Sunday, February 12, 2012

We don't need feminism anymore!

I was listening to CBC radio the other day and they were doing a special show on the 40th anniversary of Ms magazine. They interviewed one of the founders of the magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and her daughter, a journalist named Abigail Pogrebin.

At first, I was kind of excited to be listening to a feminist story on the radio while I drove, but I ended up getting more and more irritated with it. It gave the impression that everything is fine right now, thanks to people like the founders of Ms magazine. While I appreciate how much things have improved in a variety of ways, I really get annoyed when people try to make it seem as though we no longer need feminism because men and women are equal now.

Abigail said that she doesn't feel that her life or her daughter's life are constrained by being a woman because we now have choices that weren't available when her mother co-founded the magazine. Then she went on to say that she used to work for 60 minutes, but found a new, less prestigious, job closer to home when she had children because she wasn't able to travel all the time anymore... and that she couldn't travel for work regularly because her husband had a job that required him to travel for work. She also said that he would not consider compromising his job to stay home with the kids. Now, this sounds like one of the reasons we still need feminism... women's choices are constrained in ways that men's choices often are not.

So, she quits a good job to take something closer to home in order to stay home with her children while her husband travels for work, but we don't need feminism anymore. Hurray for choices!

I hate this "I choose my choice" feminism. We do not have choices, in a lot of cases. The decision to participate in the nuclear family, to work in the waged labour force, to make sacrifices in one's career for the sake of raising children, even the decision about what kinds of clothing to wear are constrained by material circumstances, they are not made in a vacuum.

1 comment:

  1. A brilliant post! One of the most insidious characteristics of oppressive systems is getting the oppressed groups to believe they have freely chosen their oppression.