The New Feminism

Life is full of disappointments. One of my biggest disappointments in life has been the decline of the feminist movement.  When I was in high school, I identified strongly as a feminist, beginning after reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.  My high school English teacher would always count on me to provide a feminist interpretation of the texts we were reading.  All of my friends knew me as a feminist.

Recently, I was talking with a friend I had not seen in a while.  He was surprised, shocked even, when I told him that I no longer identified as a feminist. I explained to him that I had become disillusioned with the modern feminist movement.

According to the National Organization for Women, an average of 600 women were sexually assaulted per day in 2006. About 4.8 women experience domestic violence per year. This violence disproportionately affects low-income and minority women, especially those Native American and African-American.  The FBI identifies human sex trafficking, a crime that primarily affects women, as both an international and domestic issue.

These are huge issues that plague our society and destroy the lives of victims.  While some groups do focus on these issues, the issues that get the most attention are quite different.

Instead, feminists spend their time blogging about issues that apply to them, as white, upper-middle class women.

One of my favorite issues is that of “slut-shaming.” Making name-calling and the right to wear provocative clothes a national issue is the definition of a “first world problem.” Honestly, I’m out of junior high, and I really couldn’t care less whether someone calls you a slut for wearing booty shorts to your job interview. And when so many women are the victims of nonconsensual sex, “feminist” pleasurable sex seminars just seem selfish. The time and money would better be spent volunteering at a women’s shelter.

The relatively new focus on abortion seems odd to me. The first feminists, such as Susan B. Anthony and even Margaret Sanger believed that abortion was harmful and anything but a woman’s choice. This is very different from rhetoric used today. I also had questions about sex-selective abortions, such as those practiced in overpopulated countries, and abortions that target the disabled. However, these questions were always brushed aside by feminists.

So until feminists put away their Miley Cyrus CDs and pick up The Color Purple, I will be staying away.