The current rejection of the second-wave movement as essentialist because it saw all women (but really only white middle-and upper-class women, like themselves) as victims of a global masculinist manolith is equally essentialist. It dismisses this movement out of hand as dated, ahistoric, nonspecific, racist. Further, when feminists object to the abuses against ethnic women and women of color and Third World women as founded in patriarchal, hierarchical oppressions, they are dismissed by some Chicana feminists as Anglos-code for white and mainstream.
I agree with Martha Boesing, a second waver like myself, that "this kind of simplistic analysis" divides and conquers us, makes the second wavers appear to be "political New Age flakes," which embarrasses our daughters and causes them to reject us out of hand. This is a mistake on their part that probably dooms "them to repeat all our mistakes instead of learning from and building on our experience" ( 1996, 1020).
The refusal of certain contemporary Chicana critics to either look back at the past realistically or to look around at who is walking beside them -- still -- illustrates Boesing's view of what our "daughters" are doing to us. I wonder what makes any new feminists assume that second-wave feminists still now functioning, past and present are fixed forever in the past? Why can't we be assumed as also growing as we go, as some younger feminists are assuming for themselves, but not for us whom they imagine as frozen forever in those moments of time known as the second wave? Are all feminists of the same generation in any given time period, or even when they are from different generations identical according to generation, ethnicity, color, and class? Such narrow thinking replicates the essentialism they both fear and continually use as a discursive coded weapon against second wavers.
I for one am still very much alive and still believe-more strongly than ever-that feminists err when we concentrate solely on particularities, on
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Publication information: Book title: (Out)Classed Women:Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations. Contributors: Phillipa Kafka - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 105.
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