There have been two posts so far on the PBS program, Women Making American; see here and here. It is not as problematic as I originally feared; that is, it isn’t just about fairly recent white US female media personalities. Still, a program that attempts to follow even the limited history of the feminist movement from Friedan forward is going to be short on critical analysis.
Nonetheless, there were two topics that often get at least a mention on this blog about which we’ve not had much explicit to say. So when the program took them up, I listened very carefully. The program’s style of interviewing one or a few women meant that in some cases we were just getting one person’s opinion. Still, though the content on two topics was very minimal, I thought it might be interesting to get reactions from those of you who come here.
Topic One: why don’t young (white, middle-class) women want to describe themselves as feminists?
One answer: because feminism is associated with the more extreme forms it took in the 70’s and 80’s. Women today are not so anti-male, etc, as these parts of radical feminism.
Topic two: Why doesn’t the feminist movement attract more women of color?
One answer: because it typically leaves out class; women of color see the problems in terms of race, gender and class.
I think it would be a mistake to think along the lines of “it can’t be this simple,” because in fact these are not simple problems. But what do you think?