At the “1970 Women’s Liberation Revisited” panel last night, a question came up from the audience: Why aren’t women more impassioned about the current war on women?
Alix Dobkin’s take was, “As soon as lesbianism got an identity, postmodernism told us that identity wasn’t important.”
Noreen Connell explained, “There is a prurience in victimology.” The glorification of women as victims denies women “a picture of strength and self-determination and reinforces the patriarchy.” This is evident everywhere in our culture from damsels in distress in children’s books and video games to sexualized rape victims in Law & Order SVU episodes. Connell went on to say, “It doesn’t disturb mainstream culture because mainstream culture is comfortable with the victimization of women.”
And Dr. Phyllis Chesler noted that one of the great sorrows of her life as a feminist is that feminism, as she knew it, did not end in universal human rights but rather in cultural relativism. Academic feminists study and write about atrocities but don’t do anything about them.
She also said, “We have to work with feminists that are very different than us,” even if those differences are profound. This was seconded by Liz Abzug, who said, “We have to accept the linguistics of younger women and they have to accept the sacrifices of the older women.” She added, “We need to make this an inclusive movement.”