Hi – I’m Emmy, though sometimes I go by “Laz” too – depends who’s asking. Call me whatever you want. I’m a college currently student based out of the Midwest, though I am on the East Coast for most of the summer. Feminism saved my life, quite literally, and I do not want to know where I would be without it. Ever since I picked up Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique and Simone de Beauvoir’s book The Second Sex over the summer before I went to college, my relationships with my world, my culture, my family, my friends, and, of course, with myself, have been completely changed. My relationships with these multiple facets of life continue to be challenged and shaped to this day, with every new book, new zine, new blog, new conversation, etc. that I manage to get myself into concerning feminism. It is because of feminism’s indispensable and transformative role in my life that I hope to start blogging with two dear friends, in hopes that our project will encourage other people to engage critically with feminism as a theory and as a set of movements, in a way that is relevant and informative.
I usually study philosophy, although I am very interested in historical research and keeping up with current events, so expect to see a mix of these and more in my posts. In the next few months I hope to include posts dealing with: the history of “Jewish feminism” and anti-Semitism in the women’s movements, a look at the extent and limits of feminist or feminist-friendly innovation in traditional ritual, the intersection between race, gender and class, the practice of “consciousness-raising,” the personal as political as it relates to gender and sexuality, and maybe I’ll be able to post some sequential art of my own!
At the moment, I find myself at a strange point in life where the current direction of the feminist movement seems to have missed my stop. I am having difficulty relating to contemporary third-wave feminism’s emphasis on personal happiness and a diluted, consumerist notion of “fulfillment” over political and communal goals, especially since I do not see much evidence that it invokes a coherent and weighty system of ethics, something that I see as highly important to any feminism that I would subscribe to. I also find it hard to identify as second-wave, since I do not share the second-wave’s essentialist understanding of gender, but I also reject any more recent approaches that treat gender as irrelevant. I am not sure where this places me – I’ve thought of myself as a 2.5-waver, and on bad days I hardly consider myself a feminist at all. Hopefully this blog, which aptly asks the question: “Are we feminists?” from the outset, will be a place for me and my two co-bloggers to freely explore our own complicated relationships to this movement from which all three of us have benefitted significantly.