Post-feminist? Really?

There’s SO much happening right now that I want to write about.

First, about how feminism is unnecessary or ‘over’ or dead.

There’s comments on Gloria Steinem’s article about how gender can be a worse stumbling block than race – saying that feminism is not even an issue anymore (‘YAWN! Move on Gloria, write something about this century’; comment #87), that it plays no part in anything.

And then there’s the fantastic connection that Abhi has drawn out on Sepia Mutiny that links this with a very, very interesting study that had come out a few months ago (I’d read in in the Slate); about how women are perceived to be less effective even as they do more.

And finally, Indhu’s written about how women are still never free of being sexualized, about how we still need to reclaim our streets & public spaces, etc. – all still very critical problems, even ignoring the sub-textual, sub-conscious problems outlined by Duflo and Topalova. But I want to go back to her first paragraph to prove my point – the implicit, happy presumption that if women are able to balance home and careers they must be liberated. Seriously? When was the last time we talked happily about how a man is now able to balance ‘home and a career’? And this is written by a feminist, and a good, smart one at that. Girls, and boys, it’s NEVER post-feminism if you’re still celebrating we should’ve been taking for granted.

The women’s rights movement is still at the stage where we’re trying to stem a dangerous disease. We haven’t created a whole, healthy body yet. That’ll happen when the most vocal, celebrated women’s rights advocates are not just women. When men talk about how they balance attention and time between work, home and themselves. When we are able to objectively evaluate merit without ‘human error’. When some idiot calling himself the President of Harvard can’t use pseudo-science to ‘prove’ that women don’t make good scientists and academicians.

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