economy) and women’s workforce participation is still incredibly high. It matters not who actually files for the divorce, as many women file when they are the innocent party. Every last sentence of this book is completely relevant as we are still dealing with the same laws and culture that the feminist movement has brought us. Cultural change happens slowly over time and some things forever remain relevant throughout time.
The doors of opportunity were nearly all wide open decades before modern feminism, which she does an excellent job of explaining. Unlike most anti-feminist books which consist of nothing more than disgruntled men whining “where’s my equality?,” or “equity” feminists declaring a war on men, Graglia’s book actually stands up for the traditional woman. She has the courage to go against the egalitarian culture and the feminist vision of radical equality. From woman’s sexuality, workforce participation, combat service, motherhood and relations with men, she has the courage to speak the politically incorrect truth. She speaks boldly against the emasculated, androgynous culture and the de-feminizing of women as well as the male revolt from the breadwinner ethic, which, as she explains, the women’s movement has encouraged and enabled. She explains that women would have alleviated their discontent “…if they had resisted the emasculating forces in our society and encouraged the growth of mature masculinity.” (149)
To be sure, this book is not for the faint of heart. Though Graglia never states her opinion one way or the other on FGM, she does take a couple of paragraphs to showcase the extreme measures that societies will go to to curb female sexuality. She also goes to great lengths to explain why the sexual “double standard” might actually be a good thing for women. She makes it clear that female promiscuity has devalued women’s bodies, roles as mothers, emasculated and made impotent our men, and relieved men of the responsibility of financially supporting a wife and children.
The mainstream views women’s lib as a movement about women’s rights so most people naturally assume it is men that have been disadvantaged in the process. To be sure, once again, men have suffered some loss (there is , after all, a price to pay for freedom) but Graglia is one of the few courageous thinkers that has the moral fortitude to stand up and say it is women who have been the targets of the feminist movement, not men. Our laws have changed to harm women, not men. The feminist movement, as she explains, was determined to invalidate all laws that favored women because, supposedly, it would benefit working women and as a result many women find themselves in desperate situations. She attacks “no-fault” divorce and the sources of the feminization of poverty. Feminists call crisis regarding mothers and their children, but their movement supported gender neutral custody laws which, as Graglia explains, has impoverished many women and children because desperate mothers will trade away their child support or alimony to hang onto their children (not something the mainstream will report on, that’s for sure).
She explains in great detail how women throughout our culture (as well as others) have always been more aware of their sexuality and the associated pleasures than what feminists admit. She talks of the sexual experience that overwhelms and what men really want to deal with in bed. I do admit that I had to stop a couple of times when initially reading this book to wonder how much more heated this book was going to get. Graglia is definitely not shy on details.
Graglia is nobody’s fool. She was a lawyer before the feminist movement came through like a hurricane that left society in shambles and she knows her stuff. She cites plenty of feminist works so nobody can realistically say that she is one sided. I am not 100% with her on her abortion views but I understand the point she is making in the book. She speaks boldly of the feminist denial of female preciousness and the submission to combat service. Graglia is more than right when she speaks of female preciousness. No civilization can stand the loss of large numbers of their young women. Our child-bearing ability, “the one thing women possess and men lack (155),” she says, is what really counts. Women are precious and, unlike men, are not expendable to society. “If a nation must wage war, a young man’s death in combat fulfills his destiny as protector of a society the fundamental purpose of which is to reproduce itself and secure its children’s safety and well-being. A young woman’s death in combat can never fulfill, but only negate her destiny as bearer of those children.” (190)The “Awakened Brünnhilde,” she explains, is the woman who, “experiences sexual pleasure that evokes her thanks to God for having been born…” (332)
Another thing that makes this book unique is that it is written in a non-religious format. Graglia brilliantly states her case as an experienced lawyer would. Only once does she even mention the Bible, and only to quote the Song of Songs to showcase that the woman speaking knew quite a bit about her sexuality in disputing the feminist insistence that women knew nothing of their sexuality before their movement that sexually “liberated” women.
It is truly easy to write off many anti-feminists as woman haters in our society. That is because most antifeminists are not really against feminism at all and in fact are not really standing up for women. Disgruntled Men’s Rights Activists will not be pleased with this book because Graglia actually stands up for women instead of degrading them. She speaks of the feminist assault on masculinity and rightly states that women have ultimately been the biggest victims of it. While those who attempt to speak up for traditional women are shouted down even by the most conservative in our society (after all, did the conservatives say much about the recent decision to fully integrate women into combat..?) I hope, as Graglia does, that the day will come when those who support traditional women will truly be heard.
Thank you, Mrs. Graglia.
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