Becky Smith, writes in on Dowd:
"i think the important thing to note with the whole
article, argument and response is, specifically, that
when we say "we need a new betty friedan" what we
really mean is "wow, we [remaining feminists] really
need to motivate (mostly) white middle-to-upper class
educated straight women rather than making resources
and tools availible to women who do not fit into that
mold." i mean dowd is pretty much playing friedan in
her article - talking about women on the upper east
side with ginormous amounts of money to spend on
designer baby clothes and have the privilege of
attending an ivy league school and choosing to stay
home; talking about overeducated middle-upper class
straight women with "intimidating" careers who can't
"get a man" because of the "dating ritual" which
insists that men want women who "don't talk."
i think that her view of women who are "maids"
stealing the, let's spell it out here, men that she
(maureen) feels would be worthy of her because they
are on the same corporate level power field - is
effing classist bullshit.
i mean, i know that "he's just not that into you" is a
best-seller but can we look at the demographic that is
buying that book? and buying INTO that book?
and she's "critiquing" the media, but...she IS the
media. dowd has fashioned a book, a played-out concept
that feminism has always failed women (then, now, all
the time...unless it's betty! we love you betty!),
that is going to appeal to, and moreso SPEAK TO, the
people she describes in the article and (some of) her
nyt readership; what about the people who do not fit
into the "Mrs. Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile
Mass"? the people who like the unisex jeans, the
people who can't afford a cell phone to text message
about guys, the people who love smart, intelligent,
yes, feminism needs a boost. do i want another betty
friedan? hell no. we've done that; the straight,
white, educated, upper-class woman has been analyzed
and her "problem that has no name" has been called out
again and again (thx for bringing it up again dowd!).
can we, like, just get over it already and do some
serious grassroots work? do we need an issue? is that
it? the supreme court? what about katrina as the
feminist issue to rally around since it seems like
everyone has forgotten about it? 'cause being a
feminist IS being a "humanist"; being a feminist is
ending oppression across the board, right?
does it need to be marketed? is that it? if so, i
think fluffy dollars is more right on than ms. dowd.
i mean, can you imagine what all the dudes and ladies
would do when word got out that reading bell hooks and
being liberated was "cool"?!
but you know, if we're in a state of mind in which we
think the days of friedan were effective, then we
don't even need that. one of the best things i think
dierdre english has said in reference to the second
wave is that "the women's movement happened without
institutional support, without media coverage, without
celebrities, which is why debate thrived and why the
mainstream media never understood it."
should we ignore the women dowd references in her
article? no, but recognizing their issues as not
necessarily central to "reviving" the feminist
movement would probably be a great start. what i'm
saying is: don't worry about the feminine mystiques.
we'll start talking to them - or! after things have
started to really move - they'll start talking to us. "