Saturday, December 03, 2005

This Should Not Be So Difficult

Feminism: it's one of the most important and widespread political/ideological movements of the past couple of centuries. Therefore, I expected that it would be easy to find credible sources that would clearly outline the various principles and debates inherent to the movement. I was so wrong. Sources on feminism are so specialized, precisely because the topic has been so widely written about, that it's damn near impossible to find anything (admissable in a graduate-level essay) that will back up my assumptions about some of the most basic tenets of feminist thought.

I want a source that says that one of feminism's many objectives was to secure the same sexual freedom that men had. I also want a source that says that many feminists disagree with this objective, based on the notion that women's sexual liberation is like a gift to chauvinists because it validates and encourages and facilitates their own sexual indiscretions. I want a source that says that physical androgyny - the idea that women should not need to appear pretty and "feminine" to be valued as women - was an aspect of feminism. Can't find any of that in any respectable sources. Oh, I'm sure that I would find clear references to these ideas if I perused the entire body of feminist writings (which would take me the rest of my life and beyond, but I only have until Thursday). But try to find them by searching in a database of scholarly books and articles...forget it. The only book I could find in the on-campus library that was any kind of straightforward overview of feminism was in the K-12 section: What Every Girl Should Know About Women's History or something.

I might be off the hook as far as needing sources, in the sense that a lot of what I plan to say about feminism is probably considered general knowledge. After all, I know about these ideas without looking them up (without being able to look them up), so most other people must know about them too. But I feel awfully uneasy about claiming that a large number of people believe something and make it part of their guiding philosophy, when I can't even quote a single one of those people saying that they believe it.

I have to launch myself headfirst into writing this thing tomorrow morning, and I don't feel like I really know anything about it that I can prove. I've got lots to say, but very few resources to help me say it without sounding like I'm making shit up. Also, not much time to read the resources I do have, especially if I go to watch the live music at the pub tonight, like I thought I'd be able to do with a clear conscience. *Sigh* Sometimes I envy people who can embrace apathy.

2 Comments:

Anonymous em said...

have you tried looking i n the anthro section for books on feminism? i have to look in my stuf and things but i may have a lead for you in that direction.

12/09/2005 9:55 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I didn't check the anthro section. (ack! where's that?) But I found perfect sources after a while. I actually turned in my paper last night. So my headache is over. I probably won't be complaining much for the next month. (Thanks for the suggestion, anyway...) Hope you're doing well!

12/09/2005 11:32 PM  

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