"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Start your decade off right...

Oh, this is really good! Xena lives! Came across this blog, "Start your decade off right by rebranding feminism" - full of bon mots and wisdom from Feministe. http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/12/31/start-your-decade-off-right-by-rebranding-feminism/ Of course, by now it's hard to find the original posting in the welter of reaction - good! People are still passionate about this.

Nice to see the torch is still burning, even if some women still seem to feel they have to make their own feminism at the expense of older feminists. No matter. If rebelling against an imaginary "establishment" of older feminists helps anyone create a better future for themselves, then okay. However it gets done, is fine with me! It's other women's future, after all. Mine is already here, pretty much.

Reminds me of a book I reviewed quite a while back. But first a little background... here's how I remember feminism (or, the women's movement) from my generational perspective: in the Seventies, of course, was the heady Second Wave when all those wonderful books came out to re-search and liberate our history and open doors to our new personal and cultural identity as women. The First Sex! Flora Crater! Mary Daly! Judy Chicago! Olivia Records! Women's Land! We walked, danced, and sang the talk. One thing that was great about that time was that the generations came together; those who had been struggling largely unheard for decades were recognized and seen as heroes, and they in turn welcomed the youth who finally heard them, loud and clear.
Then a subversive little meme called "post-feminism" burrowed its way into the national consensual reality. I remember seeing that term in some news magazine, probably in the Eighties, and thinking to myself, "what? who says feminism is over?" I'm guessing it was borrowed from "post-modernism" which was a useful term in architecture, but really, it didn't apply to feminism or any other countercultural movement of the sixties and seventies. I mean, in those cases, the movements (civil rights, feminism, ecology, and all the rest of those interlocking causes) took on new permutations over time but they didn't die, they were mutable, remaining in the culture but transformed and transforming; the new forms they manifested were not usually in reaction and opposition to the old (as was post modern architecture), they built on their own earlier forms. Feminism couldn't be over except in science fiction because it hadn't achieved its goals. It still hasn't. Unless you believe Sarah Palin and her loathesome forerunners (all together now... BLEAGH!) fit into the feminist equation anywhere at all other than as real "post-feminists" in the original sense (i.e. oppositionists).

And besides, my friends and I weren't dead yet. But that nasty little meme (was it engineered by the right wing, or just an unfortunate accident when some journalist's invention was taken out of context and misapplied by others?) really pulled the wool over people's eyes. I even saw it recently in several blogs written by women when Mary Daly died (and commented on it in my own blog, here): they didn't say "post feminism" but it was in their heads; these women were assuming that Daly's work was now outdated and they kept going on about how much better things are now. "Ha!" is all I can say about that: "wait until you've spent the next forty years being discriminated against in the real world, look back and realize how much better off you'd have been all your life if the demands of feminism had been met, and then tell me you still think Mary Daly was quaint in 2010." (But then there will always be people who manage to remain unaware of certain realities in their lives. I'm sure they know things I don't as well, so there you are. This is me trying to be tolerant.)

I mean, we still don't even have an Equal Rights Amendment, for pity's sake. Men got an equal rights amendment almost a century ago. How is that better? All over the world women are disappearing under the cloak of growing religious fundamentalist movements. Tell me they think it's better.

Anyway, so then in the early Nineties this book came out, Feminist Fatale by Paula Kamen. It was very good for what it set out to do, and I recommended it to librarians for purchase and hope it might have encouraged some budding feminists because it was written by a young woman and dealt with how her generation saw all this. I didn't mind the one big flaw in the book from my personal point of view, an antagonistic way of viewing older feminists who had paved the way for her. At least this author didn't buy the "post feminist" story - but she did fall into the young person's tendency to see a generational conflict where there really wasn't one. Well, she was young. (She must be in her forties now; her turn to be declared outdated by twentysomethings, or is the new generation wiser?) Kamen was unfairly criticized at the time, in the way that critics so often unfairly criticize - for not having written a different book than the one she intended to write. Here's what I said at the time, in my review:
Adult/High School: For libraries still using tattered copies of books surviving from the 1970s to satisfy 1990s school assignments on women's issues, this title will provide a much-needed bridge. Kamen was surprised and hurt to be labelled ``feminist fatale'' by her classmates when she wrote what she felt were very moderate articles for her college newspaper on issues of concern to women. After graduation she set out on a cross-country pilgrimage to gauge the condition, and perhaps discern the future of, the women's movement. In the process, she spoke with many of her peers (and their mothers), and interviewed some of the finest theorists in the field.

The resulting book is lively, well written, and provocative. It was never intended to stand alone as a source on particular areas of feminist theory, but it does speak from a perspective with which young adult readers are likely to identify.The thorough bibliography, index, and appendices, ``Resources and Networks'' and ``Recommended Reading,'' should prove invaluable to patrons who want to delve further, and to library staff for ready reference and collection development. (review for SLJ, 2002)

UPDATE: And from 2010, here's the next generation of women "Reinventing Feminism":

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing I'd rather see than a post-feminist world - a real one. Meanwhile, we will continue to point out that...

"All hailing frequencies are open -
but they still aren't responding!"


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