How Older Women Should Pass On Feminism To Younger Women






Most common questions that get asked during discussions of young women & feminism are- What does feminism have to offer young women? How can feminists address the issues that are of concern to young women? How can feminists challenge young women’s views, and how do young women challenge older women? How can we work together to advance feminist theory and practice? The biggest and the most prime concern regarding feminism & young women is how this upcoming generation of women is willing to identify with feminism or whether they call themselves feminists or not. Multiple researches have suggested that young women do support feminism. As Jong put it; ‘feminism is the whole climate of their lives, the air they breathe.’ However due to misrepresentation of feminism and feminists in media, young women deny claiming the word ‘feminist’. Many researchers agree that feminism is indeed a central part of every woman’s life but adopting the 'label' of feminism can be quite alienating in social world where feminism is falsely represented. 

Older Feminists need to create spaces and places for young women to talk with, and be heard by, older women in a way that can create meaningful dialogue. This two-way flow of communication is seen by contributors as important for three reasons. First, a dialogue allows feminists to present alternative versions of feminism to young women and to counter any misconceptions they might have. Interacting with older feminist women allows young women to observe how feminist theory and ideas are (or are not) practised in everyday life. According to Jill Denner, feminists need to be willing to be the object of young women’s critical consciousness, a process that challenges us to link our theory and our practice. The point is not necessarily that we should be perfect role models or that we should necessarily know all the answers, but rather that we recognize contradictions and openly discuss them with young women.

Feminism, then, can offer to young women dialogical spaces to explore their lives, but these must be spaces in which they can discuss things freely, make hesitant guesses, try out ideas, express prejudices and assumptions, have these prejudices challenged by each other, and develop and change. This needs the active engagement of older women who can offer young women the tools of critical analysis. These dialogues are a mutual learning experience that may at times be uncomfortable, challenging, frustrating and exasperating, but also rewarding, enjoyable and fun. The women who have contributed to this Special Feature talk revealingly about the things they have learned, the ways they have been challenged and the ways they have challenged young women to think about their lives.

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