Tuesday, 24 April 2012

How Do We Get There?

We were talking today in class about some voices in various waves of the Women's Movement that have been and are critical of a range of institutions, like religion and capitalism, and we began discuss some of the challenges involved in changing our world.

During the Civil Rights movement in America, Dr. King articulated what for many of us was and is the dream, but people disagreed (and continue to disagree) about how we get there. I have always been sympathetic towards some of the ideas in Black Power literature, articulated by the likes of Malcolm X. And certainly Anti-Apartheid leaders like Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela fall into this category for me. It is inspiring to listen to voices representing an oppressed people, calling us to find a way forward, and in some cases, showing us that way. The violence of both of these race-based movements was and is highly political and controversial. I do not have the answer, but I understand why our questions are so fraught.

For me much of the same is true of the Women's Movement. Various leaders, from Mary Wollstonecraft to Gertrude Stein, have inspired me with their articulations of women's collective experiences and have rallied women and men alike in their cries for a different world. This does not mean--I'm sorry to report, in some ways--that I have burned my bra or absolutely stopped wearing high heels. It does mean that I am more tuned in to gender issues, for better and worse. Perhaps I am more troubled by what I see because I have learned to notice and interpret it. Yet, I hope at least, perhaps I am also, in some small way, empowered to be a part of the solution as we take small steps towards a better and more equitable future...


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