Mr. Leonard Pitts, Jr. pens on Sunday to say, regarding Feminism…
“I’m not a feminist, but … ?” That’s a fraud. It’s intellectually dishonest. And it’s a slap to the feminists who prepared the table at which today’s young women sup.
To be sure, feminism in it’s older form, is a good thing. That is, equal rights for women and the ability to control their own destiny has benefited society greatly. What Leonard is fed up with is the current association of this F-word with militants, being anti-men, and the old notion that it was only for the advancement of ugly or uncomely women. Well, thanks to some who shall remain nameless, this association has been earned… fraudulently or not. If you were politically/socially aware during the 90’s (let alone the 20 years prior) you had to be at least a little aware of this association.
And then there’s this problem with “empowerment” part:
A generation of parents and educators have pushed to ensure that girls have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, with notable results. In 2007, for example, it was girls who dominated the national math and science competition sponsored by Siemens. But a growing number of reports show that the message of equality might have a downside.
Teenage girls now equal or outpace teenage boys in alcohol consumption, drug use and smoking, national surveys show. The number of girls entering the juvenile-justice system has risen steadily over the past few years. A 2006 study that examined accident rates among young drivers noted that although boys get into more car accidents, girls are slowly beginning to close the gap.
So, is this the kind of feminism we want for our young ladies? Like my wife, the WhirlyDaughter will be a feminist in the traditional sense. Clearly, any clear thinking person finds the positive in “…access to birth control** …equal pay for equal work ….fight against rape and violence against women.”
However, empowerment will walk hand-in-hand with responsibility. As it always should.
I’m not saying I agree with Leonard; I don’t on most things. I’m sure we’d split hairs on a few things here knowing what shapes his world-view (**i.e.: abortion and Plan-B do no qualify as birth control to me). But, generally, we agree that some words get unduly associated with negative connotations and as long as there’s an uncomplicated explanation on why you’re reclaiming that phrase, it’s probably not a big deal to try to resurrect its usage.
Face facts, though, Leonard… the F-Word has a lot of baggage to overcome. Especially with empowered women like Lori Gottlieb.
You’ll find one of my favorite, empowered female bloggers here.