Insert 3

Joanna Russ, in What Are We Fighting For? Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism (St. Martin's, 1998), warns feminists very explicitly about the tendency of feminists in the 1990s to characterize everything that they do or enjoy as "feminist." One part of this tendency involves "celebrating women and women's work without bringing up anything as nasty as sexism," (3) regarding the "affirmation of women" as a lifestyle choice that-- Russ is here quoting Barbara Haber-- turns away from

a position in which we recognized that [the] family is [the] building block of patriarchy... Mainstream feminists have moved back to reaffirming the notion that... family is a safe and wholesome place to be. Radical feminists have affirmed [the] family as the source of our cultures... [this] coincides with a reactionary administration's push back to family values.

A Civil Campaign, I am persuaded, succeeds as a feminist romance to the degree that it both celebrates women as strong and smart and responsible for their own lives and regards gender privilege and the sexual oppression that maintains and enforces it as being like the weather-- something to be coped with, but not actively-- and particularly not collectively-- opposed.

back to essay