Finding my feministic side
Senior Staff Writer
Ah, graduation. How long have I been waiting for it to be my turn? Well, only four short years but sometimes it felt like it was never going to be my turn. So, I could write about how I'm going to miss my friends or how I've changed over the years or how I'm going to miss campus, dorm life and classes but instead I'm not. No sentimental-I-can't-believe-I'm-graduating-it's-gone-so-fast drivel that we've all heard before. No, instead, I'm going to tackle the issue of feminism.
Growing up, feminism was not a term I ever really heard. I mean I knew about women's liberation and the suffrage movement but I had no idea that there were feminists still around. It wasn't until I came to Saint Mary's that I began to hear the term on a regular basis.
It wasn't until I came to college that I heard about modern feminists, such as Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker. It has been interesting to read their ideas, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't.
Today, it seems that feminism is much more a part of academia, with books on feminist theory and the feminist movement. Of course books aren't bad and if these books can open your eyes to new ideas, that's great. But is it really necessary to read a book to be a feminist?
To my own question I say no because feminism shouldn't be something that should be taught in the first place. Feminism, as defined by Webster, is the "belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."
Doesn't sound too bad or scary, right? Since the definition itself is so ambiguous, people can take feminism and mold it to fit many different causes, not all of which are representative or supported by all those that call themselves feminists. For example, a major divergence between feminists is the issue of abortion.
These differences in opinion are perpetuated by the fact that there are no strong leaders of the modern feminist movement and no set goals that women are working towards. A big difference between today and thirty years ago though is that feminism is so much apart of the world of academia and not a grassroots movement. Feminism seems to be coming from the top down and not from the bottom up.
It's not as if "social, political and equality of the sexes" has been reached yet in America or any other region of the world. While American women certainly live in much better circumstances than have more opportunities than many women in the world, that does not mean that there is complete equality and the glass ceiling certainly does still exist.
As my fellow classmates and I prepare to make a difference in the world I can't help but believe that we are all feminists.
After all, as graduates of Saint Mary's, can't we, graduates past and present, be considered feminists as we recognize the importance of educating women? I think we can.
Sarah Nestor is a senior English writing major and former Saint Mary's Editor who is waiting to hear if she got into grad school in Ireland but hopes that she is never seen on the side of the road with a sign that reads "will write for food."
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, July 11, 2003