Monday, March 30, 2009

What feminism means

by Josh Franklin

Courtney Martin has a wonderful article about the future of feminism. She provides an excellent discussion of the possibility of a single, well-defined feminism, asking the question: "Is there a formal feminist movement anymore? Does there need to be?" Martin points out that modern society is different in significant ways from the political climate of the 1960s, and concludes:

Call me cynical, but I don't think there will ever be a global, or even national, uprising of women focused on one singular goal. There will be no singular feminist agenda. There will be no women's movement. And that's not a bad thing. Because there will be thousands upon thousands of women -- young and old alike -- waking up tomorrow with big ideas, lots of resources and communication tools, and plenty of conviction that they have the right and responsibility to make the world better. It's a little less romantic, I admit, but amazing nonetheless.

We've been having several controversial discussions here on EW, including the possibility of pro-life feminism and a feminist perspective on campus sexual assault. Are there answers to these questions that lie in the realization that gender politics are shaped in significant ways by their local communities--that there isn't just one feminism? I think this is a very interesting conclusion, and I wonder a lot about it's consequences. Is the loss of a single global movement politically debilitating? We could theorize about this endlessly, but I'm afraid of doing so, because there's so much at stake. Rather, how do you feel about this idea? If it has lost something, hasn't it also opened new possibilities for progress? Is it a reality that we can accept?

Thanks to Chloe for the tip!

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