Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Rising New Wave of Feminism?

Push, counter-push, push, counter-push, push. Conflict and change. Revolution, counter-revolution, revolution. And so it goes. Today's intermingling upheavals remind me of earlier historical periods, particularly around the time of World War I -- either before, during or after -- it's too early to tell which yet. The good ole boy network is once again being challenged because it has once again gone too far for the average Joe and Josephine. The general squander and stupidity and arrogance of entitlement has become obvious to more and more people caught up once again in the meat-grinder of hard but interesting times. Same issues, different era.

One of the strands emerging from the latest cycle of chaos is a new awareness of feminism. Feminism, including women's right to live alone, vote and be treated equally, has many facets and represents a continuum of values. Feminism is far more complex than generally represented in "mainstream" culture. Radical feminism has been stereotyped as too radical, too crazy. But what's so funny about the right to be free, to vote, to have the biggest say in what happens to one's own body? The backlash against vocal feminists since the early 1980s reminds me of how abolitionists were painted in the 1850s: wild-eyed freaks fomenting trouble by proposing that slavery should be abolished. From the perspective of 2007, isn't it obvious it's a right and good thing slavery was abolished in the USA? Isn't it possible - and rational -- to distinguish between abolitionists who did go too far in their tactics (John Brown springs to mind) from the basic truth that slavery was wrong? And so it is with feminism, which is essentially as correct and good as abolitionism. Equality now --a crazy idea? Or a revolutionary one?

Hip, awareness-raising new materials worth checking out:

Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters (2007).

I Was A Teenage Feminist (DVD).

Bennetta Jules-Rosette, Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and the Image (2007).

Today's Rune: The Blank Rune.

Birthdays: Anne Sullivan, Rod Steiger, Loretta Lynn, Julie Christie.


lulu said...

I am always amazed at women of my age who don't call themselves feminists. "I believe in equal rights for women, but feminists are loud and ugly and I don't want to call myself one."

I'm a pink-clad, taira-wearing, girly girl, and I'm proud to call myself a feminist.

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's not like prohibition of alcohol is coming up. Done that. Didn't work. I'm all for feminism.

Charles Gramlich said...

The definition of feminism seems to have broadened immensely in my lifetime. Women, and men, of all stripes call themselves feminists these days. That's probably a good thing, though at times I'm confused.

FeministReview said...

Our review is up of Full Frontal Feminism Check it.

Anonymous said...

it's because feminism is becoming dogmatic