There's a new f-word in American today: feminism. On college campuses, once a hotbed of undergraduate rebellion and assertion of rights, young women shrink from the term with revulsion.
Yes, these women have not read Simon de Beauvoir, never opened The Feminine Mystique, or even confronted the provoking SCUM Manifesto. It's not the radical ideas that scare them away from feminism; it's the current associations the term carries; associations that reveal just how much work feminism and gender students still have to do.
Many undergraduates gather information from television and other popular sources. To these young adults, feminism is associated with harshness and attack. Specifically, feminists are men-hating and, more often, lesbians. Though they hesitate to even speak this work in class, it is usually revealed to be what they were thinking when the teacher said feminist.
Men instantly feel themselves expelled from the movement (a complex problem not yet solved in feminist circles), and women dread being labeled with these pejorative terms. The fact that lesbian is the key scary word leveled at independent women who hope to assert their equality, rights, and abilities, raises many questions (alongside weary disappointment).
What would the Lavender Menace say? Much of this insistence on heterosexual orientation seems to require women's dependence on and appreciation of men. It seems to point out the still unequal balance of relations. Women are not allowed to be assertive, because then they must be a lesbian.
So, instead of fighting against this assumption as twenty-somethings did in the Second Wave seventies, today's college women for the most part abide by its logic and try not to assert themselves too much. They desperately try to abide within the prearranged (in many feminists' opinions, fictional) boundary of their gender. This is a disturbing trend.
These women are afraid to even be seen with a copy of one of those books for fear of being labeled a dyke. However, the only way to disentangle these terms (none of which are negative or should be used in that way) is to foster knowledge.
Feminism needs to be drug out of the closet, dusted off, and more fully explained for what it is: a diverse campaign for equality between individuals of any gender or transgender status. It is not about hate; it's not about a specific sexual alignment. It's about women claiming their status as deserving, intelligent persons and setting forth to achieve the most they can in their lives.
Copyright © 2013 - helium01.ExpertsColumn.Com · All Rights Reserved | Powered by: ExpertsColumn.com