oddly enough, Science

The new feminism?

Given that really no one, including self-identified feminists, really knows what feminism actually is, or, rather, can agree upon a useful definition thereof, I find it strange that hardly any day passes in Germany these days without yet another public demand for a “new feminism (today featuring Thea Dorn, in the Parliamentary Publication “Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte”, in German).” Well, maybe that is all well, and if more choice is really helping, I’m only happy to help to add to the confusion and propose a “medical” version – which, I may add, goes back to the origins of the term, as Sally Haslanger and Nancy Tuana write in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

“[i]n the mid-1800s the term ‘feminism’ was used to refer to “the qualities of females”, and it was not until after the First International Women’s Conference in Paris in 1892 that the term, following the French term féministe, was used regularly in English for a belief in and advocacy of equal rights for women based on the idea of the equality of the sexes.”

Probably thinking of those humble origins, reporting from the sixth annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, Salon.com explains today that science is only now realising something most men have always known on some level – no one, not even women themselves, really know anything about women. In what may be the scary state of art in scientific exploration of female sexuality,

“… sexologist Michael Sand told the Tribune, “We don’t understand normative, healthy sexuality well enough to make judgments about what’s dysfunctional.” … According to one of the governing models, it “starts with desire, progresses through excitement or arousal and ends with orgasm.” Sand received a prize for his research on female sexuality…”

But there’s hope for the discipline: Medical companies are known to be busy investing in their own model of feminism, although it is unclear if the result will be little pink pills…