What is Feminism?

I’m over at my favorite journal, VQR, writing about what feminism means to me. You can read the full text here. Below, an excerpt:

We are accustomed, in this other country of my dual-citizenship, to bemoaning the lack of freedom in faraway places—in Jane Smiley’s post on this same blog, even, when she talks about the problems faced in “many cultures” where solidarity trumps individual will, unlike here where personal interpretation of feminism is a triumph for individualism. I see an abyss in such a reading of our common world, one where we are each poised to free-fall, alone, into a sharp edged pit of joylessness. I, too, envision a world where women—and men—are spared the horror of rage, violence and condemnation, particularly within the intimate setting of home, but I understand that this is the reality for many women and men in this vast land where we genuflect before the altar of individuation, as it is in my country of birth, where our first resort and our last is always communal. Our successes, my American sisters and mine, are better for the fact that they complement each other. It has been said before, but it merits being said again: We rise and we fall together, and a deeper appreciation for the ways in which we navigate our common world is something I value far more than any notion that one or the other of us is privvy to the “right” way to celebrate the multitudinous blessings of our gender.

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