Monday, May 28

She answers to Miss and looks pretty in pink?

When 5,000 academics gather this week in Saskatoon for the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, everything from the geography of shopping to gender in governing will be on the agenda. In a week-long series, the National Post explores some of the most interesting research being showcased.
- - -
When old-school feminism is translated for this generation, it arrives in a sea of pink T-shirts modelled by movie stars and emblazoned with a bland slogan, as well as increasingly narrow definitions of who qualifies to use the title Ms., according to researchers studying what they see as the prettier, more consumer-driven and essentially watered-down feminism of today.

What has been lost in the translation, argue the researchers presenting their findings at Canada's largest annual gathering of academics this week, is much of the edge and the inclusivity envisioned in the early days of the movement.

For example:

  • The word Ms., for example, is being assigned to specific women instead of all women, as feminists had dreamt in the 1970s, according to new research by Donna Lillian, whose studies have shown the title increasingly designates only the gay, unmarried or single older woman. Prof. Lillian, who teaches English at East Carolina University and presented her findings at a meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Names yesterday, gleaned her findings from a questionnaire that asked respondents to pretend their boss requested a mailing for their female clients; do they choose Miss, Mrs. or Ms.?
  • Further evidence of the traditional view of feminism being lost in translating to the young appears in a fashion statement campaign launched, ironically, by the organization that publishes Ms. Magazine. Jennifer Crawford, a PhD student at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, sees the recent "This is what a FEMINIST looks like" fitted T-shirts, tanks and hoodies -- in black, white and "radical raspberry" -- as another attempt to co-opt and dilute what's left of the movement, by one of their own no less. ........"Is this -- this slogan on the fuchsia baby tee, or italicized in screen-print across a cute tote bag, or pinned with good intentions on to the lapel of a jacket, this shut-down of communication -- is this what feminism looks like?" asks Ms. Crawford in a session called "Who Cares What a Feminist Looks Like? Inscriptions of Gender, Sexuality and Personal Politics" that she will present as part of the Canadian Women's Studies Association meeting tomorrow.

LINK: Newspaper-NP

No comments: