Teaching the Conflicts; (Re) Engaging Students with Feminism in a Postfemist World
By: Meredith A. Love and Brenda M. Helmbrecht
Love and Helmbrecht argue that many students and young adults in this generation don’t know the real facts about feminism and how important it still is, because they are often mislead by things like the media, ads and consumerism. They mentioned that a student preparing to graduate with a women’s studies minor didn’t know who Gloria Steinem was. They then said that after hearing that from the student they felt something had to be done to make it easier for students and young adults to find the analytical tools to support them to help find their place with the feminist movement. The authors mention that the work of feminists has benefited the daily lives, financial statues and health of many American women. They then go on to mention “ Some women’s lives have been so improved that today’s younger generation of women may not even know that “ we’ve come a long way, baby” and, perhaps even more importantly, that we still have a long way to go.” The authors felt that many women are more concerned with what they need to buy and how they need to look good, instead of how they can become more powerful.
They used Judith Butler’s definition of feminism which is “ about the social transformation of gender relations” They added that feminism should be more than just a identity label and it must signify action, even when action calls to make difficult choices. I feel it’s hard for young women to see the right actions and choices to make when so many people and companies mislead them. The authors mentioned how Pink is hypercritic and makes fun of girls like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson for acting stupid and not contributing anything to the world, when she herself does many of the same things the other girls do. This bothers feminist educators because many students define feminism from how they see it through people like Pink and not through actual activists.
Questions/Comments for class:
How can there be 57% women in college with more bachelors and masters degrees then men, when men make 23% more then women!? There needs to be something we can do to make the media display the real facts about things like this more often instead of just saying that 57% of students in college are women, and then leaving out the part about how women have less powerful positions and still make significantly less then men.