Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Kingdom Divided

A generally accepted definition:

fem·i·nism (\ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\) noun: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

What can not generally agreed on? What exactly social equality means. To quote Lindsey Gerdes:

As American women have won more and more rights, the feminist movement has had the luxury of branching off in many, even contradictory, directions. Feminist icons run the gamut from activist Gloria Steinem to porn star Jenna Jamison…not to mention our first viable female Presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton."

And this is where the problems arise. It's not so much the differences of opinion that rub me the wrong way. It is the way in which these arguments are played out in the public sphere. Specifically, the sphere of the internet. I am often hard pressed to find any women-focused or -centered blog or webpage in which one does not see other women-focused or -centered blogs/webpage/periodical, etc. bashed in a catty way. Jim Wallis' admonishment to Christians can also be applied to feminists: "The ways we disagree can sometimes be as important as the things upon which we disagree." The hatefulness with which we attack each other will not help our cause. As long as we continue to live up to stereotypes of backstabbing and manipulativeness and cattiness, we will never earn our rightful place in society.

mi·sog·y·nist (\mə-ˈsä-jə-nist\) noun: a man who hates women as much as women hate one another
(This definition courtesy of H.L. Mencken.)

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