Post by Erica Chan on Mar 19, 2010 18:46:40 GMT -5
What does Feminism mean to you?
To me... well, it means a recognition that the world still isn't fairly balanced. It's the feeling inside me - the hurt, angry, passionate flame that flares whenever I see or hear about another horrible story denigrating women. And it's the warm glow inside me whenever I'm reminded of how, despite everything, women are standing strong and are so amazing and beautiful.
It's also about freedom and choice - mostly, the freedom to be able to choose, whether that choice be to have a career or not, stay at home or not, have children or not, have sex before marriage or not, to be able to just be able to make that choice and have the same opportunities open to us without judgement.
i suppose feminism means just wanting equality and safety you know? i think we've got it pretty okay in the western countries, i mean sexism isnt as obvious as it used to be. but in places where women get burnt alive and beaten, i think its pretty clear feminism has a long way to go.
I think sexism is still massively rampant in Australia just nowadays it takes more subtle forms, and there's the whole 'post feminist' thing that John Howard perpetuated ("we're living in a post-feminist society") which encourages people to think that the fight is over, and it sure ain't. I totes agree with you kathryn. However, women in Australia get beaten and abused regularly, but it doesn't make the news.
Also, just thinking, something I always try and remember is that some women experience more harassment and sexism than others due to overlapping oppressions eg/ based on class, ethnicity, sexuality etc. So just because one person may not have 'much of a fight' it doesn't mean that all women have it that easy!
Anyway, feminism has changed my life is so many ways I can hardly start to explain it!
But I remember feminism *when I get offered a new job, despite my gender (been denied before) *when I walk down the street late at night, and get yelled something but the five hundredth sleazy guy *when I have discussions with other women about our lives and think how lucky we are that we have this amazing strong positive force to fight with.
Arild Warud Sisters: You have to fight for your rights.It doesn't have so much to do with feminism as it has to do with decent human rights and you all deserve to be counted equally as the masculine side of humanity.
Mireille M. Nice interview. I didn't identify myself as a feminist either, growing up in the 80s, because it had become associated with no-fun, dour-faced, anti-man thinking. I finally "clicked" when I joined the full-time workforce and noticed how I was treated at company parties. Taking it personally doesn't have to mean you're walking around with a huge chip on your shoulder. Interviews such as this one shows it. By the way, I'm no fan of Palin, but branding herself a feminist could also be damaging to her, since feminism or advocating any other form of equality is traditionally a left-wing issue. For a right-winger, any move toward center can be damaging. (Actually, isn't it the same for left-wingers?...)
Eric H. Very good points - take it personally and get the men aboard. How can I as a man ever become free and independent if I deny a woman the absolute freedom and independence to determine the circumstances of her own life? In creating dependence we become responsible and thereby also dependent. If that is to happen, it should be as a free choice of two individuals and not through the dictates and prejudices of society.
Lynn C. I think Eric H.'s comment is the most encouraging and erudite statement I have read on this issue. I grew up in a frontier state and women were (mostly) not limited by societal pressure as it was in a more "sophisticated" society. There was a lack of career choice, as much limited by geographic circumstances as the teachers own viewpoints. I do not feel the need to use the word feminist to describe my position, and really don't want a "position" on any issue as much as I would like to include, rather than alienate, show by example and teach by doing. In my experience strong women make strong choices and most don't seem to need to label themselves as "feminist". They just are. Maybe we need a new term to describe this sort of independence in choice, regardless of gender.
Rhiannon S. Great article. I guess up until reading this article I never really thought about my own "click" moments. I found after the age of 35, I had many of those. Before 35, I think I was a little bit too naive about many things. Living my daily life, experiencing just being a wife, Mom, then the experience of just being ME helped to shape my inner self. I learned I did not have to please everyone, and not everyone had to agree with how I do things, or don't do things.
I remember before I was of school age watching my well dressed handsome father sitting on the hall step and my mother (1950's housewife) on her hands and knees puttting my father's rubber snow shoes on his feet. I felt this wave of anger and thought I would never do that for a man. It looked so servant and owner/boss. I remember mom getting a weekly allowance and thinking we are the kids and we get an allowance. Mom should not need to get an allowance. The feeling angry and that this is not fare has been always with me regarding this issue. As I grew I always knew how I would and would not be treated by a boyfriend or husband. I guess I have been lucky because I dated and married a man that it was never an issue. Of course I have always had an equal voice in where we lived how we handled our money etc. Respect that we were a team. Many of my friends would say I wish we could clone your husband. I would be shocked to find out their life was not like that and not understanding why they stayed. Barbara H. When I started working outside the home and was told "we do not hire women for that kind of job" being angry and shocked. I wanted to work so we moved to a more progressive city in the state. I have always had a very strong knowing what was right regarding woman's equality in the home, work , pay etc. To this day I am angry the constitution of the United states does not have equal rights for woman in it. Italy has since 1948. It is good that still makes me mad!
Julie Unruh The click moment in my life happens a lot when I was in my women studies class a couple of years ago, and reading all these feminist magazines, standing up for woman's rights, but we are nothing like the grandmother's of all feminist, I wonder would they be proud of us now, or would they hang their head in shame?
Jeannette A I was very fortunate. Being raised in an all girl family by a woman who didn't set sexist boundaries allowed us to pick and choose what we wanted to do and what we wanted to be at any one given time. My father was gone more often than not and made sure all 5 of his daughters understood from the very beginning that what our mother said was law. He worked long and hard in the oil fields to make sure that we all had access to a college degree and never once told us that what we wanted wasn't for women. Imagine our confusion when we bumped heads with the job market and all its male oriented agendas! We laugh about it now but it was our strong connection with each other that got us through each challenge and still does. We have worked hard to instill the same thing in all of our children, daughters AND sons .... that your talents, skills and passions dictate what your direction in life should be, not your gender..
Marilyn D. Identifying with a group and using labels can hold you back. When you're being the very best HUMAN you can be, and doing your best at what you do, it won't matter what gender you are. Palin should go back under the rock from whence she came.
In addition to what I said previously: I think that getting militant and forming groups with labels to fight about it isn't going to work any better than it did in the 60s. It just gave women a reputation for being butchy, bitchy, and pushy. The women with ability will shine through the fog and be noticed. Then it's up to each individual woman to stand up for her own rights and make her own fair demands. WOMEN have to learn to speak up for themselves because all the groups in the world will not help a woman who THINKS she is a victim and needs a lynch mob-like group to do her fighting for her.
Chrystle A. "You've come a long way, baby," and a lot further to go.
Quanta Kiran I work in a male dominated industry and have to put up with a lot of chauvinism. When I first started, I was forced to climb an 80m tower to prove I wasn't afraid of heights. The reasoning used: well men go up and get afraid; one guy needed to be rescued so since I am a women I am more likely to be afraid. Some women get more of the BS than others and it’s definitely more in industries where men are more predominant. You also get the boys clubs that cover each other's butts.
Becky Y. Having been part of the Women's Liberation Movement I always found the term "Feminist" offensive. It seemed to me a term that either emasculated men or referred to women who were pandering to men...neither of these things were what my view of what I believed in was....or is. Here we are, two different sexual beings on the same planet who should not be opposing one another but should be intertwined, helping, supporting, advocating the belief that each is the best they can be and achieving whatever goals we have for ourselves whether they be corporate presidents or housewives. Maybe I just hate labels. The fact is that men and women are different, viva la difference but they need not be opposing one another. Women can admire men and men can admire women, equally...that's what it was all about....equality, hand in hand, equal paycheck, equal vote, and equal choices. It was about pink for girls and blue for boys; Barbies for girls, G I Joe's for boys; Nursing careers for girls, Doctor careers for boys; one paycheck for men a lower one for women. As the years have gone by it has gotten muddled but it is still the same for me. We are not separate, we are together, men and women, women and men, equally trying to make sense out of a world that has gone haywire.
Harriet J. B. When my daughters were growing up, I didn't allow them to have Barbie dolls. Now, I regret it. I should have let them come to that decision on their own.
Sue Terry OK....What is a "feminist? I know a lot of men. Very Very few of them treat me as a 2nd class citizen, Is it not a person's personal responsibility to be the best they can be whether they are female or male? I find this really sad and divisive.
Jill Zimon @sue - you ask, "Is it not a person's personal responsibility to be the best they can be whether they are female or male?" Sure it is - but in helping humanity along in being the best we, collectively, can be, and individually we can be, efforts can take the form of a movement. I'd say that feminism occupies that category of action, just as environmentalists seek to have us all take care of our planet in the best way possible. Neither (nor any movement) is an indictment of the goal (to seek to be the best) or whether someone reaches the goal of being their best. Rather, they exist as a recognition that it's a lifelong pursuit that often benefits from being organized, even if loosely.
Marilyn L. It's all about equality, not just for women but for all. One day the issue of equality for all will be a nonissue, it must and it will.
Carol B. Feminists may all have the same convictions, but their "actions" can be differing in every point!
Karen J. Bitch stands for "Being in total Charge of Herself." As always, if a woman is pushy she's labeled a "Bitch" so let's own it in a positive light, since bitch remains in use for derogatory purposes. I only hope to be as strong, pushy, bitchy and militant as the women of the sixties. I can only hope to have that much courage in my life. As long as only 3% of rapes are reported and only 1% go to trial, I will be a bitch. As long as the ERA languishes in states, unpassed and women remain excluded from the constitution. I will be Vigilant. As long as women in many states are unable to receive appropriate reproductive services, and have no access to abortion. I will remain militant. I think you get the picture.
Miriam Greenwald So curious that feminism goes through periods of being unpopular where it's disavowed even by those who are really holding feminist beliefs and now it's appropriated by people who are essentially antifeminist and it gets twisted around.
In any case I'm so glad that the younger generation is embracing it. Yesss!! There is a Goddess!
Patt T So glad to hear ladies talking about feminism! As a college graduate of the early 70's, I saw and experienced first hand how this word was used to split women politically or domestically. We were asked by men, "Are you a feminist or an anti-feminist?" I would never ask a gentleman if he was masculine or anti-masculine. Women are all feminists in their own way.... some more than others and that's very very okay!!!
Claire M. You know to me all the rhetoric just complicates the issue. We tag things then assign meaning to the tags then throw them like darts at what we want to categorize. It makes life simpler but a lot of truth falls between the gaps and in some cases people or movements get stereotyped for behavior or beliefs that do not fit.
One of the first things that red flags to me is name calling or tagging in any discussion.
I guess to some feminism simply means pro female and that can mean a lot of things. To me it means pro female human rights and pro female freedom and that pretty much covers all I need. If a woman gets married and then takes orders or abuse, mental or physical and/or has to have permission to to make choices in life that just isn't feminism to me.
Susan S. It is wonderful to hear that feminism is not the new 'f' word and that women can be proud in calling themselves feminist (even if it is not clear what that means to them politically). There are so many feminist frameworks ranging from cultural feminists, eco-feminists, socialist feminists, liberal feminists, Marxist feminists and 'conservative feminists' that it is not fair to paint them with the same brush. That does not mean we should allow patriarchy or a misogynist society to divide and conquer - it just means that we can agree to disagree and formulate a tapestry that incorporates all the elements.
Christine T Great article! I love having strong women to look up to and inspire me. I was raised to always be more "girly" and "feminine", which were meant in the stereotypical ways (i.e. be graceful, etc.) There's nothing wrong if you are that way, but that isn't me, and I am so glad there are other women who don't fit the stereotypical mould, nor want to. It is really annoying with all the inequality, and worse, that so many people fail (or don't care) to realise that you cannot have true progress when you alienate half the population. I am very fortunate to have an awesome boyfriend who actually respects me for who I am and does not treat me differently simply because I am female. I hope more people get with the program and work to end this inequality.
What do you think?
Last Edit: Jun 20, 2010 22:25:23 GMT -5 by Erica Chan
Post by Vittoria (Toz) Careri on Dec 3, 2010 3:05:23 GMT -5
Maybe I'm a bit late to the party, given that this last post was in June.
I feel that, if you're pretty sure you appreciate: being paid the same as your equally-qualified male counterparts, using safe and effective contraception, feeling safe in your own home and on the street, and going to the police and knowing that your report of sexual assault or sexual harassment or domestic violence will be dealt with remotely seriously, then you're probably a feminist of some kind or other.
(Sadly, the only part of the above that you can actually count on in Australia at the moment is the part about 'safe and effective contraception' and even that isn't universal.)
Aside from some very basic inclusive human rights -- like not being hurt, killed or threatened -- feminism tends to swing wildly on the sliding scale of your political inclinations; there is for instance a great deal of difference between a liberal feminist and a separatist.
But I feel that feminism has been, as a movement, diluted and stereotyped into something without real definition, as thoroughly evidenced by the increasingly common and gut-churning phrase, 'I'm not a feminist, but...'
Go on. Admit it. You like civil rights, and they have nothing to do with your ovaries, or lack thereof. Is it really that scary?