The women’s movement of the last century helped eliminate legal inequality between the two sexes. This significant accomplishment is largely forgotten, precisely because a new generation of feminists downplays its importance. Indeed, the remarkable achievement of legal equality has made the modern-day women’s movement a crusade without a cause. Lacking the legal hurdles which their mothers overcame, feminists now tilt at windmills; no longer breaking glass ceilings, today’s feminists are merely throwing stones.

Like all movements that should have disbanded after achieving success, modern-day feminism has not only entered into an embarrassing old age but, to preserve its vanishing relevance, has actually turned against the cause it claims to advance. Instead of defending women against the rampant sexual exploitation that pervades our permissive culture, most so-called feminists now celebrate such debasement,

calling certain forms of exploitive self-abuse “empowering.” And rather than rescuing the vital concepts of “virtue” and “modesty” from the opprobrium of a crass culture, these feminists now encourage women to be “liberated” from the protective prohibitions of their parents and their own innate inhibitions.

The same feminists who are so concerned about physical abuse by men have perpetrated a scandalous spiritual abuse of their own against a generation of young women, by proposing sexual licence to them as a form of normal, healthy self-expression. They teach young women that their qualms of conscience are limitations to be overcome – and that the only real vice is shame. In other words, feminists have encouraged women to find freedom by degrading themselves, while fulfilling the sexual fantasies of puerile men. Instead of standing up to male attitudes and appetites, feminists encourage women to accede to the subtle pressures they ought to expose and condemn.

Thus, the tragedy of 21st-century feminism is that it has failed to stand up for women – precisely by failing to stand up to men. Instead of encouraging men to be responsible, women are merely encouraged to imitate (and, indeed, facilitate) male irresponsibility. Feminists have accepted the impossible pornographic ideals of popular culture and abandoned true feminine values (simply because they were valorized by other women in times past), failing to recognize that sometimes, progress is preservation.

As a result, sex in our culture is now casual, contraceptive and corrosive, leaving many young women with a legacy of physical diseases and emotional scars. Feminists claim that such loose, exploitive behavior is evidence that young women are “in control” of their sexuality when, in fact, they are at the mercy of male whims. And, should the natural, biological consequences of such behaviour occur, feminists counsel young women to abort their offspring – to exert “control” over their reproduction. Do they not see the bitter irony of this advice? In advocating licence as a form of “sexual freedom,” and abortion as a form of “reproductive control,” young women are now more beholden to men than ever. Contraceptive sex and abortion have allowed women to be used and abused – all in the name of liberation.