[Photo courtesy Flickr User natashalcd, via Creative Commons License]
[I’m pretty sure this doesn’t help Freeland’s thesis. Unless Steinem is infected by their very bug she has discovered I suppose.]
Gloria Steinem out with a new piece in the LaTimes going after Palin (surprise surprise). You had to know this was coming after Steinem was invoked to support a charge of sexism from the Democrats and after the blatant pandering, which was as subtle as a tack hammer, with the Hillary lines in Palin’s initial speech.
This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
As the last line indicates, it’s really a worldview clash concerning what is the true definition of feminism. (If what I think about this matters at all) I think a better approach would be one that attempts to integrate various strands of feminism or at the very least admits that there can be/are a multiplicity of legitimate feminisms.
So I don’t go in 100% for the Steinem theory of feminism nor a Palinian (that gotta nice ring) feminists for life either. And not to say of course that those two are the only versions nor that those two are themselves even completely different (obviously they would overlap on a good number of points).
With the Steinemian view, “The Patriarchs” control everything–like they were like Mafia Dons or something. Palin is approved to be “made” as it were because she doesn’t threaten their control. But the Patriarchs are also women of course. How patriarchal is that scenario exactly? [The counter-response is that said women of course are expressing false, i.e. woman liberating-denying, consciousness].
Better to say (the in many regards poorly named) patriarchy is a worldview shared by, jointly built, and participated in by both men and women. Just as of course a post-patriarchal (??) outlook is a worldview shared by men (like according to Steinem Obama and Biden) as well as women.
[For the interested reader for background on worldviews, here].
But you see the easy division doesn’t totally work and leaves too much out. For one thing, the patriarchal world is not particularly kind to men just as it is also not kind (in many respects) to women (e.g. see any 2nd wave feminist tract). And yet the alternative is tribalism which is not particularly a superior alternative.
If you check Steinem’s quotation on the cup, men’s bodies are valued as instruments means men are instrumentalized and are only of value to the degree they can do things for other people. They have no intrinsic value. They may get power or glory in the system if they can do a great deal for others but they are ultimately replaceable parts (which is Farrell’s argument In The Myth of Male Power). The issue would be for both men’s and women’s bodies (and the consciousnesses and emotions the bodies are able to carry) as valuable inherently. I could be reading the quotation wrong, but I took it to mean that she wishes women’s bodies were treated like instruments. I could be wrong on that one, and if I am apologies.
Whatever else, I suppose Joe Scarborough won’t be quoting Ms. Gloria anymore in support of Republican causes after her latest op-ed.