Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Is Dead, Long Live Feminism<p> Women are angry.&nbsp;<a href="">Videos</a>&nbsp;are circulating on social media, and late-night TV is running&nbsp;<a href="">skits</a>&nbsp;about &ldquo;street harassment&rdquo;&mdash;the whistling, catcalling, and otherwise unprompted propositions men throw at women on the street. I admit it happens. It&rsquo;s unwelcome. And it can make a woman feel uncomfortable, even threatened.</p> <p> One group in particular&mdash;<a href=""></a>, a movement dedicated to stamping out street harassment&mdash;created a video of a woman walking through New York for ten hours in which she endures more than 100 instances of &ldquo;street harassment,&rdquo; which include everything from whistling to men walking uncomfortably next to her. And their message is clear: street harassment is yet another form of gender-based discrimination and violence that is prevalent in America today and &ldquo;emerges from a culture of sexism.&rdquo;</p> <p> This narrative is not terribly surprising. The refrain these days&mdash;from fringe groups like FCKH8 who recently released the video&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;F-Bombs for Feminism&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;to more mainstream women&rsquo;s groups and the White House Council on Women and Girls, who have been promoting the &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; rhetoric&mdash;is that life in America is inherently unfair, even hostile, to women.</p> <p> But the reality is that the problem of &ldquo;street harassment&rdquo; is more complicated than just a &ldquo;culture of sexism,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s one most feminists won&rsquo;t want to admit.</p> <p> Don&rsquo;t Judge All Men By The Jerks</p> <p> For starters, the guys in these videos, like the one created by are jerks. They have no manners, no impulse control, and for the most part don&rsquo;t seem to have much else going on. Their video doesn&rsquo;t show a woman being harassed as she walks down the halls of a prestigious law firm or through an elegant department store. For the most part these men are sitting on street corners or roaming aimlessly. Certainly some are&nbsp;<em>looking&nbsp;</em>to cause a little trouble.</p> <p> While the camera doesn&rsquo;t follow the men after the woman walks away, it&rsquo;s likely these men act like idiots to men they see at the bar as much as to women passing by. But I don&rsquo;t think anyone thinks getting in someone&rsquo;s face, and calling out at someone on the street&mdash;man or woman&mdash;is acceptable. If my kids did it I&rsquo;d be appalled and make them apologize, and when a grown man does it, it suggests we really need to promote better social norms of civility.</p> <p> So what about the gender-aspect of the problem of &ldquo;street harassment?&rdquo;</p> <p> If You Want Sameness, Don&rsquo;t Expect Chivalry</p> <p> Well, our brave new world of gender&nbsp;<em>equality</em>&mdash;in which we scoff at gender differences and men and women are encouraged to act the same&mdash;often proves harmful to women and girls. While the modern feminist movement won women tremendous freedoms educationally, professionally, personally, and sexually, it often leaves women feeling anything but empowered.</p> <p> The reality is these freedoms have too often come at the expense of all values and traditions. We&rsquo;ve in effect thrown the helpful social mores&nbsp;out with the old-fashioned bathwater. But it&rsquo;s the modern feminist movement, which ushered away any hint of traditional chivalry and gendered expectations, that&rsquo;s in part to blame. Certainly few want to return to an age when gender roles were excessively rigid, but feminists have gone to extremes and encouraged a culture that undermines healthy gender relationships. Men who hold doors are now viewed as part of the patriarchal society. And girls are expected to just &ldquo;be one of the guys.&rdquo;</p> <p> But gender roles helped men and women and in times past allowed the sexes to better navigate the sometimes-rough waters of romance, courtship, marriage, and sex. Feminists view the chivalry and social mores of previous generations as anachronistic. But the reality is these traditional customs of giving up a seat for a woman on a train, or accompanying a woman in public, weren&rsquo;t all rooted in sexism. They were social structures to help make men more respectful of women and to curb this kind of inappropriate behavior.</p> <p> It might not have been perfect, but it had a purpose. Today&rsquo;s dismissal of gender differences instead creates confusion, disappointment, and often more opportunity for harassment.</p> <p> The conversation about street harassment has revealed once again that feminism has come with a cost, and women are usually the ones who bear the real price. Society has never been perfect, and I&rsquo;m not advocating for a return to a time when women&rsquo;s choices were more limited, but in years past men and women both had a better framework to determine what was acceptable behavior and what was not.</p> <p> Certainly a woman should never be made to feel uncomfortable while just walking to work or picking something up at the store. We all want to encourage a healthier and safer society for both men and women. But, instead of focusing on the faux sexism lurking on every street corner, we&rsquo;d be better to consider the limitations of modern feminism and ask ourselves how we can better navigate this new world of gender relations.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is the executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferThu, 30 Oct 2014 06:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPrice Spike: Americans about to get another ObamaCare surprise • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 25 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumElections near and accusations of profiteering are rolling in • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 25 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEbola in Manhattan: How to better prepare for the fight against Ebola? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 25 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedia Bias: Liberal media laughs at Palin family physical attack • Fox & Friends SchaefferSat, 25 Oct 2014 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumF-Bombs for Feminism: Do American women have it all that bad? • Fox & Friends SchaefferFri, 24 Oct 2014 07:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHas Feminism Jumped the Shark?<p> A new <a href="">video</a> &ldquo;F-bombs for Feminism&rdquo; made the rounds on social media yesterday.</p> <p> (In case the title didn&rsquo;t alert you, be warned that this is not something you necessarily want to watch without headphones!)</p> <p> Following in the footsteps of Beyonc&eacute; who last year made the &ldquo;shocking&rdquo; comment that &ldquo;gender equality is a myth,&rdquo; &ldquo;F-bombs for Feminism&rdquo; is a ridiculous attempt to wake people up to women&rsquo;s rights. The group FCKH8 gathered a group of little girls wearing princess dress-up clothing and using &nbsp;&ldquo;offensive&rdquo; language to bring attention to all the &ldquo;really offensive&rdquo; ways our patriarchal society is discriminating against and mistreating women.</p> <p> And they play all the big hits: pay inequality, rape and sexual assault, and being pretty.</p> <p> FCKH8 makes use of all the usual statistical suspects: &ldquo;<em>Women make 23% less than men for the exact same f*cking work</em>.&rdquo; And, &ldquo;<em>One out of five women will be sexually assaulted or raped by a man. Stop telling girls how to dress and start teaching boys not to f*cking rape</em>.&rdquo;</p> <p> And no feminist video would be complete without a confused section on women&rsquo;s bodies, suddenly wanting to turn the conversation <em>away from</em> (wait, I&rsquo;m confused) our bodies? Funny how it was the feminists who were leading the parade of <a href="'s-Talk-about-this-%22Slutwalk%22-Stuff">slut walks around the globe</a>, and I heard crickets from feminists when <a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=BppHVIDdB8Se8QGQrIAg&amp;ved=0CAYQFjAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNEEyIzVWRLXOhMNmeNyrdWn8ebIVw">Miley Cyrus embarrassed herself</a> gyrating and twerking nearly nude at the MTV Music Awards last year. Ugh. I wish they&rsquo;d get their message straight on that one.</p> <p> I won&rsquo;t bother trying to counter the section on pay equality. If a reader really wants to learn about the wage gap they can read <a href="">IWF&rsquo;s endless work on the subject here</a>. And if you&rsquo;re interested in a <em>thoughtful</em> conversation about sexual violence and rape &ndash; a serious criminal act that shouldn&rsquo;t be made light of by little girls with attitude &ndash; you can <a href="">read this publication IWF put out after our event on the same issue</a>.</p> <p> What I will comment on is that we&rsquo;ve allowed the conversation about gender and equality in America to get to this point.&nbsp; The video closes out with &ldquo;adult&rdquo; women offering the message: &ldquo;Instead of cleaning these girls&rsquo; mouths out with soap, maybe society should clean up it&rsquo;s act.&rdquo; Wow &ndash; how mature. Do they really think that life in America is truly this awful? And do they think average women who are working hard each day and taking care of their families will really relate to this?</p> <p> What&rsquo;s actually offensive is <em>not</em> that they&rsquo;ve used little girls in this way. Yes, it&rsquo;s crass and sad, but I&rsquo;m not losing sleep over an eight year old yelling &ldquo;f*ck&rdquo; at me. The real crime here is the message they&rsquo;re promoting to women and girls. As their name suggests, American society and the workplace are openly hostile to women. Women are regularly and consistently mistreated, paid unfairly, and not rewarded for their accomplishments. They perpetuate the myth that women &ndash; and little girls &ndash; are all victims and men are all perpetrators. Good luck having any kind of healthy relationship with that mindset! And in true feminist form, they have removed all agency from women, making them &ndash; oh, perfect! &ndash; child-like victims!</p> <p> IWF understands there are women and their families who face real economic challenges &ndash; especially at a time when the economy is still teetering on stability and failed government policies are limiting our choices over health care, education, even saving for retirement. And we think there are real, substantive ways we can improve things for women. (See our new book <a href="">Lean Together here</a>.) But life in America is pretty good. <a href="">Women have an unprecedented opportunity to learn, to work, and to succeed</a>. And women are increasingly outpacing men educationally, professionally, even financially.</p> <p> The only thing that should be <em>shocking</em> in this video is how openly political and vitriolic the conversation about women &ndash; and by extension women voters &ndash; has become. From the War on Women to FCKH8 gender feminists have started to show their true colors in which anger and resentment drive their motivations rather than good will. One can only assume liberal feminists see their relevance rapidly fading away and are grasping at straws. But really it looks like feminism has finally jumped the shark.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferWed, 22 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Republicans Are Peeling Women Away from Democrats<p> <a href="">Headlines this week</a>&nbsp;warn that Democrats might not have a stronghold on the &ldquo;women&rsquo;s&rdquo; vote this November.</p> <p> This is good news for a lot of reasons, but it suggests that there has been a real effort by women&rsquo;s groups like the&nbsp;<a href="">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a>&nbsp;&ndash; and others&nbsp;<a href="">like the Susan B. Anthony List</a>&nbsp;&ndash; to take charges of sexism and a &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; head on.</p> <p> In 2012, at the height of the Democrat&rsquo;s manufactured &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; campaign, the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum conducted&nbsp;<a href="">a randomized controlled experiment to learn more about how to talk about the wage gap and proposed Paycheck Fairness Act</a>.</p> <p> Even then, when Democratic vitriol was fierce, we learned that the War on Women narrative wasn&rsquo;t a silver bullet. Our experiment randomly assigned respondents to one of four treatments or a control group in which they read competing arguments about the wage gap and Paycheck Fairness Act. Across all five conditions only 34 percent of women agreed there really was a Republican &ldquo;War on Women.&rdquo;</p> <p> Even more important, however, is that our research demonstrated that it is essential for our side to respond on major &ldquo;women&rsquo;s&rdquo; issues like equal pay. Certainly we want more women to understand the facts behind the small wage gap &ndash; why it exists, what women can do about it, and how government interference will make things worse &ndash; but we also learned that the impact of responding on equal pay had a cascading effect. Pushing back on the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act ultimately dampened the effect on the larger &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; rhetoric.</p> <p> The very act of having a&nbsp;<em>debate</em>&nbsp;&ndash; of creating a two-sided flow of information &ndash; reduced political support for President Obama among women who had voted for him in 2008 by 12 points, from 87 to 75 percent and&nbsp;<em>boosted</em>&nbsp;support for Romney by 12-points from 13 percent to 25 percent.</p> <p> And this negative impact also affected support for&nbsp;<em>other</em>&nbsp;big-government policies.&nbsp;The debate over the PFA, where respondents read about&nbsp;the economic impact the proposed law would have, actually reduced support among Obama voters for ObamaCare and the president&rsquo;s&nbsp;comprehensive economic plans.</p> <p> Political behavior research tells us that it&rsquo;s disruptive when women receive a competing argument. Voters hearing new information begin to question their previous understanding of the issues, and are more likely to seek out more new information.</p> <p> This election season we&rsquo;ve seen many more groups &ndash; especially conservative women&rsquo;s groups &ndash; actively engage in the conversation. This is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we&rsquo;re apt to see a real difference at the polls next month.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferTue, 21 Oct 2014 07:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella, women, and the pay gap • The Bill Cunningham Show SchaefferSun, 19 Oct 2014 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumQuestions over Saudis' motive as it pumps more oil and drives down prices • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 18 Oct 2014 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDefense dept. declares climate change an "immediate" threat to security • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 18 Oct 2014 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhere is the protocol? Ebola positive nurse had CDC green light to fly • Cavuto SchaefferWed, 15 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEbola Fears: Is Ebola impacting the market? • Cavuto SchaefferWed, 15 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWar on Women; Yes Means Yes; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz • PBS To The Contrary SchaefferSun, 12 Oct 2014 10:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumKiller Swings: Ongoing culture of alarmism at school scrapping swing sets • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 11 Oct 2014 10:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum