Apparently, the NY Times had an article recently about “Eco-Moms”–women and/or housewives who devote time, energy and resources to environmentally friendly household management strategies. I hate registration, so I didn’t read the actual article, but Pandagon has one angle on why it’s pretty ridiculous on its face. The point that women become moral guardians and that it becomes a way to keep us from strategizing collectively or thinking about anything at all as a community issue is a very good one, but I’m more frustrated by another aspect of the article.
Whatever issue is being discussed, no matter how important, how serious, how deep and intellectual, how politically relevant…if women are discussing it, it’s a cute hobby, a lark, a trifle. The specifics of the environmental topics that are mentioned–anti-bacterial soap, locally grown food, laundry methods–fall right within the realm of those things that only women worry about and that therefore don’t really matter anyway, so we’re already on shaky ground, here. But more than that, because we’re talking about women, apparently it’s inevitable that what we’re really talking about is not having a political role, not making a genuine difference in the world around us, but rather..making ourselves feel better. The group is referred to as:
Part “Hints from Heloise” and part political self-help group
and a whole section of the article points out that
“Activism can help counteract depression,”
…as if the point to politics for women is inherently selfish and self-interested, not to mention shallow, just a salve for one’s personal dissatisfaction. When people talk about feminism being navel-gazing or self-centered politics, I feel like this is the kind of image that they have. And don’t get me wrong, feminism as a movement and as a mindset has done wonders for my personal happiness, self-esteem and serenity, most particularly in the area of rape recovery.Which is great, and is a huge part of the point of feminism in general. But it’s not why I’m a feminist. And my political beliefs as a whole are not formed on the basis of what gives me something to do, something to talk about, something that I can be proud of.
Basically, the rule is that if women are interested in it, it can’t be important. And if it is important, the women who are interested in it must be interested in it for unimportant reasons. Isn’t it cute when they try to get all educated and environmental?
I really need to make time to write something less sarcastic and hostile in the near future. Perhaps even spiritual. I feel like this stuff is draining my soul.