Thursday, May 19, 2005

Definition please?

Suzz and a moron got me thinking about this again. I've blogged about *my* definition of feminism before, but I want your opinion...men and women welcome. Honest answers only, please.

When you think of feminism what definition pops to mind?? What *is* feminism to YOU? Most importantly, what is feminism NOW?? Not 30 years ago...but this minute.

Even if you infuriate me, I'll leave all of your virtual body parts in tact. Scout's honor.

22 comments:

  1. It's about something that should be called "personism" instead. Being able to act and be percieved in a gender neutral fashion when gender shouldn't matter, and about celebrating and leveraging the qualities that make being either a 'chick' or a 'dick' so cool. It is not about flammable underwear.

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  2. I agree with Ian. When I think of feminism I think of hard-core people, like Dworkin. I'm more of a people are people are people sort of person.

    I'm aware that the whole glass ceiling thing still exists for women, but there is also a double standard the other way too. I mean with the story in the news today that the US govt/congress (??) wants to withdraw female soldiers from anywhere near the front line in Iraq. Why have female soldiers if you don't want them to fight, and if you aren't prepared for them to risk death.

    I also really hate the whole emphasis on "women and children" whenever the death toll from an explosion occurs. Are women's lives more precious than men's?
    Then again, it is true that in many cases women are not involved in whatever violence occured to the same extent as men...

    I also hate those women who complain that men won't hold doors for them, or aren't "gentlemanly". Obviously I'm not for slamming doors in people's faces but, ah, I've gone on too long so I'll shuddup for now :)

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  3. oh dear. feminism to me or to the world at large? because i do believe they're different things. to me feminism means allowing women to be all that they are capable of. There ARE differences between men and women, and women ARE better suited to some jobs and men to others, but there are exceptions to all things and a woman should not be restricted from certain activities based on her femininity alone, just as a man shouldn't be criticized for being a "stay at home dad" if he is personally gifted in child care and housekeeping! Feminism to me is about recognizing the excellence of both sexes without qualification. It is NOT about elevating one sex over the other, which is a feminist cause I cannot stand by, and I hope you'll agree that some women have taken it that extra step, because it is sadly self-evident, as in the recent debate where the dean of Harvard? Yale? where? is being lashed to death for saying that men tend to be better in the sciences and women in the arts. I still believe in chivalry because I still believe in being a lady, and as long as there is one, there should be the other. Unfortunately, many women take feminism to mean that being a lady is out the door. "I can spit and swear with the best of them, so i should, and God forbid I ever cook a meal for a man or clean up someone else's dishes." This attitude is naturally a huge turn off to the gentlemen among us, and is the cause of the "Why should I treat you differently than i treat myself" debate, but not everyone sees it that way. Anyway, there it is. AND you should know that at the risk of my personal health, safety, and coolness factor, I DID go to the midnight showing of Star Wars last night. It was pretty good and the BEST part was the INCREDIBLE preview for The LIon, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which almost made me cry...

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  4. AAAGGGGHHHHH!!! The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe!!! I was just discussing the movie with someone at the 'brary the other day. I have no interest whatsoever in seeing the new Star Wars, but I might go sit in for the previews now! :o)

    And I want your (everyone's) personal definition of feminism....and I'm holding my comments until later.

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  5. Speaking of Narnia, is it just me or does the Lucy kid in the trailer look too young? Anyone got the book near by that could check her age?

    Course I am probably visualising the BBC's(?) buck-toothed Lucy who was quite a bit older

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  6. actually (yes i own THREE sets of the chronicles and read them annually) the lucy in the new movie is much closer to the correct age. and thank GOD she's not hideous, which, i'm sorry, she is NOT in the book and IS in the BBC version, as unkind as that may be. I nearly died, Andi. I thought "i don't care if i have to leave my newborn son in a basket on the sidewalk...i WILL see tha tmovie..." okay. i wouldn't do that, but i WOULD be the woman with the screaming child in the back who refused to leave if that's what it took!!
    the previews were actually all pretty good. You had the Pink Panther remake (my husband is a big fan), the Batman movie (again- husband, although I'm interested too), the Fantastic Four (another superhero flick) and LWW (me all the way nearly crying and going into premature labor from sheer excitement). All in all, not a bad preview run at all!

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  7. Wow, good question here. I think of feminism as a strong belief in the united power of women. Women banding together to further their cause(s). Whether that is breast cancer awareness, domestic abuse, women's reproductive rights, etc.

    On the other hand, I do believe it's also about a woman with strong individual values and goals. A woman not reliant on a member of the opposite sex. Someone that is socially aware and "fighting the good fight" as it has been said.

    I am sure there's more out there, but this is how I envision it. For the record I consider my wife to be a feminist.

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  8. To me, feminism is the action women take to equalize the playing field. I hate when people act like feminists are off the deep end, or too militant. Yes, some are more militant than I would like, but the idea itself has extraordinary merit and necessity and should not be undervalued. It is 2005, and we have never had a female president in the U.S. (or a non-white one, which also pisses me off.) Women still make 75 cents for every $1 a man makes. Until these things are changed, feminism should and must rage on. It's not about tearing down men; it's about not letting society continually tear down women.

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  9. What feminism is today is an interesting question for me as I realize I have no clue. I still think about it as though it still is what it was in the late 60s and 70s. A relic I is.

    For me personally, feminism means what it always has -- embracing our differences and letting people live and do as they wish. If a female can pass the physical tests to be a firefighter, let her be one. If a man wants to stay home with the kids, let him. Etc and more stuff like that.

    Being told you can't do or be something simply because you are female left an indelible impression upon me that froze my
    mind :)

    Suzz

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  10. I honestly don't think I could come up with a single definition.
    It's a tricky question because any definition is going to be specific to particular contexts. I spent a couple years reading and writing about Islamic feminist interpretations of the Qur'an and it drove home the point that concepts like "feminism" are culturally specific and tied to any number of other basic concepts like "what is a self?" In America we have umpteen varieties: religiously liberal feminism differs from liberal secular feminism and both differ from...well, you get the point. The one thing that studying feminism in Islamic and Christian contexts did for me was to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the American tendency to look down on "other" cultures because they don't treat women as we do. Women are indeed treated horribly in many parts of the world, but much of American culture, especially pop culture, is rabidly misogynstic.

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  11. Trick,

    Well said. You seldom see that kind of thought about American vs. Islamic thinking.

    I lived in Iran during and after the Revolution. One day, Kate Millet put her butt on a plane in NYC and showed up in Teheran with the purpose of liberating Iranian women. Khomeni & Co. wouldn't let her get off the plane. She and said plane sat on the tarmac until it was time for the next flight right back out of Iran.

    I have to admit to laughing myself senseless at the supreme cultural arrogance and ignorance of Millet and the other NYC feminists who thought they had the absolute truth but only showed an appalling lack of knowledge.

    Khomeni's comment in the Iranian press? The freedom American women have is the freedom to to be prostitutes and dress like prostitutes.

    That's how they see what we view as sexual freedom and skimpy clothes in public. They see those things as a degradation of women and not an elevation.

    Not saying I agree. I'm an Amercian, a feminist and not a Moslem but it gave me pause and cause for thought such that almost 30 years later I still remember the incident.

    Suzz

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  12. i do call myself a feminist and i think that men can also be feminists. for me it's about equality and equity. i have particularly strong feeling for being properly compensated in the workforce and valuing female-dominated professions.

    it's about not making prejudgments about someone based on gender. yes, there are physical and biological differences between men and women but otherwise, who we are and what we are capable of varies widely and i think people should be assessed on their individual merits rather than on their gender.

    it's also about valuing a woman's identity and little things like not assuming that she'll want to change her name if she gets married or forcing her to become 'Mrs. some guy's name' and attaching her value/identity to someone else.

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  13. I think feminism is about celebrating the female gender and, in particular, celebrating those traits that are unique to women. I think feminism is about support for other women, be it from men or women. I think it's also about being aware - aware of the conditions society creates that impact women, both positive and negative. It's about being aware of the barriers that impact women, and that are specific to women, and bringing down barriers. I would suggest as well that it is about promoting women's issues in a way that will realize progress for women.

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  14. I think that the term 'feminism' has been run into the ground, and just needs to be started over. Something that doesn't just label one gender, culture, race; something that everyone can identify with. Everybody is running the same race. We all want the best jobs and the money to go with it. We want the best for our children and our families. People just need to stop and sit back and ENJOY their lives instead of worrying who makes more at what. What a stress that would be. I want enjoyment and fulfillment out of life and I don't want to trade to fight for that last quarter that my male co-worker has over me. Ten dollars a week. Sorry, I would never want to see a woman become President.
    Made some enemies on that one!!

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  15. *Gasp*

    Why would you never want to see a female president, if you don't mind my asking?

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  16. I just don't believe that it is good place for a woman. Our country is the most powerful nation in the world, and I just don't think there is a woman 'hard ass' enough to be able to handle the task. For one there are countries, Middle East, that hold no respect for their own women, so what makes people think that they would want to cooperate with a female president of the country that they hate the most? I believe that they would end up revolting even worse than they have in the past/present. With that aside, God made the chemistry of a man and a woman so completely different. As I well know, women are more sensitive, emotional and nuturing than men, which I think would leave us in a sense weaker (emotionally) than our counterparts to handle the daunting tasks of running our nation. God made the chemistry of a man stronger (I'm not saying smarter). He is supposed to be the protector. By that going to war and being on the front line, for the majority making a living to support his family, to be able to handle the responsibility of running the nation that everyone runs to when something bad happens, to be able to deal with it. I just do not believe that it is in our chemical make up to handle such a task. Now, I do know that both sexes poses all traits, there are just more promanent ones in each. I'm not saying that women are weak, or that men are not loving, my husband is awsome and I am a strong woman. Like I said, I probably made a few enemies, Andi is probably in shock right now even though she loves me, she is probably wanting to pull my hair out instead of hers. Since she did promise not to hurt anyone!!

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  17. I see what you're saying, but the misogyny of others is no reason to hold women back. With that reasoning, we could have said back in the 19th century, "Sure the slaves should be freed but just think of the reaction! Whites will never respect blacks, so they should just stay in that position." If injustice had always been allowed to continue simply because people were unjust, the world would be way worse than it is.

    Men are not stronger, women are not weaker. This is a social construct that men (and now women) have attributed to God in order to inflate its credibility.

    You haven't made enemies, don't worry. I just had to respond because I feel that sometimes women are our own worst enemies when it comes to things like this.

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  18. I just realized that I used the word 'enemies' anyway! Let me rephrase that: I feel that sometimes women do more harm to ourselves than men do.

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  19. Everyone is their own worse enemy. And I really don't believe that society has given the credibility to God. God created woman in the image of man. To be partners, to bring themselves together to compliment each other, not clash. If we were all the same (I'm speaking of sexes here, not race, way to mant to open that up) what would be the point of there being two gengers? Whether anyone wants to accept it or not men do have stronger traits that women, AND women of men. And by any means I am not bashing women. Just like there are those you say that harm the female race by saying that the two sexes will never be equal, there are those on the other side that go so way far overboard that it too harms the female gender. Now, there are no laws that prevent a woman for running for office, and I'm sure there will be a woman that will eventually run. I just dont think that I am unjust by saying out of five bazillion jobs out there, I don't feel women are suited for one...

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  20. oh, sojo, I saw on a commercial tonight a show airing this fall about a woman vice president, who becomes president called Commander in Chief. So, be watching for it!

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  21. I've been surfing the Internet and for some reason I recalled this post and, in particular, I recalled your promise to provide a definition (as promised in the comment thread). You could imagine my disappointment upon discovering the absence of your definition when I arrived at this post tonight. :)

    Since I am here, I thought I would let you know that I am interested in your thoughts on the subject. I do apologize if you posted them elsewhere on your blog. If that is the case, perhaps you could direct to their whereabouts. Thanks!

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