Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, passed away this weekend. Needless to say, my ideas on public policy and the proper role of government differ considerably for that of Ms. Ferraro, but I was still sad to hear of her passing. I never met her, only watched her on television, but she’s came across as a fair-minded woman, who I would have expected to be very kind in person.
Her passing though seems the end of an era. Or at least the beginning of the end of the era of second wave feminism which saw big government as the answer to advancing women’s interests and society as rife with systematic discrimination.
Of course, I know that there are still plenty of young women who’ve been soaked in liberal women studies courses and see evidence of the patriarchy at every turn. But they are part of a different kind of feminism, and have to really struggle to find evidence that American women are uniquely disadvantaged in society. Obviously women in Ferraro’s time did face a society in which women tended to have different roles than men–women had yet to make the huge strives in educational attainment and in the workforce that we see today.
Today’s thirty-something and younger women have to real stretch to make the case that they have been anything but encouraged to try to fulfill their full potential in the era of “Girl Power,” which has made the modern feminist movement (the so-called “third wave”) contrived and more of a knee jerk counter-culture movement. Few American women associate themselves with the term feminist today, and I bet that as more Geraldino Ferraros pass away, even fewer will in the future.