That's My Issue: the New Feminism
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The recent dialogue around feminism is entirely focused on straight women, mostly with high-paying jobs. It no longer takes into account lesbians or women who lead non-traditional lifestyles.
The main trends in media discussions about feminism revolve around how to manage work and having children, how to manage gender dynamics in relationships with men, and once again, birth control. As a lesbian without children, none of these topics relate to me. Being a feminist woman now means negotiating power issues and role expectations with your husband, finding the "equitable" balance in parenting and house chores and wage-earning, and things like whether to change your name when you get married.
These common "feminist" issues are not my issues. The inclusive and idealistic rhetoric of earlier feminist movements has been replaced by the inevitable challenges of the realities of two sexes coexisting with inherent power imbalances and conflicting ingrained social norms. For people like me who do not have to deal with these struggles regularly in a profound way, today's feminism does not represent me.
Lesbian rights and women's rights used to be synonymous in many ways.
Now there is almost no overlap. The feminist movement has been sidetracked, even put on hold, as it focuses on the roles that empowered, mainstream women play in their day to day lives. There is no voice any more for those of us with alternative aspirations and lifestyles within today's feminist conversations.