K is 18, smart, independent, seems strong and capable. Somehow Margaret Atwood came up in our talk and suddenly K burst out, "I hate feminists! All they do is ensure unqualified people [women, I presumed] get the jobs!"
"What?!" I replied. "What are you talking about?"
But there was no time to hash it out - we agreed to argue over dinner on Wednesday.
Point is, though, that I've run into that attitude - not usually so vehement - a lot from younger women.
Yes, some of them are reacting to the nut-bar feminism of Dworkin & McKinnon, and people of that ilk, but the anti-male stream of feminist thinking isn't mainstream - is it?
Why do I so often hear, "I'm not a feminist, but ..." from women who expect to be able to compete for any job, who expect to get equal pay for equal work, and who - by any objective standards - have benefited to an incredible degree from decades of feminist organizing and lobbying?
The only thing I can thing of is that a lot of the older feminist commentators out there (I'm thinking of Michele Landsberg off-hand) often sound as if they're fighting battles won 20 years ago, or that seem to have been won, at any rate.
If that is the cause, how in the world did feminism get such a bad name in the minds of its main beneficiaries?