Posted By - Kate Spencer On February 22, 2016
It’s exhausting. Really. Being a feminist is exhausting.
Three things happened in the last several weeks.
- Madeleine Albright had to write a mea culpa in the New York Times apologizing for telling a group of women to “go to hell.” She used a line that had worked for years about there being a special place in hell for women who do not support one another. But when used to promote Hillary, it was like microphone feedback. There was a resounding scream of NOOOOO!!!!!!! That is not why we’re voting for Hillary or not voting for Hillary. That is NOT what feminism is all about and that is NOT what Madame Secretary meant every other time she pushed for women to support one another. We should support one another, mentor one another, applaud one another, promote one another, stand up for one another. But it doesn’t mean we have to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman.
- Maureen Dowd basically said that Gloria Steinem should turn in her feminist leader card. Because Gloria suggested that women were supporting Bernie Sanders because that’s where the boys are. It’s taken awhile for Steinem’s comment to sink in because it reminds me of the idea that “boy crazy girls” don’t know their own mind. Again,microphone feedback. Young women rightfully responded with Really? That’s what you think of us? It’s like a parent telling a daughter to stop dating a certain boy. It always backfires.
- The New York Times reinforced the divide (is there a divide? Weren’t we trying to eliminate any divides?) between younger and older women saying that the years spent in the workplace “radicalizes” women. Maybe. Maybe younger women who feel like feminism is baked into the culture and have a what’s-the-big-deal attitude just haven’t experienced the reality of continued sexism, especially in industries that have been historically dominated by men. Isn’t that why we are pushing for change in technology, the sciences, Hollywood, finance and culinary? In a word, yes. For the good of the next generation that doesn’t think the challenges still exist.
All of this discussion is thought-provoking. But it creates a bit of eye-rolling, too. As in why do we STILL have to keep talking about this?
Two years ago, Lindy West wrote about and coined “Feminist Fatigue” on Jezebel. It was brilliant then, it is brilliant now. Yes there is “fatigue” but it should push us all to continue to move forward, not create a generational divide with the super smart, capable, can-do-it younger feminists. We should all be feminists, men, women, boys, girls, all people. Because how can we all be equal if we don’t all believe it? To quote Lindy West:
“I'm not a feminist by choice, I'm a feminist because this is the world. And if my fatigue sounds defeatist, it isn't. It's the opposite. It's an internal rallying cry that reminds me how bad things are. If you pay attention to and comment on everyday inequalities—immense and tiny—if you let all of it filter through you and you hop around and eyeroll and groan and drive your boyfriend crazy because he just wants to watch the IT Crowd but you NEED to talk about [it]”…..so keep talking about it and maybe we’ll change the world.
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