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Old feminists seek to recruit the young

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Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009 12:00 am

As if there aren’t enough pressing issues in America today, there’s a movement under way to indoctrinate our young women into passé, feminist thinking. I lost my good humor after reading an Oct. 20 article in Arizona State University’s campus newspaper, The State Press.

Titled “Beyond the Glass Ceiling,” reporter Jessica Testa discussed a lecture series on gender inequality, hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Department. Certain guest speakers were from the “old guard” of the movement.

Her report recounts the tired mantra of the movement launched some 40 years ago, repeating the philosophy which has recently proven itself to be, at the least, equally harmful as good. Sadly, old and young feminists are lost in the churning of energy past. They cling to the story that American women, as a whole, remain victims of society.

This latest effort seeks to inject youthful spirit into their agenda. Promoters ignore current data, which exposes the down side of that movement. The National Bureau of Economic Research (www.nber.org) found, across all industrialized nations, women are more unhappy than they were prior to the ‘60s and ‘70s. And, yes, men are now happier than women.

What we have are exhausted wives, mothers and singles, swamped in the pressure of “having it all.” Now, they’re being called on by feminists, to re-embrace the movement and “finish the job.”

I say, don’t take the bait. Examine more carefully your priorities. American women are blessed with amazing choices and, yes, some of those choices came from that movement, but women and families are paying a monster price.

The good news is wiser women are emerging on campuses, who see a different view. One group is The Network of Enlightened Women (NeW). Senior and finance major Blayne Bennett, ASU’s NeW president, issued this statement to The State Press: “The most pressing issue facing college women today is pressure resulting from a culture of discontentment. The theme of the women’s movement has shifted from ‘You can be anything,’ to ‘You must be everything.’”

Refreshing! Youth who think on their feet, who won’t be led into a swamp of self-pity.

In need of just one example of how the old message gets lost in itself? Take the quote from the same article concerning the recent law passed by the state Legislature in regards to protecting women seeking abortions: “The biggest blow to securing reproductive rights was state legislation passed last year that introduced new policies into the abortion process, including a 24-hour waiting period between the consultation and procedure, the reading of patients’ rights and ensuring that doctors – as opposed to Planned Parenthood’s nurse practitioners – perform abortion procedures.” That quote is from Sarah Norman, co-director of ASU Womyn’s Coalition.

Excuse me. That law protects women. Clearly, radical feminist come from another planet. By the way, opponent’s efforts to stop the law from taking effect Sept. 30, effectively acquired a stay until the matter goes to court.

The NeW gals have it right. Women must side-step peer pressure and follow values and goals each individually sets for themselves. The cattle mentality followed by their mothers took many right off the cliff, but today their daughters have a chance to do it differently.

Turns out research shows young women, by the time they reach 12th grade, are struggling with the same level of unhappiness as their mothers who sought solutions outside of themselves. For sure, the tired drum beat about feminine victim hood has become the enemy. In its place, I recommend beginning with gratitude and individualized focus on what really matters.


Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached by e-mail at letters@lindastake.com.

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