Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feminism, post-election

Feminism, post-election - Los Angeles Times:
For a second-wave feminist like myself, this election year has been a roller-coaster ride: exciting, and sick-making, and yet again exciting. We have seen an eminently qualified woman contend for a presidential nomination and fail, at least in part because she was demonized as a dragon lady; then we have seen a shamefully unqualified woman handed a vice presidential nomination, at least in part because she was a walking advertisement for Mrs. America. Taken together, such unforeseen events have been remarkable, especially insofar as they remind us of where we are, as a culture, in the centuries-long struggle to normalize equality for women.

In this piece in the Los Angeles Times feminist and writer Vivian Gornick laments that "The second wave of American feminism is now in a period of quietude, even of setback." She looks at the treatment of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin during the recent election as "evidence that high-level sexism persists in the United States."

Along the way Gornick traces the history of the modern women's movement, which began with the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's "Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792. Gornick says that about every 50 years since that time the women's movement has raised its head, always with the same underlying message: "The conviction that men by nature take their brains seriously, and women by nature do not, is based not on an inborn reality but on a cultural belief that has served our deepest insecurities."

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