Sunday, June 01, 2008

Radical Feminist's Daughter Speaks Out

"I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations."

-Rebecca Walker

I'm not trying to be controversial. I love-love-love Alice Walker's novels, and I am not anti-feminism per se. But this makes me so sad... in part because I can identify with the upbringing Alice Walker's daughter describes. My mother was never as extreme and now sees where the feminist movement steered her wrong.

If feminism were merely the concept that women are equal to men and should not be discriminated against, I would be all for it. I am no one's intellectual or social inferior, period. If feminism were the concept that women deserve to have a choice in determining the course of their lives, I would also absolutely agree. But modern feminism is not about either of these things. In fact, sometimes I wonder--if a racist is someone who discriminates against a certain race, then semantically, a feminist might be someone who discriminates against females, right? Sounds crazy? Read on.

Example 1: when President Bush withdrew US funding for China's forced abortion program, American feminists were outraged. Hello? However you feel about Dubya, however you feel about abortion, there's no 'choice' in forced abortion. And in China, abortion is used mainly against baby girls. How very... feminist... of them.

Example 2: A year or so ago, I saw the president of NOW on a morning talk show lamenting that intelligent, educated women leave the work force to raise families. She believes this is robbing the world of talent and that these women should be forced to return to work or have a huge tax burden imposed on them and their families. Society has invested in them and they need to return the favor. Because, ya know, raising good citizens isn't going to help society at all. (the last sentence was, of course, mine)

Where's the 'choice' in forcing someone to make a life decision they don't want?

Example 3: Let's pretend the educated woman returns to the work force. She is too educated, too intelligent, and too liberated to spending days cooking, scrubbing toilets, and wiping noses. Mmmkay. But someone has to cook her meals, scrub her toilet, and raise her children. That someone is usually a female from a minority ethnic group. Feminism is a battle won on the backs of foot soldiers known as oppressed immigrants from the third world. Famous feminists such as Gloria Steinem were notoriously hard on their household help, screaming at them and holding them to impossibly high standards. How very uplifting and liberating for that housekeeper! I bet she's glad she's not at home raising her children.


Arienne Arnold said...

I am ABD ("all but dissertation") from Yale in French lit. Do I miss that world now that I am a full-time, fully committed stay-at-home-homeschooling mom? No way. The work I do now is infinitely more important (in my humble opinion) than what I was trained to do and infinitely more satisfactory. Would my choice work for everyone? Of course not. Would I force anyone to do it? No. And by the same token, someone else's choice should not be forced on me. Hooray for another great post!

Author said...

Wow! Very Great Post! I'd love to read more like this one. My mom, who is a big believer in equality, claims feminism didn't set women free, it set them free to DO ALL THE WORK.

Shannon said...

Fabulous post Emily! I am another of the "educated" ones - merely having a BS in Chemical Engineering...and I willingly walked away when my maternity leave ended to stay home with my new baby. I don't regret a moment of the time I have spent with her nor do I miss the stress and unhappiness that world "gave" to me. Society didn't "invest" anything in me that I didn't invest in myself and I, in turn, will invest in my daughter!