Sunday, September 24, 2006


For the past couple of weeks, I have been contemplating what it means to be a Feminist. I have written four very long (by blogging standards) essays addressing this topic. [See end of post.]

The blogosphere has been filled with this topic in many forms. There was the BlogHer Conference Post by Kathy Sierra, Ann Althouse's attendance, my entry into the fray that the blogosphere doesn't discriminate against women--based upon my admittedly limited experience, Ann's disagreement with me, John Hawkin's (who has linked to me again--thanks, John!) insensitive remarks, Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy's outrage, all that started by Ann Althouse's post about a Feminist Clinton lover's breasts and Dr. Helen noting the affiliation with someone for political purposes whose actions are offensive.

Deep breath. And then someone said, in passing, that Ann Althouse wasn't truly a feminist. Ann spent time listing her feminst cred. And I wondered: would I be defined as a feminist? I didn't march or burn my bra, but I am a beneficiary of the women's movement. Am I a member? Do I want to be?

Does it matter anyway? The label might not, but the implications of the labels do matter. Women are tearing each other instead of bras up these days. The scope of the women's movement seems to be constricting not expanding and those who don't fit in to the proscribed political or philosophical dogma are considered not just not feminists, but traitors to women.

James Wolcott in The New Republic covers this, and I quote his piece in one of the essays. I don't see the women in my world in such stark terms--there is a lot of fluidity in how women move in and out of roles in their lives. But at least one feminist believes that's just the problem. Men don't change roles, they just roll--or so this woman believes. And women should be like men.

Anyway, if you have the time and inclination, I would enjoy your feedback on my thoughts.

Here are the links: Part I--Personal History (skip it if you're short on time), Part II (breasts and their significance to the women's movement), Part III (defining success), Part IV (feminist dogma--the check-list for inclusion into the group).


Anonymous said...

I love your essays on "feminist" and they are very well written. I actually always hated the word "feminist" because its philosophy seemed so extrem and partial. You were able to look at it from various different ankles and I suppose then I would have to say that I'm a feminist myself. :-0

Funny, we had friends over last night and we engaged in a converstation about working women, vs being home with our children. This other lady and I are both fortunate enough to work hours that fit with our schedule and yet still be home with our children. Our husbands make an excellent income and neither one of us need to work but we both want to.

I can't agree with you more when you explained that we can't get those years back that we would have lost working instead of being engaged in our childrens lives. I am very thankful that I am the one that is there for my kids instead of some stranger whose heart may or may not be there for my child. No amount of money can take the place of that!

Bottom line in my mind is this: We all need to feel worth, we all need to be acknowledged, have goals, and feel like we are accomplishing something. Those of us who have decided to be home with our children can still have all of those things and more. It's all in the way you look at things.

Great posting!!!

Antoinette said...

Florence King wrote the best definition of what a feminist is I have ever known. In an essay entitled psuedo feminism she writes how victim feminism has over taken the concept of woman as a strong, independent equal to man. The essay is included in the NR collection of her columns "Stet, Dammit."