Wednesday, December 04, 2013

woman, know your strength

there's a lot of talk in denmark recently on the subject of feminism. it's been in connection with the anniversary of a danish feminist landmark book - woman, know your body. much of the talk has centered on whether or not there is still a need for feminism and young women's reluctance to identify themselves as feminist. i've blogged before about whether i identify as feminist or not.

the sunday evening talk show actually featured an interview of three stark naked ordinary (as in not famous) women, talking about their very real bodies. i thought it was a little weird that all three had completely shaved (or waxed) their pubic hair and were bald down there. but perhaps i'm a little behind on pube fashion. i admired them for being relaxed and seemingly comfortable carrying on a normal interview on national television. it was pretty brave in this age where we're surrounded by photoshopped perfection at every turn.

i am grateful for the strides made on my behalf by the feminists who came before me. i haven't had to struggle to be a woman in a workplace and haven't felt held back by my gender in terms of career. i've had my moments of encounters with misogynist dinosaurs, but they were slightly different than actually being kept from getting a job or a promotion.

the danish book is centered on the woman's body, so i guess that's where the focus on naked women comes from in all of the recent discussions of feminism. but should feminism be so fixated on the body? what about the things that women can do as people? things disconnected from the gender of their bodies - things like using their hands or their muscles or their brains? my cooking and sewing and making and creating and thinking and talking and philosophizing all have very little to do with my naked body.

i find deliberate attempts to connect making and the body (like that woman who knits with yarn she's stuffed up her vagina (sorry, having trouble getting past that one)) to be somehow grasping at something artificial and constructed. is that really necessary? do we have to be so extreme to be one with our womanliness? can't we just be women, without doing something extra (or grotesque) to embrace it? is that what it takes to be a feminist now?

i hope not. i hope feminism is just under our skins. that it's there in our ability to raise strong, smart, capable, innovative girls into strong, smart, capable, innovative women. that it's there in our feeling that being a woman is a power in its own right and it entitles us to take our place in the world - the place best suited to our abilities and ambitions and strengths. to know that our brains are where it's at, not our bodies, even as we love and accept and embrace our special, unique bodies (without needing to resort to running the yarn we knit through them). to be happy and comfortable in being humans who also happen to be women.


will said...

espousing feminism while being nude on tv seems to be more about exhibitionism than equality.

The show might have been interesting if a few no compromise, philosophically driven, steely-eyed legit feminists walked onto the set and tasered the nude wannabes.

DahnStarr said...

Sounds to me that the being naked on television was more of a shock the audience ploy and "look at me" stunt by the women. Not impressed by that at all. A lot of women worked real hard and suffered real pain, including death, at the hands of men in the name of equality. I could go on but I think I'll leave it at that. (Yarn up her Va-Jay-Jay!?! Really? Kinky porn mentality.)

Veronica Roth said...

It's funny how many of C's women's studies courses are feminist centred while saying that feminism is a thing of the 70s and 80s. I once was having a political argument with a gay bloke who was flashing his gayness as a defence and I called him up on it and he said, "so? You're pulling the female card!" And I said, "yes, but you're not using the male argument, you're standing on a gay platform." I think labels get muddled up to suit these days.