Sunday, June 28, 2009

Second Wave Feminism

Since we are able to stray from the ‘blog prompts’ I thought I would do that for once, just to address some specific points in the last module that I thought were pertinent.

In the second module, we learned that racism and discrimination in general were still, at first, prevalent within the second wave of feminism. Feminists did not want to be associated with lesbians because they felt that lesbians had too many shared qualities with that of men, who they were trying to break away from.

I think that this was hypocritical as well. With such a statement being made, it is all too evident that the second wave of feminism was too caught up in stereotypes at the beginning. To discriminate against African American women and lesbians defeats the whole purpose of accepting all women for the women’s movement.

Although Sojourner Truth made her speech, “Ain’t I a woman?” in 1851, her concepts and clarity about what defines who a woman is still relate a great deal to the later discriminations in the second wave of feminism. Lesbians are still women. African Americans are still women. They might have different colored skin or different sexuality preferences, but they are both still women and deserve their rights. All races and all different sexual orientations deserve rights.

In 1968, however, as stated in the module, this was changed when a meeting of women was held in Chicago to put an end to segregation and discrimination, which is a major improvement and change in the second wave of feminism.

I feel that consciousness Raising Groups are an extremely important part of the second wave of feminism, and I honestly don’t think they have completely died out today. I just think they aren’t as publicized as they used to be. I certainly have not heard of consciousness raising groups until I listened to this module lecture, and I feel as though if I were to hear of one being held in my community it would probably interest me immensely.

Keeping in mind of the time period in which the Feminist Mystique was produced, I think that it held a lot of truth to it. While there was not enough evidence collected by Betty Fridan for her results (100 something surveys doesn’t exactly reflect the entire population’s opinion), I think for the most part that – despite the lack of evidence – Fridan had the right idea about women’s feelings towards domesticity. Also, in that 1950’s and 60’s the media pretty much created, as stated in the lecture, a false image of how women should be. A lot of women were afraid that by veering from the course of domesticity, they would be disrespecting several parties (ie: their husbands, the media, maybe their parents, and even friends).

I think a Manifesto has its pros and cons. It is definitely a good way to highlight the changes that women want brought-about in society. It is not, however, the best idea to list forceful demands and be extremely confrontational. Sometimes confrontation ends up making the problem worse rather than better. If women approach changing policies with confrontation, then policy makers might be disinclined to take an interest in their demands. If they approach policy changes in a stern manner, but with a willingness to comprise on certain policies, I think that women can get a better response out of policy makers.

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