Commentary by Anne Applebaum From today’s Washington Post:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, before the convention season comes to a close, let us pause a moment and suspend our partisan impulses: It is time to sing the praises of 44-year-old women. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, from Alaska or Chicago, rural or urban, a moose-hunter or a gun-controller, surely you can see that Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, two of the stars of this year’s political conventions, do have a few important things in common.
She doesn’t use the term Generation X but that is who she’s talking about: “both of them belong to the first post-feminist generation …” Read the whole thing.
- Class of ’64 [Washington Post}
The Times had a great front page piece about a changing of the guard in academia — how the old liberal professors are on the cusp of retirement, and on their heels is a new generation that is less ideological.
The decline of self-identified liberals has given way to moderates, but despite a shift to the middle, the vast majority of professors identify as Democrats, albeit less vociferously so, citing Barrack Obama’s statement about the elections of 2000 and 2004: “I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage.”
Another interesting shift is that as women now make up nearly half of academia, issues have moved away from epic power struggles to everyday issues such as family-friendly benefits. I have a whole chapter in Slackonomics about how Generation X has repurposed feminism, but now I’m wondering if I’ve underestimated the impact that post-feminism has had on the political culture in a much broader sense. When men were the predominant force in political life, grand revolutionary struggles were emphasized over issues that affect people’s individual lives more directly. I quote an academic in the book who noted this about feminism, but maybe the same could be said for politics? Substitute “post-feminism” below (another term for Third Wave Feminism) with “post-liberalism” or “post-baby-boomerism” and you get essentially the same thing:
“Post-feminism assumes … that now it is up to individual women to make personal choices that simply reinforce those fundamental societal changes. Put this way, ‘feminist’ practices become matters of personal style or individual choice and any emphasis on organized intervention is regarded as naive ….”