Monday, May 4, 2009

Talking Naomi Wolf

Today over at Campus Progress I had a response go up to something Naomi Wolf wrote in the Washington Post over the weekend:

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a review of Helen Gurley Brown, founder of 100 ways to please your man Cosmopolitan magazine, prompted Naomi Wolf, a sort-of feminist writer who we’ve locked horns with before, to proclaim that “sexy” feminism has won out over humorless, hairy armpit feminism.

“[W]hen it comes to women’s rights,” Wolf wrote in this Sunday’s Washington Post, “Americans have clearly matured. What has helped that process along is that stealthily, quietly, second wave feminism — the movement personified by Betty Friedan and her 1963 bestseller, The Feminine Mystique — has been supplanted by ‘third wave’ feminism, with its more upbeat and individualistic signature.”

Much of what Wolf writes suggests she’s far out of touch with what’s going on in feminism today, and she seems to forget that feminists are actually doing things of value these days. The National Women’s Law Center is pushing to make women’s voices heard in the health care debate. The first bill that President Obama signed into law was legislation that helped women sue for pay discrimination, thanks to many women’s coalitions. Not to mention all of the volunteer work women are doing on campus, staffing emergency hotlines to aid victims of domestic violence. As the work of modern feminists shows, there are plenty of women that fall outside the narrow stereotypes Wolf presents.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.

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