sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

November 16, 2010

Not My Kind of Feminism

Filed under: society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:27 pm

Is ‘nice” an opposite of “direct”? Gloria Steinem thins so:

“We were too nice,” she said. “We’re women. We were trained to be nice. We weren’t direct enough.”

That’s a comment made in reference to some unspecified failures of the 1970s feminism to achieve its goals.  Somehow much of the Second Wave feminism seems neither “nice” nor “direct” to me.  A better word to use would be “laud” or “obnoxious”.  The relevant definition of direct is “straightforward; frank; candid.”  “Direct” is not very different from “nice”.  Good people are direct.  Men are usually more direct then women, btw, American men in particular.  Stereotypically, women achieve their goals by being indirect and manipulative.

1970s feminists voiced their demands loudly, but did it make them direct?  More importantly, can frankness account for their successes? Not really, because much of their strategy was annoyance and demands of undue attention.  It’s not really a case where one gets what she wants by being honest.  She gets what she wants by out-screaming (and out-maneuvering) her opponents.  And in any case, what were the goals of the Second Wave feminists?  How did they envision the future?  American public will falling in love with women’s basketball?  Government taking woman’s earnings and then returning them, in biweekly pensions, once she has a child?

Steinem, who is noted for saying that a woman needs a marriage like a fish needs a bicycle, did marry a boyfriend of hers — at the tender age of sixty six.  Perhaps Gloria Steinem wasn’t direct with herself.

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