Friday, June 22, 2007

Feminism is Over? 'Kay

Kay Hymowitz says feminism is obsolete. On the one hand, equal opportunity is a sacred belief of the civil religion. On the other hand, most women want to use their equal opportunities to have a life that includes getting married and staying home with the kids when they are little. Most young women, even the ones who do think of themselves as femininsts, are willing to sacrifice some money and power in the world to get that kind of life. If the graying Second Wavers don't like it, they can lump it.

The best story Hymowitz recounts in the "The End of Herstory" chapter of Marriage and Caste in America is of Peggy Orenstein speaking Second Wave truths to college women. A Washington University student said from the audience, "I don't want to wait until I am 35 to have kids!"
Orenstein's reaction: "I nodded sympathetically. It really wasn't fair. Then suddenly I thought, 'Wait a minute! I am nearly 37 and I don't have children yet. These women don't want to be me."



Kerri said...

i typed out a comment and then my comptuer froze... BUT
i feel like the women of my generation are taking the term "feminism" and using it to mean "gender studies" as a critical reevaluation of the detriments of inflexible gender roles for both genders. this doesn't mean its not okay to a feminine, motherly housewife-- just not okay to HAVE to be one, and not okay to be one without being the housewife in an equal and respectul relationship.
that said, i think we also still realize that overall women are still more or less subordinate in the hierarchy of our society, but that fixing the balance doesn't mean you can't be a mom, too.

Carol Howard Merritt said...

Gosh. I hope it's not over. We have so much to do.