This is a fitting introduction to my post of the same name: “Feminism”
This is a fitting introduction to my post of the same name: “Feminism”
BY BARBARA BAPTISTE
Would it surprise you to learn that pink was not always for girls? Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for boys, and blue for girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl” (Maglaty, 2011).
Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. Consequently, the research of this paper grew beyond the bounds of feminist therapy to incorporate the theory of Feminism, its background, and the methodology, derived from the following history of three waves of the modern-day feminist movement: (Haslanger, Tuana, 2012)
A. First-wave feminism arose from an industrial society and liberal politics but is connected to both the liberal women’s rights movement and early socialist feminism in the late 19th and early 20th century, concerned with access and equal opportunities for women,
B. The Second-wave of feminism emerged in the 1960s to 1970s in postwar Western welfare societies, when other “oppressed” groups such as Blacks and homosexuals were being defined and the New Left was on the rise. It is usually, erroneously, defined by being closely linked to radical voices of women’s empowerment and differential rights.
C. The Third-wave manifests itself in “grrl” rhetoric, which seeks to overcome the theoretical question of equity or difference and challenges the notion of “universal womanhood,” and embracing ambiguity, diversity, and multiplicity in theory and politics.
Like the evolution of feminist theory, feminist psychology continues to change and develop multiple identities. Feminist psychology is typically conceptualized as one of the theoretical underpinnings found in both gender studies and the psychology of women (Charting 2002).
History responds to “how long has feminism been in existence?” as such: Feminism has been around since the beginning of time; some would argue, “When Eve tempted Adam to eat the proverbial apple.” Scientifically, feminism began when we left the natural order of tribal living and moved into a hierarchal civilization, advancing when, not only privileged, but also common women were allowed and encouraged to be educated. Simone de Beauvoir wrote that “the first time we see a woman take up her pen in defense of her sex” was Christine de Pizan, who wrote Epitre au Dieu d’Amour (Epistle to the God of Love) in the 15th century (Slote, 2012).
Although earlier proto-feminists exist, theirs tend to be solitary voices not constituting any kind of democratic movement, or even a clear philosophical tradition. Feminism is generally understood to have arisen within the context of the modern age. To understand feminist psychoanalysis, it is important to first follow the history and plight of women in our modern-day, American culture.
First Wave Feminism: In the United States, organized women’s issue groups began forming between 1865 and 1870, during the historical era known as the Reconstruction era. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified to establish political equality for all Americans—not including women—disappointing advocates of women’s rights.
Women had played a prominent part in the (Civil) prewar abolitionist movement, and in the eyes of many women the struggle for black freedom and the crusade for women’s rights were one and the same. However, feminist leaders reeled with shock when the Fourteenth Amendment, which defined equal national citizenship, for the first time inserted the word male into the Constitution in referring to a citizen’s right to vote.
When the Fifteenth Amendment proposed to prohibit denial of the vote on the basis of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” women’s rights leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted the word sex added to the list. It was denied. In 1920—eighty years after the first calls for suffrage at Seneca Falls—the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, giving all American women the right to vote. (Cohen, Kennedy, Piehl, 2008)
Second Wave Feminism (post suffrage)1960s and 70s: In the United States the difficulties of the preceding 15 years were followed by a new culture of domesticity. Women began marrying younger and having more children than they had in the 1920s. By 1960 the percentage of employed female professionals was down compared with figures for 1930.
The women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s represented a break with the Ozzie & Harriet suburban life depicted in American popular culture. The foundation of the new female rebellion was born out of the college-educated mothers’ frustrations, spurring their daughters into action. If first-wave feminists were inspired by the abolition movement, their great-granddaughters were swept into feminism by the civil rights movement.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 offered the first guarantee against discrimination, unequal pay, legal inequality, expanded child-care services; and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to bar employers from discriminating on the basis of sex. Women of all ages and circumstances were in hot debates about gender, discrimination, and the nature of equality (Pacific, 2008).
After the initial inroads of the 1960s, the 1970s are infamously marked by flamboyant demonstrations, including bra burning, historical Woodstock, and the quintessential 1970s, Virginia Slims, You’ve Come a Long Way Baby woman. Known for producing one of the best eras of music, perhaps the greatest victories of Second Wave Feminism was the passage of Title IX, 1972, which allowed women equal access to education, college and professional schools, while protecting people from sex discrimination (Britannica).
The Third Wave Feminism emerged in the mid-1990s. It was led by the so-called Generation X who, born in the 1960s and’70s in the developed world, came of age in a media-saturated and culturally and economically diverse milieu. Although they benefitted significantly from the legal rights and protections that had been obtained by first and second wave feminists, they felt there was unfinished work of second wave feminism. The concepts include “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and heteronormativity.
An aspect of third phase feminism that mystifies the mothers of the earlier feminist movement is the re-adoption by young feminists of the very lipstick, high heels, and cleavage that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. This new position has been expressed as, “It’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time.”
The “grrls” of the third wave have stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, eschewing victimization and defining feminine beauty for themselves as subjects, not as objects of a sexist patriarchy. They have developed a rhetoric of mimicry, which belies derogatory terms like “slut” and “bitch” to subvert sexist culture and deprive it of verbal weapons.
The web is an important aspect of the new “girlie feminism.” E-zines have provided “cybergrrls” and “netgrrls” another kind of women-only space. At the same time — rife with the irony of third-wave feminism because cyberspace is disembodied — it permits all users the opportunity to cross gender boundaries and so the very notion of gender has been become more problematic. This is in keeping with the third-wave’s celebration of ambiguity and refusal to think in terms of “us-them” or in some cases their refusal to identify themselves as “feminists” at all.
Grrl-feminism tends to be global and multi-cultural and it shuns simple answers or artificial categories of identity, gender and sexuality. Its transversal politics means that differences such as those of ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc. are not only celebrated, but recognized as dynamic, situational, and provisional. Reality is conceived not so much in terms of fixed structures and power relations, but in terms of performance within contingencies.
The third wave was much more inclusive of women and girls of color than the first or second waves had been. In reaction and opposition to stereotypical images of women as passive, weak virginal, and faithful, or alternatively as domineering, demanding, slutty, and emasculating, the third wave redefined women and girls as assertive, powerful, and in control of their own sexuality. Third wave feminism broke boundaries. (Britannica)
From the three waves of feminism, a sisterhood developed in which women came together to share their experiences, beginning in a grassroots manner. It, therefore, followed that feminine therapy groups operated from the same norms as the consciousness-raising groups, including nonhierarchical structures, equal sharing of resources and power, and empowerment of women.
Therapy was, legitimately, a means to effect change, and mutuality was built into the therapeutic process. Counselors took the stance that therapy needed to change from psychopathology perspectives—in which the sources of woman’s unhappiness, so often, resided within her—to a place of understanding the social, political and pathological forces in society that damage and constrain girls and women, as well as males (Corey, 2009).
Concepts of the feminist view of human nature are fundamentally different from that of most other therapeutic models. Many of the traditional theories grew out of a historical period in which social arrangements were assumed to be rooted in one’s biologically based gender. Men were thought to be the norm and the only group studied or understood; women were often dismissed as individuals—viewed only as an extension similar to the male species.
Worell and Remer (2003) describe the constructs of feminist theory as being gender-fair, flexible-multicultural, interactionist, and life-span oriented. Gender-fair approaches explain differences (not better or less than) in male/female behavior, instead of on the basis of our innate natures. This concept avoids stereotypes in social roles and interpersonal behavior. Flexible-multicultural perspectives use concepts and strategies that apply equally to individuals and groups regardless of age, race, culture, gender, ability, class or sexual orientation. The interactionist standpoint allows for concepts specific to the thinking, feeling, and behaving dimensions of human experience and accounts for contextual and environmental factors. The life-span perspective takes into account that human development is a lifelong process which personality patterns and behavioral changes can happen intermittently rather than set in stone during childhood (Corey, 2009).
Feminist therapists emphasize that societal gender-role expectations profoundly influence a person’s identity from the moment of birth and become deeply ingrained with expectations well into one’s adult personality; i.e., pink is for girls, blue is for boys. Feminist therapists try to counteract these assumed theories—reminding us that traditional gender stereotypes of women are still prevalent in our cultures—by teaching their clients that uncritical acceptance of traditional roles can greatly restrict their range of freedom. Therefore, suggesting that not being cemented to a single behavioral style, women and men who reject traditional roles are stating that they are entitled to express the complex range of characteristics that are appropriate for different situations. They are open to their own vulnerability as human beings—without gender distinction (Corey, 2009).
The Therapeutic Relationship with feminism is based on empowerment and egalitarianism. The structure of the client-therapist relationship models how to identify and use power responsibly. There is an inherent power differential in the therapy relationship, and feminist therapists work to equalize the power base in the relationship by employing a number of strategies. The therapist is sensitive to the client and strives to desensitize any abuse of power on the therapist’s part. Instead, therapists actively focus on the power their clients have in the therapeutic relationship.
Therapists encourage clients to identify and express their feelings, to become aware of the ways they relinquish power in relationships with others as a result of socialization or as a means for survival, and to make decisions with this knowledge as the basis. Feminist therapists work to demystify the counseling relationship by sharing with the client their own perceptions about what is going on in the relationship, by making the client an active partner in determining any diagnosis, and by making use of appropriate self-disclosures. A definitive theme of the feminist client-counselor relationship is the inclusion of clients in both the assessment and the treatment process. Collaboration with the client in all aspects of therapy leads to a genuine partnership with the client (Corey, 2009).
Techniques and Strategies have been developed by feminist therapists, and others have been borrowed from traditional approaches and adapted to the feminist therapy model. To name a few of prime importance: Consciousness-raising Techniques that help women to differentiate between what they have been taught is socially acceptable or desirable and what is actually healthy for them. At the heart of feminist strategies is the goal of empowering the client. Feminist therapists use therapeutic self-disclosure to equalize the client-therapist relationship, to provide modeling, to normalize women’s collective experiences, to empower clients, and to establish informed consent.
A pointed technique, often used in feminist therapy, is Gender-role Analysis and Intervention. This begins with clients identifying the societal messages they received about how women and men should be and act by placing it in the context of society’s role expectations for women. Assertiveness Training teaches and promotes women to become aware of their interpersonal rights, transcend stereotypical gender roles, change negative beliefs, and implement changes in their daily lives.
Group Work has become popular as a way for women to discuss their lack of voice in many aspects of society. Groups provide a supportive context where women can share and begin to critically explore the messages they have internalized about their self-worth and their place in society. Members learn to use power effectively by providing support to one another, practicing behavioral skills, considering social/political actions, and by taking interpersonal risks in a safe setting (Enns, 2004). Participation in a group experience can inspire women to take up some form of social action (Corey, 2009).
The feminist therapy would be very applicable where a cultural problem existed. Of all the theoretical approaches to counseling and psychotherapy, feminist therapy and multicultural perspectives have the most common. The choice between these two particular perspectives would be based on the client’s goal—change and go against the tide or adjust. The one difference between the multicultural and feminist perspectives is that multiculturalists honor culture whereas feminists challenge culture. Therefore, this agenda could pose some problems when working with women from cultures that endorse culturally prescribed roles that keep women in a subservient place or from cultures that are grounded in patriarchy. Remer claims “a potential danger inherent in feminist counseling is that counselors’ values will too strongly influence clients or will conflict with clients’ values” (Corey, 2009).
Because feminist therapists are advocates for change in the social structure—especially in the area of inequality, power in relationship and the right to self-determination—this type of therapy could be useful to young women who are embarking on an education and then marriage.
Role Play – Sally is about to enter college. She cannot determine which course of study to follow for her Associate Degree. Sally begins by saying, “Though I am not in any relationship yet, I still feel obligated to choose a curriculum that will allow for me to earn a substantial salary once I am married and have children.” The counselor decides to use the Power Analysis technique to help Sally understand how unequal access to power and resources can influence personal realities. A reality being that empowerment was not attained so that women could make it easier for the man by holding two jobs—motherhood and an outside career. The therapist asks, “Your choice of study for a career, at this point, is the main consideration, is it not?” Motherhood is a full time job. Working outside the home is not an obligation once a woman has children. This decision needs to be an agreed upon choice with one’s partner, based on several factors—need, financial, wanting to continue a career, values, culture, etc. Without the burden of future responsibility, Sally felt the freedom to choose, for herself, the course of study that would best serve her interest and in which she was most likely to succeed—the rest would follow. She became empowered to make a choice for her present reality, not on expectations.
Having lived through the second and third wave of the women’s movement, researching this final term paper has leant an even greater respect and understanding of the intricately involved evolution of today’s woman. It has been an undertaking that found me studying far more than could possibly be incorporated into the final writing, simply because of the interest it held. Feminist Psychology has opened a door for me to seriously consider Women’s Studies as a discipline for a Bachelor’s degree. It is fascinating and one with which I can completely identify.
In closing, the entire process of studying, researching, and writing this paper, I believe, can be summed up with Helen Reddy’s first hit song. It is as timely today as when it was declared the United Nations Women’s Year theme song in 1975.
Yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain….Yes, I paid the price, but look how much I gained…I can do anything…I am strong…I’m invincible… “I Am Woman”
Corey, G. ©2009, 2005. Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy, eighth edition. pg. 345-362.
Cohen, L., Kennedy, D., Piehl. M. ©2008. American pageant, history of the republic, seventh edition. pg. 233, 328, 329, 330, 393-4, 443, 570-1, 575, 638-9.
Goodhart, R., Koppelman, K. ©2011. Understanding human differences, multicultural education for a diverse America, third edition, pg. 211-228.
Haslanger, S., Tuana, N. ©2012. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.
Maglaty, J. Smithsonian, 2011 Smithsonian magazine, When did girls start wearing pink?
Rampton, M., Fall 2008. Pacific. The magazine of pacific university, Three waves of
feminism, vol.41 No. 2.
Chrisler, J., Collins, L., Dunlap, R. 2002. Charting a new course for feminist psychology, ISBN 0585407282 (electronic bk.) The psychology of work [electronic resource] : theoretically based empirical research / edited by Jeanne M. Brett, Fritz Drasgow.
Eagly, A. H., Eaton, A., Rose, S. M., Riger, S., & McHugh, M. C. (2012). Feminism and psychology: Analysis of a half-century of research on women and gender. American
psychologist, 67(3), 211-230. doi:10.1037/a0027260
Slote, M. 2012. The impossibility of perfection: Aristotle, feminism, and the complexities of
ethics. (482): 529-532, doi: 10.1093/mind/fzs035
By BARBARA BAPTISTE
United Way of St. Lucie County is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income, and health. These are the building blocks for a good life — a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place.
Cris Adams, Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of St. Lucie County is—a wealth of information—with whom I was very fortunate to have had an in-depth meeting. She possesses a Master’s degree in Social Work, and has been affiliated with the United Way group since the early 1990s.
United Way was a first choice for an interview as I had worked with this well-known organization—and Thomas Toronto, CEO—in Bergen County, New Jersey’s multi-level, well-staffed offices. There, I witnessed, first hand, how effectively UW assistance and professionalism benefited a large community with varying needs—from wealthy to poor.
Walking into the modest PSL location—4800 S. U.S. Highway One, Fort Pierce, Florida—may have been a different setting than the affluent Northeast’s United Way; however the work and effectiveness is nonetheless impressive. Example: 2011-2012 Community Investment equaled $1,005,050.00 used to help Port St. Lucie people in need. The wealth of knowledge I received from Cris Adams—regarding human service organizations and workers in Port St. Lucie County—show-cased a productive, well-oiled entity. Ms. Adams and the highly effective United Way operation brought all that I have, thus far, learned—Introduction to Human Service—to life!
What is a Human Service Worker? The field of Human Services, itself, is broadly defined as meeting the needs of people, while focusing on prevention as well as mediation of problems—improving the overall quality of peoples’ lives. As does Ms. Adams, a human service professional may have exemplary academic documentation; i.e. Doctorate, Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Associate Degree. However, due to today’s expanding world and growing local community problems and needs, a Human Service worker is typically an entry-level person who does not have traditional professional academic credentials, but who, through experience, training, or education, provides helping services.
Cris Adams, along with appropriating direct services, epitomizes a human service worker, defined by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. United Way, rather a nonprofit umbrella agency , is at the helm a brokerage, and Cris Adams exemplifies a combination Social Health Generalist and Patient Advocate—helping, directing, and following through with the specific needs of Port St. Lucie county residents to one of the many and varied, appropriate agencies (most all of which, before the interview, I had never known existed.) I very much appreciate United Way’s Chris Adams’ help.
As a Social Health Generalist, Ms. Adams’ role includes a broader knowledge base of a variety of community resources, case management strategies, social policy, and political influences—with knowledge, utilizing and directing to the specific agency to
meet the person’s individualized needs. With many instances, there may well be a need for multiple agencies per client; i.e., mental/physical health, financial, housing, education, substance abuse, the youth and the elderly, etc.
Also, as a passionate Advocate, Ms. Adams pleads and fights for services, policies, rules, regulations, and laws for the client’s benefit. The advocate can generally exert more influence on the powers that be than disadvantaged groups or individuals. A Broker helps people get to existing services and helps the service relate more easily to clients. In this capacity, Ms. Adams could readily identify and speak of numerous people and resources; specifically: “Volunteer St. Lucie,” connecting the community through volunteers; “School Supplies for Students,” a project of United Way of St. Lucie County; “Hands Primary Care Clinic,” expanding health care in St. Lucie County; “Hands Pediatric Dental Program” of St. Lucie County; and A Progress Report on the State of the Social Health, and Public Safety Services in St. Lucie County for 2012, SRA Research Group Inc. Very impressive.
In Cris Adams’ own words, “We get people to where they can get their own help.” Not solving problems, per se, but helping people help themselves.
The human service field is not for everyone, but if one has a calling……
Ignoring your passion is like dying a slow death…Passion whispers to you through your feelings, beckoning you toward your highest good. Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, stimulated—what gives you your juice. Do what you love, give it back in the form of service, and you will do more than succeed. You will triumph. Oprah Winfrey
Sadly, my mother passed away last Saturday, March 16th, peacefully, in her sleep. She was 99 years old. God Bless her. We had the burial and Mass @St. John’s RC Church in Bergenfield, NJ. This is the Eulogy I had written and delivered at the church. It defines the selfless, caring woman who was my mom.
Once upon a time
A girl with moonlight in her hair
Put her hand in mine
And said she loved me so…
But that was once upon a time
Very long ago….
In the middle of a cold wintery night in March, 3:00 in the morning (which will surprise no one who knows me) I was born… the first child of Jeanette & Frank Valentino. It was in the height of World War II. My father worked long hours in the ship yard. Toys were not manufactured during the war. There was no TV. My mother had to be creative to entertain a young child in a one bedroom, third-floor walkup on Bergenline Avenue, and yet… listening to news of the war on the radio and incessantly talking to my mother are some of my fondest memories …..
My mother loved the cinema, and she began taking me–two or three times a week–to the movies by the time I was two years old. Riding the bus to the Embassy Theater or the big screen on Journal Square in Jersey City, and then stopping at the bakery for a Charlotte Russe was always an adventure!
Those beginning years forged a very close bond that continued throughout my adult life.
There was not a day that I did not wake up or go to sleep w/o a phone call to or from my mother…Of course, my father, too, who always managed to issue the orders, “Barbara make sure the gas is off!” My mother was much milder, never threatening, always there with encouragement for me and anyone else who was privvy to her innate wisdom.
When Michele was a year old and I was in Kindergarten, we moved to our dream house on Hickory Avenue in Bergenfield. I can still see my mother and Ronnie Hickey sitting in the kitchen ‘til the wee hours of the morning, talking about everything under the sun (and “I” listened!)
There are so many wonderful memories with my cousins, aunts and uncles. My mother loved her sisters and so proud of her brothers. She would tell stories of growing up in New York, always ending with her much-loved, youngest brother Buddy.
I know mom will be so happy to see Aunt Brunette, who she was never told had passed away a few years ago….I believe she knew…but couldn’t deal…more a case of don’t ask/don’t tell.
Aunt Dolly, my godmother, lived down the street in Bergenfield, and always stopped by to see her sister Jeanette for a piece of cake and some “talk.”
Uncle Fred, my godfather, Aunt Marie, and my cousin Michael were a staple at our house for mom’s Sunday spaghetti and meatballs.
Those were the proverbial good old days—lots of family and lots of love, simple and priceless.
April 7,1967 and my mother was there to literally catch John’s father, as he passed out when the doctor announced, over the PA, that he had a son.
My mother was again there, three years later, March 30, 1970, when I called her—during a blizzard in the middle of the night—to stay with young John as I went to the hospital to deliver her second grandson, Joseph.
Then again in 1985—when my water broke at Dairy Queen on Route Four—my mother was standing next to me and held me up. After years of my father suffering heart issues—Jason brought an infusion of life and joy into his grandparent’s world.
John, Joseph, & Jason were the joy and center of my mother and father’s life. In their eyes, they could never do wrong.
Mom and Dad were close with all of our friends over the years—everyone loved them. There was never a party, barbecue, holiday when they weren’t there. Never an illness or celebration, school play, little league game…the list goes on. Mom was my confidante, dad my best friend. There was not a moment in my life when my mother and father were not there.
I have to thank Lou for all the years he was so very good to Frank and Jeanette, driving them—taking them to doctors, dinners, visits…just always being there for whatever they needed.
Mom was a simple woman, never expected anything for herself. My mother (and father) lived for the family–first myself, then my sister, and then their grandchildren, and my mother’s joy at being GG, an acronym for great grandma. GG adored her John, Megan & Patrick and the time spent with them.
In these past ten years, as you know, my mother chose to move to Connecticut and I then relocated to Florida.
I thank my son John, and Aileen, for extraordinary generosity in providing a wonderful quality of life and security for my mother’s declining years; and, also my sister, Michele, for taking over and being there for mom.
There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t talked to my mother in my head or cried out for “Mom” when sick or in pain. Now, I pray she will visit and once again be with me…and I do believe, last Saturday, when finally free from the burden of her body, the first thing she did was come to Florida to see the one great grandchild she had never gotten to meet…our newest blessing, Joseph’s daughter, Hannah Barbara Crowley.
My mother will never be far from me, because…as I’ve gotten old(er) ….whenever I look in the mirror….I see my mother’s reflection staring back at me.
Sleep well mom. I love you always….and with your passing, I am reminded
Once upon a time the world was sweeter than we knew
Everything was ours
How happy we were then
But somehow once upon a time
Never comes again…..
Thank you “everyone” for being here. Jeanette loved you all.
WSJ Interview w/Jason Baptiste http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/01/03/outlook-why-apple-will-still-dominate-tablets-in-2013/
Jason Baptiste, CEO,OnSwipe