Thursday, August 28, 2008

Defining the "new" feminism

An interesting article from Canwest News Service:
"At a time when young women want to have their cake and bake it, too -- and are likely to be judged for doing either -- determining what it means to be a fearless female is more complicated than ever.

Bombarded by a dizzying array of ideas and images, individuals believe girl power is synonymous with short skirts as much as advanced education. They are demonstrating their independence through community involvement and at the stripper pole. And even as young females are equalling male achievements in math and science competitions, they're matching them shot for shot in bars -- studies show more college women are "drinking like men" and getting drunk more today than in the last 20 years.

It's all evidence of how young women are seeking to make their way in a culture of conflicting messages, experts say.

Sharon C. Wilsnack, a clinical psychologist who has been studying female behaviour since the early '70s, has conducted research that demonstrates many young women are using alcohol as a means of reconciling modesty and inhibition with sexual exploration and experimentation. The more they drink, the more confident they feel in the bedroom.

Among many issues hotly debated by young women are whether to marry or remain common law, the baby track versus the career track, whether a "normal" body size is a six or 16, cosmetic tweaks versus aging gracefully, and if discarding one's maiden name is tantamount to waving a white flag at the patriarchy.

The degree to which today's challenges and choices will affect young women in the years ahead is unknown. Nancy Galambos, a psychologist specializing in adolescents' transition to adulthood, says research has demonstrated that unwanted teen pregnancy and heavy episodic drinking, for instance, aren't necessarily predictors of future behaviour or lifestyle."

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