Plan B – Feminism as Practice & Theory
On Tuesday, March 24, 2009 U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in New York instructed the agency to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds within 30 days and to review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a doctor’s order. He also alleged in his 52 page ruling that “FDA repeatedly and unreasonably delayed issuing a decision on Plan B for suspect reasons and, on two occasions, only took action on Plan B to facilitate confirmation of Acting FDA Commissioners, whose confirmation hearings had been held up due to these repeated delays.” LINK TO THE DECISION
The feminist principle is evident throughout history as demonstrated by the role women played in various civilizations. Women have always stood as a symbol to be possessed and controlled. Men have gone to wars over them and even today their bodies are censured in one way or another. From Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” to breast feeding in public. Theirs was a struggle for equality but also a struggle to ensure that different voices were considered. They can be credited with instilling and ensuring a voice of conscience in American society. Their ability to procreate and bear men’s progeny makes them have a unique role in society. One can argue that it has created a system that is based on making them dependent on men for survival.
As society is a social construct, there tends to be a male dominated ideology and arguably a “white male” dominated ideology. It is on this playing field an adversary competes. The rules have been codified by “white males” for the benefit of ‘white males.” Mastering skills and competence is not only a necessity but a requirement to participate. History has shown that marginalized people have always come together to seek common interest and diverge when those interests collide. The feminist movement was not without varying incestuous alliances with other interest groups all of vying for advancing various agendas.
It would be hard to dissect what underlying assumptions are useful and limiting, without first looking at the various lessons learned. The feminists were successful as a movement and in redefining the role of women in American society. We hear the word “deconstruction” all the time. It was a postmodern feminist who theorized “that when you get down to it, there is no such thing as justice, beauty, or truth – only power and the quest to maintain it.” This is the underlying underpinnings of many societal constructs and organization. They are at their very essence of an entity created to seek its own welfare and the collective welfare of those who share its memberships. The postmodern feminist ideology holds that you must ‘identify these power structures through deconstruction and then to reverse those structures through political action (P. 36). There tools were useful because they were focused on oppression and as such useful and relevant to peoples who are marginalized everywhere.
I subscribe to the belief that feminist legal theories are a “house with many rooms.” I also argue that feminist legal theory use and borrow the best of other feminist theories. They are after all a fragmented constituency and with varying agendas and ends, often times lacking full cohesion. They have mastered the political process and it is baffling that while it appears they are closing the gap with men in terms of educational achievements and enrollment rates, they are still marginally represented in the workplace and in positions of power. This is a natural disconnect and should be a demonstrable sign that as a society we are still constricted to gendered roles. It shows that although women have made great strides they will always be jockeying for power and influence against a constituency bent on maintaining the status quo and thus control over them.