Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Thing Called Feminism

I have recently discovered a wonderful blog at and if you are at all interested in feminism, you MUST check it out. There is a team of women who run the site, but there is also a community blog where members can post and comment and a lot of good discussions get started. I found this blog because a feministing panel is coming to the University for a discussion and presentation, so I looked into who they were and what they thought and fell in love. While I by no means agree with everything people post, it certainly makes me think about things. It also brings up variance in feminist opinions which I feel is not recognized by many.

So what is feminism? It's hard to explain and I feel most people have different definitions. I remember talking about it in my first GWSS (Gender Women Sexuality Studies) class as we wrote down all the things that came to mind, among them: bra-burning, pissed off, butch, lesbian, crazy women! Now as I self-identify as a feminist I fear these are the things people attach to me, when that is just simply not the truth. Any woman who is not a feminist simply hasn't encountered the right feminist thought, because all women should be opposed to the inequalities we face because of our sex. I say this because I used to laugh at feminists before I knew anything about the actual beliefs; I figured, stop whining and get over it, you can vote and work.

Women make only 70 cents for every dollar a man at the same job level earns. Telling a boy he throws like a girl is an insult. There still exists the ideology that women should raise children and do the cooking and cleaning. Society dictates marriage is the ultimate goal of a heterosexual couple and enforces this institution by attaching benefits. Women are objectified in the media, most disgustingly so in music videos. Women walking down the street at night have to be constantly aware for fear of attack and rape. Most swearing is offensive to women.

Feminism is the movement striving for equality in all aspects of life. Feminism is about choice -- to have children, to get married, to take a husband's last name, to have a career. Feminism is the fight against patriarchal overtones. Feminism the about ending the oppression of women and the violence against them. Feminism is realizing sex and gender are inextricably linked to issues of state, capitalism, class, race, power, politics, religion etc. Feminism is realizing gender is a social construct and does not exist on its own. Feminism is claiming one's sexuality. Feminism is complex and consists of more aspects that I can iterate; this is why one can study anything with a feminist perspective or apply feminist theory.

I love my boyfriend. I would hate life if I had to give up wearing bras and jiggle around all day. Patriarchy frustrates me because it affects everything and sometimes fighting against it seems futile. I want to walk down the streets of Minneapolis and not have my hand on my pepper spray. I want to get married because of the religious aspect but am against the institution. I see myself becoming more radical every day in my quest for equality and the end of oppression. I want children. I wanted to raise my children to be gender-neutral until I realized they would never get by because of the way society demands gender.I get pissed off about the inequalities facing women. I am a feminist.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Roche, I really loved this post. I have always been hesitant to call myself a feminist because 1) I feel like I don't understand it very well and 2) because, as you say, the title has such negative connotations. I'd love to study it more and find out if I really can call myself a feminist--so let's chat about this when I come back!