6.27.2006

What is Feminism?

I've been only one of the many sparked by the review on Slate.com of Linda Hirshman's Get to Work. I'm not enraged by her message, nor judgmental of stay-at-home moms. I guess I'm just wondering, once again as I did through out my days in college where I took many Women's Studies courses, what is feminism? Feminism is often referred to as the "F-word," portraying it as something ugly and shameful. People still often think of feminists as the unshaven angry women screaming and hating men. While I do think the shaving thing is a bummer (enough so to have done the research to find out that it was a freaking clothes designer in conjunction with Gillette marketing that has enslaved us women to shaving are legs and pits. I also wrote a poem entitled "Hairy Legs" once, you can probably figure out how that went. Something like, shaving... DIE!), I definitely am not angry nor do I hate men. The landscape of feminism has definitely changed and now I feel that feminism is divided. There are the "choice" feminists that Hirshman criticizes in her book. I most identify with the "choice" feminists, but I also understand Hirshman's point of view. It's hard enough for women to obtain and maintain equal status in the work place, and for the women who are fighting hard for this equality, it can feel like abandonment when some of the qualified, intelligent working women "opt out" of the working world.

But I ask this, is feminism to make us as much like men as possible (or what men's roles typically have been in our society)? Should we become work-a-holics, putting our maternal urges to the way side in order to climb the corporate ladder and be "successful"? Or is it less feminist to mold ourselves to the patriarchal roles in our society? Shouldn't we Redefine the roles in our work place? The only reason women right now can't have both, family and career, is because our society is not structured in a manner that supports women. I read an article in Time last year titled "Why Women are Opting Out of the Rat Race" (or something very much like that). In it, stay-at-home moms were interviewed and a common theme was that if corporate businesses offered part-time work for mothers who had formally been lawyers, accountants, or in other such business related positions job, they would love to go back to work. But to deny their maternal instinct completely wasn't worth it to them for their careers. I think true feminism is respecting women and our nature, not trying to adjust our nature to fit men's nature. It's okay and wonderful to have maternal instincts and instead of Changing Ourselves to fit in the man's world, we need to change the way our society and the business world is structured. Obviously this is no easy task, but criticizing women who choose to stay at home with their children is not a step in the right direction. In my opinion and feminist perspective, women should not be judged for their choices whatever it may be or whether or not you agree with it... unless they choose to murder someone or wear low rise pants that shows off their thong and ass crack.

But then again, I'd judge any man under the same criteria.

3 comments:

Bill said...

Hmm... showing your thong and asscrack... this sounds familiar. lol

mai wen said...

What? I don't know what you're talking about!

(Shhh, Bill. Asian Fun has a rep to keep up...)

Bill said...

Oh, I didn't see the sign that said check your perv at the door... I'll be quiet next time.

 

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