30 October 2005

dilemmas of feminism, my ass

i would like to register my intense disapproval of the terminally vapid maureen dowd essay in this morning's nyt. i'm not even going to link to it, that's how bad it is. but i will note that she (1) repeatedly generalizes about all women in their mid-twenties, (2) appears to live in a hermetically sealed environment consisting only of times employees and their uppercrusty pals, (3) totally fails to consider whether it's ok for her to be privileged because she owns a measure of traditional feminine attractiveness, (4) promotes a vision of movement feminism as a bastion of ugly radicals, and (5, 6, 7, ..., n) makes up a lot of dumb, tendentious dichotomies.

none of this is to say that there aren't a number of points of light in the essay. i like the fact that she begins by noting that she was part-and-symptom of a major collective action problem, assuming that activist feminists (i.e., ugly radicals) would do the dirty work while she played nice and got ahead. but, and this is what irks me the most, she fails on the most obvious and accurate generalization, which is that movement feminism has given way to individualist non-feminism. fewer women today are willing to be ugly radicals on behalf of their neo-traditionalist sisters, because they're just going to get steamrolled.

i think there's good evidence out there that hard-headed feminists, especially ones who violate appearance norms or take seriously the problems of chivalrous manners, are likely to be less successful than their neotraditionalist/third-wave friends, and that both groups, because of the abandonment of movement feminism in favor of individualism, are likely to be less successful than their male friends.

anyway, aaaaargh.