OT feminisms (was Meredith Ann Pierce)

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Mon Mar 8 15:02:10 EST 2004

Alison said...

> This has pushed one of my hot buttons, so forgive me if I sound
> over-emotional.  One (earlier) poster feels that feminism destroyed
> (made doing traditionally feminine things evil.)  However, consider the
> choices that feminism added to women's lives - women lawyers, women
> women bankers, women stockbrokers, women engineers.  I think our lives (as
> people, not just as women) would be much poorer without the changes that
> feminism brought to society.  And I think that any women employed in a
> "traditionally male" occupation should think twice before dissing feminism
> (like the women I see, gainfully employed as lawyers, bankers, financial
> planners, etc. who say "I'm not a feminist."  Why not?)

Let me tell you a little story.  Many years ago, I did a period of work
experience in an academic organisation in Berlin.  In this organisation, it
was the habit, if a staff member was having a birthday, to knock off for
lunch an hour early and have a wee party.  With sparkling wine and crisps
and such.

On one particular such occasion, I and a friend were standing together,
chatting, and my friend asked a nearby (male, as it happened) colleague to
please pass the crisps.  He picked up the bowl and sweeping an exaggerated
bow, presented them to her on one knee, saying something like "refreshment
for my lady".

The three of us were having a good laugh over this when another (female)
colleague launched into a lengthy diatribe about how the man's behaviour was
disrespectful and demeaning to all women everywhere, while my friend's
behaviour in even asking him to pass the crisps (let alone accept his joking
obeisance) was selling out feminism, encouraging the oppression of
women...and so on and so forth.  The word "overreaction" came to mind.

But my point is, there are feminists out there who hold those attitudes, and
since they tend to be stridently vocal about it, they really annoy a lot of
people.  And people like me then tend to disassociate themselves from the
term "feminist" because it's been hijacked by these man-hating lunatics.

As Deborah and Melissa seem to me to have been saying, the word has acquired
these rather negative associations.  Which is why *I* tend to say "I'm not a
feminist, I'm an equalist."

I quite agree with you that feminism added huge amounts of choice to
people's lives.  But there *are* some feminists who do seem to think that
women who actually like to cook, sew, raise children or whatever must have
been brainwashed by men into wanting to do such things.  It's unfortunate,
but there it is.

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction."
-William Blake, "Proverbs of Heaven and Hell"

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