Tuesday, May 08, 2007

the onion: smarter about the current state of choice feminism than most feminists

Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

my favorite part (other than the whole thing):
Whereas early feminists campaigned tirelessly for improved health care and safe, legal access to abortion, often against a backdrop of public indifference or hostility, today's feminist asserts control over her biological destiny by wearing a baby-doll T-shirt with the word "Hoochie" spelled in glitter.

"Don't tell this bitch what to do," said Kari Eastley, 24, a participant in the Oberlin study and, according to one of her T-shirts, a "Slut Goddess." "I wear what I want when I want, and no man is going to tell me otherwise. We're talking Pussy Power, baby."

and, in an eerie echo of linda hirshman's main thesis in her manifesto, Get to Work!, there's this part:

Klein said empowerment is now accessible to women who were long excluded.

"Not every woman can become a physicist or lobby to stop a foundry from dumping dangerous metals into the creek her children swim in," Klein said. "Although these actions are incredible, they marginalize the majority of women who are unable to, or just don't particularly care to, achieve such things. Fortunately for the less impressive among us, a new strain of feminism has emerged in which mundane activities are championed as proud, bold assertions of independence from oppressive patriarchal hegemony."

i bow to the onion. this piece is a fantastic skewering of how the women's movement has been rendered banal by the deliberate misreading of 'the personal is political.' bowing bowing bowing.

[the Big Idea in hirshman's book:
"The Opt-Out Revolution may be in reality only a leveling off, but in this context it is the end of the beginning. Deafened by choice, here's the moral analysis these women never heard: The family - with its repetitious, socially-invisible, physical tasks - is a necessary part of life and has obvious emotional and immediate rewards, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral responsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust." (p.24-25)]


Molly Malone said...

a few years ago i went to DC for the March for Women's lives. i remember Gloria Steinem talking about feminism from the dais. she talked about how it's changed and she said that feminism used to mean a woman didn't want to dress sexy because a woman didn't want to be taken for granted as a sex object. but now, feminism can mean asserting one's sexuality like britney spears dressing sexy and dancing provocatively. that's feminist, she claimed. because she's not letting the patriarchy tell her she should be a "good girl."

i couldn't believe it. so should i look to 50 Cent or The Game as paragons of black power because they don't let the white establishment tell them not to feud?

empowerment, as i've been able to figure it out for myself is about demanding respect. and that comes with a whopping sense of maturity. you can be motherfuckin' sexy or street and still be mature, but few are. people may enjoy britney and her ilk as well as 50 and The Game, but does anyone truly respect them as leaders or social ideals?

ding said...

it's so funny you mention steinem. linda hirshman mentions her and calls her the passive foil to betty friedan. in fact, she blames steinem (fairly or not) for coining 'choice' feminism.

what i like about hirshman's argument is that it's based on a western civ definition of what makes a good life - goodness defined by folks like plato and socrates - and that it echoes with the much older feminists i grew up reading: wollestonecraft, elliot. these women looked at other women like themselves and said that yes, women could be as great as the great men of their day. it's the whole 'extraordinary' woman thing.

why don't women want to be extraordinary anymore? why don't we want to be large?