Like many daydreamers, I often think about time periods other than the one I’m currently living in that I would most likely enjoy. I usually settle on the roaring ’20s (it’s easy to get caught up in how cute everyone would look with flapper dresses and bobbed hair). Then I remember, of course, what the ’20s were actually like. Women had only recently secured the right to vote, abortion was illegal, penicillin and birth control were very new, and employment opportunities were still divided into men- and women-only. (Guess who had the less attractive options?)
This little game is just a daydream. Yet it ends up always serving as a reminder that I’m fortunate to be a woman the 21st century. And that’s a reminder I’m ashamed to admit, as a feminist, that I need somewhat often. There are times when being a woman even in 2014 feels disappointing — things should be better, things should have changed more. I’m privileged as an educated white, middle-class woman that these things are as few as they are. But one of the very biggest areas that needs changing is women writing about sex. Keep reading »
If you’re like me or Emma Thompson, you’ve likely called yourself a “card-carrying feminist” since you were in diapers. But now you can call yourself an actual card-carrying feminist with this wallet-sized card that says, well, “FEMINIST.” The other side reads “This card does not entitle the holder to any special rights, privileges or benefits,” with a choice of the message “Sisterhood is powerful” or “Feminism is for everybody.” (The former phrase is the title of a book by Robin Morgan, while the latter is the title of a book by bell hooks.) The $8 card made by Jennifer Armburst for BuyOlympia is a handy talisman for bra burnings or explaining to your grandmother why you’ll be keeping your “maiden name” — and of course serves as your ticket for our man-bashing, baby-eating lesbian ceremonies. [BuyOlympia]
Who is your role model and why?
The American writer Betty Friedan — she fought for gender equality and wrote the great book “The Feminine Mystique” which sparked the beginning of a second-wave feminism.
So do you consider yourself a feminist?
Sure. I believe in equal rights for men and women.
Color me just a little surprised at this one: Leighton Meester is a feminist and actually cites second-wave feminist activist Betty Friedan as her role model. Friedan was the author of The Feminine Mystique, a 1963 book that that captured the unhappy, stilted lives that middle-class, mostly white women felt after marriage and children, feeling as if there weren’t other opportunities open to them. Friedan was initially prompted to write after interviewing her former Smith College classmates, when she learned how unhappy these well-educated women were as suburban housewives. The book catalyzed many women to join the feminist movement and led to an increased awareness to the restriction of expected gender roles in American society. Keep reading »