You talkin’ to me?

While the March for Women’s lives generated some media coverage this week (though not nearly enough—punks!), what Feministing found interesting were several stories preceding the March that supposedly focused on young women’s participation in the event.
In a 4/24/04 Washington Post article, “For Abortion Rights, a Changing of the Guard,” young women involved with the March are shown to be middle-of-the-road morons who are trying to separate themselves from the “traditional” feminist movement.
The article quotes a Vassar woman who identifies as “very pro-choice,” but believes in restricting in late-term abortion, as well as a 22 year-old woman who thinks parental-notification requirements are a necessity. (Though she admits she would have been pissed to have to tell her parents when she had her abortions.)
FYI, most minors do tell their parents. And I really love how this chick doesn’t even consider incest as maybe throwing a wrench in her logic. Ugh.
Perhaps my favorite mini-profile in the article though, is that of 24 year-old Grayson Crosby, named one of the top 30 abortion rights advocates under 30 by Choice USA:
Throughout her four years at the University of Florida she heard conversations that convinced her of something previous generations didn’t talk about: Human beings are hard-wired to create life and instinctively repulsed by the idea of destroying it, even when that’s the right thing to do.
I’m sorry, but you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This chick is a top abortion rights advocate? If that’s really the case, we’re in some serious trouble.
While Washington Post writer Laura Sessions Stepp is right on to point out that “while veteran activists like Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem host a $250-per-person cocktail reception…(while) the younger ones will be in conference rooms at the Omni Shoreman,” and that there’s a lack of space for younger voices, her implication that these several women somehow represent young feminism is appalling.
Stepp also writes:
Another characteristic of this generation, which some young feminists believe to be crucial to their long-term success, is the ease with which young women and young men relate to each other. Increasingly, women say men should be notified when their girlfriends or wives get pregnant and consulted about the decision to proceed with the birth or abort—a concept of inclusion anathema to earlier activists.
Oh, I get it; these new feminists like men. Cause everyone knows that old feminists think they have cooties. And excuse me, but where are Stepp’s stats on this “women think men should be notified” crap? So if you’re a minor you have to tell your parents, and if you’re an adult, you’re still not responsible enough to make your own decisions? Again, ugh.
A 4/24/04 piece in The New York Times is a bit better, focusing on the diversity in leadership among young feminists. However, like the Washington Post article, it makes younger women look like political underperformers. Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-choice American, says in the piece that young women “assume rights,” and “don’t feel a sense of urgency.” Well, this may be true for some, but I do believe I saw a shit-load of young faces on Sunday.
The idea that young women are complacent or too moderate on the issues is insulting. The public just doesn’t want to see radical young women. How much coverage have the Riot Grrrls gotten lately? It makes everyone feel a lot safer if the new crop of feminists are media- and men-friendly.
What young feminists are really doing is being as inclusive as possible, broadening the definition of feminism to include people of all backgrounds and varied beliefs. But we are most certainly not copping out on core principles to get there, no matter what the media’s pre-conceived notions of “old” and “new” feminism are.

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