Poll: On feminist priorities

Posted: 2 January 2005 - 2:37pm

What should be the priorities for feminists in 2005? Please take the mediagirl.org poll and share your thoughts under the poll or right here in this forum topic. (Results to date visible after you vote.)

Context of this question

When we look at our society -- let alone the world -- it seems rather apparent (to me, and many women) that, in many ways, equal rights for women have not been achieved, and are being attacked in law, in policy and with violence.

The added challenge that we face is that even in liberal circles women's rights and issues are not even on the radar -- or, as we see today, are seen as liabilities. For example, groups within the Democratic National Committee are working actively to erode the party's position on a woman's right to make medical decisions about her own body in an effort to "appeal" (read: pander) to what the media are calling "red state voters." In more intellectual circles, today, on C-Span2's In Depth, progressive author and thinker Garry Wills said, "We almost don't need [the Equal Rights Amendment]." In general, the feeling seems to be that women's equal rights are not germane to today's political priorities or already have been achieved, period, next issue.

What are your thoughts about these things? What should be the priorities for feminists in 2005?

Please take the mediagirl.org poll and share your thoughts. (Results to date visible after you vote.)

Wills is a typical liberal Ca

  • NancyP's picture
  • NancyP (not verified)
  • 3 January 2005 - 2:23pm

Wills is a typical liberal Catholic, liberation is for everyone except women.

Feminism has become very reactive since the early 1970s - the attempt to keep abortion legal has sucked all the radicalism out of the movement. We no longer hear the "if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament" line, nor do we hear feminist religious views, nor do we hear the outrage over domestic violence cuts, failure to view rape as a hate crime, etc. The mainstream media has reduced us to One-Note Janes, and we have complied.

Defining the issues

  • 4 January 2005 - 4:25am

You make an excellent point, NancyP. The lightening rod for many people is the womb.

If human reproduction were done in test tubes or by cloning, the dynamics would shift and much of the political discussion about women's rights ends with "well, you must want to kill babies."

So long as women remain the baby retorts and that has to be done is to keep us bare foot - a euphemism for economically dependent on men - this is "family values" stripped to its essence.

I am old enough to remember when during a job interview (the 1970's) it was okay for the interviewer to ask "what if you get pregnant?"

That is not asked so much any more, but not asking it does not people aren't thinking it.

After Yugoslavia fell apart one of the factions systematically raped women of another faction in order to impregnate them knowing that many women will not end pregnancies or abandon the children. This is another example of "family values" where a child's right to life comes before a woman's economic freedom and only a monster would terminate such pregnancies, right? To do that would undermine the family, right?

The linking of child birth with families preserves an economic system that benefits men. Why in contraception bad? What if women could marry one another? What if two men could mix their biological material and produce a child without a female?

These things frighten the radical right and it all gets down to a "trick question."

"You like children, yes?

"Yes."

"Then get the hell home and have babies."

As long as we are pinned down with babies, we'll never get anywhere.

BUT . . .

How many women who came after me and who I expected to rise in the corporation opted out - the one who say "I'm not a feminist" - and now are not part of the power structure?

Biology is central to the battle for our rights and our wombs are the battlefield.

The Poll

  • 8 January 2005 - 7:08pm

I'm a bit disappointed that motherhood and custody issues didn't make the poll as a feminist issue. Those are two issues many mothers are battling now around the world. Moms are losing custody of their kids and having their parental authority usurped by courts and promotions by fathers' rights activists today. They're losing custody or being subjected to punitive joint custody arrangements that ignore their status as primary caregivers, ignore the welfare of the child, and they are also losing to ne'er-do-well dads, absent and uninvolved dads, abusive and control-freak dads, and uninvolved unmarried dads. It's an important issue that needs more attention.

Is this one of the fears of ERA

  • 8 January 2005 - 7:12pm

My ERA fear is that men will take all the benefits of ERA and we'll still not have the clout. Until we get more women in the halls of power, ERA could backfire.

There. I said it.

Yes

  • 9 January 2005 - 12:11am

I'm embarrassed that I managed to leave that off the poll. I'd add it now, but of course nobody who's already voted could vote on it. It's overwhelming, all the things that are happening these days. What is it about our country that makes this possible?