The Secret History of the Feminist Movementrnby Peter Shawrn• • • • : f f e & ^ ? * -rn^ – – • ‘ •rn! ! ( • ‘rnf.r, IrnThe feminist movement, it has just been learned, was actuallyrnconcocted by men. Specifically, a small group of plannersrnmeeting in 1962 set in motion the developments of the next 30rnyears concerning men and women. These men acted in a selfishrnspirit of personal aggrandizement. The heretofore secret minutesrnof their planning group are in the possession of a former Securitatern(Romanian Secret Service) agent, code named Preposteroffrnwho penetrated the group at the behest of the KGB. Preposteroffrnwould not permit us to examine the minutes, but we are assuredrnthat they are authentic. Accordingly, we have paid over to thernsaid Preposteroff a fabulous sum of money in small bills. In exchange,rnhe has supplied the following account which, he assuresrnus, is scrupulously based on the documents.rnHow those arrogant Yankee conspirators would have beenrnastonished had they known that their httle plot was both encouragedrnand kept track of by me—an apparent confederate ofrntheirs who was actually a Major General in the Seeuritatc! Atrneach meeting of the planning group, I read aloud and thenrntheatrically burned before their eyes the minutes of the pre’iousrnmeeting, which I had taken care to photograph (and laterrnon to Xerox). But to proceed to my histoire.rnThe words I am about to set down will answer one of therngreat mysteries of the feminist movement: How can it be thatrnafter nearly 30 years of triumphs by feminism, the condition ofrnwomen is unmistakably worse than it was before all the agitationrncommenced? BF’M (Before the Feminist Movement),rnwomen were secure in their persons and treated with deferencernand delicacy; SFM (Since the Feminist Movement), they walkrnthe streets and shopping centers of the nation in fear of beingrnaccosted or raped. BFM, sex led toward marriage; SFM, sexrnleads to venereal disease and even AIDS. BFM, women lookedrnover suitors and chose the one they preferred; SFM, womenrnagree that there is a shortage of suitable mates. BFM, mostrnwomen lived in one or another degree of comfort provided byrnthe wages of a man; SP’M, a significant number of women livernin or near poverty as single parents. Tobacco and alcohol usagernPeter Shaw’s latest book is Recovering American Literaturern(Ivan R. Dee).rnhas risen among women, and the diseases brought about byrnsuch substances have become more prevalent.rnNone of these outcomes can be explained without access tornthe minutes of the secret men’s group that brought themrnabout. et it has to be understood at the outset that the menrninvolved did not mean women harm, even though they certainlyrndid not wish them well and frankly planned to exploitrnthem. These men were dissatisfied with the situation of menrnin 1960. Some of their complaints were age-old, some of recentrnvintage.rnMen’s lot had not alwas been to work: this condition wasrnbut a few thousand years old. In primitive societies, in additionrnto performing the domestic chores, women did all thernplanting, tilling, harvesting, and distributing of produce. Menrnhunted, fornicated, and went to war. In the course of thern1950’s, men of the planning group’s nominally privileged classrnhad been obliged to add long commutes to their workdays.rnForced to spend an increasing amount of time outside thernhousehold, they suffered a weakening of their domesticrnauthority. At home each night, they were treated to anrnevening of entertainment via the new medium of television,rnwhere thc were often mocked and humiliated in situationrncomedies.rnThe cultural analysis of the day said that women lorded itrnover men as wives and moms. A favorite metaphor describedrnwomen in terms of the Black Widow spider, whose femalernsnapped off and ingested the head of its partner following copulation.rnWomen were sitting prettv. Men were being reducedrnto automata: creatures in gray flannel suits, denatured corporationrnmen, organization men. Women, freed by modern appliances,rnsupermarkets, and birth control, lived leisured existencesrnof beauty pariors, theater matinees, book clubs, lunch inrntown, and shopping. What it came down to was that menrnworked all dav while women were on vacation. The men paidrnoff their mortgages and kept up their life insurance, then diedrnof heart attacks, leaving everything to still youthful wives.rnIt was I, acting on standing KGB instructions to underminernthe social and cultural bases of capitalist society, who outlinedrnthe plan adopted at the first meeting. Initially it was necessaryrnto entertain superficially attractive proposals such as setting uprnweekdav, in-citv’ dormitories stocked with Asian prostitutes torn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn