Got an Hour? Wanna Read About Hillary Clinton and Feminism?

New York Magazine, which is never afraid to wrap up the lowbrow and sell it as art and vice versa (not that this article applies to that synopsis), has a long, but very thought-provoking article by Amanda Fortini about whether Clinton’s candidacy in the US represents, or has uncovered, the fourth wave of feminism.

I haven’t written much about the presidential campaign here, since this is a site about romance novels and there are few things less romantic in my opinion than the current election campaigns, but since we often deal with women’s issues, and the changing and difficult-to-pin-down definition of “feminism,” I know there are a few folks here who might find it interesting. Feel free to skip this one if such discussions turn you off.

Partially a political analysis and partially an examination of where feminism is, if it’s anywhere, the article made me sit and stare into space for a good few minutes in ponderous thought:

Who wanted to be the statistic-wielding shrew outing every instance of prejudice and injustice? Most women prefer to think of themselves as what Caroline Bird, author of Born Female, has called “the loophole woman”—as the exception. The success of those women is frequently cited as evidence that feminism has met its goals. But too often, the exceptional woman is also the exception that proves the rule.

Indeed, it might be said that the postfeminist outlook was a means of avoiding an unpleasant topic. “They don’t want to have the discussion,” a management consultant who worked at a top firm for nearly a decade told me, referring to her female colleagues. “It’s like, ‘I’m trying to have a level playing field here.’ ” Who wanted to think of gender as a divisive force, as the root of discrimination? Perhaps more relevant, who wanted to view oneself as a victim? Postfeminism was also a form of solipsism: If it’s not happening to me, it’s not happening at all. To those women succeeding in a man’s world, the problems wrought by sexism often seemed to belong to other women. But as our first serious female presidential candidate came under attack, there was a collective revelation: Even if we couldn’t see the proverbial glass ceiling from where we sat, it still existed—and it was not retractable….

It is perhaps cold comfort to say that if she loses the nomination, her candidacy leaves behind a legacy of reawakened feminism—the fourth wave, if you will. But this is in fact what is happening.

The past few months have been like an extended consciousness-raising session, to use a retro phrase that would have once made most of us cringe. We’ve parsed the gender politics of the campaign with other women in the office, at parties, over e-mail, and now we’re starting to parse the gender politics of our lives. This is, admittedly, depressing: How can we be confronting the same issues, all these years later? But it’s also exciting. It feels as if a window has been opened in a stuffy, long-sealed room. There is a thrill at the collective realization. Now the question is, what next?

In my more ambitious moments in writing on this site, I ponder whether romance and the online community of women who read and write it are a microcosm that mimics the larger state of women in the US, one that is representative of the political polarity and diversity of women in this country, only in much, much smaller numbers, which when making sweeping generalizations are easier to approach. The pressure to be nice, the forces that storm the tower to demand change, the number of women-owned and -operated small businesses in competition with established, largely male-run corporation conglomerates, the part where we’re a majority shareholder of the nation’s fiction dollars spent yet sometimes act like a minority afraid of criticism from within our own community, even if that criticism creates needed change, the idea that loyalty is more important than appropriate business conduct… yeah, all of that. So often the deeper thoughts I have on romance novels and the community here online link so neatly and seamlessly into thoughts of the State of Feminism and women in general that I have a hard time separating one from the other.

Political opinions aside, the idea that Clinton’s campaign has uncovered a latent and refueling effort on behalf of women is fascinating. But the best part, for me, was this comment, which stopped a lot of the pounding of “women haters!” drum set and robbed the trolls of their sticks. This comment, it’s like ice cream once you’ve had to eat something good for you that you hate the taste of. Reader SJL33 wrote:

Feminism does not suggest that men are evil or that they hate women. It only suggests, particularly in the 3rd wave (Michel Foucault), that femininity and masculinity are false concepts. They are nothing more than roles created by culture to define and divide, roles we have allowed and perpetuated endlessly.
I do not suggest that men act more like women or that women act more like men. I suggest that there is not any such thing. Just as there is no such thing as a Black person acting White or a White person acting Black. These roles do not exist!

They only injure and shame, and I am tired of it.

As a Black woman in college, I see the racial and gender dynamics at work all around me. As a feminist at a time when it is very unpopular I only wish to build up all of the wonderful, beautiful men AND women around me, including myself. We all want the same things, regardless of race or gender. I hope that has not been completely forgotten.

Word. To. That. Person. Like. Merde and Mon Dieu (TM Nathalie Grey)

So – back to romance:

Sexism and RomanceLandia have a long dance-card full of history – are romance novels sexist? the opposite? both? neither? a duck with sheep’s clothing? a pocketful of kryptonite? – but conversely, racism and/in RomanceLandia is debated with shouting or whispers. Debates about romance novels written by or perhaps about black women and where they are shelved in comparison to white romance novels usually end up with much hollering online or use of capslock, or devolve into a complete lack of solution and much offense. The racial and sexual/gendered dynamics of the romance community online (OnRomCom? romcomon? Rom Cum-on? *snerk* sorry.) are vast and deep and twisty as all hell, and I don’t think I can do them justice in one entry.

But I’m curious about what you think. Are we an accurate microcosm, or am I navel gazing to previously uncharted heights of self-indulgence? Which is more of a present and pressing issue, out there or in here, sexism or racism? And has the Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire met his match? Only the shadow knows.

Categorized:

General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I’m where you are right now.  I’m sitting and thinking about this.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to view events from the perspective of a 3rd or 4th wave feminist, since I came to feminism a long time ago, back before Title 9 and when it was difficult for a married woman to establish credit in her own name.

    We’ve come a long way, but I do not believe the journey is over.  It will be ended when we reach the point where a woman running for president is no longer remarkable, and I mean that literally—no one will remark upon it because it will not be worth mentioning.

    I’d like to live long enough to see that day.

  2. 2
    Sarah says:

    “I really object to the assumption that everyone is voting for Obama in our cohort, but that’s the assumption these guys talk under,” she says. “They feel only idiots would vote for Hillary. There’s this kind of total assumption that of course any thinking person is voting for Obama.”

    Oh my gosh, yes. Yes, yes yes. It’s a similar attitude that people have towards romance novels, fanfiction, and reality TV shows. “Oh, that phenomenon exists, but no one like us does or reads or watches that sort of thing. Completely alienating.

  3. 3
    SonomaLass says:

    That’s why I tell my students that we still need a feminist agenda—because although our culture gives lip service to gender equality, it still dismisses the achievements and the interests of women (individually and collectively).  Forms of entertainment that large numbers of men find interesting are socially acceptable; the ones that mainly women are attracted to are second class, silly, a waste of time, you name it.

    Yeah, it makes me crazy.  It makes me even more crazy when young women shudder at the label “feminist” and don’t believe that the struggle for equality isn’t over.  Remember Viriginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way baby”?  Translation, “You get to smoke cigarettes just like men, so obviously you have ARRIVED. ”  Some of us didn’t buy it then and don’t buy it now.

  4. 4
    Cora says:

    There are female politicians in positions of power in many countries and yet they are still treated different than male politicians in the media. Just this week, there was an entire press conference dedicated to the cleavage (a very fine cleavage it was, too) of German chancellor Angela Merkel. I do not recall any press conferences ever having been held to discuss the ties or suits worn by Gerhard Schröder or Helmut Kohl.

    And as long as there still is gender inequality, there is a need for feminism. Besides, things actually seem to be getting worse again for women. In recent years, there have been a lot of articles and books written (some of them by female researchers) about how the brains of men and women are totally different and how that’s the reason why there cannot be any real gender equality. Ten years ago, anyone who voiced such opinions would have been argued down, now it’s suddenly acceptable.

    And speaking from a European perspective, US society seems to be more conservative regarding gender issues anyway, which is why I sometimes find American romance novels hard to relate to.  So yes, there definitely is a need for a fourth wave of feminism.

  5. 5
    SonomaLass says:

    Well, our brains are different, but so are our genitalia.  Different doesn’t inherently mean inferior or superior.  Or it shouldn’t, but somehow that’s where it seems to end up. 

    I’m from California; both my senators and my Congressional representative are women, and things are a lot closer to equal here than in some other parts of the US where I have lived.  But no, we’re not there yet.

  6. 6
    orangehands says:

    Very interesting article, and one can only hope this leads to another wave of feminism. I’ve been saying this for years- we aren’t close to being equal.

    On the other hand, I’m not going to vote for Clinton (or, according to the media, Hilary; the only one to constantly be referred to by her first name, let’s bring her down a peg and make her seem like a little girl playing at the big boy’s table) just because she is a woman.

    Personally, I’m not happy with either choice. *sigh* What’s a girl got to do to get some political satisfaction? (I’m already in CA, SonomaLass

    )

    Which is more of a present and pressing issue, out there or in here, sexism or racism?

    I think the main problem with that question is you’re asking to choose between two interrelated factors. They both have a whole host of issues, and the ties between them are strong, as is the legacy they both leave separately and together.

    In the feminist movements, they have had huge issues with race…and class, for that matter; the first and second wave is known to argue that we need to focus on sexism, we can get to race later, or when Blacks were granted the vote first, arguments like “women can cancel those votes out”, or “we deserve it first” were used.  (To name one of many probelsm). There was a reason books like All The Men Are Black, All The Women Are White, But Some of Us are Brave came out. Those issues were still present in the third wave, and will probably be in the fourth (whenever that is).

    I think a better focus than which one is worse, or more pressing, is how one can help the other, what we can learn from each, and how we can go about solving/fixing them both, as well as the problems each has created.

  7. 7
    orangehands says:

    And just because I never manage to get all my main thoughts out on the first post, no matter how much I proofread, besides sexism and racism, I wonder how much of a microism we are if we include age, sexual orientation, class, etc, and how these are treated in RomanceLand.

    But I should go do homework, so I’ll leave that thoguht just hanging out there. :)

  8. 8
    orangehands says:

    *whispers a tiny bit later* and formal education (which is not the same thing as intelligence; there’s many kidns of smarts around)

    BTW: new place is beautiful.

  9. 9
    Denni says:

    Native of a state (Washington) that has a woman governer, and also all our federal Congress & Representatives (except one & we think he’s a eunich)…I just really want to get over all the labels….white, black, male, female, brown, yellow, green, protestants & catholics.  Am I a total ostrich to want us all to be Americans together?

  10. 10
    orangehands says:

    do

    < g >

    not show up here? well, it was for the “i live in CA” comment

    Denni: it’s good you want to get over all the labels, but it’s not possible to wipe out centuries of oppression by pretending we all get along, because we don’t and we can’t without a huge amount of collective work, and even then it may not be possible. (‘m obviously the optimistic sort here *g*)

    actually, nationalities help set us apart too, so we may want to work on that… ;)

  11. 11
    R. says:

    As long as there are women who refuse to knuckle under to a status quo – that is to their detriment while it’s to someone else’s benefit – there will be feminists.  They’ll just have different labels.

    p.s.  sexism is a form of racism.

  12. 12
    Genevieve P. says:

    I love this article!  The author has echoed the thoughts I’ve had since the beginning of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  It may be that I moved from a more liberal state (Washington) to a more conservative one (Southern California) and that I am currently pursuing a very male-dominated career (directing) but I have been sitting on my hands these last couple years screaming in frustration at how sexism is getting worse and no one seems to notice or care and wondering, is it just my imagination?  Am I the only person seeing the disturbing trend?  What a relief to find that I’m not insane – or, at least, that if I am insane I’m in good company.

    What irritates me is how the sexism towards Hillary seems to be dismissed or pushed under the rug.  This is characteristic of all sexism.  Unlike most other prejudices (though not to try and diminish their importance) society seems to discourage people from speaking out about sexism, rather than encourage it.  When obvious sexism happens, people shrug and say “what can you do?” And anyone who has the gall to speak up against it is labeled as overly sensitive.  Society will censure just about any ism – as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with being a woman.  I had to deal with loud, sexist boors in my college classes every day, yet had those sexist pigs said one word of prejudice about anything else, professors would have jumped on them.

    Did anyone else see that Swiffer commercial, where the woman is running for office against … a mop and bucket?  I wrote a letter to Swiffer, I boycott their products, but when I tell my male and female friends to do the same they say, “Why bother? It’s just a commercial. It’s not that big of a deal.”  I bother because my mom fought—hard—for women’s rights so that I could have rights and opportunities that she didn’t have, and now I think my generation’s laziness is allowing all that hard work to backslide, so that our own daughters will suffer and pay the consequences.

  13. 13
    Genevieve P. says:

    Oh, and just as a side kind of political note:  Please, to anyone still on the fence on who they are voting for, please look up both candidate’s voting records in senate.  It will open your eyes.

  14. 14

    books written (some of them by female researchers) about how the brains of men and women are totally different and how that’s the reason why there cannot be any real gender equality.

    There’s an excellent book devoted to examining that myth, amongst others.  I can’t recommmend it enough.
    The Myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Myth-Mars-Venus-Different-Languages/dp/0199214476/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208337289&sr=8-1

  15. 15
    Melissa S. says:

    As a black female, I seem to spend alot of my time and brain power thinking about both. Sometimes I feel its created a sense of paranoia in me that I’m just looking for someone or something that’s being sexist or racist, but in fact a lot of it is just happening and were not saying anything.

    Genevieve P. did you ask you teacher why he was supporting sexist attitudes in his class by allow them to behave that way? If not, did you want to avoid confrontation?

    A lot of the times I don’t want to do something about it because I want to avoid confrontation? I didn’t make comment when one of my teachers said something racist to me and then followed with something sexist. I cried about it but as my monetary minded friend said to me- does it involve money? (No) Well then don’t worry about it but if you need me to I’ll get my father (member of the NAACP) on it just let me know. I think we like to avoid confrontation because just like Genevieve P.‘s friends weren’t with her on Swiffer, we feel we won’t be wholely supported in our ideas of racism and sexism.

    In terms of romanceland, I think that while we’re accomadating for women everywhere, but we’re not accomating for everything. I think in terms of women in romance novels we play with the idea of whats feminine and the role of a woman but rarely in our male heros do we bother with what’s masculine and playing with that. They’re often very carbon copy.

  16. 16
    Nanny says:

    I’ll say the unpopular thing here: I’m not a feminist. Do I think feminism is unnecessary? No. But with the way feminists behave drives more people away from feminism than to it.

    Examples, and these are all real:

    Feminist friend who tells me I’m a slave to the media and the “masculine gaze” by wearing makeup.

    Feminist friend who tells me shaving my legs is an attempt to look prepubescent and for my husband to be attracted to my shaved legs makes him akin to a pedophile.

    Feminist who trumpeted the Feminine Mystique at me but who, when I asked how she felt about the homophobic part, had no idea what I was talking about. Must not have read that part.

    And with the election: what would feminists say to men who vote for Obama or McCain because they’re men? And yet we’re supposed to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman? How is this right?

    Oh, and about calling her “Hillary” – first off, she started it with her own campaign signs. Second, I continue it because most people hear “Clinton” and think of somebody else. Same reason we call the President “W” – not to diminish him, but to make sure we all know who we’re talking about.

    Bracing for flames.

  17. 17
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  18. 18
    Kathryn says:

    Nanny,

    Here is an excellent article on why feminism matters, and what it has to do with Hillary Clinton.

  19. 19
    Winter says:

    Nanny-  Some feminists may be obxnoxious, all causes have at least a few members that other members may not wish were there.  But to throw the baby out with the bathwater because of a few jerks is overly simplistic. 

    In the end, what matters more?  That some women believe that you shouldn’t wear makeup, or that if you have a man and a woman with comparable levels of education, the woman is on average going to get paid less?

  20. 20

    I’m just following up on what Immi said. There’s a discussion of, and links to excerpts of, Deborah Cameron’s book here. I’d definitely recommend reading the excerpts.

  21. 21
    Jules Jones says:

    Nanny—you’d be happy to give up the vote altogether? You’d be happy to be only able to learn to read if your father agreed to you being educated? These are things that were won by feminists.  I like being able to vote, being able to get a mortgage in my own name, and a number of other things besides.

    I’m old enough that had I got married a couple of years earlier than I did, I would have had no right of financial privacy from my husband, because until very recently the UK Inland Revenue still treated married women as chattels of their husband. He would have had the right and the duty to see all of my financial affairs, while I would have had no right to see his. This had very practical consequences—a common question in the financial advice columns of women’s magazines was how to save money in such a way that it could be hidden from one’s husband, because it was otherwise impossible for a woman who was considering leaving an abusive husband to accumulate a little money to pay the rent somewhere else, or a woman who was married to a drunk or gambler to keep him from spending all the money on his addiction. Twenty years earlier than that, a woman who left an abusive husband could not claim social security because she was deemed to have deliberately made herself homeless, even if she’d been beaten so badly she’d ended up in intensive care. You think that saying that these were bad things makes me a shrill ballbreaker, or any of the other names used of feminists?

    Yes, I’m a feminist. But I don’t tell women that they mustn’t shave, or any of the other examples you give of what anyone who is a feminist does. I just tell women that they have a right to be treated as adult human beings of the same status as men. You’re taking the extremists, and claiming that *all* feminists do that. And it’s a lie. A very big lie.

    Security word: respect 24, which seems rather appropriate.

  22. 22
    Papercut says:

    Nancy: It’s great that you posted your thoughts – how are we as a society going to understand what is really going on and how, or if we even need to, get out of it. So in the spirit of comradely consciousness raising…

    The question isn’t whether feminists are offputting, but if the basic premise is true. Is it true that women are human beings and deserve to be given the same respect and rights as other, non female human beings? I think that’s a given – we no longer live in an age where the church says that women don’t have souls. However, the underlying ideology that women’s main purpose was to give birth, the property relations that it rests on, and the socially construct of what is “feminine” that flows out of it still exist, and that’s the point of feminism.

    It would really require an entire book to get into these questions but I’m going to try to do this “nutshell version.” Women started getting oppressed really only when technology had advanced enough that people started accumulating more “stuff” than they could use in their lifetime and men wanted to make sure that whoever they passed their stuff to was actually their child. Suddenly, it became very important to men who fathered who’s child, and the ideas not only of women as breeders for men but of women and even children as their property came into being. This is seen very clearly in the old testament, for example, on what to do if a man accuses his bride of not being a virgin (“spoiled property” that is supposed to be the basis of more property, ie. children.) If the woman’s parents find proof of her virginity (the infamous bloody sheet) the man is required to pay a fine to the woman’s father, obviously because the he was impugning the father’s property with his accusations (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

    And, of course, there’s the infamous 10th commandment which biblical literalist nazi’s like Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell and their ilk usually shorten to simply “Thou shall not covet” like the cowards they are. Thou shall not covet what? When you look at the whole passage the ideology these people are upholding, and the relations between men and women it embodies, become clear:

    “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his slaves, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 20:17)

    The problem is that all our society is still burdened with this fundamental view, that women are not viewed as full human beings but as breeders or, more common in these times, as objects for men’s sexual gratification.

    The thing with romance novels is that, on the one hand, all of these ideas are so deeply embedded in our culture that even what turns us on, sexually or romantically, is colored by them. At the same time, women, who suffer the effects of the oppression of women, are the overwhelming majority of writers and readers of the genre, so you do get a lot of questions posed about women’s relations with men and attempts made to make women central not only as the characters (which almost never happens in books/movies/tv outside of “female ghettos” like romance) but the women are often kick-ass. So at the same time as we have all of these virgin brides, or virtually virgin brides (even when they’ve been married WTF) we also have characters like Eve from Roberts’ “In Death” series (which, incidentally, has won All About Romance’s reader’s pole for favorite heroine or strongest heroine for just about every poll I looked at).

    Romance novels are deeply contradictory in this way, but this is because society, and we ourselves, are as well.

  23. 23
    Yvonne says:

    First of all, I will curse you for the startling jolt of French philosophical theorists in my Romancelandia. But how I love these discussions! AND you don’t really have to call yourself a feminist to be one IMO. Labels can be counterproductive, the discussion is the important part.

    There are as many different shades of feminism as there are different kinds of women (and men!). It follows, therefore, that they will view Hillary, Romance, and the World depending on their own perception of feminism. The key to the dialectic is to be explicit with yourself, and those you are engaged with, as to where you are situated. I cannot understand, support or argue with you without knowing where you are coming from. But once that is in place, what a lovely discussion it is!!

    I will say though that Romancelandia doesn’t have to have anything to do with your theoretical or world view. If anyone thinks less of me as a professional or an intellectual because I read Romance and other fiction, I will assert that they are weak minded and lack imagination.

    So there! *sticks out tongue*

  24. 24
    Genevieve P. says:

    did you ask you teacher why he was supporting sexist attitudes in his class by allow them to behave that way? If not, did you want to avoid confrontation?

    Honestly, probably not as much as I should have.  Exactly for the reasons you stated, Melissa, because how much time and energy would it take versus the actual?  Because there’s always that thought in the back of your head that you misinterpreted it, and that the negative label you’ll earn by pointing it out is worse than in enduring.  In film school, your success was directly related to how much your professors’ liked you, because in the final senior project (a fifteen minute film) it was the combined faculty who got to direct or not.  From the beginning you were cognizant that you didn’t want to make enemies or stick out as a negative influence.

    My freshman year, 2003, there was a round robin, where all students told what they wanted to do.  It was weird, because while most males were saying they wanted to direct, all of the females before me gave less prominent jobs: editing, production design, etc.  It came to be my turn and I said, “I want to direct.”  The teacher said: “You know, it’s really hard to direct and have a family at the same time.”  I pointed out that a number of successful directors did, in fact, have families.

    “Well, that’s not quite what I mean. I mean, they don’t get to spend time with their families, and they have to have their wives take care of their children…” Then, when I called him out on his sexism, he said I was misinterpreting the comment, that it had been geared at everyone, males included, because there were so many of us who wanted to be directors and he wanted to point out the drawbacks.  So, was he just oblivious or really sexist?  And if other teachers like him, and you file a complaint, are they going to be angry at you for impugning his good name? 

    In my business classes (I double majored) the idea was that this was a part of business you had to accept and tough out and learn to deal with.  I was told as much by a female professor.  These were the classes I mentioned with the sexist boors.

  25. 25
    flip says:

    Good article and good conversation! I am a lifelong feminist. While I am not a fan of Hillary, I am appalled at the overt, unashamed misogynism shown by conservatives. Sexist! These people are showing a deep, underlying hatred for women. This is nothing new.

    I think Nanny’s attitude is why feminism isn’t stronger in this country. I am a feminist. I wear makeup, shave my legs (every darn day), and read romance novels. So do a lot of other feminists. Yet feminism has the same image problem as does liberalism. We have passiviely let others define what feminism supposedly means. For me, feminism means each person regardless of their gender should have the freedom to live to his or her full potential.

    Do you remember the uproar over Hillary’s cleavage? Here is the article that started the uproar.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902668.html

    I thought that it was a thoughtful and intelligent article. The same author wrote an article on how Cheney’s choice of a casual jacket for meeting a foreign dignitary showed his lack of respect. I think clothing is highly political.

    All feminist do not agree. I think that it is important to have the discussions.

  26. 26
    Tina C. says:

    As others have already said, you can’t say all feminists are this or that or think such-and-such.  I’m a feminist and don’t wear make-up and I don’t shave my legs.  But I used to wear make-up all the time and I don’t now just because I don’t have a lot of time in the morning and I simply don’t worry about whether or someone else thinks I should be wearing it.  And I don’t shave my legs because I’m blind as a bat without my glasses and you can’t wear them in the shower—consequently, I can’t actually see the hair on my legs too well unless I bend myself like a pretzel or shave by sense of touch or shave while standing on one leg like a stork with the other leg in the sink.  Since my husband really doesn’t care one way or the other, I only shave if I will have to wear something that actually shows my legs.  I do shave under my arms, though, because I can’t stand to have even stubble there.  Obviously, I’m at this site, so I read romances (and most everything else) and I like a great many romantic comedies. 

    I think, like the word “liberal”, we’ve allowed the opposition to define the word, “feminist”.  I started college when I was 29 and had to explain to much younger fellow classmen that I was “a liberal since before it became a dirty word and a feminist from before it became femi-nazi”.  I then had to explain that, as a liberal, I don’t care who or how you worship as long as you don’t expect me to join in and I don’t care who or how you have sex as long as everyone is a consenting adult.  Live by the rules that make you happy as long as you don’t infringe on my or anyone else’s right to do the same.  As a feminist, I think that women should have as much right as any man to succeed or fail according to their abilities, talents, desires, and work ethnic.  Women should have the right to complete autonomy over their reproduction, their sexuality, and their finances.  In other words, they should be treated as adults, not perpetual children who must be guided with a firm, masculine hand.  Unless, of course, she wants to treated like that.  In which case, see my definition of “liberal”.

  27. 27
    Liviania says:

    @Tina C.:  To shave in a shower with glasses, stand to the side and close the door/curtain.  Turn the water on low and stick your legs under, getting them wet.  Turn off water.  Open curtain/door for more room (I like to put the foot of the leg I’m shaving on the ledge).  Lather up and shave!  Take off glasses, close curtain/door, shower.

    As for feminists who don’t shave: I wish even men would shave some.  Shaving your legs helps to remove dead skin.  Shaving your armpits gets rid of the hair that traps odor and sweat.  It’s not about looking “pre-pubescent;” it’s hygenic.  (Okay, so I don’t know of benefits for a Brazilian wax.  I do use Nair on my bikini line because I prefer to not have pubic hair showing.)

    I agree with many things said in this conversation, but I wanted to briefly address the topic of male and female brains being different.  They are, but you can have a masculinized woman or a feminized man.  It depends on the hormones present in the amniotic fluid while you were gestating.  High amount of testosterone v. high amount of progesterone/estrogen.  Do I think we need to treat people differently because of this?  No.  But it is not a myth that male and female brains are different.  (Now, some people interpret the difference in strange and mythical ways.)

    Confirmation word:  consider24.  Finally I get one that fits the discussion.

  28. 28
    Miranda says:

    I am appalled at the overt, unashamed misogynism shown by conservatives.

    I’ve seen plenty of it coming from the Left too.

    Whatever genre I’m reading, I tend to identify with the female character and prefer female leads. However, I’ve noticed from reading reviews and discussions here that heroines tend to be held to much higher standards of behavior than heroes and disliked much more often. I’m not sure if it this is about the difficulty of writing good heroines or about allowable behaviors for men an women, or a general preference for reading about men in romance as opposed to women.

  29. 29
    Radish says:

    Papercut, I heart your brain *so* hard.

    Feminism seeps into my writing, and influences my approach to the characters – of any sexes – in the stories I’m working on.  I can’t get away from it, because I ama human being who’s viewed and treated differently all because of my body’s parts.

  30. 30
    Cora says:

    Echoing what others have said, we shouldn’t let certain “killjoy” feminists, who are more preoccupied with fighting pornography, the beauty cult and the fact that the stick figures on traffic signs are not 50% female (yes, I had that discussion at university) than actual inequality, define feminism for the rest of us.

    As for holding heroines to a higher standard than heroes, that is something I have not only noticed in romanceland but in popular culture in general. Overwhelmingly female readers/viewers complain all the time about female characters being promiscuous or committing infidelity, while letting the same things slide in male characters. That’s probably why we have so many duke of sluts paired with virgin heroines.

    And since we had Hilary Clinton’s cleavage, here is Angela Merkel’s.

    Anti-spam word speak66: Yeah, we should speak up like it’s 1966.

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