Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elaine Showalter and the Decline of Feminism

I used to like Elaine Showalter but recently she started turning more and more sententious (or maybe she was always this way and I just failed to notice.) In a recent article on feminism, she rightly (although belatedly) states that "American feminism seems to be in trouble." According to Showalter, there is little hope that feminism will turn into a mass movement once again because it lacks a clear goal which "must be concrete and attainable, even if its ideological underpinnings are complex or contradictory."

Well, how about that? Suddenly we discover that feminism doesn't have a clear goal anymore. Unlike Showalter, however, I feel that my feminism does have a clear goal. How about "emptying gender of social, economic, emotional, intellectual, and any other kind of meaning"? Imagine the world where being born with certain physical attributes would not mean anything and you'd be free to choose how to live, think, feel, have sex, etc. irrespective of gender. How is this not a clear goal?

Of course, I shouldn't have expected much from Showalter's article anyways, since it starts with talking about "the “Sex-and-the-City” feminism of girlfriends, white wine, and shopping."

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