Friday, January 2, 2009

Feminism 2.0

I'd like to attempt a definition of women like myself who came of age after the first wave of feminism. Imagine this: you are 17 years old and the rest of the world is saying, get married, get married, have babies, have babies, cook and clean, love your man, do anything for your man.

Girls had pre-engagement rings as if we couldn't wait for the real thing; teeny, tiny little chips of diamonds on a slender silver band. The prom was a promise of a bigger dance, a bigger ritual. The day we would be queen of all we surveyed, our wedding day.

That that didn't sit right with us. That made us nervous. On the surface, we were all tied up in it; we wore our diamond chips, we kissed our boyfriend and went all the way with him in the basement of our childhood homes. But we were smart. We knew how to not procreate. I did, anyway. I knew when I was fertile. It was a strange place to be. To be so out of sync with the rest of the world. My mother saw engagement parties and baby showers, I saw a train ride out of town, the sooner the better.

Now imagine this: you are 45, or you are 50. You have no children. You are not sorry that you didn't have children. You are not married. You are not sorry about this either. But the rest of world is like: What is up with you. We got to get you a man. And little by little this seeps into your brain, and you begin to question your choices.

We're out there you know.

Or you have children, but now you want to date other women. Or you have children, adore your ex husband, but have no desire to marry again. Either way, you are alone. We're out there. Many of us are brilliant, sexy woman. We live alone. Sometimes the greatest joy in my life was coming home, at two o'clock in the morning, on the streets of New York, high heels and lipstick, happy in my autonomy, no husband/boyfriend waiting at home--- where were you, you said you'd be home at ten.

We're out there. Don't think you know us. Yes, sometimes it can be a lonely life. But other times it is transcendent to be in complete charge of your destiny. I think I'd like to call us, and the movement around us---

Feminism 2.0

I wasn't around for the conscious raising of the 1960's, I didn't burn my bra at Berkeley. And in the 1970's I had no idea what was going on around me, the larger picture. I just knew I had to live a different life than the life of the women around me. I knew what to rebel against, but I didn't know what to embrace. So I've made mistakes.

I can attempt a definition of who I am, and who the women are who are like me. But honestly I have no idea anymore who men are--- and what they struggle with. Perhaps 2009 will see a new rapport, in my life at least.

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