First of all, bra burning never happened***. Yes, feminists did protest the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. Yes, some of the women did remove their bras as part of the protest. However, no bras were harmed in the process.
No doubt the title is somewhat grandiose, but if you are one of those people prone to burning bras on your lunch hour, this post might cinch your girdle (sorry, had to).
In an effort to educate myself about poetry, I have been going through Francis Mayes’ book The Discovery of Poetry. Fear not, this post will not discuss anapestic tetrameter, iambs, or dactylic pentameter. No indeed. My aim is to call attention to something Ms. Mayes says in her chapter on rhyme. As she discusses different types of rhyme, Mayes defines rising and falling rhymes, pointing out that,
“Formerly, these were dubbed ‘masculine’ (strong, stressed ending) and ‘feminine’ (soft, unstressed ending) but I simply forbid that terminology.” (Harcourt paperback, pg 165)
I am going to venture a guess that Ms. Mayes feels labeling something strong as masculine, and something soft as feminine is sexist. Now, the question is, do I, as a twenty-first century woman feel threatened by rhymes given masculine/feminine terminology?
I don't think anyone felt "threatened" by rhyming terminology, sweetheart*. However, every little bit of a culture sinks into your psyche before you're even aware of it. Every time somebody says, "You throw/scream/whatever like a girl!" every girl in hearing distance absorbs the intended message: it's bad to be like a girl. It's especially unforgiveable in supposed learned texts wherein we ought to be a little beyond "like a girl!"
Why? Because I am a girl. I want to be soft. And I do not feel that being soft in any way degrades me. Being feminine is only degrading if you are not female.
Being feminine is only degrading if you are not female? I'd parse that, but I'm afraid to. Let's try a little substitution, shall we, darling? Perhaps that will make things clearer. Being black is only degrading if you are not black. Um, no, that didn't help. Being Jewish is only degrading if you are not . . . that definitely did not help. At all.
Do you want to know what is degrading?
Being told I have to act and feel the same as a man.
Nobody ever said that. What we said is that women and men are equal and the thoughts of women and men are equally important and should be equally valued.
Being told I have to be promiscuous to be independent.
Who said that?
Being told I have to be independent.
You don't have to be independent. Depend all you want. However, women, being inherently equal to men, should have all the same opportunities for independence that men do.
Being told I have to dress like a discount harlot to be attractive to men.
Sweetheart, that's the fashion industry, which is not the same thing as feminism. At all.
Being told giving birth to a child I conceived is a choice if it gets in the way of the above statements.
It's a choice in any case, not that anyone makes it in order to "dress like a harlot". (And if anyone does choose to abort in order to keep wearing miniskirts, do you really think that person should be anywhere near a child?)
Being told that serving is belittling.
What she means is that she wants to be (or is) a stay at home mom, and that all women everywhere should be stay at home moms. Men can be husbands, fathers and doctors, lawyers, professors, astronauts and presidents, but women have only one career- staying at home. If that's what you want to do, and can afford to do, good for you. It's not for everyone, nor should it be required for everyone. Nor is it even possible for everyone.
Being told that being a wife, or a wife and mother is not adequate employment for one lifetime.
Being told that being under a man’s authority is slavery.
Being told all men are degenerate idiots.
Being told marriage and Alcatraz are the same thing, only spelled differently.
You know, if you're going to try to "set feminism back", you might try finding out what feminists actually believe. The vast majority of feminists in the US are married- to men. If we really thought men were degenerate idiots and that marriage is like a tourist spot off the coast of California**, why would we marry men, or marry at all? In fact, feminists are fighting for the right of gays to marry each other, so we're fighting for more marriage. If we really thought that marriage was so bad, why would we want more of it?
For you next book, I'm going to suggest something on the topic of logic and reasoned thinking.
*I've gone jäger, and I'm never coming back!
**It's worth the trip, if you get the chance.
***I am told there was one symbolic bra burning, but it only happened once, and that was that. Probably because having your breasts jouncing around while you walk is not a comfortable experience, not even when they're small like mine.