Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Thank you, Dr. Krouse, for providing a very clear summary of the development of feminist theory. It has helped me to understand the theory further.

I found it strange over the summer to repeatedly hear the 'Sex and the City' movie hailed as empowering for women, as the television show had been for most of the last decade. I immediately grant that I did not see the film and have seen only an episode or two in pieces of the show. However, my understanding of the 'Sex and the City' effect is that large quantities of women have adopted a new idea of being a woman as put forth by the franchise (I assume that once it exists in multiple forms of media that the term franchise can be applied) of the new-age woman, who is more keen to rely on her best friends rather than men (if reliant at all) and, as a professional, has the money to sip on cosmos and dress fashionably. This ideal certainly is representative of a shift away from a male-dominated hegemony, but I found it odd that not just women but all who subscribe to the aforementioned new ideal for women would so willingly. This imposition and acceptance of a new ideology is, to me, quite ironic. It still bestows from the top down an idea of what it is to be a woman that therefore necessarily runs along a gender line. If all feminists were in agreement historically that the end-game for women was to arrive at the position HBO published weekly for six seasons, then I suppose this wouldn't be much of an issue. However, the idea was not to establish a new position for women. In fact, it is that idea that can give feminism such an ugly connotation. If the goal is to find equality for women, then any ideology of what a woman should be is anti-feminist. Equality means that a woman or a man can be whatever he or she wants to be and neither has to conform to anything, empowering though it may seem.

Feminism is strongly integrated with all other theory. In fact, there has certainly been a recurring theme in our studies this semester: a repressed voice fighting against its oppressor. We see this based on a class binary in Marxism, a cultural one in post-colonialism, the struggle of the conscious and subconscious in psychoanalytical thought, the very idea of meaning and nothing as exhibited by post-structuralism, and now along gender lines in feminism. The very concept of theory would appear to be based on struggle or conflict. The very act of questioning the world requires this. This is not meant in any way to demean theory; in fact, I find it highly necessary that we do question, and I realize that the very act of questioning is reliant on a conflict of what is and what could or might be. I do, however, find it interesting that all theory is dependent on a structure of some sort. Feminism is no different. If the goal of the feminist is to change what it is to be a woman, then a subscription to ideas of a new woman work just fine. However, if the goal is to revolt against the male-created and enforced oppression that no doubt still exists today, then blurring the line of male-female structure needs to be the goal. I don't think many think that women need to be placed in a position wherein they control the system and men become their subjects. Rather, for feminism to realize its goal, women and men need to exist on an even footing wherein the system itself is rebuilt, not by both genders but by all people.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I agree completely. Elevating women to positions of power is not going to solve much. Instead, we have to soften the gender line a bit. When male and female are no longer considered to be at odds we might finally start to make some progress.