Friday, March 16, 2007

From Onlydom to Sisterhood....Interrupted

Time to turn my attention from only-childhood to sisterhood.

I’ve been following the thread on TPC in response to Jessica Valenti’s “Feminist Sorority” and am struck once again by the way feminists are repeating the personal, political, ideological infighting of the past—only this time, with a generational veneer.

I salute Jessica for raising these issues, and I can’t wait for the release of her book (I’m with those who think the cover is savvy, though I understand the critique). It’s the response to her article that concerns me more than the article itself. So much pain, accusation, and hurt—on both sides. Where is this taking us?

Coming back from a talk I gave at Rowan University last week to kick off Women's History Month, where the audience was part NOW founders, part undergraduates, and part faculty/staff, I’ve been thinking a lot about how young(er) women and veteran feminists can speak to each other in tones that enable their message to be heard. And the need for media-savvy feminists to forge bridges that steer the conversation away from intergenerational catfight and back to the issues we care about in common. I sincerely believe we have more in common than contradiction. And that the ever-widening age gap has the potential to diminish us all.


Courtney said...

Thanks for putting some much needed perspective on this whole issue D. I don't imagine there was ever a movement that weathered generational change gracefully--why would feminism be any different?
Having said that, I do find it terribly sad that feminists of different generations seem to almost be standing on two sides of a ravine, needing some essential survival tool that only those on the other side have. Younger feminists need wisdom, self-acceptance, patience. Older feminists need a serious dose of idealism (I can't tell you how many older feminists I meet who are straight up bitter), fresh eyes, new strategies.
How can we learn to offer these things to one another in a pragmatic, respectful, empathic way?
I can't wait to read your book for the answer! Or at least the beginning of the dialogue that will lead to many answers.

Deborah Siegel said...

Courtney, I completely love how you've articulated the needs on both so-called sides here, and your image of the ravine. Thanks for posting and sharing your amazing poetic self.

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