Author Topic: What is feminist history?  (Read 11280 times)

anne cameron

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2008, 02:42:25 PM »
Skdadl, my wee hen, we have LOTS of waves here in Tahsis.  We also have high tide, low tide, mid tide and even neep tide.  Waves come in all sizes, and some of them get pushed together to form super waves, driven by fierce winds which are not , necessarily, the winds of change, just strong blows.

And in herring season it all gets quite dramatic.

I spend a fair bit of time watching the waves and, so far, am unable to tell which are feminist waves and which are just, you know, ordinary waves.

I'll keep watching, and if I identify a feminist wave I'll let you know.  Unless you'd rather I not.

fern hill

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2008, 02:45:34 PM »
:mrgreen:

brebis noire

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2008, 02:47:22 PM »
I've come to feel that with regard to waves, I've always been in the trough.
Something about being born in the late 60s...

anne cameron

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2008, 03:57:07 PM »
Funny, that's kind of how I feel about being born in the late thirties.

Maybe it's cyclical?

deBeauxOs

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2008, 06:33:28 PM »
Well it surely ain't hormonal.

:ducking:

Audrey

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2008, 01:04:24 PM »
I was a history BA at Concordia ( i do not work in the field though) and took many women's classes, and I'm just starting to get involved in feminist advocacy
(see this link http://www.rebelles2008.org/ ).  
The major women's leaders of the day made the arguments for access to education, the vote, birth control within the context of it making them better wives and mothers. These movements for the most part were upper and middle class women- they didn't want to "total" the boat.
Make revolution- love your body

lagatta

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2008, 01:36:44 PM »
Yes, I posted that link a while ago and know people involved (I'm middle-aged so abstaining).

Hmm, what you say is true but certainly would not apply to Clara Zetkin, Emma Goldman or Lucy Parsons. There were always more radical women.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Audrey

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2008, 07:21:54 PM »
Where there many radical women in the Canadian context ? I recognize Emma Goldman and it's true she was totally awesome ( and spent some time in Canada until they kicked her out if I'm not mistaken) !!!
Make revolution- love your body

skdadl

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2008, 07:27:51 PM »
Audrey, forgive me, but since you are passing judgement from such a great height on women from the past, may I ask how old you are?

ETA: Fair is fair. Me, I'm 62.

fern hill

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2008, 07:43:46 PM »
Emma died in Toronto. In an apt on Spadina Ave, in fact.

Audrey, yes, I'd also like to know your age. Me, I'm 55.

lagatta

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2008, 07:45:40 PM »
I can't think offhand of women within the Canadian state who espouse views as radical (revolutionary socialist or anarchist) as those I cited - and the topic was feminist history, not feminist history in any specific place - but I have certainly known Léa Roback and Madeleine Parent as women before the "2nd wave" who grew into feminism while never abandoning general social justice goals.

I'm sure there were earlier women - I think of some exemplary strikes such as the Matchgirls of Hull and Ottawa East - but just can't think of any famous figures offhand.

If anything, the problem with the women I cited is that they were generally "Western" - Clara Zetkin was European, Lucy Parsons an American (US/Mexico/Aboriginal Nations) and Emma Goldman lived in Europe and North America, including considerable time in Canada. Feminism was caught up with the whole droits de l'homme in the wake of the French revolution - I am aware of 19th-century feminists in Greece and the Middle East but of course those were women with some contact with Englightenment thought.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Audrey

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2008, 11:25:54 AM »
I don't think my age has much to do with my opinions- I'm 26.

It's true there isn't much info available - I only remember touching on it in passing about women's rights in Morocco, although I don't remember what period it was in realtion to specifically. It had something to do with access to education, wearing the hijab among other things.
In the Canadian context it's hard to find any info on things such as non-white women's suffrage (although happily I did finally find some books about African Canadian women from the municipal library that I'm going to get started on soon). This is this is part of the larger problem of whose history is being taught and that the master narrative of Canadian history is  a white one.
Make revolution- love your body

skdadl

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2008, 12:18:01 PM »
Quote from: Audrey
I was a history BA at Concordia ( i do not work in the field though) and took many women's classes, and I'm just starting to get involved in feminist advocacy
(see this link http://www.rebelles2008.org/ ).  
The major women's leaders of the day made the arguments for access to education, the vote, birth control within the context of it making them better wives and mothers. These movements for the most part were upper and middle class women- they didn't want to "total" the boat.

Audrey, I don't mean to be harsh, but it distresses me that people are getting degrees in history without learning how to unpack vast overgeneralizations like those or how to deconstruct ahistorical or anachronistic moralizations.

There is a lot to unpack there. For one thing, if you're either a socialist or a social historian, you will know that revolutionary leaders of every kind in just about every age have mainly come from moderately privileged backgrounds, and there are lots of reasons why that is so.

Beyond that, I don't know what you mean by "of the day." I've known well at least a dozen women born before or during the First World War who never married, never had children, who were (and in one case still is) fierce advocates for women's liberation, and definitely NOT because they wanted to be "better wives and mothers." They were decent human beings who believed that women are human beings, far as I have ever been able to tell.

Race and class have clearly been a suppressed story generally in Canadian history -- although maybe less than some young people think. I just don't think you're going to get very far by pretending that no one has ever thought about these problems before you did. You seem to be looking for famous names, eg, which again is a weakness of North American youth, imho -- where are the celebs? I hate to tell you this, but it isn't the celebs who make history -- it is large numbers of people, who sometimes move from one kind of understanding to another in mysterious ways. And a serious historian would be more interested in how that happens.

You could look up Rosemary Brown, or, as lagatta says, Madeleine Parent. You could look up dozens of great women who had to stand their ground through the mid-C20 against viciousness of a kind that I doubt you can imagine. If I sound angry, it's because I am -- I know some of what it took for women to win the smallest concessions through the last century, and I promise you, it took a lot more than sniffy academic self-righteousness.

To make themselves "better wives and mothers" -- srsly: barf. Who taught you such claptrap?

Me, I am a great admirer of a number of women of the C17 and C18 who made themselves a place in intellectual history as fine writers or scientists. Some were aristocrats (although interestingly, a number were people whom Marxists would understand to be de-classed for some reason, usually because of foreign upbringings -- the Caribbean was an interesting place to be for women in the C17-C18), and it's true that working-class women of their times were prevented from joining in because most were not literate (as most working-class men were not), and even if they were, who had the time or the resources to think and write?

But what? I am supposed to regret that those women lived and created what they did? You write blithely of the "first wave," which I am guessing you peg at about the time of the First World War, but I gotta tell you, the babes have been rebelling a lot longer than that, and some of them brilliantly.

The point is that opposing patriarchy is a fight that many many people have thought about and taken on for a long long time, and we would not be where we are without all that those people have done, over centuries now.

There is no f'n "first wave." That is an American commercial magazine fantasy. It is Disney thought. It doesn't even start to touch a serious analysis of patriarchy, which, without question, includes serious analyses of colonialism and class. No simple overgeneralization on any of those turfs is safe.

deBeauxOs

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2008, 12:52:52 PM »
Oh my.  Haven't you heard?  Universities have dumbed down their curriculum in the last decade, having correctly assessed that the level of literacy & logical thinking present in the cohorts completing high school would not pass muster.

fern hill

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Re: What is feminist history?
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2008, 01:15:39 PM »
Quote from: Audrey
I don't think my age has much to do with my opinions- I'm 26.

This is what the current generation is very well taught: alll opinions are valid, even distressingly ill-informed ones.

 

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