Two days ago I read a fascinating blog post by Lourdes Acevedo, a talented feminist writer. Her piece was inspired by this book: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The gist of Lourdes’ blog post was the exploration of the seeming contradiction within feminism as it relates to professional women who employ domestic workers to care for their homes and children while they fight for equal pay and build careers for themselves in white collar professions. The disparity in pay and many times working conditions alone made this a fascinating situation to discuss and consider not least because Lourdes posed a very important question mid way through her post: It makes me wonder, is feminism only for the privileged few?
Is it? Or is this simply a perception we have based on outmoded models of what power and equality actually is. Do we as a society view people only through the narrow lens of our own economic and social class; judging them based on our personal level of achievement? Whether we are feminists or not appears to be becoming increasingly irrelevant now in this era of the plugged in global village when we are discussing the state of our social and moral health. Every gender, faith, race and age is an active participant in the events of a world that is regressing socially, in the form of rioting, looting, flash mob violence and an epidemic of abuse against children. Perhaps it is time to look beyond simply our feminist perspective now, to evolve that ideology into something more embracing of all, to a higher level that will address the most persistent human flaw which is the twisted root of everything destructive: selfishness. We need to do it soon because the chasm between the rich and poor, the safe and the violated or more specifically, those with power and equality and those without is widening at an accelerated rate.
Obviously, Lourdes‘ thought provoking post was a catalyst for me to insert the notion of power and equality into the greater framework of poverty and violence and the unfair distribution of wealth on this planet, particularly in light of the economic crisis that has laid to waste many social programs that assist women, children, the disabled and the elderly. Economic hardship and the resultant behavior of the populace, makes a mockery of the political rhetoric that claims compassion and the care of our most vulnerable citizens as the cornerstone of our western society. There is nowhere to hide in this media saturated world, from the incontrovertible truth that this is a preposterous social lie designed to make us feel better about not doing the right thing for each other. It is easier to live in denial than share the wealth when it is our own. We do not demand that CEO’s end the greed because we indulge our own avarice by shopping for more food, clothing, vacations, jewelry, computers and appliances than we will ever use or need. We are swathed in guilt that feeds this mass indifference, a denial that is only being penetrated by the thoughtful discussion and problem solving that is happening in one sector of society: Feminists. This very nicely brings us back to the origin of this post, to the question Lourdes posed: It makes me wonder, is feminism only for the privileged few? The fact that a feminist is asking this question supports a notion I have, no, more than a notion; a probability that it will be the women, not science, religion or politics which will end the social and moral decline of the human race. It will be mothers, daughters and sisters, the life givers of this planet that in the end will save it. Why? Because it is a natural and yes, maternal urge that is without question the most potent force on this earth. To quote a line spoken by Jeff Goldbloom’s character in Jurassic Park: “Life will find a way.” Indeed, and who better to tell you this than women?