“Nope, it’s not that one, but I definitely made you stop and look, didn’t I? In some households this word may be as foul-mouthed as a cuss word, not because it’s derogatory but because it’s powerful. It has strength in its convictions. It has theory in its explanations.””
Nope, it’s not that one, but I definitely made you stop and look, didn’t I?
In some households this word may be as foul-mouthed as a cuss word, not because it’s derogatory but because it’s powerful.
It has strength in its convictions. It has theory in its explanations. It’s intimidating and severely misunderstood.
What is this amazing ‘F’ word? Feminism.
Wait, don’t stop reading.
Just give me a chance to ease you in.
Let’s start here. Do you think that women should:
have the right to vote?
have access to contraceptives?
get equal pay for equal work?
receive a higher education?
participate in sports?
hold political office?
enter into legal and financial transactions?
If you said yes to any of these questions, I would like to welcome you to the club, because guess what? You’re a feminist!
You believe in feminism, at least, at its most basic and fundamental level.
Yeah, that’s right, you’ve just been initiated.
Feminists are responsible for the rights women have today.
Throughout the 20th century, feminists have fought and protested so women can vote, access contraceptives, participate in sports, attend college, get divorced, open their own bank account, own property, work outside the home, choose a career that is not traditionally feminine among other things.
I know a lot of you are confused.
Maybe you’re thinking, I thought feminists were man-hating ball- busters who were completely against the institution of marriage and can’t stand the thought of motherhood.
Yes, some feminists may be man-hating, ball-busting, anti-marriage, anti-motherhood kind of gals, don’t let that small percentage deter you.
This isn’t what being a feminist means or what feminism represents.
Feminists are advocates for the equal rights of women and more often than not, the equal rights for other minorities, which may be based on race, sexual orientation and/or class.
Now notice how I didn’t specify any particular gender.
Though a majority of feminists are female, men can be feminists too.
So, if you’re a male reading this and you answered yes to one or more of the aforementioned questions, I’m welcoming you to the club also and we are glad to have you.
In turn, if feminists are advocates for the equal rights of women, then feminism is concerned with the issues of equality for women.
Susan Shaw and Janet Lee, co-authors of Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions, expand on this principle further, explaining feminism seeks to eliminate systems of inequality and injustice in all aspects of women’s lives.
In addition, feminism is inclusive, affirming and celebratory of women’s lives, experiences and accomplishments.
Feminism strives to validate women and aims to bring them from margin to center.
Lastly, feminism is personal and political simultaneously.
These are only fundamental definitions and tenets.
Like any movement, feminism has a rich and complicated history and diverse perspectives and theories.
Its collective followers, feminists, are just as diverse, coming in all shapes and sizes, genders, races, class standings and sexual orientations.
You’re probably wondering why any of this is important. My reason is simple.
Every day, women take for granted the rights and liberties they have.
In doing this, they fail to recognize the movement and the people who have made it possible because they misunderstand who feminists are and what feminism stands for.
They avoid the label because of common misconceptions and harmful stereotypes.
It is your choice whether to identify as a feminist.
But, if nothing else, the next time you-and I’m talking to women specifically-cast a vote, open up a bank account, play a sport or buy birth control, please thank a feminist.
They gave you that privilege.