Young Feminists

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November 21, 1995
EvaS: Is there a difference in point of view between younger and older feminists? If so, what is it?

Bex22: Yes, there is a difference. The younger feminists were made to believe that the older feminists had taken care of it for us. It was hard to figure out that there was still work to be done.

EvaS: Becky, I guess it might have seemed that way since your mother is a feminist.

Joycejc: I think that there is a difference. We don't know what it was like to not have a choice. But, we are learning since they are taking it all away (or trying real hard).

MellyMel4: I agree with what Bex has said, in that pop culture sometimes acts like feminism is "dead," unneeded. I agree with Joyce's view, too. At the same time, I believe we have a lot more issues in common then we sometimes stress.

Joycejc: Unfortunately, we need *all* feminists now more than ever, but where are they?

DBeeson100:What are the common issues?

MellyMel4: I think issues such as sexual harassment, breast cancer, education, work, etc. impact feminists of all ages. And we also face a similar prejudice against us as feminists. There are more differences within feminists of different groups than based on age, I think. For instance, feminists disagree on prostitution, abortion, lots of stuff. A feminist my age once told me that breast cancer was an older woman's issue and AIDS was a younger woman's. Both affect both age groups and one thing we all will eventually be/experience is being "old" as women ... and men!

EvaS: Mel, right. I do agree. AIDS is neglected in older women. Unfortunately.

Bex22: I agree with what Melly is saying.

Joycejc: Yep!

EvaS: Is it true that many young feminists feel that the older, Second Wave feminists don't speak for them? What is it that isn't mentioned?

Asherah 3: Specifically, who or what gave younger feminists the idea that "older feminists had taken care of it for (you)"?

Bex22: Asherah, the idea that it was taken care of seemed to come from the way that I was brought up to think. That I could do or be whatever I wanted and that being female didn't matter.

Asherah 3: Are you sure? Could it have come from the conservatives who were feeling threatened by the movement?

EvaS: Joyce, do you have something to add to this?

Joycejc: Yes. I personally don't feel that way. I think we have a long way to go! No one ever gave me any encouragement about women.

EvaS: Mel, you want to add to this, too?

MellyMel4: Just that I think the media and my conservative household may have wanted me to think this, but eventually I guess I saw through it. : )

EvaS: And that does fit with what Ash was saying, your answer, Mel.

DBeeson100:If you were raised to feel you could be anything, when did you notice it maybe wasn't possible?

EvaS: Good question, DB.

Bex22: DB, I guess I still haven't realized that it wasn't. I mean possible to do anything. It is just a lot harder being a female studying computer programming.

EvaS: Yes, it sure is. But the field is attracting more women these days, Bex.

DBeeson100: Harder in what ways?

EvaS: Bex, harder than being male in the computer field?

Bex22: DB, I don't feel like I am taken seriously by the professors. Other women in my class have said the same thing.

EvaS: Yes, that's a problem. One of the reasons women like all women colleges.

Joycejc: I know lots of women, myself included, who would have gone to an all women's school if $$ allowed.

EvaS: Joyce, there are advantages.

MellyMel4: I notice in my work with computers that it takes people a little while to trust I am qualified.

EvaS: Mel, right.

Joycejc: Thank, Goddess!! Soon we will *take over* the net!

MellyMel4: Joyce, would be nice if we could occupy our share of space!

EvaS: Melly ,we're trying!! So, do you feel that the Second Wave no longer addresses the problems you feel should be addressed?

Asherah 3: In what ways do you feel the Second Wave isn't addressing your problems?

Joycejc: I don't think some of the Second Wave groups take YF issues seriously.

EvaS: Joyce, not seriously? How can that be? How does it show? And which issues?

Joycejc: We are seen as too young to take leadership, too inexperienced or we don't know the issues well enough all of them! Meanwhile we are victims/survivors just as often, if not more these days.

EvaS: Anything to add, Bex? I do think your situation is a bit different, perhaps. Since your mother and all her friends are feminists.

Bex22: I am in a different situation. I think that the second wave issues are still important.

EvaS: Thanks, Bex. Melly, do you find it's true that you're not taken seriously?

MellyMel4: I have not seen this as Joyce has. Issues that concern me have been addressed by feminists. And a whole bunch of great feminists have taken me in around here, too! ; )

EvaS: Interesting, the differences.

Joycejc: I think the addressing of YF issues is more of an organizational problem because individual "older (call them "seasoned") feminists have been great!

Asherah 3: How do you define 'second wave issues' as opposed to 'young feminist issues'? And anyone else feel free to jump in and ask questions!!!!!!!!

MellyMel4: Good question, Ash!

EvaS: Good question. I was about to ask that, Ash. :)

Joycejc: Good question. I think YF are more concerned (in my experience) with retaining what we have and being more *pro* active as well. For example, introducing legislation even if it won't pass.

Bex22: Joyce, it was the older feminists who got us what we have, so I think they'll be important in helping us keep it.

EvaS: Joyce, examples of this, if you have any?

Joycejc: Yes, here in Ohio, we have a lot of feminist women elected officials, but they won't do anything!!! When I am elected....!!!!

Bex22: Joyce, whatever their reason is, they better get to it and do something.

Joycejc: Right on, Bex!

EvaS: Joyce, and what is it they should be doing in your opinion?

Joycejc: Introducing legislation to retain abortion without any restrictions, mentoring young women to fill their shoes, trying to get national media by introducing an ERA. Anything, but being part of the boys club. We need a new girls club!!

EvaS: Joyce, are they scared they won't be reelected? Is that why they don't introduce such legislation?

Joycejc: I think that has a lot to do with it. But, it does happen that women can be re-elected, even if they are radical. (I am counting on it..personally!)

EvaS: The lack of mentoring I'm surprised at. I would assume that's always part of the job.

Asherah 3: What is their party affiliation? The elected women in Ohio? Not all women in Congress, etc. are feminist, even if they claim to be. Be very careful.

Joycejc: Both parties.

DBeeson100: Are the issues legislative? Or does it have more to do with culture -- and changing our culture?

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