And when I say “we” I mean both men and women of every kind. I could easily google “feminism” and get tons of results, but I don’t want to do that. Not because I’m lazy but because there is no definite answer. There are good answers here ranging from textbook answers to personal…
we cant get a unified answer because it’s not a simple term, that and political movements have to evolve, and as they do, especially something that crosses so many other lines as feminism does, the definition must be revisted, critisized and reworked. Just look at the word “liberal” from an academic perspective, it can mean what we take it to mean now, or it can mean what it did during Kant’s time, and we could argue til the end of time about what was the “real” definition.
and just so you know, the men on here who are making wild claims about how feminism is so very evil and sexist need to pull their collective heads from their collective rears. If they have such a problem about how their rights are so violated, they should be learning from examples, not expecting women to do the work for them.
Cherry selecting factors of feminism which suits a individual’s needs isn’t something new. i like to show out particular factors of feminism and “females’s rights” to criticize. In a manner, i’m doing somewhat cherry selecting. yet i like to %. the main irrational factors.
There are many types of Republicans, and you cannot get a good answer about what either political party stands for, because there are many members of each Party, and each member’s ideals become a part of the “whole” ideal. In the same way there are many movements in Feminism.
It would be more proper for the posters who are against feminism to attack a certain platform or belief, instead of attacking a word.
If this was done, there could be some meaningful discussion on this forum.
Good point. Among the ladies who refer to themselves as feminists that I know, there seem to be a common few beliefs – career is better and more fulfilling than homemaking and motherhood, which is boring and doesn’t stimulate the mind enough; men are kinda like children and/or pets; traditional roles are oppressive and don’t work; etc. That, I take issue with. And those seem to be fairly common among feminists. I could be wrong though since I haven’t met every single feminist woman in the world.
At its simplest level feminism is advocacy for equal rights for women.
Feminism is said to have gone through three “waves”.
First-wave feminism focussed on suffrage for women (obtaining the right to vote). This took place in the 19th and early 20th century.
Second-wave feminism began in the 1960s and lasted through the 1970s. This was the push for women having the right to work outside of the home.
Third-wave feminism began in the 1990s and is continuing today. This movement is an attempt to challenge some of the ideals of second-wave feminism, including not having a set definition of what constitutes femininity.
People who object to “feminism” often have the ideals of second-wave feminism in mind. Some third-wave feminists don’t even like to call themselves “feminists”.
The dictionary reference provides a good basic definition of what feminism really is and what it is meant to be. However, one must realize that there are different “branches” of feminist thought in which there can be differences in opinion between and among feminists. Different schools of thought within feminism focus on different concerns, want to work within different theoretical frameworks, and have different ideas of what the problems and solutions are. There are all of these different branches because
a) some didn’t feel that their needs/unique concerns were being addressed in the mainstream movement.
b) there isn’t agreement regarding problems/solutions to given social problems
-Example: A radical feminist will want to dismantle all of the systems that perpetuate the oppression of women. A liberal feminist wants to work within the given structures, working within the restraints of capitalism, patriarchy, etc.
c) there are many branches that viewed the mainstream movement to only care about the needs of white, middle-class women. They didn’t feel like their voices were being heard or that their needs were being addressed. One example here could be the Womanist movement (Black feminist thought).
When people think about feminism, it conjures up different ideas in people’s minds even between and among feminists. There is the basic belief of equality and leveling the playing field. And sometimes, the agreement stops there.
Anyone, whether they agree or disagree with feminism can critique it. I do think people need to be aware that feminism does not consist of a homogenous set of beliefs in which everyone believes in and agrees upon. It’s just not the case. This relates to one of the many critiques of feminism. To me, it is a critique that doesn’t factor in the differences in opinion between and among feminists. Refer to the Andrea Dworkin questions where many spoke up and said they didn’t agree with her theories/politics.
I consider myself a feminist and I can be a harsh critic of the movement as well. I don’t think that I need to believe in and agree with everything that could fall within the realm of feminist thought. That kind of thinking is dangerous, no matter what it is that you happen to believe. Whether you agree with feminism or not, it’s important for everyone to figure out what they believe on their own. You can’t blindly agree with everything that is presented to you.
Bottom line: You don’t need to know everything about feminism to critique it. One does have to be mindful that it is NOT made up of a set of homogenous views.
There are many categories of feminism. And there never will be one definition of feminist for everyone, unfortunately! Just as there are different classes of male rights activists, it’s impossible to get everyone on the same page or even heading in the same direction.
I think it’s best to pick whatever school of thought approximates yours; there’ll never be a perfect fit.
I also think very few people here even know what those schools of thought are. They tend to just use the term “feminist” as though it had one, incontrovertable meaning.
The Wiki on feminism types is pretty helpful.
Some things get more complicated over time. Feminism is a political philosophy, social movement, academic buzzword and in its worst form, a fundamentalist religion.
The people in the last group are the ones who alienate, and ruin it for everyone.
Fundamentalism is a strict adherence to principles. Blind obedience, the inability or unwillingness to analyze ones own shortcomings, the inability to listen.
I am making valid judgments based on personal experience, education among other things. I do not hate feminists and think they are all bad. But I can not except that they are exempt from bad apples and knee-jerks.
How can you take something seriously when it has no “real” definition?
Feminism is what ever the individual “feminist” SAYS it is. So any woman can change the definition to suite her individual beliefs.
This is why I don’t support feminism.. too hypocritical and wishy washy..
Because people choose to negate reality when it would be to their disadvantage. People who are critical of feminism usually refer to real life feminism, actions speak louder than words. The women in support of feminism want to enjoy all the perks it got them and to defend it, all that is left to them is to refer to the textbook definition of feminism, because real world feminism is impossible to defend. So when a man attacks feminism referring to the reality of feminism the feminist plugs her ears and chants the mantras out of her feminist studies books. So it can be chalked up to one party denying reality and refusing discussion about it.