I just have to get this post started even if I run off to pick up the 5 year old. My brain has been swimming for the last 12 hours.
Last night I and seven other women came together to discuss what feminism means to us and our country and I think we are really onto something fantastic.
We talked about everything under the sun related to women's issues--workplace concerns, education, inspiration, how "the plan" changes, and I could keep going. I want to just list all the topics I can remember for now...
We talked about phases of life, new motherhood, sex differences with nurturing and geniuses, Larry Summers, is it ok for women to be "on average, better" at some things? Does it bother you to say that men or women may have different skills if those differences aren't used against either sex? It bothered some of us, but not all of us.
We talked about how we individually felt about strippers and then how we feel feminists feel about stripping, modeling, and being a "sex worker." (I am already an old person and didn't realize that one doesn't use the word "prostitute" or "whore" anymore.)
I was educated and humbled that there are many other F-Words out there. I am well aware that there is misinformation and hurt feelings revolving around women's choices to breastfeed or not, but I had no idea that just saying "formula" was really hard for some women to hear or discuss--no matter if they used or did not use it. I had heard once upon a time when I was a student but had long since worried about using the word "slutty" to describe a style of clothing. I knew thong underwear was being sold to tweens but it was not on my radar that even there was a market for thongs that fit 7-year olds.
We questioned the media. Does it get too much credit for how our men and women see each other or not enough? We questioned our language. Besides "whore" and "slut" we discussed just how we talk to little girls and little boys differently. Do you really think boys and girls' are treated as differently in school today as we were taught they were 20 years ago? I have my opinion. It may not match yours.
How do we get younger women to understand what the bigger issues are? Do we agree that we should be upset at that NASCAR woman using her body to sell GoDaddy? Do we think that a woman may have even thought of that marketing idea? I shared that I got an email about Bubba getting a job and that doesn't keep me from respecting men and thinking they are capable. I do not worry about my own sons seeing cleavage when they are teens and having them think that means women are all sex objects.
I question what is wrong with me...or what is right...as a mother of boys....
Do we all agree that when women entered male-dominated jobs they just proved they could work like men but now it is time to actually change the way we view modern workplaces? What if women had gone to work first, with babies in tow, and left the men home to be house managers? The 8 hours work day was a dream once upon a time and women were perhaps relieved to no longer be so stressed with the family-farm-based schedule and pressures of feeding a family. Free time was created when our society became more industrialized in many ways. And yet now we are so uber industrialized we don't ever shut it off.
Are you worried that there are not enough female mathematicians? Computer scientists? Do you think the English majors and Sociology majors needed more convincing? Where do personal preferences come into play? Can you really blame one 6th grade teacher for everything you study as an adult?
What era really did things get out of whack? The 50s? The 80s? If the American Association of Pediatrics had always advocated mother-baby togetherness and breastfeeding for at least a year, would have male-dominated work places changed as women entered them? Now women have proved they can detach from their children, but do we want to keep up this trend? Well, I cannot lie, I have used the word "Attached" in my blog title....I think it is time for social change.
This discussion was the first of many. Ladies who came, please post other "minutes" to this blog to show the world what we covered. And other readers, please give us more food for thought.
The average age of our participants was about 30. Nobody under 25 came and no feminists of the Second Wave made it either. Life happens, I get that, and in some ways I am grateful we didn't have a full house. I am hopeful that we will get talking more, both online and in person. We can have a late evening discussion or a coffee hour another time. Could I dream that Charlottesville will begin to feel a surge of female energy that could really change the lives of women locally and beyond?!
Gotta go, I want to hear from you!!!