Thursday, October 05, 2006

5 things feminism has done for me

A belated response to Jessica's tag.

1. Feminism gave me a framework for understanding the relationship between the social world--work, school, parties--and the psychological. I was a reluctant Feminist because I didn't want to belive that people weren't treated equal regardless of their gender (or race, age, class...). I grew up in a context marked by a combination of social conservativism as well as a distinct attempt to repudiate it.

In general, I did what I wanted. Which often meant pleasing people, something I learned to do early on and was rewarded for (being a girl and all). But I also had a substantial amount of independence. In 5th grade I ran around the woods all day long with my friend, barefoot because we wanted to be like "Indians." Except that it was November and hunting season in Maine, and we were wandering around 30 acres of unposted woods. Every so often we'd yell "don't shoot me I'm human."

But back to Feminism. I was confident, independent and tough, but not really aware of the kinds of dangers I faced as a young woman. Feminism gave me a framework for understanding and preventing agression and violence, and helped me see how these things are not the same as being confident and assertive.

2. Um. Everything else comes under #1. Feminism hasn't made me feel safe, but it's helped me be less insane.

3. Feminism reminds me that gender can be performative and fun--not a burden.

4. Feminist psychoanalysists like Jessica Benjamin and Nancy Choodrow for elaborating a theory of subjectivity based on relationships between subjects, not just subjects and objects, where meaning and subjectivity are the result of people simultaneouly imagining each other and coming to terms with the difference between what they imagine and what actually happens.

5. Feminism kept me from marrying someone I didn't really want to marry and moving to Virginia, a place I didn't really want to live. It gave me the confidence to spend time with people I love and the guts to be a writer.


Michelle Detorie said...

Hi Lorraine, I just wanted to say that I read your Dusi/e-chap and I loved it!

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Thank you!