Young feminists looking for learning
BY M.A. VEVICK
My younger friends and I are convinced feminists. We are also ignorant. This has been pointed out to us, not by patriarchs and their dupes and hangers on, but by older feminists, the women I would like to think of as our older sisters. They taught themselves much of what they know, and bear the scars to prove it.
From the viewpoint of a Ph.D. student, much of what is taught in undergraduate courses is oversimplified or even incorrect. In school they teach the rules, then the exceptions, and the longer you study, the more exceptions and contradictions you learn. But without the rules, the exceptions make no sense. The square roots of negative numbers are fascinating only when one knows they should not exist.
Likewise learning of Margaret Sanger's conversion to white supremacist thinking would probably have affected me more had I known anything else about her. It seems these days that the first I hear of women who have worked for good causes is that their sins have finally been discovered. I am not saying that every one should stop what they're doing to start teaching kids like me their feminist ABC's. Just don't complain about anyone who is.
Try comparing the average age at 'politically correct' rallies with that of the Moral Majority representatives outside the abortion clinics on Harbord and Parliament Streets in Toronto. One of the strongest factors contributing to the current rise of the right wing seems to be their presence in the school system. The Ontario government helps fund Catholic schools which bus their pupils to anti-choice rallies. The long view sees young people as the key: few battles are finally won in one generation.
It isn't easy for the more experienced among us to find the time and patience to help us to learn. Not everyone is a teacher, but those who can teach should be encouraged. If we are not to become a highly incestuous movement of small interest groups fighting each other for the minds of those already converted, then we must stop taking the easy way out. We must stop fighting each other and concentrate on fighting the system that encourages our faults. We must stop excluding all whose minds are not precisely where ours are and start encouraging and helping them learn.