Our quintessential problem is the way that the idea of “woman” as as such has been encoded, culturally and psychologically, by patriarchal systems. A lot of our rhetorical fire is absolutely wasted, just because of the reflex that patriarchy reproduces in people, that “woman = irrationality”.
Feminists can take a lot of time pointing out that woman are being treated badly, that our treatment is extremely irrational, but ultimately what registers in people’s minds is that the object, woman as such, is an irrational object, and hence that it is not logically possible to treat an irrational object in a rational way.
The reason patriarchies encode “woman = irrationality” is because of the relationship that males have with their sex drives. They must often experience the need to repress their sexuality in order to embrace “reason”. From this, comes the feeling that sexuality is opposed to reason. Equating “woman” as such with one’s sexual feelings is a small leap for most men, leading them to the patriarchal conclusion that “woman” and “reason” are diametrically opposed.
Protest as we will, our criticisms fall on deaf ears. Those men who are imbued with patriarchal values and perspectives already implicitly understand that women are not treated in a rational or reasonable fashion. But they also take if for granted that it is simply not possible to do so, given the formula: woman = irrationality/my sex drive.
Of course, the principle works in the opposite direction, too: men who treat their sex drive as an irrational part of themselves will have difficulty finding willing sex partners or enjoying sex.