Friday, August 29, 2008

One nation?

I thought that I might try to get away from the Palin debate and revisit the acute adorableness of my favorite gymnast, Shawn Johnson, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the last night of the DNC, followed by Jennifer Hudson singing the "Star-Spangled Banner":

Unfortunately, even that seems wrought with controversy. Can't we do anything right?

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Sarah Palin

To say I am unamused with McCain's choice for a running mate would be understating the point. Shouldn't I, as a feminist, be thrilled that he's chosen a woman? No, not at all. The more I read about Palin, the more obvious it becomes that she may be a woman, but she is not for women. She's exceptionally conservative, anti-evolution, anti-gay marriage, anti-choice... McCain is smart, though, I'll give him that, but can't we all see through this as an obvious ploy to pull in those scary Hillary supporters for McCain folks or, at least, make us think he'll be able to pull in disgruntled Hillary supporters.

Want more information? See more in-depth articles in the New York Times or or The Washington Post. Or get your information from the horse's mouth and decide for yourself at Sarah Palin's website (although at the time of this posting, her website was down, probably because every person in America is trying to look at it).

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Interested in becoming a regular contributor to Fourth Wave?

We’re looking for smart, culturally-savvy writers who are passionate about feminism and feminist issues to fill out our Fourth Wave line-up of bloggers. We’re especially looking for people (women and men!) interested in posting on the topics listed below, but if you’re interested in something not on this list, feel free to suggest something.
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To apply to become a Fourth Wave contributor, please send an email to fourthwave[dot]feminism[at]gmail[dot]com and include the following:
  1. a list of 2-4 topics (ranked in order of preference) about which you’d like to blog
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This is a volunteer position only, but we will ask that contributors commit to posting at least 3-4 times per month. If you were looking for a paid position, sorry. No one gets paid here at Fourth Wave Feminism. We’re just a group of people invested in creating an intellectually-stimulating and productive place to discuss the state of feminism in contemporary culture. But you can definitely put us on your résumé!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mission Statement

I write this on the evening of the 88th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which, as we all know, gave women the long-fought-for right to vote. Tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Hillary Clinton spoke in support of Barack Obama, her erstwhile challenger for the presidential candidacy. For months, the media has been touting this primary season as a conflict of race versus gender, and now they’re eagerly reporting that some Clinton delegates are reluctant to hand over their votes. And, as a staunch feminist and avid Clinton supporter, I deeply sympathize with the disappointment of not seeing a woman in the White House for a least another eight years. But we should all be heartened that, either way, this race is historic and exhilarating. And I, for one, am proud to be part of a generation of women able to experience both of these remarkable candidates.

Nevertheless, earlier today at a panel on politics, sexism and the media held by the National Women’s Political Caucus, the real disappointment of the 2008 primary battle kept raising its ugly head. I think Newsweek contributor and occasional McLaughlin Group panelist Eleanor Clift put it most succinctly. In this primary race, she said, “youth trumped gender,” meaning that young women did not feel compelled by feminist solidarity to vote for Clinton. Of course, the fact the youth vote was and is so powerful in this election is a good thing, a great thing, and the fact young people came out to vote in such overwhelming numbers is imperative. But Clift is not the first to note that young feminists don’t generally feel the feminist urgency of the generation before them. And why should they? Gender equality has been achieved. Sexism has been eradicated. Clearly, we don’t need feminism or a women’s movement anymore.

Anyone who believes that need look no farther than this primary election season, which, if nothing else, has shown us that sexism, misogyny and gender inequality are still alive and well. Others have discussed the sexism of this race far more eloquently than I could here, and so I’ll just leave you to explore the world of Hillary Clinton nutcrackers, pundit castration anxiety, hecklers admonishing Clinton to do her chores, and the endless discussions of her tears in New Hampshire and let you come to your own conclusions.

To be fair, Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House was only one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog. The other goes back several years when I came to the horrifying realization that other women of my generation (women in their twenties and thirties) really did think that the women’s movement had already achieved what it sought to achieve. The Clinton campaign is just the latest evidence that there’s still so much work to be done. I mean, for goodness’ sake, women still earn on average 23% less than their male counterparts. If you like statistics, there are more. Many more.

I think we need a new movement, not just a vague idea of feminist values from an era gone by. I’m not saying that this movement hasn’t already started—there are women and men everywhere who still believe strongly in the tenets of feminism. Nor do I think that we should follow blindly in the footsteps of our foremothers. Their efforts were groundbreaking and we should always feel a deep debt of gratitude towards all the strong, passionate, and dedicated women and men that came before us. The world has changed a lot since the 1970s, and our battles are different, but there are definitely still very real battles to be fought and won. We are not all the same, we all have different needs and wants and creeds, but we can still present a unified front in the face of gender inequity.

I hope that the Fourth Wave Feminism blog will become a dynamic space to foster feminist community in our contemporary world. Not a place to forget the past, but a place to explore our present and look towards a progressively brighter future. That said, this is just a blog—a place to gather knowledge and discuss on all sorts of topics, from politics to pop culture. It’s up to us, as a community—as a movement—to actually orchestrate change.

Aviva Dove-Viebahn

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