The Big F

Feminism, we’re talking about feminism. I think we all have our own definition of feminism (hello- “a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”). Erin and I are writing this post together, we want to cover as many bases as possible.

Here I go, my partner does not consider himself a feminist. I had to break it to him (not so gently) that you don’t have to be a girl to be a feminist. He didn’t believe me. Our society has conditioned us to believe that feminism has to be packaged as a “female” and as the most radical version of itself (ie burning bras, protesting equality in the nude on a park bench). But actually feminism (should) include everyone. People like my boyfriend are clearly afraid of being associated with that extreme portrayal of feminism that the media loves to show and I can understand why, but it’s a fear you have to get over.

So, the other day (International Women’s Day to be specific), I was reading the comments section of a post (always a terrible idea) and was so frustrated by the posts by other women who do not seem to understand what feminism is! In their confusion they end up taking it out on other women and angrily typing things like “ I LOVE BEING A HOUSEWIFE” and “ I love doing things for my husband”, then concluding that that is why they are not feminists. Here’s the deal. Feminism allows you to do that. It allows you to have the choice to stay home or go to work and there is nothing wrong with being a housewife! No one is attacking you for doing that. The point is, is that everyone should feel free to pursue whatever they want in life, and that is what feminism aims to do. Feminism wants everyone to be equal, so as a woman I can become a doctor and make the same amount of money as any other doctor would. If I wanted to be a welder, I can be and make the same wages as everyone in that field. Feminism allows for men and women and gender fluid individuals to come together and have equal opportunities. It allows for women to remain as housewives if they choose to or for dads to have that same opportunity. But that is the difference now, women have the CHOICE.

In addition, the idea of feminists being man- hating is ridiculous. It is not a thing. I love men. I would like to date men (where you at hot men!). Feminism strives to be inclusive. If you are a man or woman who believes in equal rights for ALL genders, than you are a feminist, and I promise that makes you even hotter. It does not take away from your manliness and women it does not mean that you hate men or have to hate men. It means you believe in equality.

Erin and I had a world literature prof who was a feminist. She was amazing, gave the best lectures, and talked about feminism. She polled the class “How many of you would consider yourselves feminists?” Not everyone put up their hand, not even all the women put up their hands. I don’t want to be preachy and lecture those who didn’t put up their hands (BUT ACTUALLY how could you not put up your hand), because those people assumed that a feminist was a man hating lesbian vegan who sat around plotting the demise of white men (nothing wrong with this if that’s you- you do you girl), but that’s not what all feminists are. Feminism is about equality- stop getting hung up on the title. You know not to judge a book by its cover, so please stop judging feminism by the letters that make up such a powerful word.

We are so sick of arguing about what feminism is. We feel that we should be past this now. We need to all agree that feminism is inclusive and is about equality so we can move onto more pressing issues, like the wage gap, sexual assaults on campus, and breaking down gender stereotypes. Now that we have given you a definition, we hope that we can further talk about various feminist problems without having to come back to the problem of what feminism is. We can move on now!

In the end, all that matters is that you be kind to one another and spread the love.

  • Erin and Kathleen or Kathleen and Erin
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3 Replies to “The Big F”

  1. “Feminism is about equality- stop getting hung up on the title.

    It might be argued that feminism is women’s struggle to be liberated from the patriarchal norms/values of society.

    I’m curious, when I see feminism defined in terms of equality – as in equal to whom? Men? Members of the class that oppress women and enforce (in part) the toxic patriarchal norms that hurt both sexes? Perhaps a higher bar needs to be set?

    The other part of focusing on equality is answering the question how does one achieve ‘equality’ when the playing field in society is fundamentally unequal?

    Shouldn’t one address the coercive systems/norms in society that oppress women as a starting point in creating an effective feminism?

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    1. I see where you are coming from, however, I think it becomes an issue when we then decide that feminism “isn’t for everyone”. Equality isn’t about measuring up, but instead about bringing everyone to the same level (regardless about what level they appear to start on) without reinforcing the toxic patriarchal norms.
      I completely agree that the playing field is unequal when it comes to females achieving equality, and thats why we need everyone to work to address the societal norms and systems that oppress women. If we as women (and all marginalized groups) can find allies in people within these patriarchal norms we can work together to break them down and work towards equality.

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  2. @Avenue23Blog

    “I think it becomes an issue when we then decide that feminism “isn’t for everyone”. “

    In some circles, effective feminism can be defined if what it is doing, or working toward, makes men uncomfortable (as the status quo and their privilege is challenged). Conversely, if one’s feminist actions are not riling up the men-folk, then how important or how significant a change is actually being proposed.

    “Equality isn’t about measuring up, but instead about bringing everyone to the same level (regardless about what level they appear to start on) without reinforcing the toxic patriarchal norms.”

    A noble thought. I’m not sure how one would go about doing that.

    “and thats why we need everyone to work to address the societal norms and systems that oppress women. “

    Why would everyone work toward that goal? Cynically speaking, the half of the population that is doing the oppressing, and having set up our society and the world to work in their favour, why would they want to change things?

    Consider the time and energy involved in getting one dude to even consider evaluating his male privilege and position in society. It, for the most part, is a tiring and mostly fruitless process (BTDT, many a time).

    “If we as women (and all marginalized groups) can find allies in people within these patriarchal norms we can work together to break them down and work towards equality.

    Marginalized groups have different goals/aims in society and often they conflict with the program of female emancipation from patriarchal society. It could be argued that feminism should be about females, and that if potential allies agree with the aims of feminism, then they most certainly welcome to join in the struggle, otherwise they are free to build their own movement and focus on their goals.

    The notion of feminism centreing female struggle/issues should not be a radical idea. 🙂

    Interesting discussion in anycase. Thank you for hosting it on your blog. 🙂

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