Oh, those silly kids

Family Issues, Feminism, liberalism and progressivism, Women's Issues

One of the comments to my post about the HPV vaccine mentioned that it was nice to see a “younger” voice on this blog, so that’s what I want to post about now, while the maha-in-chief is still in Washington.

A few links. Sadly, some of these are behind subscription walls.

My mother has said to me that the feminist movement is effectively dead, but, although I think the movement has lost some of its oomph for sure, I like to think it’s still flailing and kicking somewhere. Perhaps on college campuses: Salon’s Broadsheet reports that an organization of anti-feminists is opening up chapters on campuses all over the country:

These young women read Danielle Crittenden and Christina Hoff Sommers, attend conferences key-noted by Ann Coulter and Elaine Chao, spread jittery but false gossip that Lynne Cheney is a donor, and host 80’s dances in honor of Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

Kinda sends shivers down your spin, dudn’t it?

Broadsheet crows that this is a sign that women’s movements are enjoying a “a vibrant, exciting renaissance” among college-aged women. I hope that’s true; certainly when groups emerge to oppose you, it’s a sign that you’re doing something right.

But, so, young people. There’s a vicious cycle at work wherein young people don’t participate politically and therefore their interests aren’t represented or talked about and therefore they don’t want to participate. It means us 20-somethings get slandered a lot for being lazy or entitled.

Young women in particular are left out of the conversation. A friend of mine recently pointed to MoveOn‘s most recent campaign as an example. Ten issues were voted on and narrowed down to three big ideas: “Health care for all, energy independence, and restored democracy.” Worthy goals, certainly, but of the ten issues originally presented to us, not one of them dealt with the eroding rights of women — access to abortion and birth control, which you may think is a pet issue, but which I think is key to women’s autonomy and equality, and that’s a hell of a big deal to me. Or equal pay, for that matter. Or better family policies, like access to childcare and better maternity/paternity leave… and these are “women’s issues” in the public discourse, I guess because “family” still falls in the women’s sphere — that’s some progress, eh? All that is right up there with health care for everyone and whatever “restored democracy” means, for me. (Energy, too, insofar as I’d like for us to find sustainable and renewable alternatives before we all bake, but I don’t own a car, so “gas prices are too high” is not really a motivation for me to advocate anything.)

Ah, but how do you get those pesky kids to vote?

One last link, while we’re talking about gender issues: Everyone’s favorite cabbage argues that girly books make boys not want to read. And we’re back on the whole “male and female brains are wired differently and so boys and girls excel in different subjects” nonsense debate. Last I checked, Brooks was not a scientist, so I don’t see how not liking Jane Eyre gives him the authority to make suppositions like that. And the whole debate ignores how kids and their teachers are socialized. But why am I so angry? I should not expect so much from the produce aisle.

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  1. alyosha  •  Jun 13, 2006 @6:06 pm

    Feminism isn’t dead, it’s just paused for a bit.

    Like your mom, I lived through the great liberal advances of the 1960s (in the privacy of my own thoughts, I call this “the Golden Age of America”). Every social movement is met with reaction, and that’s what we’re going through now. Despite the efforts of the right, people are not going backwards, at least not for long. And so from your young perspective, it seems like stasis, or even retreat, but this is just a blip in the bigger picture.

    As a side note, think of all the television commercials you have seen where the woman is smart and the man is a domestic dope. If you look at the themes in advertising, women are not going backwards, despite the way things may look on the surface.

    Despite the dark times we’re in today, yin (female) and yang (male) are coming back into balance, after thousands of years where yang was dominant. At some point thousands of years ago, people traded their fertility goddesses for male gods. They traded tribes for cities. Yang energy gave us social hierarchies, science, writing, western civilization. It also gave us ICBMs, genetically engineered food, acid rain and global corporatism. As a positive force, yang has gone as far as it can in this current age, to the brink of destroying the planet. Yin (feminine) energy is in ascendance, and has been for a few centuries, if you think about it. Yin must rebalance yang to avoid the planetary catastrophes we’re now facing.

    The whole misogynist flap with the right wing taking over America is temporary, unless of course yang, in the guise of fundamentalist governments manages to blow us back to the stone age, which is possible. And so you women have a lot of work to do. Know the arc of history, the big picture. Whether you agree with this story, at least think about it. You have far more power in this day and age, than you think, and far more than my mother’s generation ever did.

    This is actually part of a broader spiritual evolution that’s occuring. Humanity is nearing the end of its adolescence, and it’s going to be pretty ugly for awhile. Think of babies in cribs playing with nuclear bombs. Think of the gestating Star Child in 2001: A Space Odyssey. We may not make it, some teenagers commit suicide or engage in suicidal behavior. But it’s important to understand where we’re at as a species, and where we’re going. The rebalancing of yin and yang is part of this.

  2. pro-woman  •  Oct 14, 2006 @10:12 pm

    What’s happening is that we were sold a bill of goods which turned out to be not the answer we were looking for. We were told that in order to gain equality with men we needed to deny, more like eradicate, all that is core womanhood. In essence, we bought into the lie that equality equals sameness. The biggest part in this self-destruction is striking down our gift of fertility. This is what makes us WOMAN. This is what sets us apart. This is how we take part in bringing another human being into this world, through our own body. What an awesome reality! Yes, there have been good outcomes over the years in terms of better opportunities for women. But we are our own enemies if we allow women like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer to shape our feminism. All coming from tragically unhappy families resulting in rejection, detachment, inability to nurture. Their pain is real, but their answer was wrong. Abandoned by their fathers, they turned on men. Abandoned by their mothers, they turned on motherhood. Children were viewed as burdens, liabilities. And our society has paid the price. You cannot break the most important bonds in society, the mother-child bond and the family bond without HUGE ramifications! Let’e embrace our femininity! We ARE and ALWAYS have been equal to men, but we will never be the same!