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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
RECLAIMING THE OTHER F-WORD

Friend (and co-Founder with me of the currently in ideological utero but destined to be earth-shattering Association of Cool 21st Century Women Saving the Planet...) Zoe Romanowsky-St. Paul (I'm so jealous that she gets to have MY PATRON SAINT as her last name!) has a good piece on Godspy this week. Here's a snip...

"When Pope John Paul II used the f-word back in 1995, it got my attention.

Not that f-word. I'm talking about the other one—feminism. In his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, the Pope challenged women to promote a "new feminism that rejects the temptation of imitating models of 'male domination' in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation."

...As a young adult, I didn't readily identify with the word feminism. Women who proudly sported the feminist title seemed to hang most of their ideas on one main belief: that abortion is a necessary and fundamental right of women. That's what my feminist sociology professor sold my class for an entire semester. That's what I saw in the papers and on television. As much as I agreed with many planks in the feminist platform—like better healthcare, maternity leave, reform in the workplace, and programs and services that better women's lives—I couldn't buy a label that came with abortion. Until the day I discovered I didn't have to...."


I have the same experience as Zoe. Even though I have always been a Type A, over-educated, achievement oriented female, I have always shrunk from the label "feminist."

My agent and her partner are both grey-haired warriors from the women's movement of the 70's. They are members of NOW and NARAL and count Steinem as one of their close friends. They asked me over an entree once if I would consider myself a feminist. I remember shrugging in confusion, "I have never thought of myself as a victim." They looked at me with a kind of melancholy, the way honest atheists must feel when they see a funeral procession go by. The gleam of irrelevance is on the horizon.