I’m re-posting old blog entries that I wrote in 2006. Is that like a huge internet faux pas? I don’t care, it was just an old myspace blog that no-one read so I’ll add it to the tumblr tumble (they all seem so cute and optimistic! am I getting more jaded in my old age?):
There is a lot of ideological dissent between second- and third-wave feminists. This is probably most frequently played out between mothers who came of age in the 60s and 70s and their now adolescent and young-adult daughters (most of whom have never even heard of these silly waves but live them nonetheless).
They fought for the right to wear pants to work. We wear miniskirts. They worked to break the glass ceiling in traditionally male professions like medicine and law. We want to be burlesque dancers and make indie films. They worked hard to be seen as more than just sexual beings. We want to explore our sexuality.
Sometimes I get irritated hearing second-wavers criticize the sex-positive, self-empowered choices made by myself and my peers. “We did all this work and they take it all for granted!” says my mom and her (totally baddass second-wave) peers
Well, isn’t that what you wanted? To create a world where your daughters believe that they could be anything? Congratulations, Mom, you did! I know I could be a doctor, but it turns out I want to be a burlesque dancer!
I hope that my queer children will live in a world where they take their rights for granted. “Well, sure, Mom, we could get married,” little Joy Junior will say about her girlfriend, “But that’s so square!“ “Do you know how hard we worked for that?“ I’ll say, but then bite my tongue, happy to see her happy and proud that she has a wide scope of possibilities to choose from or reject.
On the other hand, I do think that a sense of history is important for social movements as lessons forgotten must be repeated.
Part of the project of patriarchy is to control women by separating them from one another. One way that individual women can resist this is to join forces across the generation gap and join forces with their 2nd or 3rd wave compatriots.
Institutionalized sexism is simultaneously a huge and subtle enemy to be fighting. We need to be working on breaking it down from all angles! We need feminist political organizers working to create a more just society. We need burlesque dancers asking audiences to explore with them the performance of gender and the playfulness of desire. We need feminist doctors to help balance the focus of medicine and prioritize womens bodies. We need feminist filmmakers and lawyers and academics and prostitutes of BOTH genders changing the lives of individuals and shaping the structures of the world we live in so that everyones body, mind and spirit can be equally valued and respected. It takes a lot of brains and hands to change this stumbling elephant of a paradigm, you grab the trunk, I’ll work on the ears!