Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stalled Feminism

I feel like writing about feminism today.

When I was growing up, I remember hating the feminist movement. There was a counteracting movement which said that feminism had gone so far that men were being victimized. It was helped along by the few ridiculous women who would scold men for holding doors open (there was a teacher in my high school who did that) or write articles in newspapers which opened with "Hey, men! Rape is wrong!".

If you were to look around now, you would be hard pressed to find any sign of any feminist movement at all. If you don't believe me, take a walk around Bayshore and look in the "La Senza girl" store (but don't look too long, you perv). Yeah. Part of the feminist ideal was that women would not have to turn themselves in to objects. That clearly isn't working as our society is now encouraging twelve year old girls to
tart themselves up like 19 year olds in bars.

Women still aren't paid as much as men. They still get laid off more easily. And if they're of child bearing age, they still have difficulty finding jobs.

With all that in mind, one might argue that the feminist movement has failed.

Stalled, perhaps, but I don't think it has really failed.

To demonstrate this, you only have to look at the differences in the way that we will raise our children relative to how we were raised. How many of us are going to be telling our sons and daughters that women don't have mathematical and spatial skills? A lot fewer, I think. Fewer of us are taking religion seriously, so we may soon see the end of that "man is the head of woman" nonsense that the church has been spewing for centuries. We've pretty much stopped telling our sons that "only girls cry" when they're hurt.

If I wanted to go on, I'm sure I could. There are probably dozens, or hundreds, of tiny little changes that have been brought in to our society by the feminist movement. It was unfortunate that so many women went overboard, providing such excellent fodder for the guns of the established boys club that runs the conservative media. Regardless of all that, however, our awareness of our own biases has increased, and the feminist movement has changed all of our perceptions.

This isn't to say that more can't be done. As mentioned above, the workplace is still not the equal opportunity place it could be. Nor, I'm sure, is the classroom. But today there is no vocal feminist movement. There are no protests, no one leading the struggle. The girls who ought to be at the forefront are too busy being told that the most important thing they can do is dress like Britney Spears. And
they're listening.

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