Friday, June 13, 2008

feminism is an idea, not a movement

A recent blog post by Amanda Marcotte asserts just this: "feminism is an idea, not a movement."

Amanda, along with Seal author Jessica Valenti, was recently referenced in an article by Linda Hirshman that's created a lot of upset in the feminist blogosphere and beyond.

The debates are complex, in part because the centerpiece of the conversation focuses on intersectionality---feminism through the lenses of race and age and gender. It's a huge topic, and it's been fascinating to follow those writers who are articulating all of it so eloquently. I highly recommend Jill Filipovic's amazing post if you want to read more.

But what's come out of this, and what's been coming up a lot in recent months (largely due, I think, to Hillary and Barack as the nation's first female and black presidential hopefuls), is that the feminist "movement" is pretty much over.

Its reference here and elsewhere in quotation marks speaks to the fact that we're in a different place than our foremothers of the 1960s and 70s. I've found myself trying to figure out where I stand in the movement, whether my own feminism is feminist enough; the Seal staff has been undergoing our own internal dialogue about our feminisms as a press, and what it means to be a women's press with a feminist sensibility that doesn't always publish exclusively feminist books.

I want to thank Amanda for her realization. Feminism as an idea helps me, at least, to better understand why we fight and struggle and grow and debate the way we do. It's an important struggle, and one that's wrought with frustration and reward alike.

Onward ladies. Have a great weekend.


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