I am so glad that the #metoo movement has been so cathartic for so many people, and I admire the bravery of all those who have felt able to come forward and disclose their experiences of abuse and/or harassment; equally, let us not forget about those who have not felt able, and those who are just so dang tired of having to rehash and relive their experiences that they chose not to, and those who just want to distance themselves from it as much as they can and exclude it from their identities. It has reaffirmed what we already knew: this is a reality for pretty much all women.
There’s something that still troubles me, though, about the response to this movement; the reaction of men*. Obviously there has been the usual backlash of idiots mocking the movement by trying to join in, but those aren’t the ones I am talking about.
Boshemia regular Elisha shares with us this instalment of Raising A Feminist, on ambition and leading by example.
As parents, we are always seeking ways which we can raise healthy, kind, and ambitious children. We want to give them the world, but in more realistic terms, we want to give them to tools they need to become well-rounded, successful adults. One of the cornerstones of any educated parent is finding ways to encourage ambition in our children. Ambition is a trait which is seen, by some, as an intrinsic part of each individual personality. This is true to some extent, due to genetic makeup. However, one can find that through a little extra awareness and research ambition is a trait that can, in fact, be nurtured in our children and affected by their environment. We can do this by providing an example to follow with our own level of ambition. Children are little sponges who absorb their environment. They use this information to figure out how to be, how to think, and how they fit in to the world. When we lead by example, it is our children who benefit.
It’s a Sunday afternoon, and the board have called an emergency meeting. This is their seventh emergency meeting of the year. It’s February. A line of white men pour into the conference room, all visibly shaken; some of them are wearing golf clothes, Mr Evans is still in his pyjamas. His lazy Sunday had been snatched away from him. His wife was at home making brunch for him and his two children when he got the call.
“Thank you all for coming at such short notice,” said Mr Johnson once the men had been seated and the hubbub had died down. Patricia, his secretary, was staring at him from under her glasses, as she sat in the corner ready to type up the minutes. She had half a mind to just copy paste the minutes from the last emergency meeting. Maybe next time she would, just to make a point. Then again, maybe she would just get the point across by staring at Mr Johnson from under her glasses.
To kick off our Boshemia Book Club this autumn, we dove into Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (2003). Mohanty is a prominent postcolonial feminist theorist and Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and the Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. In brief, Mohanty’s book serves as a critique of Western academic feminism, and how the project of Western feminism has collapsed the identities of Third World Women into a reductive “Other,” united in their presumed exploitation and a monolithic notion of sexual difference. Rather than imagining Women as a cohesive group, through her essays, Mohanty analyzes the borders that divide and differentiate us.