The Feminist Blame Game

Elisabeth Garber-Paul

If the previous generation wants to talk to young feminists, they should stop assuming that we are all members of the “Pole-dancing, walking around half-naked, posting drunk photos on Facebook, and blogging about [our] sex lives” sector, and realize that we’re still working — we’re just doing different things.

If the previous generation wants to talk to young feminists, they should stop assuming that we are all members of the “Pole-dancing, walking around half-naked, posting drunk photos on Facebook, and blogging about [our] sex lives” sector, and realize that we’re still working—we’re just doing different things.

In her blog on Mother Jones yesterday, Debra J. Dickerson blamed the apathy of young feminists for the lack of staff in abortion clinics.

“Women want reproductive choice to remain more than rhetoric, they’d better stop assuming these clinics will be there when they need them. Because like priests and nuns, abortion doctors are not reproducing.”


Sounds to me like there needs to be more funding for these clinics. Or perhaps this is a job for lobbyists—like one comment on the blog suggests—to oppose the Physician’s lobby and “[push] more states to open up the right to perform abortions to nurse practitioners.” I certainly appreciate the fact that most abortion doctors are approaching retirement—which is happening across all sectors, not just healthcare—and how the dangers associated with the job can scare away potential doctors, but I fail to see how this indicates that young feminists are doing nothing.

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“Tell me exactly what today’s feminists are doing for the struggle,” she wrote. I’d like to suggest that feminists are out there and working, we’re just a little spread out right now. True, we have begun to drift away from taking abortion advocacy to the streets. We were a little preoccupied by global wars and poverty caused by overpopulation, a deteriorating ecosystem, and the depression that is quickly creeping its way across the globe—problems that my generation certainly didn’t create, but ones that we will be left to solve.

Ms. Dickerson is sick of young women ragging on her generation. Fair enough. I’m a little tired of being criticized for not always having the same priorities as a feminist would’ve had 30 years ago—or being told that my supposed apathy is the cause for a slew of new problems. Does being a feminist mean that I can only pay attention to traditionally “feminist issues,” and ignore everything else?

Sometimes I get distracted from abortion access in the states when, on the same news feed, I’m getting reports of millions of women tormented by AIDS, starvation, and the constant threat of kidnapping, rape, torture and death. To say that we are not as active as the previous generation isn’t true; we’ve just got a lot of new problems to pay attention to, on top of all the old ones.

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