Friday, October 18, 2013


There certainly seems to be quite a bit of critical overlap in my classes; two or three of them at any given time will be focusing on similar literary interpretations. For example, this week, in two my classes, we're focusing on feminism - especially in my literary criticism class, in which I've read five or six academic articles and responded to them. I really don't like studying feminism. I think I'm doing it wrong.

I've been thinking about a scene from an episode of The Good Wife recentlyI wish I could remember which episode this was from, but there was a scene in which a very talented young women walked away from the law firm to get married and have children; that's what she wanted to do. A very brief conversation ensued in which the older, female lawyer - unmarried and childless and portrayed by Christine Baranski - whose name was reflected in the firm's noted to the slightly younger female lawyer - married with two teenagers and portrayed by Julianna Margulies - said something along the lines of, "I'm not sure that's why we fought so hard in the '60s." The slightly younger lawyer said, "Actually, I'm pretty sure it is." That women have the choice to do these things is still considered an invalid choice, even within feminist circles.

The tenet of feminism I like involves women having the same choices as men, but reversing that thinking, too, in that I like seeing men having the same choices of women, yet that's not called feminism. This is not feminism in my mind, either, so much as it is the ability to make equal choices. Looking for ways in which women have been oppressed by the patriarchy is just mentally tiring, I think mostly because I've never actually felt oppressed by the patriarchy. Perhaps I'm just oblivious (and I'll concede that I can be quite oblivious); it's just as likely that I was taught to do whatever I damn well please when it came to my career, gender be damned.

Granted, my family is a bit of an anomaly: My mother has a Ph.D. Her sister (my aunt) has a Ph.D. in materials engineering. My grandmother was a math teacher (having gone to college for the first time in her 40s or 50s; she eventually got a graduate degree and taught for 10 years before retiring). My father, uncles, and another aunt all have graduate degrees. My brother and cousin are college graduates, as am I (and I'm pursuing a graduate degree); another cousin is still in college. We're an educated bunch and we're all being taught or have been taught how to be assertive and independent so that we don't need to financially rely on anyone. My mother told me the joke she once heard from my godmother, who has two sons but no daughters: "I don't care what my sons do, but my daughter's going to be a brain surgeon." Indeed.

Although certainly there are problems with equality in the work force, one can look to find oppression even if it's not there.

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