First of all, I am NOT a feminist. Just because I actually studied history and (whether they were written by feminists or not) I happen to go with what has been presented to me until I or someone else provides me evidence contrary to what I've found doesn't make me a feminist. It makes me a student. If someone reading this has other resources for me, give them to me.
I'm writing this because someone accused me of being a feminist because I dared voice something along these lines on a comment that he failed to publish. Lets not even dare mention that he posts comments that he can come up with a rebuttal for and not the ones he can't. He just published a comment and responded to it, claiming that I had no rebuttal for him because I have no point. To protect my intellectual honesty, this is my response to him.
Where do I start, its a bit long to cover all of history, but where the hell does one start?
There have been periods of time that I'm 100% certain of that had a prevalence of feministic thought - The Etruscans were largely (as Elusive Wapiti would say) matrifocal. They weren't a strong civilization, so I won't call it a matriarchy. They were, though, egalitarian with a strong leaning towards matriarchy. They are the forerunners of the Romans - who, at first, were incredibly patriarchal and the women didn't have much place in society - much like parts of Greece. However, there is a period of time in Roman history where the women became much more extraverted - lesbianism became more prevalent, abortion - both in-utero and infanticide - became more common... strangely, right before the fall - and i wonder how many of those insane and corrupt emperors had feminist mothers?
Another civilization, Greece, has an interesting history of feminist thought. The Spartans were LARGELY patriarchal, where women had absolutely no role in society except raising kids to the ripe old age of 4...which is when their sons were removed from them and put through military training. Athens, at first of course, SO devalued women that they weren't allowed out of the homes. Women were not allowed to be seen in public. If her husband were entertaining guests, she was seen and not heard...if seen at all. Male company was considered more honorable than that of female company (and you wonder where homosexuals came from...). Even at the deathbed, a close male friend was preferred over the wife. Why? Because the wife's only role was to provide heirs. That was what they did.
Of course, then you have the island of lesbos, where a certain poet praised the beauty of the female form, glorified female companionship, and provided a haven where women could feel worthy. I'm fairly certain that her brand of thought didn't remain on that island for long, and began infiltrating Athenian culture...and eventually making its way into Roman culture.
Yes, feminism has definitly been around for a LONG while. And it has done some horrific things to American (and British and any other culture that embraces it) culture.
However, to deny that misogyny did not exist, did not have a prevalent foothold in society at ANY one time is as much a lie as women claiming that women were "oh so trampled" until the 1960's.
You have chinese culture, clearly patriarchal, where women have no ability to support themselves outside of the men in their lives. If there are no men, then they are destitute. They have been physically abused to gain a perception of beauty - foot wrapping. They were not allowed to look a man in the eyes - at ANY time. They wore clothes that wrapped tightly around their legs and hips so they would shuffle - and unable to run away from their husbands...why?
Of course, there will always be the husband that treats his wife respectfully, but power has this unusual affect of corrupting people - and it DOES corrupt. And to think that 100% of all men were immune to such corruption when they held all the power over the female members of their society, do you really think they treated them well 100% of the time? Fairly certain that wasn't the case.
This isn't about the work that men and women had to do, though have you ever had to make lye soap? Both men's and women's labor was significantly harder in centuries past - it was not by any means a picnic for either, but that was by no means my point.
My point was that there were points in history where children were forcibly removed from their mothers, when women were beaten just for the heck of it, where women relied solely on the good will of their corruptible men-folk to provide for them.
Where the only way a father could secure the future of his daughters was to *hopefully* marry them off to good men (assuming, of course, the father cared about his daughters) - money or my daughter's well being?
I'm not trying to excuse feminism - absolutely NOT. I think feminism has taken their cause to new heights at the expense of men, completely reversing the problems. But the darling little wounded man does not have an innocent history. And if they are SO opposed to what feminism has done, then they need to evaluate what the best way to go about getting their freedoms back is going to be.
And it won't be doing what the feminists have done, meaning elevating men at the expense of women. If they really want things to be better for themselves, they're going to have to come up with ways that elevate them and still provide necessary protection to the female. Without that, it'll be a lost cause - and with that, I can't see how respect would be lost for them...just don't expect women to be the one's to change the tide ... it won't happen.