A Facebook friend of mine just posted a June 1998 Time magazine article called “Feminism, It’s All About Me!,” which declared feminism all but over because of the rise of the “quintessentially self-absorbed postfeminist.”
It turned out this was the very article that went with the oft-cited “Is Feminism Dead?” cover! I had forgotten all about that article, and I don’t think in my radical Mary-Dalyfied state I had ever read it very closely, so it was super interesting to do so this morning (instead of working on my book).
It’s such an epic article! Evidence presented for the death of feminism includes: Courtney Love’s makeover, The Vagina Monologues, Bust magazine, the Spice Girls, Gloria Steinem forgiving Bill Clinton for his affair, Bridget Jones, Katie Roiphe, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, Alanis Morissette, Elizabeth Wurtzel, “sex-abuse-survivor syndrome,” and especially Ally McBeal.
The author, Ginia Bellafante, suggests that a societal critique is far more important for a feminist movement than focusing on the personal or talking about vibrators. She concludes by favorably quoting “Old Guard feminists” Betty Friedan and Susan Brownmiller describing younger feminists’ focus on sex as “stupid.”
The article’s conclusion: “Is Ally McBeal really progress? Maybe if she lost her job and wound up a single mom, we could begin a movement again.”
Whoa. So much in here. Continue reading