EMILY's List has just released their 2008 Women's Monitor "From 18 to 80: Women on Politics and Society."

They break down some interesting findings about women's political interest (preferring Obama over McCain) and engagement (Gen Y is the most engaged), the issues women find important (no surprise that economics is #1 right now), and how they communicate (Gen Y gets most of their political news from the internet, and connects through social media more than older generations).

While not all of the findings are particularly surprising, the thing that I want to highlight is that Gen Y DOES NOT take equality for granted! Not only do we agree that sexism is still a problem, but we also agree that there is still a need for a women's movement.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who is often frustrated by the voices of second wave feminists declaring that young women take feminism for granted. I've seen it in interviews and on comment threads, and have heard it in person. It frustrates me every time. Just because we do not define feminism in the same way older fems do (or even in the same way across our own generation) does not mean that we do not fully realize how bad things still are for women. Indeed, one does not need to identify as a feminist to advocate for women's rights!

In fact, with news of Bush's violation of our reproductive rights, I see the vast majority of the feminist blogosphere urging people to take action. Young and old. I see women across the board who united against sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton (yes, even by those who supported Obama). I see all of us having thought-provoking discussion and pushing the envelope, not for the sake of controversy, but to force everyone to carefully examine how sexism affects our daily lives.

And, yes, the blogosphere is a particular group of people and not necessarily indicative of the entire population. But, it is also where we voice our opinions publicly. Facebook groups might not put a new law in the books, but it gives people a community to turn to that encourages action in the face of adversity. It might not be much, but it's a start.

I'm not sure if this will drown out the voices of older fems, though I certainly hope it will. But at least now I have some more ammunition to fire back with.

2 comments:

At Fri Aug 22, 02:09:00 PM Renee said...

What is happening is a battle of who owns feminism. It is a power struggle. It is not just generational either. If we examine the issues of women of color, trans women, lesbian women, we are all fringe groups demanding our inclusion in a movement that has been historically content to silence us and make us invisible. People are claiming feminism, it just happens not to be the ones that they want.

 
At Fri Aug 22, 02:27:00 PM frau sally benz said...

It is DEFINITELY a power struggle. Which just makes it so sad.

People are claiming feminism, it just happens not to be the ones that they want.

This is very true. I think I stick with the label "feminist" because I claim it for my own definition of feminism, mostly a more inclusive one and one that fights for the rights of more than just women. It's the one I came to first and the one I've stuck with. My hope is that we can take feminism to that next level by working from the inside out.

 

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