Friday, July 7, 2017

Gloria Steinem and Young Women

Gloria Steinem in a Bill Maher interview when asked about why Clinton's historic campaign is losing votes among young women, she said “I don’t mean to over-generalize … but men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women get more radical because they lose power as they age, So it’s kind of not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re going to get more activist as they get older,” she added. And when you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”

First I would like to point out that she must really not have a very good opinion of young women if she says that young women are not as activist as older women. She needs to visit some college campuses and see the young women who are activists in those communities. The whole idea that women only become more radical as they grow older because they lose power I don't understand. Perhaps at some point, this was true. I especially don't understand why she made this statement when earlier in the interview she said in response to young women be complacent "I don't think that is true. I find the young women very very activist and they are way way more feminist then we were" These two things seem contradictory.

Second I will say this. There are more issues at play than just getting a president who is a woman for the first time. That would be awesome, but there are so many more issues at play. Many of use are concerned about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we are in debt for going to school. We are concerned about how corrupt our political system is. We are upset by the bailout of the big banks and that Wall Street gets to play with our economy and then walk away without so much as a scratch. Perhaps it would behoove you to ask young activist women what are the issues that they care about?

Thirdly(and this is where I really get pissed off) is her statement connected to boys. Steinem is encouraging people to brush of young women as unimportant and not to be taken seriously. Steinem is perpetuating the idea that young women's thoughts or ideas don't matter and are not valid. By saying that I support Sanders only because I am interested in boys invalidates my opinions and beliefs. Not to mention erases gay women from the picture. This comment by here so sexism and misogynistic I don't even know where to begin. It is so horrifying to hear it coming from a long time feminists mouth.

I am incredibly upset that Steinem has said this as I admire her very much but I don't think Steinem takes my opinions and ideas seriously.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Why be a Feminist?

Do want to fight for equal rights for women? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you want to end rape culture? Then you should be a feminist. 
Are you concerned about women's health issues? Then you should be a feminist. 
Are you against domestic violence? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you worry about the effects of hyper-masculine culture? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you worry about struggles with body image and body shaming? Then you should be a feminist. 
Are you concerned about losing a job because you are pregnant? Then you should be a feminist.
Are you concerned that your gender, race, or religion will affect your ability to get a job? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you want girls to grow up with role models? Then you should be a feminist. 
Are you concerned about accurate sex education? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you worry street harassment and cat calling? Then you should be a feminist.  
Are you concerned about the sexualization of women's bodies? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you worry about girls being told that their bodies are the most important thing about them? Then you should be a feminist. 
Does it upset you that men make up most of the representation in government? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you worry about the strict gender roles that exist in our culture? Then you should be a feminist. 
Are you concerned about representation in the media? Then you should be a feminist. 
Do you want a better future for others? Then you should be a feminist. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Feminism and Independence

While arguing with someone about what feminism was they told me that the purpose of feminism was to help women become more independent. That bothered me and at the time I could not figure out why. Now I have figured out why and only wish I could go back in time and tell this person why it was the wrong definition.

The idea of being independent has certain connotations for us. To be independent one must live on their own, be able to support themselves financially, and be able to function without needing another person to be always present. Living on your own means that you can do your own laundry, you are able to cook, and you can clean your living space. Supporting yourself financially means that you are able to get a job and are able to do the job. Not needing another person to be around when you are living is key to our idea of independence. When I hear the word independence this is what I think of. 

I have a sister with disabilities. She is 18 years old but she is developmentally about 7 years old. She is struggling to learn how to read going 2 steps forward and 1 step back. The same for math. We encourage her to do things by herself as much as possible. The day when she was finally potty trained we celebrated, and a few years later when was finally able to go the bathroom without assistance we had a cake to celebrate. She has been able to dress herself for a while now, but sometimes her shirts end up inside out and backward. But the important part is that she is doing it herself and she is getting better at seeing that her clothes are on wrong. We want her to do that. 

Part of my sister's long list of disabilities is her stroke. Her left-hand does not work as well as her right. Because of this, it was only a few months ago that she was able to put both her socks on by herself, we are still learning how to tie shoes. She can't do many things by herself and it is unlikely that she ever will be truly "independent" based on the definition above. I think she can still be as independent as possible and will be cheering for her always. I want to push her towards that. 

I don't want my sister to be excluded from feminism because someone defined independence as women being independent. My sister needs feminism just as much as I do. My sister is still going to deal with gender bias and discrimination. The risk of rape and sexual assault are still just as real for her as they are for me. Certainly, she will experience and has experienced, oppressions I will never understand and can only be an ally to her in. 

My sister will always in some way be dependent on someone. That is not a bad thing. It is just the way life is.

I didn't like the definition that this person gave of feminism because it felt exclusive of my sister. I wish I could have had the words to tell them then but I didn't so I am saying it now. I will always advocate for bell hooks definition that "feminism is the movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” I want my feminism to be concerned about all forms of oppression and to work to end them. I need my feminism to be inclusive.

(This was originally posted on my feminism blog but I don't like having separate blogs I have tried it a couple of times and it doesn't work for me. So I am posting some posts here that I really want to keep on the web)