Is Feminism Dead?
Ok, I really have to stop watching television (well, actually Hulu videos) but in my procrastination I was lucky enough to stumble upon this Today Show segment by Katie Couric that assessed the accomplishments of the 1970’s Feminist movement and whether those achievements can still be observed today. From what I deduced it seems that 1970’s Feminism was more radical in ideology than my personal notions of Feminism. There seems to be a shift in the definition of what it means to be a feminist. In the interview, Gloria Steinem mentions that my generation sees sexuality as an empowering tool when in the 1970’s, feminists were “threatened by it”. The show also points out the idea of the movement becoming more evident in domestic settings than in the workplace as more and more women choose to stay at home and raise families rather than to join the workforce. I’m intrigued by this idea that being a contemporary feminist is to have the ability to make these family decisions and that choosing to raise a family over having a career is not a slap in the face to the 1970’s movement. We have to keep in mind that the battle over reproductive rights was fought in order to give women the ability to make choices on whether or not to raise a family. It is evident that gender roles are starting to become obsolete especially in the home as more men share in the responsibilities of child rearing by becoming stay-at-home dads.
Note: The segment mentions Margaret Sanger as being a feminist of her time. Although she did champion contraceptives and women’s reproductive rights, I do have to add that she was heavily involved in the eugenics movement. I fear that her motivations for reproductive rights had a racist and elitist underlining. She rose to prominence in a time when women’s colleges such as Bryn Mawr College were in their infancy. As more and more women of wealth (aka women born into wealth, not women who earned it) entered college thus delaying their creating families, the colored and lower class populations continued to grow. I believe that Sanger used her stance on reproductive rights in order to discourage women of color and of the lower class from having any(more) children.