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FEMINIST FETALE by Paula Kamen

FEMINIST FETALE

Voices from the 'Twentysomething' Gerneration Explore the Future of the Women's Movement

By Paula Kamen

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1991
ISBN: 1-55611-256-4
Publisher: Donald Fine

 A startling view of the younger generation's attitude toward feminism, in which the older feminist generation is roundly criticized and a new style of exploration emerges. As a columnist for her college newspaper who happened to write a piece on date rape and then moved on to other ``feminist'' issues, Kamen (Ms., The Chicago Tribune, etc.), who had never given her feminist assumptions a second thought, was shocked at the damage to her reputation her writing won her. Labeled the ``campus feminist,'' a dyke, and so on, she was even more surprised at the generally low feminist consciousness on campus than she was at the furious reaction, in some camps, against it. Why are younger people so turned off by feminism, she asks here, and what can be done to inspire the new adult generation to correct the many injustices that continue to exist? A major problem--as Kamen discovered through extensive interviews of both men and women across the nation--is that the feminist movement born in the 60's and 70's is a white, middle-class movement that has historically shunted aside such issues as child care and universal health care in its all-out effort to place college-educated white women in the work-force. A reluctance to pass the torch is another discouraging factor: Kamen cites several instances in which large congregations of younger- generation feminists (as well as such gatherings as the 1989 pro- choice march on Washington) have featured only those feminist celebrities of the older generations, while younger, would-be leaders are left to speak either after the reporters have left or not at all. If the feminist movement is to survive, Kamen argues, power must be transferred to her generation, and the consciousness- raising process must begin again. A highly responsible and eye-opening work--and an excellent complement to Susan Faludi's Backlash (reviewed above).