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The Problem With Henry Higgins Feminism

Grand Bend, Ontario – Not So Pro beach volleyball 2008.

Feminists ask: why can’t a woman—and her body—be more like a man?

My Federalist colleague Mollie Hemingway has been cataloging the progress of what you might call Henry Higgins Feminism, which is based on the premise, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Women are supposed to interrupt people more, say “sorry” less, and do other things that men supposedly do. It’s considered proof of ingrained sexism in the culture if women don’t behave like one of the guys.

We may have just seen the ultimate example of this: the Tata Top, “a nude-colored bikini printed with pink nipples,” intended as a protest against restrictions on allowing women to go topless in public.

You might think that “more topless women” is a campaign spearheaded by frat boys, but this is actually supposed to be a feminist cause, based on very opposite reasoning: “The underlying goal of the bikini…is meant to desexualize the idea of female nipples.”

Well, good luck with that. If you follow a link to see an image of the Tata Top, you might suspect that this campaign isn’t going to work out the way its creators imagine.

This is yet another feminist war on the facts of human physiology—an attempt to eliminate, among other things, the female nipple’s role as an important erogenous zone and the breast’s status as a uniquely female item of attraction for men. But there’s also something more disturbing about this campaign. Not wanting to risk that horrible crime of “mansplaining,” I asked a few women I know about this. The poll is by nature unscientific, because it’s the sort of question you can’t just go around asking people on the street, but the general response to whether they wanted to have their breasts and nipples desexualized was “Hell, no!” They seemed to think it was a feature rather than a bug. Which is to say that they think there’s something good about being a woman rather than a man.

The feminists don’t seem to agree, and as certain as the sun will rise, we hear the same premise, as stated by the creators of the Tata Top: “If you really think about it, what’s the difference between a man’s nipples and a woman’s?”

Like I said, Henry Higgins Feminism. Why can’t a woman be more like a man?

Mind you, I’m not opposed to female nudity. Like the sculptors of the Renaissance or the Ancient Greeks, I think the human body is a beautiful work of art—or rather, it’s the standard of beauty that art is attempting to emulate. But the attempt to deny the sexuality of the female body or its difference from the male torso strikes me as a form of poisonous self-hatred, misogyny promoted under the guise of a fight against misogyny.

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