July 30, 2002 04:06 AM

I hadn't expected to find the On Display assignment (last entry) so difficult. After all, not only have I heard most critiques of feminism so often I could write a song about them, but my own commitment to feminism isn't exactly rabid.

I think I'm rational. I think I listen to others. But I'm not certain that the last entry effectively states the argument for abandoning the term "feminist". And I do believe that there are valid arguments to counter feminism. Feminism has hardly been without fault or division, though I don't believe imperfection is enough reason to drop anything [what would we have, if so?].

So. Given years of hearing valid (and invalid) feminist critiques. Given my own disagreement with some aspects/sects of feminism. Given a reasonably unbiased knowledge of feminist history (albeit a knowledge lacking in detail). Given a history of arguing points with which I disagreed. I was unable to clearly and committedly state a case.

Why is this?

The easy answer is that, in truth, I'm not as rational as I seem. We all know I'm self-righteous. But some of my self-righteousness is directed at feminism. I'm critical of what I read and hear, even of what I believe.

I think, ultimately, it's a matter not of listening but of understanding. Sure, I can repeat the words I've heard. But do I really understand where they come from? Can I, for a moment, see the logic enough to believe them? It's a challenge.

It's an important challenge, though. How else can we really have conversations about issues we're so deeply committed to?

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