To give you an idea, here a quote I have pulled:
"Girls don’t want the six-figure cubicle job, the shiny Brooklyn 2BR, the master’s degree, the sexual liberation, none of it. They want to be collectively led back to the kitchen, told to make a nice big tuna sandwich with extra mayo and lettuce, then swatted on the ass as we walk out the door."Speaking of kitchen jokes, I have two:
If a tree fell on a woman and there's no one around to hear it, what was a tree doing in the kitchen?
Some people might say I'm degrading my own gender, but think about it...after these jokes are told, does any girl actually take it seriously and assemble their cookware and cleaning supplies? No, they find it offensive and somewhat amusing at the same time, but it does not influence them to assume what appears to be their natural order in the world, as proclaimed by men. If anything, it motivates them to become more than what they're perceived as--well it should, anyway. Someone once said, "A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her." If they're bricks that also make you laugh, power to you.
Anyhow, Matt Forney offers very interesting points in his tirade. I think perspective plays a very important role when reading his opinions. Some would say it's degradation and misogyny at its worst--however, it's so over the top that I really can't help but to perceive it as satire. If it isn't (because lord knows there are crazy people out there in the world that hold such backward views), it's still a very thought provoking article.
I do believe that one of the best ways to bring attention to a subject matter is to force people out of their comfort zone; that is integral in changing perspective, and subsequently, in changing the world. Perfect examples of writing that does such are:
In "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathon Swift, he proposes that impoverished Irish people breed and sell their children as food to upper class families in order to ease their economic troubles. He goes into great detail and length on how to do so, and even provides recipes and methods that they could implement for best results. The purpose of this pamphlet was to mock the heartless attitude the wealthy had toward the poor and to bring light to the desperate conditions that Ireland suffered at the time.
"Huckleberry Fin" by Mark Twain was condemned and highly criticized due to its pervasive use of racial stereotypes and the racial slur, "nigger", although it was published nearly two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War when America was still struggling heavily with racism and the effects of post slavery. Twain wrote the novel to expose the hypocrisy of slavery by showing how racism not only distorts the perceptions of those who are oppressed, but the oppressors themselves as well, resulting in moral confusion. His basic premise was, no matter how kind a slave owner is to a slave, he is still a slave owner. It is impossible for a society that owns slaves to be considered moral, no matter how civilized it proclaims itself to be. Henceforth, no matter how kind a white man is to a black man, if he thinks the black man is a degenerate, he himself is no better.
A more recent example of satire is "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis. This man received death threats upon the publication of his novel. The backlash that this author received was far beyond any amount that Forney could ever aspire to. If you have watched the film, I'd like to tell you now that the book is completely different--it has been likened as a handbook masquerading as a novel for serial killers. In a nutshell, "American Psycho" is a story about a twenty six year old yuppie who has everything, but can feel nothing. The lack of meaning in his life becomes so numbing that it forces him to torture and murder his companions in excruciatingly intense ways in order to simulate any sort of emotion. What many people aren't able to understand is that Ellis' purpose in writing this at the time was to criticize American society for its dehumanizing nature due to the prevalent superficiality and materialism that consumed the eighties. He purposely wrote to shock and disgust in order to catch the attentions of so many consumers that dallied through life with little purpose, much like the characters in the book. The extremity in which the anti-hero executed his crimes in order to derive meaning in his life is akin to how Ellis wrote his novel in order to stimulate his readers' morality, making them question their reality, and it worked.
Matt Forney does the same thing.
Whether he intended it to be or not, it did make me think about the value of women in society. One thing Forney says that particularly caught my attention is, "The jobs that keep the country running—tradesmen, miners, farmers, policemen, the military—are still overwhelmingly dominated by men. If every girl was fired from her job tomorrow, elementary schools would have to shut down for a couple days, but otherwise life would go on as usual."
Teachers are an integral part of society. My god, you have no idea. Think about it. People are in school from when they're five all the way until they're twenty one or twenty two, possibly more if they would like to achieve their Masters or PhD, what have you. That's over seventeen years of their lives if they choose the standard route for education. Your child spends about as much time with their teacher as they do with you, but they learn just as much if not more because they're at school with a myriad of other little monsters all learning how to get along, on top of their ABC's and 123's. Some people forget that school is not just an institution that teaches kids academics, but also discipline, morality and appropriate social behavior. The original purpose and fundamentals of having an educational system in the first place is to foster good citizens in order to help further develop our nation--that means giving back to your community. K-12 teachers are as equally as important as college professors in the sense that they are an integral part of self development at a young age, where influence is most easily impressed. Of course, there are amazing teachers and there are terrible ones--but the ones that you remember are the ones that have made a difference in your life.
How does this relate to "The Case Against Female Self Esteem?" It made me appreciate and think back to all the wonderful teachers who has affected my life--the ones that commanded my attention and inspired me to be better and to do better, their teachings transcending far beyond their time with me. In turn, it has made me want to be an inspiration for others as well, and the only way I can do it is through example.
So all in all, it's really not that a woman should be discouraged from being confident, it's that she should be encouraged to earn respect rather than to just assume it in self-righteousness.