Read ’ems: Young Feminists edition

In today’s Read-‘Ems, I’m taking a break from Aboriginal issues, and focusing on young feminists. Enjoy.

1. On the YP4 (“Young People For”) blog, ojgreer asks “Am I A Feminist?”, and details her feminist awakening from beginning:

As a young white woman growing up in New York City, my world was comfortable, it was integrated, and my feminism was without a name and assumed. It wasn’t until relatively late in high school that I began to understand the rarity of my experience. I don’t remember the exact details, but I recall a friend – male – saying incredulously, “what are you, some kind of feminist?” And I recall my boyfriend shooting back (not to my defense, mind you), “no, she’s a communist!”

to present-day:

The discovery I’ve made is that my fun, pink feminism is not meaningful or fulfilling unless fundamental to my definition of feminism is my commitment to work in solidarity with other women and men for the utter, no-holds-barred eradication of domination in human relationships, for the emancipation of all people, for safe bodies and safe communities, everywhere.

1. Over at All Girl Army, Irmelin cogitates on the myth that “Feminists Don’t Have Self-Esteem Problems”.

In a deeply personal reveal, Irmelin talks about those small but powerful internal voices that alternately niggle, “Wouldn’t it just be so much easier TO get implants?” then berate, “I’m a bad feminist.”

When I meet opposition- people who /hate/ my feminism, and want to crush it the moment they hear what I’m about- they /know/ that place exists. They know it: its mechanics, its buttons, its exact location. They strike out at it like a viper, quick and dirty, depositing their venom into me in a not-so-benevolent attempt to “liberate” me from my feminist ways.

3. Again at All Girl Army, Julia questions the sincerity of the mainstream media’s affected distaste for information on contraception and STD protection, in “Hello? Society? Can you stop ruining my generation, please?”:

Somehow, it’s mainstream to see women parading around in lingerie and listening to “My Humps”, but perverted to put an emphasis on prevention and protection. It’s entirely taboo to run specials on condoms in drugstore ads but completely acceptable to highlight pregnancy tests.

And as the 15-year-old rolling her eyes in the back of Sex Ed, I’m getting tired of it. […]

The book “Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body” jumped out at me as cool and useful. When I read the Washington Post review, however, I learned that author Toni Weschler agonized over whether or not to include information about pregnancy, whether preventing or concieving. She kept the info about how to get pregnant (because it was at all relevant to a large majority of teenagers?), but left out ways to prevent conception.

Am I crazy, or in what alternate universe does this make sense? Showing teens how to become pregnant? Does anyone understand this logic?

Or is there a reason why all of us are left in the dark?



Categories: gender & feminism

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4 replies

  1. Thanks for this. I just read Irmelin’s post before coming over here, and it was powerful stuff. I’ll have to check out the other links, too.

  2. Argh, re: Irmelin’s post, one of the reasons I am a feminist *is* because I have serious body image issues. I’ve felt fat and ugly for years and I still get really depressed about it sometimes. It is really embarrassing and sometimes people in real life who know that I’m a feminist are shocked that I feel that way.
    And re: Julia’s post, I guess it’s the radical feminist in me, but I wish that women were more educated on our reproductive systems as non-sexual and as physiological and anatomical, just like the rest of our bodies. I have a non-sex related reproductive system disorder and I didn’t find out until a few months ago, because all I ever learned about the reproductive system was how it’s used for sex and pregnancy. I mean, even *feminists* sometimes refer to a vulva as a vagina – I know I used to until very recently!

  3. Agreed, LM. Simply anatomy and physiology nuts and bolts before getting down to the sex ed is obviously woefully lacking. I’ve been happy with how much it’s actually improved for my kids since my day, but it could still be better.

  4. tigtog – Yes, in my sex ed classes (which were probably better than most, because they passed out condoms, spent several days discussing sexual assault and gave us an STD slide show), we glossed over anatomy really fast. And the rest of the places outside of school where you learn about anatomy, particularly for women I think, it is very sex-centric, about finding the G spot and “smelling good” down there.
    I think it’s also a problem because our society is very “sex is dirty and icky” so we aren’t allowed to talk about our reproductive systems or see external reproductive structures very often, unlike the other parts of our bodies, so we really don’t have a clue what’s normal and what’s not. I know I certainly didn’t.

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