Although I'm currently the President of the Hollywood Chapter of NOW, today I'm writing as young feminist who cares about the future of feminism.
The chasm between the "Second Wave" and "Third Wave" is growing ever more dangerous. As a young feminist who values the past and cares for the future, I'm struggling with how to bridge the two. The more that "Second Wave" leaders reject the issues and concerns of young women, the less inclined the "Third Wave" is to take up the mantle of our foremothers. This generational disconnect is alarmingly antithetical to the expressed purpose of the many incarnations of the feminist movement and yet it is the reality facing generations of feminist leaders today. I'd love to know what Betty Friedan would think of it all.
A recent example of this disconnect: the choice made by Shelly Mandell, President of Los Angeles NOW (and my neighboring feminist leader), to use her leadership title to publicly endorse Governor Palin against the feminist movement's sisterhood and in violation of basic NOW procedure. While other feminist leaders in California were protesting the anti-woman female candidate or honoring our beloved Hillary, Mandell thought she'd take a detour from the recognized feminist agenda and declare Palin a feminist.
Mandell's assessment of Palin could not be more inaccurate according to "Third Wave" standards. Biology alone does not constitute feminism. Let us not forget that Governor Palin's abandonment of women in her own state actively demonstrates her lack of commitment to women. And we cannot overlook her position on reproductive autonomy. The fact that Palin totes her biology as support for an identity as feminist -- not an expressed record of support -- is insulting to women and men who support the feminist agenda.
The modern feminist movement cares not about an activist's biology but rather about her/his activism. A commitment to campus safety and pay equity and marriage equality and positive body image are far more demonstrative of feminism than body parts. One could argue that Palin is as deserving of having her biology revoked as Mandell is of having her NOW membership revoked because they each have abused their respective "powers" in the name of feminism. I am saddened by their choices as women leaders. They do not represent me or my feminism.
My feminism includes healthcare for all -- it's why I'm voting for Obama/Biden.
My feminism respects our environment -- it's why I'm voting for Obama/Biden.
My feminism cares about women -- it's why I'm voting for Obama/Biden.
I am hopeful that feminists -- women and men alike -- who care about the future will embrace the ticket that embraces us. O-Biden '08!
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