Thursday, February 15, 2007

Riddles of feminism that keep me awake at night

  • How any woman can claim to be a "feminist' but reject radical feminism
  • How many radical feminists refuse to embrace the fight against exploitation and torture of non-humans, and--in fact--participate in both on a daily basis
  • How supposedly progressive talking heads, professors and others can discuss "the feminists" as though a call for social, political and economic equality for women were part of a cult involving spaceships and anal probes done by aliens
  • How few well-known in-your-face feminists there are in the U.S. today
  • How shamefully the daughters of the Second Wave have, as a group, conducted themselves


To answer your first question- the reason I reject a lot of "radical feminism" is because I don't wish to trade having a men tell me what I, as a woman should be, for another woman to do it. I feel like radical feminists have very rigid ideas about who gets to be a feminist, and what you have to do, think, wear, etc. in order to be one. I sort of resent the fact that radical feminism and many second wavers made feminism out to be an exclusive club with a whole lot of rules. Which is bullshit, because I think the most important thing about feminism is the idea that women have every right to make choices for themselves- even if we personally disagree with those choices.

Don't get me wrong though- I understand where radical feminists come from. I always say- I don't necessarily agree with Andrea Dworkin, but I grew up in a very different world than she did, so I really can't pass judgement. The reason there is a third wave, and not just a continuing second wave, is because there are new issues for feminism to address, and ones that have kind of been solved already. I respect the second wave a great deal, but second wavers and radical feminists need to understand and make room for different feminist ideas.

By Blogger Robyn, at 1:44 PM  

I understand what you're saying, but I'm not defining radical feminism as belonging to Dworkin, or even to the Second Wave. I'm defining it as what it is--the belief that oppression has to be laid at the table of the patriarchy, from which it comes.

I am a Second Wave feminist, and we were never handed a set of rules about anything. We fought for political, social and economic equality for girls and women. The media made it out otherwise, but none of the Second Wave feminists I know has an exclusive set of rules for who is a femimist.

And although some problems of equality may seem to have been solved already, I think if you scratch the surface, you'll find they have not been solved at all, except perhaps in very narrow, specific areas. As for new problems, I do not know what they could be.

By Blogger Diane, at 6:59 PM  

History is my weak spot here, but I gather that the very specific set of rules about who can be a feminist come from the Third Wave and after, actually.

And I gather from what I've seen currently that some of the exclusivity is a reaction to a lot of conservative ideas about femininity being espoused by "feminists."

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