Kara over at Radio Active (judging by today, site for the day!) tipped me off to this pile of badly thought through crap that got me really REALLY cranky (like I need much provocation).
The essay reports on violence amongst girls increasing. Well, firstly, I ain't saying that their stats are dubious, but I would have to say, really? Tell that to the fights I saw / experienced during my younger years.
Hmm, well, such problems of personal experience on the receiving end of girl violence being put aside, let's just look at this steaming nonsense and do some language analysis:
"Part of this spike in violence is related to evolving sex roles. Historically, boys have received messages from the culture that connect masculinity with physical aggression, while girls received opposite messages, encouraging passivity and restraint."
Well, thus far I would probably agree that these have indeed been the stereotypes perpetuated and promoted for 'social good'. But then it takes a wild leap and starts dropping in not-so-subtle messages we should read within the statements: I have highlighted these with italics for the slow of interpretation skills.
Now girls are barraged with images of "sheroes"—think Sydney Bristow on ABC's "Alias" or Uma Thurman's the Bride in "Kill Bill: Vol. 2"—giving them a wider range of role models and tacit permission to alter their behavior. Accordingly, says Spivak, some girls have "shifted from internalizing anger to striking out."
Good lord, we're being barraged! We're utterly overwhelmed by female action heroes who are able to think for themselves and make their own life choices without men putting them down or blocking their efforts... except not.
And heavens to Murgatroyd, what will women do if they have a wider range of role models?! Surely this will spin the earth off it's social axis and leave us at the mercy of the aliens?!
Tacit permission, eh? Intepretation? Were we not meant to read these possibilities in this way, as an invitation? It was just amusing?
Accordingly...some girls have "shifted from internalizing anger to striking out": Oh, that will never do. Clearly that was just plain wrong.
[Please, someone note I am being ironic...]
But then we get the real juicy knock: who to blame for this.
The women's movement, which explicitly encourages women to assert themselves like men, has unintentionally opened the door to girls' violent behavior.
Okay, many women have a problem with feminism, partly because they falsely believe that feminism is a one-size fits all ideology. Feminism has never been about making women like men - duh, why would we? - but it has been about opening ideas, opportunities, challenging accepted codes of behaviour (and exploring why they are accepted). At its best and most radical feminism should change the world and the way we think; our approach to social communities and responsibilities, our efforts to make the world a better place through thoughts and deeds. Feminism takes a lot of flack for things that it ain't (like being anti-men: still an old favourite I see trotted out on occasions) but rarely does it get many plaudits for the things it has made societies re-think.
I am a feminist: I also think it's pretty darn difficult to be one without being engaged with social justice in general (and likewise I grant short shrift to those who promote a 'come-the-revolution-sisters' mentality that ignores the particularities of women in social change).
Feminist and proud of it! The type of lazy writing that this article highlights just demonstrates further why feminism must not give up explaining and educating and changing the world.
And btw. Sorry the quotes aren't indented but blogger had a wibble about blockquote. Natch.