Sunday, September 24, 2006

Trouble afoot at the Walrus

Oooh, things are getting interesting on D.B. Scott's Canadian Magazines blog. In particular, see a conversation that's happening about The Walrus (a Canadian magazine much like Harper's). Last week, most of the board quit, as did the publisher. Now, things have gotten so heated on D.B.'s blog, that the editor himself has started posting comments. If you're interested in Canadian magazines, you'll be interested in this:

Canadian Magazines: We're OK, it's OK, say Walrus principals

I have to say, I met Ken Alexander, the Walrus's editor, once, and I wasn't impressed.



Hunting Wild said...

I apologize that I'm not really commenting on the post. I'm new to Poetry Thursday, and I've been checking out the blogs. What's a "4th wave eco-feminist?" I just had to know.

Ceebie said...

Good question...I'm not even sure that such a thing technically exists...It's kind of something I made up myself. I see a fourth-wave feminist as someone who embraces her femininity while at the same time embracing the aims of feminism. The first wave was all about women being equal to men (bra burning, etc). The second wave, in the 80s, was about women coming into the workforce and doing both - the family and the job. In the nineties, we were in the workforce, and we dressed down our femininity with the chunky heels and male pantsuits. Today, I see people like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City as fourth-wave feminists: we no longer think women and men are equal, and we accept our differences. We also embrace our femininity while at the same time being enlightened women.

Of course, that's just my take on it. What do you think?

Hunting Wild said...

Thanks for the explanation. This is something that I've actually thought about often, but I've never looked at it in terms of stages and decades. And usually I end up with more questions than answers.

While there will always be women who won't identify themselves as feminists because they associate it with a radical movement or as anti-male, it seems that every woman would like to believe she embraces the ideals of feminism. After four decades, it's as though to be a woman is to be a feminist by default. Who wouldn’t want to say they believe in equality? But, is there a group of women that can agree unanimously on one definition of feminism? I think that, over time, the fundamental ideals of feminism, born of a decade that also gave rise to the civil-rights movement, became watered down to the point that we’ve been left with a vague notion of equality. I just don’t know if we really know what feminism is anymore. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Then, like you, we can be free to be who we are, all the while expecting the fairness and respect that everyone deserves. We don’t have to be defined by a movement or adopt the clothing or professions that are expected of us; or blindly lay claim to a birthright that we don’t fully understand or truly believe in our hearts. I think that’s what you are saying in your definition, and I think your ideas our great.

Thanks again for reading my blog and for your compliment.

Hunting Wild said...

4th Wave Eco-Feminism, Part 2

Yesterday I was thinking out loud, and I’m afraid my ideas may not have been expressed very clearly. I don’t know if I can even accomplish that today, but there were two things that I thought about last night. Two things that perhaps may make my point better. One is an interview I heard on TV. The other is a favorite song.

An African American NBA Hall of Famer who became one of the first NBA coaches was interviewed, and he was asked to comment on his role or impact as a ground-breaking black coach. His response was that as long as people brought up the issue of his race, then we were still far from where she should be. That it would only matter when people didn’t think about his being a black coach; when people just saw a coach and didn’t notice his color.

The song was by Dar Williams. It’s called when I was a boy. She talks about being hemmed in by gender and expectations, body image, how to behave on dates. And she says she used to be a boy, riding topless on her bike, getting her knees scraped. She says “But I am not forgetting...that I was a boy too And like the woods where I would creep, it's a secret I can keep/Except when I'm tired, 'cept when I'm being caught off guard/And I've had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way/To catching fire-flies out in the backyard./And I so tell the man I'm with about the other life I lived/And I say now you're top gun, I have lost and you/have won And he says, "Oh no, no, can't you see/When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked/And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked./And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do/And I have lost some kindness/But I was a girl too./And you were just like me, and I was just like you.” I’m sure that Dar was writing this song for women, but she doesn’t know how freeing this song is for men too.

The way these two tie together for me is that when we don’t have to make the distinction between who and who isn’t a feminist it will be because it will be that we’ve arrived at the place (maybe somewhere not too far from your 4th wave) where we accept what is different about our genders and offer to each equal measures or respect and trust; and when that happens we will be free to let each other recreate for ourselves what it means to be a man or a woman. The freedom of one gender is freedom for both.

Ceebie said...

HW: thanks for the thought you put into your responses...I totally agree with you that we risk discriminating ourselves by becoming too categorical or positivist...In fact, it's actually more disappointing to be discriminated against by women who I considered to be strong feminists.