31. August 2008 · Comments Off on Thoughts from the Deep Archives · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General, Politics

I wrote an essay a good few years ago- alas now it is lost in the old MT archive and backed up on floppy disc, and my new computer does not have a floppy drive so I can’t pull it up- the long and thoughtful exploration of how I used to be a feminist. A small-f feminist, who slowly and gradually began to realize that the capital-F feminists were painting themselves into a corner.

Reading through MS Magazine, as I did devotedly during the years that I was in active service, the message became clearer and clearer: you weren’t really counted as a (large capital) feminist in good standing unless you were a vegetarian-pagan-lesbian-single-parent-of-color-employed-by-a-university-and-serious-victim-of-the-patriarchy, and also eschewed leg and armpit shaving and makeup into the bargain – and if you had the misfortune to be white and middle class, better get down and do a lot of groveling apologies for it.

The mainstream, capital-F feminists seemed so angry, so hurt in a myriad of different ways that I honestly did not feel. I was a military woman, and a single parent, but when I looked at it honestly, the patriarchy just did not seem to be opressing me that much. I had a rewarding career, interesting hobbies, a rewarding family life, a home and an income of my own. So I came to an inevitable and logical conclusion:

… maybe I am a post-feminist; holding to only a few simple strictures for organising women’s lives. The same access to educational opportunities, to be judged in the classroom and the job by the same standards, and to be paid the same for the same work. Arrange anything else – your child-bearing schedule, your profession, and your living arrangements in the manner which brings you and yours blessings and happiness. Anything more is just quibbling over special interests.

Now and again, I detected an undercurrent of similiar sentiments; even Naomi Wolf seemed to get the point when she wrote “Fire With Fire“, which seemed to chide activist women for clinging too tightly to the victim status and the enforcement of groupthink, rather than reaching out and freely excercising the power and authority which they of-times seemed reluctant to acknowledge… and of genuinely acknowledging that women were honestly and genuinely of varying religious, social and political beliefs.

So, the National Organization of Women has now proved my own point, as well as the one that Naomi Wolf was trying to make, in their descision to turn up their nose at Sarah Palin. Oh my – if you aren’t the right sort of feminist, never mind about your other qualifications or your chances to be elected to anything.

Sort of sad, really. NOW used to stand for something, to stand up for all women… not just those who met the rigorously-enforced checklist of acceptable attributes and opinions.

(Link found at Tim Blair)

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