I therefore went on to point out that marital infidehty,rnwhich according to pop sociologists has reached 50 percent,rnwas actually at onl- 3 to 4 percent a year, and the total numberrnof married people who had ever strayed was no higher than 15rnpercent, and not rising. Nor had female responses changed asrnmuch as advertised. “Women have needs of intimac), homernand family” admitted Betty Friedan in 1987. In 1986, a feministrnwrote in the New York Times “Hers” column that she feltrnjealous over her nurturing husband’s intimacy with their infantrndaughter. She put off weaning in order to keep him from feedingrnthe baby and because continuing to nurse was for her “arnphysical want.” She concluded that “women who do all thernparenting . . . have a special power that I have relincjuished. Itrnis the power of being everything to a child.”rnWomen had begun to realize that going to work was not allrnit had been cracked up to be. The gradual realization that theyrnwere in many respects worse off had spread even to the privilegedrnwomen not obliged to undertake onerous work. For example,rnin 1993 “three quarters of female doctors surveyed inrnCanada said thev had been sexually harassed by male patients,”rnaccording to a study in the New England journal ofrnMedicine. The two women doctors who conducted the studyrnshowed that the so-called empowerment of women had notrnmade them free. “The vulnerability inherent in their sexrnseems in many cases to override their power as doctors,” thevrnconcluded. If women had started to refer to their inherent vulnerability,rnI pointed out, thev were on the verge of change.rnSuch a change, furthermore, was already apparent, and wasrndecidedly in the direction of traditional romance, marriage,rnand family. A key item was a 1989 report by Danielle Crittendenrnin the Wall Street journal. She wrote that “the articlesrnwomen’s magazines are publishing today are little differentrnfrom those that feminist authors such as Betty Friedan andrnBarbara Ehrenreich dug up in the back issues of the Ladies’rnHome journal as evidence for their thesis that women in thernI950’s were being indoctrinated into submissive domesticity.”rnShe concluded that “if women’s magazines are in any way arnbarometer of a female Zeitgeist, then women today are as neuroticallyrninsecure and preoccupied with getting married asrnfeminist writers sa}’ they were three decades ago.” After hearingrnthis, the members agreed that a revolution was not calledrnfor so much as a gentle nudge to push the Zeitgeist a bit fasterrnin the direction it was already taking.rnIf ans’thing, the danger lav in allowing word to get out thatrnlittle had actually changed in the relationship between the sexesrnand that feminism had left women worse off. A recognitionrnof either circumstance might well set off another round of sexualrnre olution and radical feminism. Far better to foster therncurrent self-congratulatory mood of the feminists and to encouragernthem to continue presenting one another with awards.rnAt the same time, it would once again be necessary very delicateK’rnto encourage female complaining. Especially useful inrnthis regard was the false history of women being perpetrated byrnthe feminists in order to make themselves appear as benefactors.rnThe secret group had cause for worry when Ruth BaderrnGinsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court. Her curriculumrnvitae revealed a steady upward course starting back in thernsupposedly benighted 1950’s. She went from Cornell to HarvardrnLaw, made Law Review, transferred to Columbia Law,rnwas awarded a prestigious Federal District Court clerkship, arnprofessorship at Rutgers Law, and eventually a judgeship of herrnown on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.rnNot only Ginsburg, but her female classmates at Columbiarnhad advanced virtually as far as they wished. As the Wall Streetrnjournal reported, “most of the women in the class ended uprnfollowing career paths similar to the men—law firm partners,rnjudges, academics, public-interest lawyers and in-house corporaternattorneys.” Luckily for the plans of the secret group, thernwomen journalists who reported on these careers presentedrnthem as sagas of victimization. Each success was made tornseem a triumph over sexist adversity, with the result that nornone noticed that careers had always been possible for womenrnwho wanted them.rnThe slight nudge to the Zeitgeist advocated at the 1992rnmeeting was dulv administered, but I do not know if furtherrnmeetings ever took place. My cover was blown when a grouprnof dossiers on Romanian Securitate agents was sold by a formerrnlibrarian at the KGB’s Moscow archive. He filched them beforerndeparting, like myself, for the West. Nevertheless, it is notrndifficult to make out the influence of the committee in developmentsrnsince 1992.rnQuite unaware of the implications of what they were doing,rnthe feminists reversed themselves on pornography. As usual,rnthey railed against men. But in demanding special protectionrnfrom sexual exploitation by men, thev admitted their uniquernvulnerability as women. In 1963—that is, BFM—one of thernfirst steps in destroying feminine modesty had been an arrangementrnby the committee to secure favorable reviews, somernof them by women, in the New York Review of Books and otherrnopinion-making journals, of the book The Story ofO. This is arnmisogynistic fantasy in which rape and sexual degradation arernemployed to reduce women to humiliating sexual bondage. Byrnthe 1990’s—SFM—women, including the feminists, werernseeking relief from the verv humiliations they had seen as sexualrnliberation in the I960’s. To me, the former Preposteroff, thernhand of the committee was evident in the feminists’ amnesia:rnthe evidenced no inkling of their own movement’s implicationrnin the rise of pornography.rnNext, once again in the feminist language of attacks onrnmen, the feminist movement began to agitate for even morernprotections against male sexual and physical power. Sexualrnconduct codes were instituted at colleges. In offices, male sexualrnbehavior and speech came under control to the pointrnwhere so much as smiling at a woman could lead to charges.rnHere and there the observation was made that such codes depictedrnwomen in the stereotypes of the distant past. Indeed,rnthey were being depicted not so much as the’ had been in thernI950’s as how thev had been during the Victorian era. But,rnagain thanks to the committee, the feminists were able to ignorernthe implications of their own Victorianism.rnIf the committee ever met again after 1992, which is doubtful,rnit determined that no further interventions were necessaryrnas of 1993 or 1994. The retreat from feminism was being satisfactorilyrnconducted by the intellectualh’ moribund but still activistrnfeminist movement. Employing a distracting dietorie ofrncomplaint and demand—both of which revived caricatures ofrnfemale behavior supposed to have once been fostered byrnmen—the movement was now dedicated to defining womenrnas different and vulnerable, and to securing special protectionsrnfor them. The committee could safely let the issue rest. Itsrnmembers would have to reconvene to restore equilibriumrnonly if the feminists went too far in making women out to berninferior.rnMAY 1995/25rnrnrn