Zoe Artemis considered herself a New Feminist.
It’s a concept I have long held as my belief.
Many of those who were active in the Feminism of the 1970s grabbed onto the idea that to be equal, women had to be like men. Some women chose to dress in gray pantsuits; some even wore ties, thinking that would level the playing fields in the male bastions of business, medicine and law.
Many decided being aggressive, using foul language and telling obscene jokes that demeaned women would endear them to their male counterparts. In most cases, these efforts were ineffectual, just looked silly and compromised those participating. It diluted women’s feminine power.
Zoe belly-danced in the Tribal Style. It differs from
traditional belly-dancing in that it started in California
in the mid 1970s and is done to primarily enrich the
dancer, with the audience being secondary.
In the following essay, Zoe expresses her belief that aggressive, male dominated feminism dishonors the feminine ideal and dilutes feminine power. She sent it to her friend, Brian Hassett, a short story writer, poet, feature writer, essayist, critic, columnist, reviewer, and songwriter, in such places as The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Complete Woman, Penthouse, High Times, Beat Scene, etc. and most importantly to us, a blogger. To read Zoe’s letter as it originally appeared on-line, click here.
Zoe’s New Feminists Essay
This is a nice essay that was slipped over the transom by a fellow New York warrior in honor of Women’s History Month, thought I’d share.
MEET THE NEW FEMININE FEMINISTS,
by Zoe Artemis
These days my life is divided up into two moving parts: teaching dancing, and campaigning for Barack Obama. Yes, I’m a Baby-boomer for Barack.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, I taught a Belly Dance workshop at my studio in New York City. My role: to teach women to connect with their sacred feminine power and their female heritage. The women in attendance ranged in age from 26-60, in all glorious shapes and sizes.
Belly Dancing has great mojo power in bringing together highly smart women from all walks of life, to get down with each other, and dance. I create a supportive environment where women can feel sexy, saucy, ass-kickin’ strong, vampish, gorgeous and nurtured; a space where they can express latent archetypes: the coquette, the angel, the sensualist, the earth mother, the gypsy, the performer, the priestess, the warrior, and the tribal dancer. Meet the new feminine feminists.
Zoe excelled at everything she did.
We spent the day swiveling, shimmying, shaking, and moving our hips independently of our torso, like a pendulum swinging beneath an immobile clock. To world thumping music our hands created the frame around the body; sometimes the moves were soft, sensual and inward; other times it was outward, wild and reckless. A tribe of women who validate and confirm each other’s sensuality and beauty becomes the perfect antidote to lack of self esteem. For many western women Belly Dance is truly a form of liberation.
The feedback I received from women who belly dance with me is this: it’s not necessary to have that one-to-one attention from a man in order to feel womanly and sensual. Women can feel sexy, sensual and feminine whether they’re in a relationship or not. It’s about creating self-confidence, community, joy and humor. The repetitive movements bring us fully into the present moment, the meditative state, into the zone.
Another aspect which is important for us feminine feminists is that we get to play dress up. Gone are the pant suits, the jeans, the sweat pants, the baggy clothes, the clunky sneakers and the 10″ high heels.
Many arms indicates supernatural powers and the ability
to do many things. Zoe is in red, seated at the bottom.
We usually think of feminism as a modern, contemporary trend, however there’s a new kind of feminism that is emerging, where women can own up to their sensuality and softness, while maintaining their fire. I don’t want to take orders from the patriarchy, but I don’t want to take orders from (contemporary) feminists either, i.e., Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro; which brings me to the current political climate. I am stunned by the raw voracious and, yes, desperate grasping for power by the old guard feminists. It’s pathetic and frightening to see these women make fun of anything deep or soulful, and who take joy in wounding people. Some feminine feminists: Samantha Power, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Arianna Huffington. Yelling, shrieking, mocking, bullying, punching and whining are not cool. Punching and whining simultaneously? That’s an oxyMORON.
Zoe Artemis is a native New Yorker who currently teaches belly dance classes at her studio, creative movement classes in the NYC public schools, and campaigns for Barack Obama. In l978-79, at her first job ever, she worked as an administrative assistant in the Carter White House. http://www.zoeartemis.com/
To learn more about Zoe Artemis, click here.