Monday, January 12, 2009

How Feminism Became the New F-Word

How Feminism Became the F-Word, an excellent article by Amy Siskind, published at The Daily Beast is worth a careful read. She describes the narrowing of definition for the term Feminist, and why many women are reluctant to embrace it today:

"The work of the second wave of the women’s rights movement is central to many of the liberties that women of today take for granted. But after the battles of the 1960s and 1970s had been waged and won, something strange happened to the movement for women, and with it, the term “feminism.” A backlash set in, and the women’s movement retreated from the streets to the committee rooms. National women’s organizations became increasingly tied to the Democratic Party and to pro-choice politics. A period of decline in interest in and membership of national women’s organizations ensued. But this is hardly the fault of the women and like-minded men of this country. You see, most of them were no longer “allowed” to be part of the movement. The movement had devolved and morphed into a clique instead. And this clique only allowed members with certain rites of entry: liberal Democratic women who were pro-choice."

"The current vision of “feminism” is a man striking a Superman pose. Is it any wonder, then, that when The Daily Beast conducted a poll in November 2008, it found that just 20 percent of women are willing to use the term “feminist” about themselves and 17 percent would welcome their daughters using that label. The term feminism is hardly recognizable to itself at this point. It has been hijacked and corroded by those who formed the clique, excluded most of us from joining, and used feminism for their own purposes."

"Meanwhile, who has been looking out for the women of this country? Where are the modern day national organizations to act as champions of women and to speak out against the issues that affect us all? Where is the outrage about the alarming escalation of domestic violence? Or the fact that women still earn 78 percent of what men do? Or the fact that our representation in politics, academia, and corporate leadership tends to hover around 16 percent? There is a pattern here—we are moving backward..."

There is more. Go read it, please.

The MS cover shines a harsh light on why women are still under-represented in every area of American life. Why sexism and violence against women not only remains, but seems to be getting worse.

Where is the outcry from women?

Many women laughed at what happened to Hillary because they "didn't like her". I challenge any of you who laughed to ask yourself how you'd feel it if was your daughter, sister, or yourself for that matter, who had been savaged as she was. As Sarah Palin was.

By your laughter and your silence and your voting for men you sell out women every day.

Every day.

That is no laughing matter.

1 comment:

Taexalia said...

I was somewhat at a distance from the media circus of the campaigns, but I was shocked to the core in California in September - standing in a bookshop no less.

I found myself confronted with a voodoo doll set, complete with sharp pins, made in a very good likeness of Hillary Clinton.

I looked and looked but I could not see one for Obama, or any other candidate - just the Hillary ones stacked up next to The Simpsons et al.

I can only imagine the outcry if equality had been embraced and a voodoo doll of Barack Obama had been marketed.