We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

Why Feminism Such a Mess Today · 24 January 05

On my WW list we had another of these uncomfortable conversations because the different members have different ideas about what is feminism.

In thinking this morning about the goals so often presented as admirable and feminist I suddenly saw one reason for why feminism is such a mess in the US today. Quite apart from what Susan Faludi showed about media backlash and Naomi Wolff about
intransigent heterosexual male sexuality, in origin in the 1970s it came for many young women contextualized by a relentless capitalism and Christian piety. So-called ‘second-wave’ feminists who were not among the elite and educated into more intellectual and idealistic patterns of socialism (think Partisan Review), would be from childhood inundated with evaluating themselves by how much money they have, what position they got on the board of whatever, what power they have over others.

As of the 1990s they’d be further bathed in guilt over self-sacrificing notions of motherhood, pieties about parents, what they are allowed to say and so think.


Posted by: Ellen

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