Well, where to start? I think one of the biggest ways to understand what FEMINISM means to the West might be to explore that theme in contemporary novels so I have two you can read as a referral.
The first is by Margaret Atwood — now, I don’t want to spoil the plot of this fabulous read for you — but, a film was made of this book too. I think this is really an essential text about PATRIARCHY taken to its worst extreme. Where are we seeing these themes crop up in the world today?
One of the things I love about Atwood is that she writes close to bone about being a woman. Really close to bone. I read this when it first came out and I saw the film too. Hard to believe that was 1990 on the film? Whew. Well, here we are 19 years later and look how prescient her themes are. Here is the wiki on that book:
“…The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. The novel explores themes of women in subjugation, and the various means by which they gain agency, against the backdrop of a totalitarian pseudo-Christian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government in the near future. Sumptuary laws (dress codes) play a key role in imposing social control within the new society. The Handmaid’s Tale won the Governor General’s Award for 1985, and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. It was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted several times into performance works…”
Well, the themes this novel addresses would horrify most Western women. Seriously. But probably not the patriarchy, here — or elsewhere.
Why you ask?
No woman wants to be seen as nothing more than a breeder — and no woman wants to have lousy sex like that.
Now why do you suppose the global patriarchy gets so damn upset by women’s economic and sexual freedom?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. They are deathly afraid of the sizes of their lil ol’ winky tinks (to quote Paper Moon) and whether they are adequately studly in bed. Trust me, some men are better lovers than others — and Lovers are the best in bed, overall. Because with a Lover, you get LOVE sans all the problems of married life.
But…Patriarchy cannot stand that, can they? Admitting that. That it goes both ways. It seems to me — that men really need to learn how to please women in bed and stop regarding them as tented chattel. Men are just so damn bad at sex, most of them — aren’t they? Ask your women friends to talk to you about this.
Now, we all grew up with Barbie as Second Wave Feminist kiddies in the 60’s — didn’t we? She was one of my first toys at age 5. I had the Bardot model and the Bubble hairdo one in the swanky fishtail gown. I had her outfits and her dreamhouse. I had several different Ken models too — and Skipper!
I think Skipper was representative perhaps of my gen! Now that I think of it. Anyway, my gen got bored easily — with relationships — didn’t we?
We did. We didn’t just have one partner for life — did we? No — we didn’t. We really didn’t. Anyway, my friend Song has taken on the 60’s feminists HUGELY in this excellent three part series she just wrote. It’s so interesting to see what happened to Barbie isn’t it?
Take a read!
Read all three, actually as feminist texts because they are!
When you think of the symbology of women as Barbie to the patriarchy — and then think of what you see in the imagery above– and you read the Handmaid’s Tale or watch the film what can you come up with as you see through the images — sifting them?
The images Song presents you with are important –because of the splits in dress codes.
The Partriarchy has developed a big plastic jumbo doll for itself to play with. It has. But, what about “real women” — ?
It’s so all about the fashion statements going on. Globally.
Western Women are free to have lovers if they choose — in fact it is a given in most European countries isn’t it?
Women take male lovers because they want something else — something better than the machine-like coitus you can see in the film of The Handmaid’s Tale above. Why deny them ORGASMS just because your winky tink can’t do the job properly, dudes…
You see, in a patriarchal system it’s all about the male ejaculation. Isn’t it?
Only right now?
Why has Viagra become necessary for them to even get it up?
It says something doesn’t it? About how non-Cassanova-like they are circa 2009 to me. Same thing with societies that repress what is a natural drive? Or would see it repressed.
Between people. Just get over it sez I, and work on your technique boys. Then, you won’t have to worry so much or buy a plastic companion will you?
Barbie has turned 50.
Wow. She could tell you reams about feminism as lived by second wavers — by now she has raised children on her own, had jobs, gone to school and had a bunch of different relationships. You just can’t fool her. You really can’t.
She probably had to have an abortion once or twice herself — because her partner Ken dumped her.
Another really fabulous writer on feminism is Kate Braverman. For that you want the book PALM LATITUDES.
The female characters in that book will tell you all you need to know, about what women’s lives are like…
All women are not alike either, are they?
They aren’t. Even though the patriarchy wants you to believe that sometimes.
Read women’s fiction and you will grasp deep insight into the mind of the feminine.
That is one of the reasons why writing has become increasingly important to me.
I want to follow in the Atwoodian feminist tradition. My gen really hears her voice on the page. We grew up post-Jong’s era.
Trust me, we have lived it. We have lived it all.
It would be a far better world if LOVE were making the whole world go ’round. Teach the patriarchy about decent sex and we might have a chance at that? One thing women know about that ol’ winky tink? It’s the same all over the globe, no?