It seems like every female book blogger around has decided to be part of the Women Unbound Reading Challenge (which has a whole lot of really cool buttons, by the way). I resisted for awhile, mostly because all of the levels required a nonfiction book, and I was afraid I’d end up reading a dry treatise of feminism that didn’t interest me. However, when Michelle of 1MoreChapter posted her list of suggestions, one of the nonfiction books she mentioned was one I already own, so I gave in.
This challenge runs from November 1, 2009 to November 30, 2010. The idea is to read books that at least loosely relate to the idea of women’s studies.
I will be joining at the philogynist level, which requires reading at least two books, at least one of which is nonfiction. I have no idea what fiction I will read, probably something by Margaret Atwood, but I’m planning on “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang being my nonfiction pick.
Since I’m joining a little later than everyone else, I’m going to include the starting meme in this post:
1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?
I would say that feminism is about making sure that one’s choices in life are not limited by gender.
2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
I’m big into the idea of equality of opportunity for all people, not limited by gender, class, race, etc, so I’d say yes.
3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?
The feminist movement of the ’60s and ’70s made some great strides, but because things have stagnated some since then, I think it has been harder for women to figure out their roles in society. Women have approached equality with men in the workplace (although it is not there entirely), but most workplaces are still set up for the men to be the primary workers, along with women who do not have children. The lack of paid maternity and paternity leave in the US is a huge problem, along with the failure of many workplaces to be flexible or help in the provision of adequate childcare. In addition, our conceptions of gender roles in the home has not changed as far as I think many in the earlier waves of feminism would have thought. Many women work full time yet still bear the brunt of childcare and childcare decisions, as well as housework. I think most men today are better at helping out than their fathers or grandfathers were, but not enough to achieve real equality around the house when women are increasingly living their lives in the public, not private sphere.