Monday, September 6, 2010

Follow Up: Responding to Shannon's Post

I found Echol's prologue discussing the emergence of women's liberation movements within the civil rights movement very enlightening. One part that specifically stood out to me was the idea that, as Naomi Weisstein (a women's liberation activist) claimed, women were being "simultaneously silenced and empowered" by the civil rights movement. The mere fact that they were given a role in helping in the movement and part of a cause was empowering to them, but the type of jobs they were being given and the influence they had within the movement were leaving them feeling silenced and discriminated against at the same time. As sociologist and movement activist, Wini Breines, claimed, "'the fantastic amount of personal and political growth experienced by the women' blinded them initially to the Movement's sexism" (26-27). Hearing this statement reminded me of what we've been primarily discussing in class: embedded feminism and enlightened sexism. While in this case the illusion of powerful women is not being created by the media, it seems as if women were getting so lost in what power they had gained, that they forgot that there was still a long way to go and that they were still being discriminated against based on their sex. The progress they had made as a sex gave them the illusion that they had "made it" when they really hadn't. Fortunately they were able to see through this illusion of power and realize they had a lot more progress to make and fight for.

The excerpt we read by Betty Friedan made me come to a realization: in the past women were frowned upon for wanting to have a career and not just be a housewife, now, women are conversely frowned up for wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. There now seems to be a negative stigma attached to a woman wanting to simply care for her husband and children and not join the work-force. I admit, rather ashamedly now, that I am guilty of looking upon this life-choice negatively. One of my friends who goes here comes from a family with very traditional views and she always tells us that she does not want to get a job and instead wants to be a stay-at-home mom. Of course I've never said anything to her, but I also found myself thinking negatively of this decision. But I realize now that this a completely unfair judgment. Feminism, I think, is about women having the power to do whatever they want to do or be whoever they want to be; rhis is what we're truly fighting for.

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