Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Like Saying Pole Vaulting Has Failed to Solve the Healthcare Crisis

Feminism* and Happiness? Actually, the pursuit of happiness was never really a particular goal of second wave feminists. Self actualization, yes. Happiness?  Not so much.
Maybe a fairer metric would be "aliveness" over happiness, to recall Friedan, or a feeling of self-determination. You might not be happy but at least your life will be your own, which is a kind of peace. The better life isn't necessarily the happier one; the most happy life isn't necessarily the most fulfilling one...

Other possible metrics: Did you have power? Did you contentedly exhaust yourself using up all of your talents and potential? Were you occasionally brave when you would have preferred the convenience of capitulation, silence or appeasement? Did you expand your imagination about how men and women could live? Did you enlarge your sympathies, become empathetic? Did you model a spirit of possibility for your children, however that could be achieved?

I pull out Gloria Steinem's 1973 essay, Sisterhood, from my private archive. She wrote, "I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words."
Some might say The Fahm represents the outer edge of human possibility though that may be something of an overstatement...

* Don't be scared by the F won't hurt you!