Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Divisive Women's Poltics

Megan Carpentier does an excellent job of breaking down (and taking down) Deborah Dickerson's quasi-defense of her accusation of "feminists under 30" of as "Pole-dancing" sluts that don't fight hard enough for feminist causes.

As I once outlined, older feminists have a sense of entitlement. They somehow "earn" their right to lord criticism over us young feminists and pretty much whine when we target criticism back at them, as Dickerson's post so aptly illustrates. She actually tells us to "Grow up, girlies."

That doesn't mean I don't appreciate all the accomplishments that second-wave feminists have made. Today, thankfully, sexual harassment is shamed in the workplace instead of being celebrated, even if it hasn't disappeared. Women can legally claim maternity leave, even if it's often unpaid. And the sexual revolution, something second wavers worked extremely hard for, has allowed women to be able to be sexual as well as serious, even if the stereotypes about sluts (ahem, Ms. Dickerson) haven't gone away.

But now, what young feminists want -- and it's important, as Megan pointed out, to acknowledge that few women actually identify as such and that has always been the case -- to be treated as equals in the movement. Just because we are young doesn't mean we somehow care less about pay equity, contraception and abortion access, representation of women in the media, domestic violence, or any number of issues that feminists should care about. But by marginalizing us off the bat, Dickerson is sending a strong message that older feminists don't think much of us and simply aren't interested in hearing what we have to say. And they can't deny that there are a lot of problems with the way her generation of feminists have done things.

By delving into personal attacks, Dickerson isn't helping things. What we need is not to accuse different generations of feminists of slacking -- what we need is to work together to make things better. That means actually listening to each other on substantive issues and staying away from this silly mud-slinging.

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