Sunday, March 16, 2008

So much to say that I've (almost) been rendered speechless

I told the Feminist Forum at UCDavis about 10 days ago, at their annual "Why Feminism?" event, that a great deal has been on my feminist heart and mind lately. Events of the past week or so have only weighed me down more. Where to start? Well, not necessarily in the order of priority or gravity . . .

Why judge Silda Wall Spitzer for appearing at the press conferences with her disgraced husband? Who knows what any of us would do if we were in her shoes? I liked Dina Matos McGreevy's thoughts on the matter. After all, she's been "in those shoes," although I was skeptical that she "stood by her husband" when he was governor of New Jersey for the sake of their child.

I have been glad to see some intelligent commentary challenging the notion that prostitution is a victimless crime. Maybe it should be decriminalized, but would that mean that there are no victims when men pay women for sex? What about the statistics showing that most women who engage in prostitution have been sexually absued before turning to it?

All I have to say about the news that a quarter of teenage females (aged 14-19) have a sexually transmitted disease (that's one half of African American teenage females) is that we have surely been dis-served by abstinence-only sex education.

Finally, I commend to your reading today's Op-Ed piece: Postfeminism and Other Fairy Tales by Kate Zernike in the New York Times. Here's a short excerpt:
But the politics of the last few months have certainly opened a spigot on the question of where exactly society stands on gender matters. Weren’t we in what some people have long called a postfeminist era, when we thought the big battles were over, or at least that the combatants had reached some accommodation? And wasn’t the younger generation less hung up on the stereotypes and issues of the sort Mrs. Clinton taps into among older women?
Assuming Zernike is correct, I'm not sure why it's taken a very high profile marital infidelity -- of all the awful things happening to women in this country and in the world (e.g., sexually transmitted disease among our teens!) -- to revive interest in feminism. I am, however, proud of you all for claiming the feminist label before it again became so obviously appropriate (or necessary) to others.

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