Reader “Befuddled Man” e-mails about an article of mine, “Martyr or Moron?” that appeared in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News. The subject was Harvard president Larry Summers, who made the mistake of pointing to scientific evidence indicating that men and women are different–a crime against feminist ideology for which many would like to see him pay with his head. I wrote”

“Radical feminism has somehow become modernity’s sole triumphant totalitarian ideology, at least in the universities and other elite-culture hothouses where it counts (the vast majority of women shun the label “feminist,” but they don’t control public discourse).

“As with the other leading totalitarian ideologies of our time, Marxism and National Socialism, the tenets of ideological feminism need not be argued but merely asserted ‘ and then enforced by any means necessary. Critical examination of those tenets is not permitted, as Mr. Summers has learned to his detriment.

“On a university campus or on the pages of The New York Times (or Time or Newsweek) you are not allowed to question the feminist dogma that ‘gender’ — that is, the assertion of distinctive masculine and feminine traits — is merely a social construction, and that all such reflect nothing more than a patriarchal society’s behavioral dicta designed to weaken women and reinforce male hegemony.

“You must believe — on pain of ostracism — that most men have been socialized to ruthless competition and maladaptive hyper-aggression but can be changed with sufficient re-education, while most women have been socialized to a nurturing, pacifistic egalitarianism that society ought to make the norm for both sexes. These are non-negotiable propositions.”

Says Befuddled Man:
“My generation of women took up the cry, ‘A woman needs a man, as much as a fish needs a bicycle.’ oblivious to the destructive nature of such a mantra. I followed the common advice of my fellow dispensables; ‘Just agree with her; you can’t win.’ So I did, and agreed in turn that a man certainly doesn’t need a woman. So it goes: Like millions of my peers, I’m completely self-reliant and completely incapable of fullfilling what it is I’m here for.”

Yes, part of the unexpected consequences of feminist ideology has certainly been commitment-phobic men.

When Terri Schiavo died last Thursday, I put up two posts wondering why the National Organization for Women and the other rad-fems who so routinely denounce husbands and marriage hadn’t taken up their cudgels on Terri’s behalf. (See Terri Schiavo and the Feminist Elite and Terri Schiavo, R.I.P., both March 31.) After all, this was a clear case of a brain-damaged woman’s being put to death solely on the word of a husband who set up housekeeping with another woman–and suddenly started talking about Terri’s “right to die”–as soon as Terri’s $1 million medical malpractice settlement, money that was supposed to pay for a lifetime of medical care for her, was safely lodged in his bank account.

If that’s not a conflict of interest the size of St. Peter’s Square, I don’t know what is. And it’s why the IFW, which usually stays out of right-to-die cases, took a stand protesting Michael Schiavo’s guardianship of his wife. But the anti-patriarchal, anti-husband, anti-marriage crowd was nowhere to be seen.

Now, reader T.N. joins us with an open letter to the dead-silent feminist elite: 
Never, I repeat, will I listen to, follow, or adhere to any of your comments or advice again, never. Why? Because of Michael Schiavo and the atrocities he committed to his wife, a woman, and a helpless disabled woman at that. Where were you guys on this one? Huh? This is a total outrage.

“I’ve had to visit abuse shelters before, due to a man’s abuse, and I really listened to the women counselors at this shelter, who I believed, at the time, were truly looking out for me… I no longer feel those women were looking out for me or cared about me, because these same women did absolutely nothing for Terri….And as an added bonus, your silence on this horrid occurrence has just empowered cruel, manipulative men everywhere with the notion that a woman is their property, and they can do whatever they desire to her, in life or death!!”

I agree. And it’s unfortunate that most battered-wives shelters, which ought to be ideologically neutral places of refuge for women fleeing domestic violence who have nowhere else to go, actually function as anti-male propaganda factories. But when it comes to court- and elite-sanctioned spousal abuse as in the Schiavo case, the reliable male-bashers are nowhere to be seen.

Reader “Melissa” e-mails about “Post-Nuptial Depression,” the latest mental illness, whose symptoms consist of feeling blue once the fairy-tale wedding is over and you realize that you actually have to live with the guy who was your most important prop at the reception (see Our Deepest Sympathy–You Just Got Married, March 30):

“I]f you’ve been to a wedding recently, you can understand the onset of depression. While couples used to have a ceremony and a party within their means, weddings have turned into weekend-long extravaganzas in exotic locations, or lavish parties attended by everyone the bride and groom has ever met. These people spend way beyond their means for one weekend that is all about THEM. The bride goes through about a year where she is obsessed about planning one event. She is the center of attention and all thoughts are to be turned to ‘what the bride needs.’

“It’s truly sickening. No wonder they’re depressed. They wake up after the wedding and realize that they’ve absolutely nothing to talk to their new spouses about because they’ve been obsessed with the wedding. They’re in serious debt. Their friends sort of resent them for making them travel to Antigua to witness the ceremony. The bridesmaids really resent having to spend money not only on the travel, the dress, and the gift, but the bachelorette parties and the nineteen showers held in the bride’s honor. Life will never be as exciting as when you could snap at your wedding planner about how the ribbons around the flower vases don’t match the ribbons in the bridesmaids’ hair.”

Excellent points, Melissa. And it’s made me wonder: Why not go back to the custom of just a few years ago of letting the bride’s parents throw the wedding? That way, Mom and Dad could decide whether a treetop ceremony in the Kenya rainforest fit nicely into the family entertainment budget–or whether the best they could do was jug wine and Sis’s meatballs in the back yard. No Bride-zilla, no load of debt, no resentful friends. I myself refuse to travel to exotic locales for weddings unless one of the betrothed is someone for whom I’d lay down my life. I suspect that there would be a lot fewer post-wedding trips to psychiatrists. As well as a lot more genuinely joyous weddings.