Where the Girls Are

From Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media by Susan Douglas


“We can reclaim the word feminist from the trash heap it’s been relegated to by the media and remind them and ourselves that a woman who says, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ is, in fact, a feminist.  I agree with Susan Faludi, who said, ‘All women are feminists.  It’s just a matter of time and encouragement.” (294)

“Nonetheless, whether on the nightly news or in prime time, the battles between the simpering, sheltered wife and mother on the one side and the ambitious, independent, outspoken witch on the other pulled women in the audience to the middle, to the space between the two archetypes.  The space in the middle was not passive and helpless, nor was it masculinity in drag.  This space inside our heads and our hearts was filled with elements of each side, with compromises, with inner conflicts as well as possible resolutions.  The media referees insist on putting feminism in one corner and antifeminism in the other, as if feminism could never be in the middle, but what they fail to recognize is that feminism is the middle ground.  It may be filled with ambivalence and compromise, tradition and rebellion, but the space between the two cats–the space where we, the girls, are–is what feminism is all about.” (244)

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1 Comment

Filed under Considering, Feministing

One response to “Where the Girls Are

  1. Chris

    Question….Is there a word for being proud of your masculinity? I mean, besides misogyny and male chauvinism (which can, let us remember, be applied to women i.e. female chauvinism). Both of those are often applied to proud men inappropriately.
    Am I a masculinist? A Manist? Do I have nothing to be proud of? Does the simple fact that I am a male mean that I cannot and should not be proud of my gender? Let us not engage in double standards. :)

    P.S. Pinto, where the crap (besides Oregon) have you been for the last 10 years? It’s lonely in the paradaisical wonderland that is Phoenix in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

    Pinto: Of course you can be a masculinist. It’s not that weird of an idea actually. There are legitimate Masculinist studies and academic departments out there. It’s one of the latest rages in gender studies (and the reason, actually, why most “Women’s Studies” classes and cirriculums have changed their names to “Gender Studies” in the past 15 years.) There’s even a “Journal of Men’s Studies” that began in 1992.

    I’ve read my (extremely interesting) fill of Masculinist/Manhood books. Some that come to mind are “Manhood and Civilization,” “West of Everything” (about Cowboy cultural icons in America), “The Macho Paradox,” “The Gendered Society,” “Revisioning Men’s Lives,”…it goes on and on. (As a side note, people also accuse race studies as being “racist” when, in actuality, there are “whiteness studies” all over the place.)

    So really, I don’t think there is a double standard at all. I do think it’s important to note that “feminism” gets a lot more face time because 1) certain groups have made it way more controversial than it should be and 2) women around the world actually are still oppressed/repressed/depressed/etc. simply because they are female while men never really faced the same problems and actually continue to do most of the notable abuse (re: New laws in Afghanistan making marital rape legal and stoning the female protesters who fought against it)?

    By pointing out places where an unjust patriarchy is abusing people based off of their physical weaknesses and biology, feminists/feminism is not trying to devalue masculinity itself. It tries to devalue injustices and cruelty, but not men or masculinity. I think it’s just another misunderstanding and straw-man catfight set up because of incorrect stereotypes and reactionary accusations. Ya know?

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