American Women, Happiness, Feminism

naomi wolf speaks feminism happinessNaomi Wolf spoke at luncheon hosted by More editor Lesley Jane Seymour, who takes issue with the assertion that feminism had made women unhappy. RedTracker| Naomi Wolf is currently writing a book about ‘the cultural history of the vagina’. Let’s hope that the activist author of ‘The Beauty Myth’ can generate enthusiastic conversation about vaginas, the much-maligned source of our vitality. Remember, the TV censors won’t allow us to say ‘down there’ on television!

Naomi Wolf spoke recently at a luncheon for her, hosted by More editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour.

In the magazine’s April issue, Wolf takes on the subject of American women and happiness, responding to motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham, who caused an uproar last fall by producing research suggesting that, thanks to feminism, women today are less happy than they were 40 years ago.

I read and wrote on the Buckingham piece, and I believe he was misquoted. Just read one essay again and still think this is so.  Women’s lives are complex and in transition. It is true that American women say they are unhappy in greater numbers than before.

One point made by Wolf at her luncheon is that American women adapted to the second-wave of feminism in very individualistic terms. Personally, I reject the notion that second-wave feminism was all me-me-me in its infancy. Yes, we did attend conscioiusness-raising groups, which can be considered invidualistic.

Feminism became much more individualistic in the mid-seventies and eighties, in line with the Reagan, Conservative revolution which prioritized individual rights and business success over caring about others. American women got in line with this thinking, which was promoted by Phyllis Schlafly’s Americans are an entitled nation, Eagles-think, moreso than feminism.

American feminism was born in the mindset of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It became self-centered, based on the growth of Conservative values, in a post-Vietnam mindset. Also feminism was really under assault by Conservatives and women became less political, unable to tell our own story effectively.

Wolf is correct to say that internationally feminism is more focused on family and community, but don’t misunderstand the fact that in India, one-third of the legislative body will be female.

Women are on the move in India, much moreso than in America, where we remain very patriarchal in our thinking. Anne

More reading: Ladies: Are We Happy Yet? No, No, No!