Re: : The Iroquois and the Early Radical Feminists

Gail Nazemi (nazemi@AZSTARNET.COM)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 18:07:50 -0700

You do not think that most history in school books is "written
to support an agenda?" Certainly wishing me to believe that Washington
never lied about that cherry tree was on someones agenda. It's doubtful
that it was "history" and it certainly made everyone "feel good" about
having a president who didnt lie.

>Subject: Re: : The Iroquois and the Early Radical Feminists
>Sent: 02/01 8:51 PM
>Received: 02/01 5:54 PM
>From: Lief M. Hendrickson, hendrick@NOSC.MIL
>To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L,
>The recently discussed influence of the Iroquois as the determining
>factor in a certain aspect of U.S. social change is part of a trend
>far beyond anthro-L. The trend is called "filler feminism". Quite
>simply, it's a matter of rewriting history to support an agenda.

>History is not viewed as a means to understand the past, rather its
>description is used as a tool to sanctify ideals of contemporary
>feminists- many of whom have strayed far from the laudable efforts of
>early women's rights advocates.
>Filler feminism is stuffing schools with "feel good" writing rather
>than accurate descriptions of reality. As we've seen on this list,
>the staunch advocates present their message in the hopes that some
>will be suckered-in, but avoid considering actual facts when asked to
>do so. An example of "feel good" writing is found in a widely used
>high school textbook in which the following passage is found (1).
>Referring to early North American indigenous peoples, it states:
> "A typical family thus consisted of an old woman, her daughters with
> their husbands and children, and her unmarried granddaughters and
> grandsons...Politically, woman's roles and status varied from
> culture to culture. Women were more likely to assume leadership
> roles among the agricultural peoples than among nomadic hunters. In
> addition, in many cases in which women did not become village
> chiefs, they still exercised substantial political power. For
> example, in Iroquois villages, when selected men sat in a circle to
> discuss and make decisions, the senior women of the village stood
> behind them, lobbying and instructing the men. In addition, the
> elder women named the village chiefs to their positions."
>Now I wonder if Iroquois women knew the extent to which they were in
>charge as indicated by the above passage. Even if they did, they
>weren't "feminists" in the contemporary sense. Nor, for that matter,
>were there any "Radical Feminists" in that time frame as implied by
>the subject line of messages in this thread. The same applies to
>early women's rights advocates. They didn't call themselves
>"feminists"; the unfortunate term had not been coined back then. The
>retroactive use of the term is a means to justify the current movement
>by attaching itself to the worthy efforts of many individuals who
>worked hard for suffrage, equal rights, and equal opportunity as goals
>rather then the anti-male, anti-family ideas of certain of today's
>(1) Carol Berkin (ed), _American Voices_, Scott Freeman, 1992: p. 29.