Thursday, July 8, 2010

On feminism

ok. this is a touchy issue. My purpose here is to state my view. How I understand feminism and why I think it rocks. 

That's right. ROCKS. I am a feminist.

Let's get a basic definition, just to center everyone.

Main Entry: fem·i·nism 
Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1895

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

This is from Merriam-Webster. I tried to do the Oxford English because it's super fancy. But Merriam is just as legit.


So feminism is the theory (idea, belief, etc) that the sexes should be equal. This is what makes me crazy when people say to my face (boys and girls) that "No Gina, I am not a feminist." Even after I give them the definition from the dictionary. 

Okay okay so your thinking...."Gina...let's be honest. Feminism is a little more complex than equality of the sexes on the political (meaning we should get the right to vote, own property), economical (we deserve equal pay for equal work, own property, have own bank account), and social (meaning we have a welfare of our own, a right to walk down the street, make our own choices) levels."

To this I answer, yes. It is much more complex than these levels. I minored in women's studies which meant I got to take many classes about feminism and its different types. Most people know this, but I will elaborate.

Feminism is on a spectrum. From super radical (burn those bras! fight the man! BE THE MAN!) to very conservative (men and women are equal, they deserve the same things but each has their place). 

There are waves of feminism. First wave was the suffrage movement, second was paired with the civil rights movement (burning bras came up here), and the third is said to have been during the 80s-90s with Title IX, although many consider it is today.

Okay. So the second wave pretty much gave feminism a bad name. Remember in Mary Poppins how the Mom is a suffragist and they kinda make her seem a little crazy, but in reality it was so important for women to get the right to vote. The thing is the focus was solely on white women. They weren't thinking about the spectrum of women. But in general, the first wave was very mild and calm. Then the second wave came along during the Civil Rights movement and during the Vietnam war. Basically women said, "we aren't gonna conform to these roles anymore, we can do everything a man can do (so far so good), in fact we are BETTER than men (whoa there...). This is where the amazon women came in. These strong, empowered women. It was an important step, but the attitudes left a huge mark. One that now plagues feminists all over the world.

Sure, I know plenty of feminists that still hold these ideals. But here's the secret. Feminism can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you recognize the basic tenets of equality. Don't let the radicals dictate whether or not you confess to be a feminist. You should be proud to say, " Hey I am a woman, I deserve just as much as any other person on this world." Not more, not less, not better, not worse. Equal to.

It's true. Everyone deserves equality. Unfortunately it's difficult. But this is what I think. If we hold the theology (the idea/belief) that everyone does deserves equality it might make it better. But as long as there are women out there who say " No, I am not a feminist" They are silently saying, " No I don't think I deserve as much, or actually I deserve more." Either way, I believe that saying no is harmful. Because it sets those seeds of inequality, it deepens those roots that have existed for so long. 

My feminism is based in theology, my religion. I believe that Heavenly Father made all of His children equal and that it's Satan planting the seeds of inequality that makes us think it can't work, it won't work. But really, Heavenly Father promised that it would. That peace will exist one day on the earth. This includes feminism. Equality of the sexes. 

Hope this helps anyones confusion and I hope you can proudly declare that you are a feminist.

p.s. ANYONE can be a feminist (you don't have to be a girl)

So...are you a feminist?

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