Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Old School Feminism and the "New" Feminism

Nancy Fraser

Prof. Nancy Fraser writes:

Where feminists once criticised a society that promoted careerism, they now advise women to "lean in".   A movement that once prioritised social solidarity now celebrates female entrepreneurs. A perspective that once valorised "care" and interdependence now encourages individual advancement and meritocracy.

The words were interesting, not only in themselves, but for the intellectual milieu they hearkened back to.....

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As an old school feminist in a new age, I have given much thought to this. I wouldn't call this careerism (and I wonder if/why the negative connotation) but rather a recognition that financial independence and stability seem essential for women. The government does not provide, husbands can't or won't. Given the economic and social culture in which we live, what is the reasonable alternative other than to ensure that one can provide for oneself? It is a formidable kind of power.

Posted by: Susan Apel | Oct 24, 2013 7:14:27 AM

Of course it depends how you define old school. Nineteenth century feminists, in particular Elizabeth Cady Stanton beginning with the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments, included a woman's individual "pecuniary independence" derived from work as a core tenet of feminist equality.

Posted by: TT | Oct 26, 2013 5:36:10 AM

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