Author: Krey, Patrick
Date published: June 4, 2012
Journal code: NEAM
The Left's War on Women The PiII, celebrated for giving women "sexual freedom,' has been a time bomb, whose detonation has left in its wake devastated children, men, and, especially, women. Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, by Mary Ebersiadt, San Francisco: lgnatius Press, 2012, 171 pages, hardcover.
I recently had an exchange with a columnist for a major newspaper in town regarding the Obama administration's contraception mandate that left me lhinking. The columnist had effectively taken the side of President Obama and others in the debate over the Human Health and Services (HHS) contraception mandate even though he was Catholic, as I am. and agreed with the church's position on contraception. He warned me that since so many Catholics actively use contraception, the church should soften its stance on the topic, otherwise they will clear out churches "faster than a fire." Interesting advice hut perhaps the opposite is true. Perhaps it is time for ihose who recognize the perils of the contraceptive culture and all the evils that come with il to start proclaiming it from the rooftops.
That is the approach of Mary Eberstadt, author of Adam and Eve after the PiH: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, a new book from lgnatius Press. There is no denying, as Eberstadt frankly admits, that the Pill is "no! only a fact of our time; it may even be the central fact, in the sense that it is hard to think of any other whose demographic, social, behavioral and personal fallout has been as profound." It is important to note that the sexual revolution, "the ongoing destigmatization of all varieties of nonmarital sexual activity." cannot be solely attributed to the Pill, but the Pill definitely has been vital to the revolution. As Eberstadt explains, it "may be possible to imagine the Pill heing invented without the sexual revolution that followed, but imagining the sexual revolution with the Pili simply cannot be done."
With the recent dustup over the HHS mandate that requires many religious organizations to offer contraception to employees, most political talking heads have adopted the rhetoric of the cultural Left and have been repeating the notion that the Right is engaged in a "war on women," They contend that opposition to the mandate might be taken as opposition to contraception, and such an impression would be a political negative because it would be perceived as a war on women by female voters. Some polling has even reflected this view, but according to Eberstadt. it is proponents of contraception who have been waging a war on women for decades. Eberstadl's latest book makes the compelling argument lhat not only has the Pill been a disaster for women, it has been a disaster for civilization, as empirical evidence illustrates.
Eberstadt. author of the 2004 book Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Subslilutes, is no stranger to controversial territory as she routinely goes after the sacred cows of feminists and others on the cultural Left. Her latest offering is a collection of her essays that were originally published in the ecumenical academic journal Fi «7 Things and that specifically address the impact that contraception, i.e. the birth control pill (or the "Pill" as she regularly refers to it), and the resulting sexual revolution have had on women. Eberstadt goes against the grain of the perceived view constantly repeated by the establishment media. Instead of the sexual revolution being an amazing blessing to women. Eberstadt takes the contrarian view and argues that the "sexual revolution has . . . been a disaster for many women." Eberstadt goes further and argues that the women of today are actually less happy in life than were the women of the pre-Pill days.
It's not just women who are suffering, argues Eberstadt, bul men are also being radically changed by the Pill, and not for the better. In a chapter entitled "Peter Pan and the Weight of Smut." Eberstadt makes the persuasive argument that men. much like the fabled Peter Pan. refuse to grow up and are stuck in "a state of suspended adolescence." The hardworking fathers of yesteryear have been replaced by porn-obsessed, underachieving man-boys who arc locked in a state of arrested development of video games and other senseless mirth. Eberstadt repeatedly links the Pill with the explosion of pornography in our society and takes a very anti-smut stance. Porn is bad for everyone involved, Eberstadt passionately argues, and any objective review of the facts bears that out. Porn corrupts the youth and increases their chances for a sexually risky future. Smut rewires sexual impulses for viewers in unnatural and unhealthy directions that are detrimental to romantic relationships, and it causes men to avoid involvement in real relationships. Finally, it is almost always bad for those who participate in the pom industry, from the producers down io the actors who exploit themselves on screen.
Eberstadt is clearly a gifted writer who knows how to keep her readers interested, as each chapter works as a stand-alone essay with a different theme. One chapter draws a comparison between the Left's steadfast refusals to admit that communism was a disaster during the Cold War to the same blind eye toward the obvious negatives of the sexual revolution now. Not only does the Left refuse to face the facts on these issues, they stand at the ready to ruthlessly attack anyone who dares ?? rain on their sexually liberated parade. Despite the ridicule and contempt Eberstadt and others face from the Left, there can be no denying that a "wealth of ... data testifies to the proposition that families headed by a married couple - including disadvantaged families - are better off than those headed by a cohabitating couple. . .. Women whose husbands are the breadwinners tend to be happier than other women. Men who are married earn more and work harder than men who are single.,.. Numerous authors have also shown that widespread divorce and unwed motherhood - two more offspring of the sexual revolution - are not only detrimental for many individuals but also costly for society."
Eberstadt also touches on the bingedrinking hookup culture present on many modern-day col lege campuses that, she argues, is yet another symptom of the sexual revolution sickness. Eberstadt devotes an entire chapter to the vindication of Pope Paul VPs predictions of widespread contraception usage in Humanae Vitae, and it is one of the strongest parts of the book and should be widely disseminated in American parishes.
Eberstadt at times veers into being a critic of contemporary culture by pointing out oddities and the hypocrisies of modern-day life decrying the "selective deployment of compassion," highlighting the outpouring of emotion for animals bui the turning of a blind eye to the plight of women in the face of the sexual revolution. I was reminded of this recently when an area news story regarding the possible excessive euthanization of animals at a local SPCA brought public outrage, but there is never any mention in the same media regarding the ongoing atrocities at a local abortuary. Eberstadt devotes another chapter to the increased scrutiny in modern times toward eating preferences (organic, low-carb, etc.) and contrasts that to the Left's laissez faire approach to sex. The Left is concerned about people curbing their appetites for food - even to the point if dictating our diets - but sees no need for sexual restraint.
She also paints an interesting analogy between tobacco usage in the '60s and porn usage now. Tobacco usage was once widespread and accepted before people recognized its health hazards. Similarly, nowadays, she claims the same arguments that were used to defend tobacco are now used for porn. Eberstadt also makes an interesting point about how the Left was starting to warm up to pedophilia until, ironically enough. Catholic Church scandals forced them to admit that "intergenerational love" - as some earlier advocates were calling it - was nothing more than the sexuai exploitation of young victims. Unfortunately, that is all Eberstadt had to say on this topic, and she didn't explore the ongoing sexuali/ation of young girls that is another unintended consequence of the sexual revolution.
There were other areas I had hoped she would venture into but did not. For instance, she commented that "older and less attractive people simply cannot command the sexual marketplace as the younger and more attractive can (which is why the promises of erasing time and age are such a booming business in a posth'beration age)." I would like to have seen an entire chapter devoted to aging "hipsiers" who are desperately trying to cling onto their youth in the hopes of baiting younger sexual conquests. Many of Hollywood's starlets and leading men who are getting long in the tooth would make perfect case studies.
Eberstadt's argument that the liberated woman is not very happy is based on nothing more than a review of a series of writings by feminists complaining about their upcoming divorces or unhappy marriages. Her argument could have been better served with more research by social scientists and hard data instead of just the writings of whiny feminists. She also has an extended section discussing sexual dissatisfaction in a marriage, which only tenuously can be linked to the PiIt and cheapens the rest of her points that deal with much more serious topics, such as the detrimental effect on the youth owing to the breakdown of sexual mores.
The book is also fairly short (171 pages). That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't lend itself to a book that cotild serve as an all-inclusive resource for ihose looking to debate the merits of the Pill. Eberstadt admits that this book is not that epie takedown of the sexual revolution that she claims "would be impossible for any single volume, and I do not preiend to have accomplished it here." But the debate does need such a work, even if it does take more than one volume to accomplish. Perhaps, even in the near future, Eberstadt will team with her husband, Nichols Eberstadt, who regularly writes on the socioeconomic and political fallout of the sexual revolution. This married team of experts could alert readers to the issues raised in After the PiI!, as well as the impending calamity facing the industrialized nations that have fallen into the sexual revolution as the population ages and not enough future taxpayers are being bom to support the massive entitlement systems.
While the book is only an opening salvo, it is a much-needed start that may begin a conversation on how incredibly disastrous sexual liberation and feminist ideology have actually been for women. Those concerned about the decline of a Judeo-Christian moral code should read Eberstadt's book and take the argument to the next level and, as she suggests to readers, "never [give] up on patiently discussing the actual record of the world as it is. no matter how resolutely the other side ignores or disdains you."