Ruth Rosen articulates clearly the discomfort I'd felt with female achievement I see in mass media. I must confess that, even as a strong feminist, I usually absorbed these false images without thinking about it. The relentless submergence of authentic feminist voices by masculinist culture manipulated me without my noticing.
At the August 1970 march for Women’s Strike for Equality, the three preconditions for emancipation included child care, legal abortion and equal pay.
American social movements tend to move from a collectivistic vision to one that emphasizes the success of the individual. That is precisely what happened between 1970 and 1980. Alongside the original women’s movement grew another kind of feminism, one that was shaped by the media, consumerism and the therapeutic self-help movements...
Self -help magazines and lifestyle sections of newspapers ... turned a collectivistic vision of feminism into what I have elsewhere called Consumer Feminism and Therapeutic Feminism.
Self-help books and magazines ignored the economic and social conditions women faced...
The feminist-- as remade by the media and popular culture-- emerged as a superwoman, who then turned into a scapegoat for a nation’s consumerism, the decline of families, and the country’s therapeutic culture. For this, the women’s movement’s was blamed...
...when Americans took a good hard look at this narcissistic superwoman who embraced the values of the dominant culture, they grew anxious and frightened. ...they ... saw ...the female version of America’ ambitious but lonely organization man.
Nor have most critics of feminism understood that the so-called “Mommy Wars” --battles fought between those who worked outside the home and those who were “stay-at-home” moms-- have also been fueled by the media.
Missing from the media’s coverage...are the millions of working mothers who will never have it all, but still must do it all. Millions of women cannot afford to care for the children they have, work dead-end jobs, and cannot begin to imagine living the life of a superwoman. These are the women that the radical women’s liberation movement addressed and for whom they sought decent jobs, sustainable wages, and government training, social services and child care. [emphasis mine]
In the last couple of decades, it seems that mommies have attempted to take over the feminist movement. From being active in such a pseudo-feminist group, I got to finally understand why this was happening. Abortion and equal pay are political objectives... mothering was a healthcare objective. When it comes to providing public financing to non-profit groups, it is oodles easier to get funding to help breeding females... under the guise of making healthier babies. Pushing a political agenda, on the other hand, is a surefire way to loose public funding. When these groups get big enough that protecting jobs are at stake, the politics fly out the window, and healthcare to mothers seems to become a priority for pseudo-feminist groups. That enrages me to no end.
There is no such thing as a superwoman. Career women hire out other people to help with the childrearing (daycare, nannies, family, etc).
Part of the basis for feminism is to remove the burden of childbearing from females. Never throughout all of human history have females experienced such a fertility rate as in modern times, not the just post-war but today too. Not in the number of infants per female, but in the number of females achieving motherhood. In biological this this is a fundamental anomaly.
Today's feminists groups have been transformed into women's groups... read mothering groups. This goes against the exact mission of early feminism. Under this new mommy obsessed version of feminism, Canada has seen its birth rates increase for more than a decade. So feminism made a dent in breeding for at most 1.5 decades. That is infuriating to me. All the sexualisation of young females we see in the media is a camouflaged way of insuring our female youth contribute the growth-economy so dear to the growth gurus that run our society.
Females IMO must choose: mothering or career. I decry babies born with the intent of having them raised by various corporations.
But what bugs me even more is this attitude that many mothers I've known, whether single or coupled up, to expect government handouts to raise their kids. Its their decision to reproduce... you know... that choice concept???? Constantly I hear how financially challenging it is to raise kids, and how these poor people need help from the government for their breeding effort... barf.
What has society come to? Bring back the real feminism!!!!
That is precisely what happened between 1970 and 1980. Alongside the original women’s movement grew another kind of feminism, one that was shaped by the media, consumerism and the therapeutic self-help movements...
I barely recall those days, as I was an 80s baby, but I remember very well the reverberations of backlash in the 90s, and even "way back when" in the 00s. Hell, even today. Evidence surrounds us!
However, growing up at that time, one was in special danger of internalizing the "feminist superwoman" mythos. That they were really heartless, or they really just didn't like men, or they really didn't like kids, were selfish, too cold, too sexy, too self absorbed, too career driven, too too too! The criticisms themselves seem contradictory.
Looking at this now, as a grown woman, I see this lash as a form of policing. The Mommy Wars are manufactured to keep up negative images of mothers, almost designed to cause women to want to distance themselves from either the "high powered career" mother or the "silly stay-at-home" mother. And both those stereotypes play into yet more stereotypes about race and class, keeping pretty much everyone but upper-middle class white people out of the rhetoric altogether. The message I get is "stay away from feminist work, don't rock the boat, the 70s are over, you have Feminism(TM), now shut up". And that's just the mothering side of things!
Purposeful misrepresentation of feminist discourse by anti-feminists is a depressingly common tactic. And a lazy one - women speaking up and acting on their own terms is incredibly threatening. That "threat" simply pays to propagate, because less-vocal women are steered away from earnest participation in feminism.
Noone ever said a thing about wanting it all, just reasonable measures in civic, social, and professional life. We're still rolling that wheel, even now!