Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are You a Fake Feminist?

Are you a feminist? A lot of women that I know would answer yes (and are the type of feminists that would make me proud to join their ranks)...

I am undecided. By the definition that many of my fellow bloggers give, I am. But the definition that was shoved down my throat for four years at a Catholic Liberal Arts college left a bad taste in my mouth and when I think of "feminism" it tends to be the kind that Jessica Valenti is talking about in her article below... a form that doesn't think much of women in reality... and seems to think that we're all to stupid to make our own decisions (and if our decisions don't match hers then we have no right to use the "f-word" as she calls it.

Here's a bit from Jessica Valenti's opinion piece "The Fake Feminism of Sarah Palin":
...So Palin's "feminism" isn't just co-opting the language of the feminist movement, it's deliberately misrepresenting real feminism to distract from the fact that she supports policies that limit women's rights...

...Now, there's no grand arbiter of the label, and the tremendous range of thought in the movement means there isn't a singular platform one can look to as a reference point. And the sad reality is that there are plenty of self-identified liberal feminists who exhibit not-so-egalitarian ideals, such as racism or homophobia. So is it possible to exclude women such as Palin from feminism if we don't have a conclusive definition?

Absolutely. If anyone -- even someone who actively fights against women's rights -- can call herself a feminist, the word and the movement lose all meaning. And while part of the power of feminism is its intellectual diversity, certain things are inarguable. Feminism is a social justice movement with values and goals that benefit women. It's a structural analysis of a world that oppresses women, an ideology based on the notion that patriarchy exists and that it needs to end.

What Palin is peddling isn't feminism -- it's a manipulated buzzword being used to garner support for a party that time and time again votes against women's rights. Palin isn't trying to further a movement for justice or equality; she's shilling for women's votes -- a "stampede of pink elephants," she says -- for the midterm elections...

...But feminists -- or anyone who cares about women's progress -- need to stop Palin from turning feminism into yet another empty slogan. Because "sisterhood" and meaningless rallying cries aside, American women need real feminism in their lives, not just the f-bomb.
Actually, I think Robin of Berkeley gives a better description of what I saw when I was a radical liberal working for a non-profit in Berkeley... Of course I'm sure Ms. Valenti would just say that I'm too dumb to realize that I'm wrong... she doesn't seem to think all that much of women, especially women who think for themselves rather than just shouting popular liberal myths in angry tones...

4 comments:

  1. I think of feminism is like an ism. You can say you are one but to what degree or how you define it is your personal choice. I wish that there were different adjectives to associate with the ism words like conservative feminist. Now that would make more sense to me.

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  2. Good point Deltaflute.

    I tend to hear feminism as a dirty word around here. My husband is a man...You know the stereotypical macho type... (ok he does show his feelings some, but still) He really has no issue w/ feminism in the sense we see it, and admits that I am one, is perfectly fine w/ it. But he's constantly going off on the more vocal types (ie trying to be a man, liberal, etc.). Of course we're constantly having those ideals pushed in our faces so I can understand why he does it lol.

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  3. I'm all for women's rights. The difference between me and many feminists is that I also include the rights of unborn women :)

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  4. Some feminists would find that feminists like Susan B. Anthony were not to their taste either. Early feminists were as opposed to abortion as any conservative today.

    I continue to believe that the feminist movement got co-opted by a lot of things including wanting to be part of the "old boys club." Women are inherently different from men and actually focusing on our uniqueness and strengths as women, instead of trying to compete toy to toy with men within the structures that modern society has set up, could have perhaps brought about changes that would have been better for both sexes. Instead a lot of modern feminists viewed the biological roles of women as handicaps and sought to find as many ways as possible to reduce those "handicaps."

    I don't necessarily view Sarah Palin as the best role model, and I don't agree with some of her political positions, but it seems to me that she's every bit as much of a feminist as any of the early proponents of women's rights.

    If I'm a feminist, I'm one in the camp of Alice Von Hildebrandt (author of The Privilege of Being A Woman). I believe in the creativity, intelligence, strength, courage, and nurturing ability of women. I don't think we're less than men, but I think we're different from men by design of the Creator.

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