Thursday, July 22, 2010

Improving Feminism - I know, you thought it couldn't be done...

NOTE: Before reading this phenomenal blog, it should be known that Kate has posted a fantastic blog right below it. You should definitely read that blog too. Furthermore, you should comment on her blog and give us some feedback, because I am super excited about the prospect of a garden and want it to happen.

Recently, while reading articles on AlterNet, I came across the article “10 Things Feminists Could Do Better.” Knowing that sometimes even feminists can get a bit self-righteous and forget that we are fallible, I thought this list was an excellent reminder that we still have work to be done – even with ourselves. I agree with almost all of the suggestions for moving forward with feminism, except for number seven. I think that sexuality is a huge part of feminism and women’s rights due to its ties with patriarchal norms and misogyny. Nevertheless, I present to you my two favorite suggestions (which were really hard to choose, so you should just read the whole article) from the list thoughtfully created by British philosopher and feminist Nina Power as well as number seven:

3. Feminism should not be misled by the successes of individual women at the top of their professions (politicians, CEOs, etc.). Better than thinking of these women as "tokens," though, we would do well to see them as (sometimes) being "decoys" (as described by Zillah Eisenstein in Sexual Decoys). Which is to say, simply because they are women and successful, the success (and therefore end) of feminism is frequently announced by the media, and their noxious politics are ignored (think of Margaret Thatcher). Feminism would do well to remember how the struggle for real equality and fair income can sometimes be disguised by the purported success of the odd individual woman.

5. Feminism should be wary of believing the fight has been won. Keeping up the pressure on those who would roll back the achievements of the women’s movement (abortion rights, workplace legislation against discrimination, etc.) is a matter of urgency and perpetual vigilance. In Italy, for example, female pay has dropped to 40 percent less than a man’s pay for the same work; at the same time 46 percent of women there are unemployed. Berlusconi’s TV stations spew out endless game-shows featuring scantily clad young women pretending to be stupid. Things can always get worse: the point is to stop them before they do.

7. Feminism should avoid reducing all questions of women’s lives to issues concerning sexuality and sexual behavior. Although the unhappy relation between production and reproduction forms one of the major contradictions of contemporary work, if feminism spends too much time focusing in on questions of sexuality, it risks losing sight of other significant questions -- unequal pay, non-sexual violence, and so on.

No comments:

Post a Comment