Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Feminine Mystique and the Future of Feminism

The New York Times' Room for Debate section invited seven contributors to discuss the future role of feminism. The topic was influenced by Betty Friedman's 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, which challenged women's traditional roles of the period.

I am disappointed that only two of the seven contributors were men. As has been stated before in previous posts, gender equality will never be truly realized unless we include more men in the campaign.

I have selected the most insightful statement made by each contributor and posted them below.

First, the question: Fifty years after Friedan stirred women’s consciousness, what should the feminist movement be focusing on now?

  • Courtney E. Martin, Author, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: But as long as we are busting at the seams of our own too small lives, as long as we are holding ourselves up to expectations that no healthy human being could achieve, as long as we deny our own suffering, we will be unable to see our vast interconnection with the suffering of the world.
  • Ellen Bravo, Director, Family Values @ Work: We need a new set of minimum standards -- like those in nearly every other country -- that includes earned sick time and affordable family leave. We also need men to share in caregiving -- and they’re more likely to do so if they’re not punished for it in the workplace.
  • Meghan Rhoad, Human Rights Watch: This session, the House should redeem itself by swiftly passing the [Violence Against Women] legislation, which was recently approved by the Senate. Doing so would show that progress toward realizing the right of every woman to a life free from violence has not stalled, and that the next 50 years will see this progress continuing to expand.
  • Nina Disesa, Author, Seducing the Boys' Club: (quoting Nicolas Kristoff) We need more women in leadership positions for another reason: considerable evidence suggests that more diverse groups reach better decisions. Corporations should promote women not just out of fairness, but also because it helps them perform better.
  • Danny McClain, Nation Institute Fellow: From deep kitchen table conversations to lightning-fast online tools, every action, intimate or expansive, will be necessary to hold accountable the institutions and politicians who wish it were still 1963.
  • Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel, Co-Authors, The Guy's Guide to Feminism: Nothing better captures the importance of men helping realize the goals of feminism than efforts to end violence against women. Through courage and tenacity, women worldwide have made huge gains in raising awareness and forcing legal reform. But ultimately, because it is (some) men who commit this violence, it must be men who change.

No comments:

Post a Comment