As a feminist author and documentarian, I chronicle women's lives. Although my first and foremost goal is to tell women's stories in their own words, these are accounts that are, more often than not, affected by the structured society in which they live. The historically patriarchal nature of the United States thus compels me to address the experiences and the accounts of women from that perspective. I then strive to examine, as well as document, how the structural and patriarchal underpinnings of U.S. society have influenced the realities of those women.
For whom is my work intended? It is intended for ALL in society. Yes, it is nice when other feminists read my work and nod in agreement. However, I do not want to be read only by feminist scholars; much of what I say and attempt to chronicle has already been read by them. Patriarchy, inequality, and inequities continue to exist, not just for feminists but for all women. This must stop. To accomplish this, we must address the workings of society as a whole and write to an all-inclusive audience.
True, conditions have improved for women. My daughter's generation has more opportunities and encouragement for success than did the women of my generation. But full and equal opportunities have not been achieved. We continue to function within a society that judges both our real and potential capabilities by our reproductive organs. In addition to these labor market realities, we continue to experience a more general reality wherein many women live in fear within their own homes and intimate relationships. Considering this, it is apparent even more changes must be made.
By asking a "whole" audience of women to consider my thoughts and research, I recognize that I lay myself open for criticism I might otherwise avoid. However, it is only through speaking with all women that we will gather the strength of our numbers and convictions to affect a real and lasting change.
Other work in this issue by Martha L. Shockey:
About Moondance Contents Contributors Editors
Please send comments and suggestions to Moondance.