Monday, January 24, 2011

Levy, Echols, Friedan and de Beauvoir

I thought that the most interesting and interconnected part of all the readings was that different women see feminism so incredibly differently. It means such distinct things to different classes, races, and even women of the same technical class or race. Echols quotes one African American woman as seeing women's liberation movements as a white woman's business. Washington says, "It seemed to many of us...that white women were demanding a chance to be independent while we needed help and assistance which was not always forthcoming (32)." It continues on to mention that while white women were seen as "sex objects" when they were fighting for the movement, black women were seen as "one of the boys." I think it seems like part of the reason the feminist movement struggles so much is because there are such vast differences among women and underlying competition.
In Levy's article, I believe that many women who had such vehemently strong issues with pornography would be against the CAKE organization that is described. While some women find pornography and their sexuality to be liberating, others said it was just another form of oppression and that the intention was rape. The CAKE parties really reminded me of the enlightened sexism theory. It seems to assume that we have come further with the feminist movement than we actually have and can celebrate our equal sexuality. In reality though, it seems like the CAKE parties, with half naked girls dancing on tables, only encourage men to think of women as a lower class.
As Friedan talks about in the "Feminine Mystique" men have been quietly oppressing women for years. When women didn't understand why they didn't feel fulfilled, men tried to quiet their concerns. In Echols article as well, she mentions that women were recruited to the New Left movement and men acted like they thought they were smart and had great ideas but would slowly demote them to "girlfriends, wives, note-takers, and coffeemakers (49)." I think this is a really strong example of how society allows women to slowly fall out of the workforce and make them believe it was their decision all along.

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