Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feminist Memoirists Muse While Headlines Toll the Bell

This year's Book Festival in Edinburgh seems to be inspiring a number of "dead feminism" articles in the UK press. There's one in The Herald (Thirty Years on from the Glory Days of Feminism: How Have We Changed?) and not one but two in The Scotsman ("Feminism is Dead for Most Women Today, Says Its High Priestess" and "We Gave Men a Hard Time"). I don't know about you, but that photo attached to the Festival's logo up there sure don't scream "postfeminism" to me....

Memoirs by movement veterans Lynne Segal (currently professor of psychology and gender studies at Birkbeck University, London) and writer Michele Roberts along with comments from writer Fay Weldon seem to be sparking the not-so-novel headline. Says Roberts in The Scotsman,
"There isn't a public feminism supporting women in the way there was, because feminism has become discredited as a sour-faced, curmudgeonly set of ideas. Young women don't want to be associated with it. I don't think the culture as a whole represents the strength and beauty of female friendships and how those relationships save you from going mad. Women are portrayed as sitting around giggling together in wine bars. I'm not saying that that's what young women are like, but that's what the culture is describing: you're allowed to have female comrades but only if you're discussing stilettos."
These women have excellent points, but the emphasis of these articles is just so, well, predictable. Over and over, the death of feminism seems a juicier story than stories about its life. But don't people get tired reading the same ole story? Don't journalists get tired of writing them? For vibrant signs of life among our sisters across the sea and other tales yet to tell, of course, see The F-Word and the women's page of The Guardian.

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