Sunday, July 03, 2005

The fault is in our stars, not in ourselves


Newsday.com: Fate of program is in her hands

This month, Eileen Collins, commander of the next space shuttle mission, will strap herself into a rocket ship loaded with explosive fuel and shoot from zero to 1,000 mph in a minute flat.

Meanwhile Sheila Jeffreys, a lesbian separatist described as "the Andrea Dworkin of the UK," has launched a campaign against make-up and breast implants.

I'd bet that Collins had a hard time: it isn't easy for women to get to do guy stuff. Besides ongoing discrimination there are a thousand little pushes and pulls, conventions that dictate what women are supposed to do and where the no-go areas are. To run the gauntlet you have to be talented, determined--and very thick-skinned. Most don't make it.

It's easy to cut your hair and stop shaving your legs. No one's stopping you. Why is this supposed to be radical?

"Radical feminism" doesn't challenge the external, social and institutional constraints that make it difficult or impossible to do guy stuff, in particular, to get "men's jobs." It's just another component of the cosy creed that says the fault is in ourselves, not in our stars, and that we can fix it by doing things that are within our power--thinking good thoughts, developing the right attitude, being assertive, doing things that are within our control.

And it isn't peculiar to feminism, "radical" or otherwise. It's the wisdom literature of the ages, defining the Good Life as something that's within everyone's reach regardless of their life circumstances. Look close to home--fix your head, your home, your behavior, your relationships, your wardrobe: all will be well--and you'll be too busy to notice the external constraints over which you have no control, or to kick against the goads.

3 comments:

Boofykatz said...

Nice to see the argument taken outside of radical white western feminism. Those in power allways seek to haze the rest of us, regardless of whether we are minorities or majorities; oppressed or priveleged. All that matters is control. If the word 'EVIL' has any meaning, it is that dreadful human propensity to perpetuate dominion above all considerate restraint.

josh narins said...

You are a guy, right?

You ever go to hardware stores?

Long hair and short hair?

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