Thursday, July 1, 2010

My ideal of modern feminism

i'm a man who's a feminist. a damn proud feminist. i've grown up with strong women who's personal strength, love, guidance, and patience shines through. many of these women i never knew personally, some are purely fiction, but their confidence and adventures taught me a lot. okay, okay, i realize i must sound nuts, but celebrities like janet jackson, cher, madonna, kylie minogue, and jody watley were striking out on their own in the mid-eighties - theirs was the music my mother (a very independent and strong woman in her own right) was listening to and to what my younger brother and i were exposed to. my obsession with wonder woman also started when i was very young. my mother encouraged my reading comic books as a form of learning education, much of this was done through the adventures of the amazing amazon, a powerful princess my mother herself was a fan of as child. with strong outspoken women like my mother, her sister (my aunt is one of my closest confidants), and grandmother, plus the heavy dose of cher, janet, and the others, along with my following of the regularly published escapades of wonder woman, i never quite saw women as a weaker gender. oh the women in my family would explain to me that 'the outside world' was cruel and unfair, but our family was different and both men and women were absolutely equal and always stood up against anyone who disagreed. i don't quite know if they knew how much of this belief i would hold onto, but hold onto it i have, and what's more, i've reinforced our belief of equality to include everyone. but i'm getting off my subject of modern feminism.

this month, july 2010, dc comics released Wonder Woman #600. within the issue the comic book publisher revealed the amazon's first new costume in almost two decades. the makeover is an attempt to modernize a female icon's image that, to many, has stagnated. personally, i loathe the new look, but if it brings more readers to the book, what's more, a greater population of young female readers, then this change will be well worth it. my concern with youth is that there are fewer and fewer strong female role models for young women to aspire to and for young men to admire. who are the madonnas, kylie, and jodys of today? women like britney spears, rihanna, and lindsey lohan have dominated air waves for the last few years for all the wrong reasons. even wonder woman has adapted to a similar look in the fashion of these "celebrities". where is the new generation of feminists?

i asked friends and students of mine, from twelve to fifty-one, their definition of, "feminism". surprisingly, it was the younger interviewees (both male and female) that understood the concept and attitude of girl power. the women over forty seemed to take to heart my questions when i begin quizzing them about former and modern day feminism. clearly, they appreciated someone who sought to know and understand more. as far as a response to a modern day feminist i didn't get a large response, but miley cyrus, beyonce, and even adam lambert (?!) were responses. i'm very surprised that lady gaga was not selected as a feminist by either the females or males that i included in my informal poll, but apparently the entertainer is considered more of a weird hot mess by those i interviewed. yeah ...

my mother is currently in the process of writing an article for a local women's publication on modern day feminism and asked for my opinion. from there, this blog blossomed. i wonder if my ideal of modern feminism is becoming invalid (?) simply because women are finally taking their rightful places in the many arenas of the world. well, that's not completely true in about half the world, but here in the states young women seem to see themselves just as powerful as any male. and while that's superb (and about time!), i feel the younger generation is missing something by not having the same experiences i grew up with. in the meantime, my students will definitely be getting a dose of my beliefs of feminism and equality every time they step in my classroom!

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