We haven't used the *F* word in these articles and we won't in the future.
Whether it's -ine or -ist, we will not use this word which was created by the hegemonic media to label, control and RESTRICT our movement.
Women throughout the ages have struggled to become -- to be accepted as human beings. This struggle simmered, caught fire and exploded in this century. We called it the Woman's Movement to Equality.
Then the spin-doctors, -nurses and -political media defined our movement with the *F* word giving it a meaning that both dissed our movement and (worse) limited it. Most dictionaries will define *F* similar to or like this: "female nature." "womanliness," "characteristic of women," and others which all define *F* from the culture's established designation of what a woman is and, more importantly, what that culture exerts force to make her be.
Self-defined women know that we do not have a common "nature." We know that we are still exploring the various methods of being woman. When we get enough experience at becoming, WE, AND WE ALONE, WILL DEFINE OUR "CHARACTERISTICS."
So as we grow and learn, we are assaulted for being UN-*F*! That is, we are being intelligent, unladylike, shrill, nonconforming, smart, clever, strong, brave, physical, large, tall, proud, bold, healthy (add your own discovered characteristics here.)
We are called *F*-Nazis, radical *F*, unnatural, man-haters, lesbians (fill in any additional names you have been called here.)
Fueling the fires are sycophant women writers who, if they ever were involved, have now lost sight of the Woman's Movement in their desire to please the paternalistic culture. We won't name them. You know who they are by their words. They are backed by the far right political/religious money nd their books are well financed, packaged and pimped by the media. You will seldom see or hear of a woman writer who still writes about us and our movement but when you do, it is pure pleasure.
Yes, our Movement has been usurped mainly by those who claim leadership by academic degree (decree.) Using programs that were designed to support women relative to their becoming, these writers glory in mutual mental masturbation. They create and exchange theories full of smoke, sex and culturally-defined propaganda about womankind. They dissect us, sterilize and reassemble us into an image acceptable to the authority. Their main purpose is to obfuscate issues.
So we read their books and learn that there is no Movement. It is no longer needed. Rather, we are all either pre *F*; post *F*; neo *F* and any minute now we expect to hear about *F's* for the 21st Century or a space ship orbiting the earth called *F*!
Then there are those not connected with academia who continue to diss women with books that give "rules" which reinforce the stereotype that all women are lying, scheming and untrustworthy.
It is important to realize that not all academics or other women writers have sold out our Woman's Movement to Equality.
Thankfully they exist and if you know one tell her how much you appreciate her bravery, her efforts and her SACRIFICE. For their devotion to their gender has cost them much in the way of pay and promotion. We owe them a great debt for we cannot hope to change the way our culture and our world views us until we change ourselves. These women are our shining examples, pointing the way for the rest of us.
We also owe much to the many men who have, and who continue to support our movement. They do NOT deserve the *F* word either.
Sadly, it is still the people who crap on the Women's Movement that are allowed to reap the rewards of a grateful and generous hegemony.
In preparation for
an upcoming post on boy's clubs, read or reread or review
The Handmaid's Tale (of course you all know who wrote that!)
Copyright 1997 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: TWANDA@ConnRiver.net.
G e n d e r G a p p e r s T M
Margaret Eleanor Atwood