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Does Feminism Have A Glass Ceiling?

Today, the (in)famous performance artist Marina Abramovic wants you to know that she’s not a feminist. Her women-only lecture during a London-based musical festival will focus on female energy and concepts of feminity. “I don’t have answers — I just have questions and interesting examples,” she said of the lecture. As a well-respected performance artist, (my last post about her here) Abramovic doesn’t want to be labeled a feminist or a female artist; she’s a woman and an artist respectively.

“Yes, I’m female, but I’m not a female artist. I believe in no gender in art. When you’re feminist you can be put in a kind of ghetto, and the male artists just dominate, which I hate. Also, there are lots of bad artists and maybe two good [feminist] artists, and then you end up in this shitty show and then they say, Look, this is feminism, this is bullshit. And it’s not right. I want to dominate the man’s world.”

Which reminded me of Marissa Mayer’s very public statements distancing herself from feminism that resurfaced after it was announced that she would become CEO of Yahoo AND that she was pregnant in the same day. Her full statement is worth watching.

And then there was this Sunday’s New York Times Styles Section that featured 16 year old Tavi Gevinson who runs a blog an online magazine for teen girls devoted to feminism (but not no posts are explicitly tagged as such).

So you have 3 options, as I see it, if you’re a woman and critical thinker:

  1. Declare you’re not a feminist to gain access male-dominated worlds
  2. Reap the benefits of feminism to push the boundary of what women can do in an industry but don’t attribute them to the movement
  3. Wear your feminism on your sleeve because it’s a distinct point of view that you can use to leverage your brand

If you’re 30+, you probably need to stick to (or combine) numbers 1-2 in order earn more than 100K. But if you’re under 30, you could probably use number 3 to your advantage.

So my question is: Does feminism have a glass ceiling? Can women get only  so far by declaring their feminist values before they are placed in the feminist ghetto?

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3 thoughts on “Does Feminism Have A Glass Ceiling?

  1. Simonsbuddy says:

    So she says there’s no dichotomy for her…that’s a wise comment. Good for her.
    On the other hand, she says “I want to dominate the man’s world”…oh…so there is
    a dichotomy. For a moment I thought there was oneness for you…so you’d want
    to just be exemplary in your own right…in the world. Now I’m not so sure what you mean.

    My question is: why is “feminism” such a dirty word? Such a club some are afraid to be
    a member of? Such that it must be declined and dissociated from? Or aggressively associated
    with? I like the idea of the conversation.

    Having people that should be exemplars of feminism dissociate from it is troubling. One would
    think they would be at the vanguard of feminism, yet they reject it. #2 does so for mercenary
    reasons, I think. She has an image and an agenda and it doesn’t revolve around advancing women’s issues…being such would give her more resistance than she would need…too many collateral issues. Did I say she was mercenary about it?

    Is feminism only something an outsider can proclaim? And then when you’re admitted into the
    halls of power, you must temper your politics to get along? the co-optation of politics. that’s what
    happens when people get elected. they get homogenized into the larger structure and have to “get along.”

    It’s what happens when you join an employer, or group, or other collective. The individualism must be subsumed to the collective group mentality. I think that was one of the points of that Baader-Meinhof movie, about the German radicals…once they got together, they had some collective power, but to advance the group each member had to subsume his/her personal goals in the furtherance of the group dynamic. Of course, they can be one charismatic leader whose voice is paramount before the others, and that often happens. Then the others must put up or shut up in the service of being associated with the “master” which usually no one minds at first…they, too, being overwhelmed by the ideas or brilliance of the leader.

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