Valley Girl Feminism

By Douglas, Susan | The Progressive, November 1997 | Go to article overview

Valley Girl Feminism


Douglas, Susan, The Progressive


You have got to see this new magazine--you won't believe it," insisted a feminist in her mid-twenties. She was certain that I would gag over the premier issue of Jane, Jane Pratt's modestly titled and allegedly uppity magazine for twentysomething women. But first I had to find it: It was sold out everywhere. Then I slogged through forty-eight pages of models who looked like they had spent the last eight months at Donner Pass before getting to the first piece of writing, "Jane's Diary," subtitled "Why I'm Not Quite the Biggest Egomaniac in the World." "Duh" and "whatever" are in almost every piece: the triumph of Valley Girl feminism.

It is experiences like this that make one wonder who ever invented the idea of progress. My quest for the premier issue of an uppity women's magazine reminded me of a similar and much more exuberant quest just a short while back. My God, was it really twenty-five years ago?

I was wearing hip-hugger bell bottoms, the kind that snap below the navel, with an R. Crumb "Keep on Truckin'" patch on the butt, and a Danskin leotard with no bra. Although I hardly looked like my consciousness had been raised, I was rushing to the newsstand to get that first issue of Ms. So let's remember--all kinds of women, with shaved or unshaved legs, with blush on or not, lesbian or straight, of all races--delighted in seeing it stacked up at the newsstands, thumbing its nose at Ladies Home Journal and Glamour. And when it sold out in eight days, we could jubilantly thumb our noses at ABC's Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith.

People forgot what Neanderthals like these used to get away with saying on national television under the guise of "commentary." On December 21,1971, the day after the first issue hit the newsstands, Reasoner announced to his audience that the magazine was "pretty sad," and predicted it wouldn't last beyond three issues. Why? Because good magazines needed someone like H.L. Mencken, and "there is no sign in Ms.--or indeed in the whole women's movement--of an H.L. Mencken." The one thing "the girls" putting out Ms. did have going for them was that they were "prettier" than the Bard of Baltimore. "There isn't an article in Ms. that wouldn't look perfectly normal in one of the standard women's magazines, and has probably already been there, only better written," he sniffed. And there wasn't anything else to say about feminism or sexism since "they've said it all in the first little issue."

The boys at ABC really had their boxers tied up in knots over this, because on the very next night, Howard K. Smith also held forth on the inanity of Ms. and feminism. The real truth was that we lived in a matriarchy, in which "women dominate our elections; they probably own most of the nation's capital wealth; any man who thinks that he, and not his wife, runs his family is dreaming." There was no inequality because Golda Meir was the prime minister of Israel, so there. Just a year earlier, Smith had announced that women "get the most money, inherited from worn-out husbands." What the country really needed was "man's lib. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Valley Girl Feminism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.