What’s feminism got to do with it?

BY ANNIE BOGGS

As a college student and pop culture junkie, I see firsthand everyday that feminism, or women’s issues in general, simply isn’t very “cool” anymore. Open any mainstream women’s magazine and see basically any major motion picture and it’s apparent.  It exists very much so on corners of the Internet, and no doubt in some communities across the country, but generally it is believed as passé.

Yet, as a self-described feminist, here I find myself interested in the movement.

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of HBO’s Gloria Steinem documentary, “Gloria: In Her Own Words,” which debuted Monday night (see more screening times here). After the screening Steinem herself was there for a Q & A with the audience. It was awesome just for her presence alone, but she also had some inspiring and surprising things to say about young people and the future of the movement. “Young women get such a bum rap,” she said. “Young women are much more supportive of all the issues than older women.”

So maybe it’s not so bad that some young women don’t know who Gloria Steinem is. Maybe it’s enough that they be knowledgeable and supportive of the issues out there that directly affect them. There’s a tendency of mine to think of the movement in terms of the one in the 1960s and ’70s- marches and hearings and sisterhood! But as Steinem said at the Q & A, there is no single face of feminism anymore because feminists are everywhere. It’s not a centralized movement, but accepts the diversity of women everywhere.

At the end of the documentary when asked about advice she would give to young women, she says, “Don’t listen to my advice, listen to your own advice.” In a way, that’s the greatest advice she could have given. We live in a completely different world than the second-wavers did. Hollaback! personifies this. As a Hollaback! volunteer for the last month, I saw firsthand the breadth of the movement  and how they connect via Skype, social networking, blogging and email with sites all around the world. This is how movements happen now. And I’m excited to be a part of it. (Awesome side note: Steinem herself gave a shout out to Hollaback! founder Emily May yesterday.)

I’m Annie, a college student and aspiring journalist, and I’m happy to be joining the Hollaback! blogger team! Stay tuned for more blogs on college issues, pop culture and news briefings. Until then, if you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments section.

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  1. Arbib says:

    As far as I can see feminism was never “cool”, its allways been a struggle to change the view of society over women in general and women rights as a result.

    When people say “women rights” they say it as if its some privelege women want that isnt rightfully theirs, but that just isnt true, the “rights” women want are and allways were equality of perspective, respect and opportunity, things that are seemingly mandatory today were not so 10 years ago, a woman’s “right” to say no at any point of an event even if she initiated it, autonomy of one’s body seems like something redundunt but it wasnt, the debate today about any of it, gay marriage, harassment at the workplace, healthcare, all of it would not be possible without an ongoing struggle that encompasses men and women alike, joined together not because its “cool” but because its “right” and “just” that women would be given any job they want, would be able to walk at any hour in any street without being accused of solicitating the rapist for his act.

    So feminism isnt “cool” it contradicts society’s mandatory beliefs, a woman saying no to somone smoking next to her in public even if she dont see herself as feminist is promoting women rights, because women rights are human rights, the right to go where you want or need to, dressed any way you want, without being provoked, harassed or assaulted, the right to think what you will without it being questioned and diffused, a right to say no if something isnt right by you at any point of the act.

    I consider myself a feminist, and would rather do it without my manhood put in question and without it being questiond due to my being a man, as a whole person not objectified by a single trait or organ.

    So to my point, its never been “cool” to be a feminist, its allways been and until some yet unseen future where there is no discrimination over gender, will stay a struggle, the hardest part of any war is the waiting periods, when you doubt your motives and beliefs, to my point of view this is not a war between people men vs. women or harrasser vs. harrassed but between the world we want to live in and that we are forced to live in, faith is our greatest weapon, in ourselves, in the better world we want to live in and finally in our humanity that it is not a privilege to be what we want when and where we want to be it.

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