Tuesday, July 15, 2008

food for thought.

i'm off to massachusetts for two days - the circumstances of the trip are essentially the opposite of ideal, but the faintest of silver linings means i'll get to spend time with some family that i haven't seen in a while. before i go, though, i wanted to share a Susan Bordo quote i stumbled across today in the comments section over at Shapely Prose. what can i say - when i read something that actually makes me say "yes!" out loud, in my office, in the middle of the day, i have the impulse to pass it along.

in my view, feminist cultural criticism is not a blueprint for the conduct of personal life (or political action, for that matter) and does not empower (or require) individuals to ‘rise above’ their culture or to become martyrs to feminist ideals. It does not tell us what to do [...] — whether to lose weight or not, wear makeup or not, lift weights or not. Its goal is edification and understanding, enhanced consciousness of the power, complexity, and systemic nature of culture, the interconnected webs of its functioning. It is up to the reader to decide how, when, and where (or whether) to put that understanding to further use, in the particular, complicated, and ever-changing context that is his or her life and no one else’s.

i love this idea. i love this kind of critical ethos. and it mirrors what a lot of other feminist bloggers that i admire have said, which is essentially that they refuse to condemn women for the choices they make in a patriarchal culture in order to survive and try to thrive. they'll condemn the culture that circumscribes those choices, the hierarchal system that bullies and intimidates and coerces and cajoles women into acting in its best interest and not their own - but women, when it comes down to it, are always just doing the best they can with what they've got. and that means different things to different people. but i'd like to think, regardless of those differences, we can all agree that MORE knowledge about the contexts in which we live, breath, think, and interact is always better than less.

anyway. that's all. now to go put that book on my DC library hold list...


Toast said...

women, when it comes down to it, are always just doing the best they can with what they've got.

If you ask me -- and I'm going to write the fact that you didn't off as some sort of lax oversight -- this statement applies to the vast majority of human beings on the planet, regardless of gender.

Miz Shoes said...

I love that quote. Brilliant.