Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Still Needing the "F" Word

In “Still Needing the “F” Word” Anna Quindlen writes that some women believe the need for feminists has come and gone, because we are living in a post-feminist era. In 2003 when Quindlen wrote her article it was a reasonable question; women were making strides in workforce, legislation regarding birth control, the right of choice and even voting were in place for decades. Today the choices Quindlen used for her essay in 2003, while important, cannot compare to the issues facing women today. She outline several college studies that verified college women were often more concerned about looking pretty than appearing smart, and wrote about a former governor that was a “serial groper.” Quindlen wondered then if perhaps we were slipping into an era of pre-feminism and today you must wonder if she is correct. She reminded us in the essay that we do need the “F” word now as much as we did in the years leading up to the 70s when many hard fought battles were won.
                Quindlen would agree that the actions of many legislators today would appear that we are living in a pre-feminism society. The contraceptive controversy regarding health benefits offered by Catholic universities and hospitals led to a senate panel consisting of all men refusing to allow Susan Fluke to speak before the committee. Later Rush Limbaugh referred to Fluke on air as a “slut” and a “prostitute” before asking to “see a tape of her having sex.” Many states are issuing strict abortion laws designed to stop all abortions. Many women are forced to have an unnecessary ultrasound with a vaginal wand prior to having an abortion. Recent law changes with regard to identification at polling places will make it more difficult for some women and other people to be able to cast their vote. Quindlen was right when she said Feminism. Feminism. Feminism.
               Quindlen was right when she said we needed to be vigilant not to fall back into pre-feminism. Although the political battleground seems to center around women this year, women must be sure not to allow hard fought for rights to be taken away. Although most of the legislation is enacted by white male politicians, many voters, male and female are voting the legislation into law. Sanger fought for decades for safe, legal contraceptives while Cooney and Quindlen remind us we can’t go back to pre-feminist ways. Quindlen was right we do still need the “F” word maybe more now than ever before.


  1. Couldn't agree more. And more than ever, it seems, that patriarchy (through politics) is waging its battles across (and IN!) the female body.