I would never claim to be a radical feminist. I'm simply not that...I dunno, avid. I feel that a woman being able to do whatever she wants to do is a given, par for the course. The major fighting is over...we got the vote, we have the right to own property, we can go to college. We know we don't need a man to survive, and we know we're good for more than bearing sons. There are still biased individuals, but there will always be people biased against ANY cause, be it women in the workplace or foreigners in their neighborhood. When you look at it historically, you can see that there is a greater amount of time supporting the biases than the equality, so it's only natural that opposition will be encountered. I often forget how new feminism is. I am a member of one of the first generations to be born with that idea on the books, rather than struggling for it.
I remember a post-coitus conversation Brandon and I once had in which he remarked that women in fact have all the power, they simply never abuse it, and really only use it when necessary. I think we all know the world would be a much different place if the existing establishments of society were founded by women instead of men. You simply can't hide the fact that men and women are different, no matter how equal we say they are. I agree that, on the whole, women don't use their power as much, in part because they don't need to (the strong dogs never bark ideal), and in part because they don't feel compelled to do so. I don't think our half of the species is quite used to it yet. I often forget this movement only really came into it's own with the last century. Yes, we can do anything, but what we CHOOSE to do is another matter completely. It's both in our nature and in our understanding of our power that the formerly submissive-seeming role of women ever existed at all. We adapt to what we need to do so easily, and we know that most anything thrown our way is possible. So we took that part because that was the environment given to us. When we did decide to change it, though, it was totally within our power. We just had to convince the men. Eventually, we did it.
I also feel that I grew up in the best time for feminist thought. In the eighties, there were all-girl rock bands galore, we had women going into space and making Supreme Court Justice, and Barbie's motto was "We girls can do anything, right Barbie!" I'm not one to recommend looking to role models in popular culture, but if that's what people are going to do anyway, the eighties was a prime time for it. There was a power in these women--they were positive embodiment of the feminine ideal and strength of character. Women knew they were playing with a double-edged sword, and managed to be both sexy and strong. Bold but nurturing. A very Maya Angelou-style dichotomy. You couldn't keep a woman down because she was a woman. Or, at least, it felt like that. And that's the way my mind matured.
I look at the girls growing up now, though, and I feel they've been cheated. The "most powerful woman in the world" it's been said, is Brittany Spears. The balance tipped over to completely sexual ideals. There is a lot of power in sex, but you lose credibility when you substitute physical beauty for mental capacity. I feel awful when I see kids stop to watch the Brittany commercials we play at work, and at no more than 10 years old they wear clothes that show their midriff. They've got eyeliner and lipstick and glitter on. I can't help but feel like they're only getting part of the picture, and it's not the right part.
I also noticed that many of the people who's work I admire are men, and I wonder why that is. The most intelligently provocative books, music, films, and science are currently an almost male only group. Most of the women you find in the scientific fields are in medicine, a very traditional female role. I know there are female Carl Sagans and Robert Anton Wilsons and David Lynchs and Thom Yorkes. I could list them, but this post is already too long, heh. You don't need to tell me who they are, I just know that more of them need to be recognized. I don't want them to be overshadowed by the popular woman image, I want them to come out and RESHAPE THAT IMAGE!
Every woman who reads this has that power. We've always known it. Let it out! I thank you for all the work you've already done in this area. You all make a difference, and you all ROCK for doing it.
If you disagree with me, feel free to tell me. I'm never convinced that I am 100% correct, you know. Thanks goes to all of you who made it this far, and I hope you're still sane.
This concludes my rant. Please help yourself to the refreshments in the lobby, and have a pleasant day.