Sunday, April 26, 2009

The malpractice of modern-day American feminism

"Nothing, I believe, has tended more to destroy the true dignity of woman, than the fact that she is approached by man in the character of a female. The idea that she is sought as an intelligent and heaven-born creature, whose society will cheer, refine and elevate her companion, and that she will receive the same blessings she confers, is rarely held up to her view. On the contrary, man almost always addresses himself to the weakness of woman. By flattery, by an appeal to her passions, he seeks access to her heart; and when he has gained her affections, he uses her as the instrument of his pleasure -- the minister of his temporal comforts. he furnishes himself with a housekeeper, whose chief business is in the kitchen, or the nursery. and whilst he goes abroad and enjoys the means of improvement afforded by collision of intellect with cultivated minds, his wife is condemned to draw nearly all her instruction from books, if she has time to peruse them; and if not, from her meditations, whilst engaged in those domestic duties which are necessary for the comfort of her lord and master."

As taken from "Letters on the Equality of Sexes" Sarah Grimke, 1837

Feminism has gone a long way-but it seems present-day modern man is fed-up with the modern-day dominatrix feminist, at least that's the impression I'm under here in Berkeley; he is fed up by her attempts to completely denigrate the male population in her efforts to change every aspect of potential female subservience. We have found present-day man calling her every attempt to free women from the shackles of inequality as overbearing and ridiculous.

With her subtle efforts to honor the female embodiment, feminists, at least here in Berkeley, have changed spelling 'women' to 'womyn', his to herstory, etc...they have changed their everyday habits, use of verbal and written speech, their clothing, sexual and social practices, and everyday {man}nerisms in an attempt to counteract every attempt man has apparently made in subjugating the female race.

But is that going too far? I'm not about to overanalyze or delve into every possible attempt man has ever made to entirely denounce female equality among men. Thanks to feminism way back when, I am endowed with my right to even have a blog to communicate my thoughts. I'm allowed to vote without having my gender stand as an impediment to my political freedom.

But has feminism in America today gone out of hand? Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely downgrading feminism in its entirety, nor am I labeling it to be wrong or outrageous. I will however speculate that the goals of modern-day American feminists may possibly detract from the "big picture".

Feminists from Zimbabwe for instance- specifically the region of Bulawayo, do not delve into the particulars of everyday colloquial speech. They instead fight for an opportunity to increase their literacy by being granted the ability to go to school. They fight domestic subservience by forming writers' and youth groups in order to counteract this inevitable downtrodden persistence of inequality among the 2 genders. Feminism in Armenia concentrates on fighting the double-standard- this standard that Armenian women must remain "pure" virgins till their marriage day, or fighting the government to disallow the act of the marriage dowry which still perpetuates in society to this day. Feminism in China speaks of the long historic efforts in eradicating "foot binding" as a means of female beauty. Feminism in all parts of the world seems to honor just that- the need to create equality among men, women, and gender-neutral bodies.

As aforementioned, feminism in the late 1800s here in America consisted of prominent figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott who along with many other feminists fought to grant us women the ability to vote, so that we are equally represented. After decades of being imprisoned, killed, sent to insane asylums, ravaged, neglected, and hidden, women finally were able to push through and get us female Americans the right to vote. But even after such efforts, America has only seen a downward spiral among female voter turnout since the presidential elections in the early 1970s.

Is this because women are apathetic? Is this because women today merely concentrate on other aspects of "subservience" that they fail to honor, acknowledge, or even remember what our ancestors of female suffragette movement have literally put their blood, sweat, and tears to fight?

In an attempt to further the existence of "womyn", feminists today have become figures in society that only seek to counter man and his syntactical approach to life. If a man were to lay out my similar sentiments, the female feminist populatioon would ferociously retort by branding him an insenstitive, uneducated, domineering male chauvinistic pig.

I am neither unintelligent nor insensitive. Nor am I uneducated. Domineering may be up for questionining, but last I checked, I am not a man, nor does one have to be to question, or perhaps even 'call out' what the motives of present-day feminists truly are.

Mainly I speak because of the feministic environment, or lack thereof, I am immersed in today here in Berkeley. Perhaps if I trek to Oregon, I would have a different set of convictions for the evangelical feminists; or perhaps if I move to New Jersey, I would be subjected to the eco-feminists of the region.

Regardless, feminism isn't a bad thing. But we must be wary of what our motives are as said "feminists". I will continue to spell women as that, and I will not allow myself to feel compelled to address or behave a way that feminists see fit just because I am a woman. I shouldn't have to feel guilty everytime I say "hey guys" in an environment consisting of a mixed gendered population. That is simply how I was reared: to say history without feeling guilty; to dance to hip-hop/rap songs without analyzing every aspect of a song lyric- now don't get me wrong, I never promote "make it rain on them hoes"-"type" song lyrics; I am wary of social relations between man and woman but I refuse to be dictated on how I should act, or speak, for that matter.

After all, changing the way we speak will never change the ideals we hold. So no matter how many times I spell womyn just as that or acknowledge "herstory", that doesn't make me more or less of a feminist. It doesn't change female subservience in this society of ours any more or any less.

It just makes me go into the particulars of speech without actually actively doing something to promote equality- it merely makes one scold those that don't follow the syntactical political correctness of modern-day speech.

That's not what feminism ever was or should be about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All i can say is WOW... I understand your point of view, and totally agree thanks