This past week there were a series of speeches and a forum on feminism at The Sydney Opera House. I had a good inspiring time listening to them today. There are two talks up -one by Germaine Greer and the other by Naomi Wolf. Lets just say whoever organized the talk was not looking to shy away from controversy with those two up there.
There was also a forum discussion including Clem Bastow, Germaine Greer, Eliza Griswold and Naomi Wolf talking about 'Global Feminism and its Future'. Its an enjoyable time to see them all argue and disagree and then agree and then disagree again. I've always found Greer to be a bit ridiculous - or maybe its that I can't tell the difference between her looking to cause a stir and her actually believing what she's saying. But she got in some wonderful insights in this talk. My favorite part was this true-ism.
When you accept that a penis is a thing that can destroy you, you are accepting a phallocentric mistake. The penis is the most vulnerable part of any man. Its the only part of a man that I actually know what to do with. The rest of him is a total mystery to me.
Naomi Wolf has also long been a feminist that people love to have crap with. She definitely has her eccentricities but there is a very soft spot in my heart reserved for her. One part of the forum discussion I found interesting was when Naomi says that from her work with girls (she has a leadership institute for girls called the Woodhull Institute) she realized that its socially and culturally encouraged for girls to put themselves and other down. Its not welcomed to talk yourself up and it takes a lot of work and creating new habits and support systems to get to a place where you actually give yourself props for how smart/hard working/fabulous you are. Greer says something similar about how all her female students work too hard - they never see themselves as worthy and probably spend too much time studying and not enough time getting drunk and having fun. At least that's how she puts it.
While I think its great that feminism has moved into a place of talking about global issues and not just bullshit yuppie white lady issues, I was pretty disturbed by how much of the discussion revolved around Muslim women's issues without actually having a Muslim woman in the discussion. To hear a bunch of white women from Judeo-Christian backgrounds arguing about headscarves, genital mutilation, and Muslim views on the enlightenment was really frustrating. It made me wish they'd evened out their controversial woman forum and added Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the mix.
Anyhow, its annoying but I can't seem to embed the videos here so you can go to this website to watch them.