Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Greatest Sentence Ever

This was in The Montreal Gazette a couple weeks ago, I put it aside and forgot about it til now. The paper celebrated International Women's Day on March 8th with a feature on feminism. One of their articles, on page B4, included this sentence:

"In her second year of environmental and First Nations studies at McGill, Rea Fenger is not sure she would even have called herself a feminist before she started working on the Radical Vulvas project."

The world has come a long way in my short lifetime for a sentence like that to even be conceivable, let alone to be presented in such an entirely matter-of-fact, unremarkable manner. Ah, progress.

Lower down, on the very same page, just to show us that there are still some perversions which even our society will disapprove of, is an article condemning that great evil, stay-at-home motherhood. Choice excerpts include a call for "a life more challenging than the playground and the PTA," the contention that women who leave the workplace "are neglecting their duty to society in general," and the plea that these women not abandon the public world for "the private world of laundry and kissing boo-boos." I, for one, take solace in the knowledge that for all those incredibly selfish stay-at-home mothers who, let's face it, should have had abortions in the first place, there are brave, progressive pioneers like Rea Fenger, studying the effects of Friday night bingo games on the ozone layer, and radicalizing vulvas wherever she goes.

The weirdest part of that anti-motherhood opinion piece (by The Gazette's Peggy Curran, if anybody cares, and titled 'Get To Work manifesto takes aim at the backlash generation') is this statement, presented not as opinion but as fact: "Conservatives are already asking why society should spend resources educating women." Really? Funny, I know my fair share of conservatives, and while the movement to repeal the nineteenth amendment is gaining ground, I haven't heard anyone suggest women shouldn't be allowed an education. The very idea is profoundly unfair. Can you imagine, women banned from a place like Harvard? The very thought makes me furious - I mean, why should they get all the breaks?!

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