Monday, June 25, 2007

a(wo)men!

The disconcerting part comes when Ms. Siegel, in a spot-on moment, calls us the “I’m-not-a-feminist-but” generation. As the daughter of a radical-feminist writer, I was so comfortable using “feminist” that I wasn’t even aware of the word’s stigma until my teens. But some of my girlfriends—who take anything from birth control to women’s sports teams as a given—don’t know the first thing about feminism’s history, and don’t seem to care. Ms. Siegel’s analysis of third-wave feminists is accurate: Their relationship to their mothers, real or metaphorical, is thorny. But what of the scores of American women who are afraid of the “F” word? The scariest reality is not the tension between feminists—at least they exist!—but the untapped resource of strong, independent women who are feminists but don’t know it.

This is exactly what I've been heartbroken about for years My mom wasn't the politically active flavor of hippy, so I can't claim a generational legacy as a feminist, but I as long as I remember knowing the word I identified as one. Too many other women my age and younger? Not so much. I remember being floored when an LJ blogger who was, to me, a poster child of neofeminism- she likes to print stickers with slogans about the dangers of commercial menstrual products and sneak into stores and plaster them on tampon boxes- derided the feminists from some other community for their anti-porn stance. 'Scuse me? Feminists can't like porn? Wha-huh? I honestly didn't know that the girls and women I'd label feminists were infighting and splintering over crap like whether or not porn's empowering or exploitive. (How 'bout both?)

So, above, I'm quoting Nona Willis-Aronowitz who's reviewing Sisterhood Interrupted: From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild, by Deborah Seigel. (Second link's to her blog.) The review (in the New York Observer) is formatted appropriately enough, with two reviewers- Nona's the "daughter" and Linda Hirschman, WHOM I CANNOT STAND, is the "mother." I've GOT to read this book. I need to hear this idea explored and supported. I also need to read something that doesn't rhyme, contain bright pictures, nor is accompanied by (my favorite) blinky lights and bleepy sounds (thanks Grandies. Really.) Or something that's not copy for a billion different product descriptions for the packaging company catalog. No, it's still not finished...

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