Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

TLDCIYR (Too Long, Don't Care If You Read)

I've been reflecting on generational differences today, finding myself in between 2nd wave feminists and I suppose 3rd/4th wave feminists (and I guess Gen Xers find themselves in these in between spaces a bit). 
I suppose I would have said I was a feminist before seminary, but it was grad school where I began to read more deeply (and I wouldn't say I am well read in feminist theory of any wave). One of the first books I came across was The Willful Virgin by Marilyn Frye. I found it through a book on recovery from sexual abuse. That book included this quote: 
...the word virgin in its root definition means "she who is not owned by another." Being virginal in its authentic definition has nothing to do with having had sex or not. A virgin is a woman who is self-possessed. May we all develop virginal sex lives. (Haines, 31)
(I wrote a short blog post on this, which you can find here:…/some-partial-thoughts.htm…
When I got to seminary, I suddenly had access to books in a new way, and I got my hands on Marilyn Frye's book, which had been published in the early 90s with essays spanning 1976-1992. It was my first
introduction to lesbian separatism (although I HAD read a book earlier called Men Are Not Cost Effective). I was enticed by lesbian separatism, except that I was married to a man and raising two sons. It wasn't remotely an option for me, nor was I especially interested in women at that point.
I say all this because I read as much as I could of earlier feminists, while living a life in 2006 that was contextually outside of what those 2nd wave feminists imagined. The 3rd wave writers (and the potential of whatever the 4th wave becomes) cannot imagine the life I have grown up through. So it is out of step, I am.
There are moments when I am sorely tempted to pour out 2nd wave feminist theory (and lived experiences), but 2nd wave feminism is fraught with abuses, exceptionalism, colonialism, racism, transphobia, and and and...those sources cannot be used uncritically.
Beyond that, at 43, it is now my son's generation to shape what comes next. My role is shifting--and it is strange because I didn't take up these causes particularly until the last decade. So what am I shifting from/to? I didn't burn my bras--those suckers cost $45 a piece. These young ones coming up are swarming--Xers are caught between Boomers who won't retire (and why would they??) and the large generations following us. 
We're a bit of a sliver. In profound ways those of us in our 40s will not effect change in the same way the generation before and the generation after us did and will. Our influence is curtailed in time and bodies. Stuck between the condescension of our elders and the sneers of our children, our greatest contribution may be to let go with dignity the need to be all that.
I know I'm not alone with this. I see colleagues struggling all about me. Not just about gender, but about sexuality and race and culture. Movement work is tricky, this balance between self and community.

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