Tuesday, July 20, 2010

nope, we still need "feminism"

Via the Bookslut blog, author Piers Paul Read says in an interview:
"It's partly this feminist historicism, which I think is false, that women have been somehow oppressed by men throughout the ages. You don't find any evidence of women being dissatisfied with their condition before the 18th century and then it's just a few spoilt bluestockings and servants who get bored... I think women saw it as the natural order that the man should be head of the family - it's also Christian teaching - and that they played this domestic role. And I think the feminists stirred up a sense of resentment against men that persists today."
Riiiiiight. It's rare to see something so hatefully wrong not coming from a Republican. (Mr. Read is British.)

Hannah Betts has a few good things to say about that.
It is a lamentable idiosyncrasy of feminism that, unlike other rights movements - the campaigns against prejudice based on race, class, or sexuality - its beneficiaries take their emancipation and run. Many women will not even countenance the F-word, being prepared to concede only: "I wouldn't say I'm a feminist, but..." But what? That I like being paid an equal wage, having the right not to get raped in marriage?
The disavowal of "feminist" always confused me during my years at Northeast Liberal Arts College, although if feminism's campus representative was the Women's Studies professor, she was pretty abrasive all around and seemed to concentrate on how it was important that she and other women enjoy hunting. Very postmodern (good riddance, late 90s!), but not exactly a standard-bearer for why the ideas of feminism are still important to today's young women (and men).

Then again, that was the age of Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, and paranoid political correctness that seems to have matured into a more rational sensitivity and even genuine tolerance, especially in younger generations, who have since done things like electing a black President, and overwhelmingly supporting gay marriage equality.

Much like people, you never know where ideas will end up, however screwy they are at the time.


  1. "I'll be postfeminist in the postpatriarchy" -my favorite bumper sticker ever, and to date the only one I've ever actually stuck to my vehicle

  2. But then again, it took a Jordanian lesbian professor at Amherst college teaching an Arab Women's Literature class to debrainwash me so I would own myself as a feminist...