Phyllis Chesler calls it as she sees it in her latest feminist manifesto.
March 29, 2002 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Phyllis Chesler calls it as she sees it in her latest feminist manifesto. This is not what you think folks - Chesler toes the line at anti-feminism according to most modern day feminist. I well remember reading Chesler's Letters to a Young Feminist eight years ago and patting down misogynistic tendencies in the hopes of bettering the lives of women everywhere. She calls for sisterhood to further opportunity and does not condone manhating and oppression from the masses which makes her arguments logical as opposed to seething, vituperative vitriol. We all seemed to be begging for a discussion on feminism and issues between the sexes yesterday in this particular post and after reading salon today, felt I would provide one...
posted by gloege (3 comments total)
My girl & I have conversations about this all of the time. Usually concerning how frustrating it is because most female acquitances either fall into competition or a mother-daughter relationship. It's nice to see some dialogue on this.
It's also unfortunate that the back stabbing is found with successful women. That seems to make the struggle that of successful women see in the 'man's' world that much more difficult.
posted by thekorruptor at 8:45 AM on March 29, 2002

I skimmed through the article (admittedly, I didn't have the patience to read every word) and all I could think was Hello! Breaking news! People can be nasty to each other--competitive--insecure--mean--selfish! Everyone has to deal with power--either their own, or getting some more, or keeping what they have. Breaking this down by the behaviour of the genders may be helpful, or it may turn out to be a useless exercise; differences between individuals are always greater than any kind of general difference between populations. As far as Chesler's discovery that feminists fight between themselves, all I can say is, Well, duh, where has she been (especially during the 1980s)? Every political movement has infighting, and differences of opinion, and not every feminist subscribes to the idea that women are somehow more peaceloving than men--in fact that idea has been out of fashion for 15 years.
And as far as this article goes, as it began by attempting to illustrate its thesis through the retelling of a lame Chris Rock joke, it lost any credibility it might have in my eyes.
Okay, have blown off steam now.
posted by jokeefe at 11:16 AM on March 29, 2002

One of Chesler's interview subjects -- a psychotherapist who made the mistake of frantically appealing to a group of affluent women colleagues when one of her patients, a battered wife pursued by a violent husband, needed emergency shelter -- got dunned by these professional friends for behaving "inappropriately" and being "too needy."

The "sisterhood is powerful" strategy doesn't work as well when female liberation is defined as achieving economic independence in a competitive workplace. We ladies have some more thinking to do here, about whether everyone who does not have economic clout (the young, the old, the disabled, the caretakers) is by definition leading an oppressed, second class existence. However, it appears we're supposed to be too busy "juggling work and personal lives" to do much of this thinking before retirement age!

"One day, you think you're part of a community, the next moment, you're all alone, no one you used to know looks you in the eye, no one says anything specific, but you just never see anyone again. It's like having your entire family get wiped out, only they're still alive, and seeing each other. You're the one who's really been wiped out."

Those feminist, emotional women who took me in, back in the days when it wasn't considered a sign of weakness or co-dependency to help another woman out, were really great. But it's also good to see that this isn't quite as necessary, now that we have strong women's shelters and some access to the better-paid professions. I hope that some day, supportive behaviors toward non-family members will once again be considered a good thing. Maybe the PC types can look to "the Arab tradition of hospitality" to promote this concept again.
posted by sheauga at 8:24 PM on March 31, 2002

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