Last night at dinner, I asked my partner to create a badge for a blog carnival on young feminists.
“Let me start from the beginning,” I said, “So Gail Collins and Stacy Schiff from the New York Times declared that young feminists don’t exist–”
“–Wait, I think you already told me about this, it sounds familiar…”
“No, it happened again.”
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Gail Collins: Every time I go on a speaking tour I get questions from sad middle-aged women who want to know why their daughters all insist they aren’t feminists. They might be planning to devote their lives to healing fistula victims in Somalia, but they won’t let anyone call them feminists because they think it means being anti-man, or wearing unattractive shoes.”
“Stacy Schiff: Partly the word has been deliberately sullied, like “liberal” and “progressive.” It spells man-hating, militant, and, especially, no Manolos. If it makes you feel better, I just texted my 17-year-old to ask if she considered herself a feminist. “If by feminism, you mean equality,” she answers, “then yes.” It’s not a word that appeals, because her generation thinks the work has been done. They’ve been reading articles about the End of Men. Somehow the news that men who work full-time make on average 23 percent more than women do seems to have escaped them.”
Wow, thanks for
talking to young feminists telling us about some women you met and one 17 year old who SAID SHE WAS A FEMINIST when texted by her mom, as evidence for your claims. As an ardent fair pay activist, I find that last line extremely frustrating.
Moreover, this isn’t the first time that young feminists have been erased by the media and/or our sisters in the movement. Remember in April when Newsweek and Nancy Keenan declared that young women aren’t interested in protecting reproductive rights?
It’s really upsetting to be an activist who devotes significant time and energy to feminist causes, and then be told that young feminists do not exist. Like I previously wrote, it raises questions for me about what kinds of contributions are considered valuable by older feminists. I hate feeling erased, especially when it is at the hands of other people who are supposedly committed to empowering people.
It’s not just in the media–in my gender and women’s studies graduate courses, I encountered ZERO professors who discussed third wave feminism, let alone espoused it. When I brought it up in class, I was told by several professors that they either didn’t believe in third wave feminism, didn’t understand it, or thought it was bullshit.
The reality is there ARE young feminists all across the world doing really valuable work for the movement. My fellow young feminists inspire me, challenge me, and support me.
So, I’m inviting you to participate in the first “THIS IS WHAT A YOUNG FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” blog carnival next Friday, August 27th. To participate, leave a comment below with the name and URL for your blog. Then download the badge below and put it on your blog to show that you are participating. I will update the list of participating blogs every couple of days, and post the final list Friday morning.
**A note about participation as related to age: Personally, I am totally comfortable with people outside of the “young” demographic participating in the carnival. You may take time to reflect on your own take on the issue, share about your life when you were a young feminist, or offer ways we can move forward to a meaningful dialogue.