An Introduction This blog begins where my current…

An Introduction

This blog begins where my current book, Women in the Line of Fire, concludes: “Civic Feminism and the Wars of the 21st Century.” I’m now beginning a book called All the Sisters and All the Brothers : Civic Feminism for the 21st Century, and I’ll be using this blog to explore some of the ideas in it, as well as plenty of ideas that won’t be any part of the book.

I write this as a feminist who is dismayed at what organized, mainstream feminism has been for thirty years before it self-destructed on 14 September 2001, in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. That feminism was a feminism of self-obsession, hissy-fitting, and a politics that, beyond securing equality for women, had little to do with reality. Now we’re pretty much equal and it’s time for a feminism for the hard years ahead.

Call it civic feminism, and there’s nothing new about it. In truth, it’s a return to feminism’s American roots and best heritage as the quest for equality of responsibility for, and equal participation in, civilization.

Women have a stake in the United States of America. But America is not immortal, and is currently walking open-eyed into disaster. This new civic feminism, while continuing the fight to remedy past injustice and remove the remaining barriers to equality, now concentrates on preserving this civilization.

What does the old feminism offer? In a word, burnout, most recently exemplified by Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda’s GreenStoneMedia network, which offers us programming on such important topics as Paul McCartney’s divorce and internet dating. Women, Gloria Steinem tells us, because women want something “lighter and more entertaining” than political talk shows. We couldn’t possibly want political talk shows in which the participants speak to us, citizen to citizen, with respect for our dignity and theirs, our intelligence and theirs, about the important issues of our time.

What the new feminism offers is the belief that civilization is nothing less than that which men and women together add to, create, guard and defend, as public and private equals.

If you’re tired of saying and thinking, “I’m a feminist, but…” or, “I’m not a feminist, but…” Or if you’ve never been able to declare yourself a feminist, even when you would like to, perhaps the new civic feminism is for you.

If you’re a man, and would welcome such a feminism, then I hope civic feminism is for you, too. Because in the end, civic feminism, like civilization, is something we do together. Over the next few posts, I’ll be laying out the groundwork for what I hope will eventually revitalize feminism in this country, and with it the idea of citizenship.

I hope to hear from you.

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One thought on “An Introduction This blog begins where my current…”

  1. Affirmative action in burden bearing

    Feminists and the SP press lament that women occupy only 16 to 18 percent of the spots in top management and boardrooms.  In spite of the gains of the last election, they further whine that women are underrepresented in Congress at only 16 percent of the total.

    Yet, I almost never hear the SP media or feminist groups complaining that women are underrepresented serving in harm’s way in Iraq. (Women are qualified for 85 percent of military positions, make up 15 percent of our armed forces, but only 2 percent of those making the ultimate sacrifice of dying for our country.)

    Another factoid: even when counting childbirth as a (very important) form of our nation’s work, women make up only 13 percent of work (plus birthing) related deaths.  By these measures at least, women may seem actually to be overrepresented in top management, boardrooms and Congress. 🙂

    Compared to the pine box, the so-called “glass ceiling” looks pretty good.

    Feminism is sexism

    The problem with feminism (even your so-called civic feminism) is reflected in the self centered, single-gender focus of its very name.  Feminism, in any form, is all about looking after the needs and wants of females. Men are barely on the feminist radar screen (except as targets, of course).

    Your brand of feminism seeks to gain full access to combat roles for women, but it does so, not so much in an attempt to shoulder a true equal’s fair share of the burden of the pine box, rather only in a self-serving attempt to remove a perceived slight to womankind.  Nowhere in your writings do you address (or even mention) rectifying the 2 percent to 98 percent gender disparity in mortal sacrifice.

    “I don’t get no respect”

    Two free pieces of advice for you, Ms. Solaro, if you truly wish to be taken seriously:

    1) Lose the name “feminism” in any part of the label for your ideology – it is inherently sexist.

    2) Spend equal column space on men’s issues from a man’s point of view (ask Philip).  Specifically explore men’s greater sacrifice in society and what corresponding greater privileges and benefits (if any) you think women should therefore gratefully cede to men (at least until you’ve successfully “amorph-o=sized” the species).

    Think well — see clearly 🙂

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