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I've been seeing some references to "feminism" and "feminists" on MDC lately, and I'm not sure exactly what feminism is. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> So, what does feminism mean to you?
 

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I am a feminist. Put simply, my definition of feminism is the political and social movement to put an end to male dominance in all aspects of life.
 

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"The radical notion that women are people".<br><br>
Feminism to me means that women are equals to men and need to be treated as such. Moving in the direction that people are just people... not their sex, their skin color, their economical status, their abilities, their age ect.
 

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To me, feminism means viewing the world starting off at the perspective of marginalised groups. I acknowledge my biases and worldview and then strive to shift my starting-off points in thought, to those other than my own.<br>
I consider the history of feminism and I appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of past feminist movements. Feminism was spearheaded mainly by white, middle class, heterosexual women. Because of this, there were a lot of groups left out. I seek, in my feminism, to make up for that as much as possible gven my limited scope of understanding.<br>
I consider myself probably a third-wave socialist feminist. (There are four main feminist bodies: Liberal, Socialist, Radical, and Lesbian Separatist).<br><br>
Quick and dirty feminism according to MJ who hasn't yet had coffee: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
First wave feminists were mostly Liberal feminists and mainly fought for the right to vote and for women to have access to education. They based their argument on the woman-as-nurturer idea and are foten called "maternal feminists". Second wave feminists began in the 60s and fought for the same rights as first wavers plus things like daycare, abortion, birth control, pay equity etc. They incorporated ideologies of 'new left' thinking. 3rd wave feminists incorporate a lot of the same struggles as the others, but also recognise the great lapse in recognition of ethinicity, class, heterosexism etc.<br><br>
ETA: My brand of feminism means that I believe that our capitalist economic structure (especially with its emphasis on colonization and globalisation) starting with industrialisation, is responsible for the patriarchal oppression of women and the proliferation of racism, heterosexism, ableism etc. as well as the destruction of communities and the environment. I would like to see a complete overhaul of our economic system in order to create equality and sustainable business practice. I agree with 'affirmative action' type programmes as a mini-move in the right direction to make up for the vast systemic injustices that exist. But I think the whole system is corrupt and oppressive.
 

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I am a feminist. I believe that women and men should have the same rights and benefits. Neither sex should get special treatment ie instead of companies just offering maternity leave it should be paternity leave, physical tests for military, police, fire fighter etc should be EXACTLY the same for both sexes etc.
 

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mamajama, that was a helpful explanation.<br><br>
Even though I probably fall into that same category of social feminism, I have always been wary of calling myself a feminist because I sometimes feel as though I have to back it up with specific tasks, political efforts, marches, letter-writing, etc. I feel like I don't do enough to hold that title, if that makes sense.<br><br>
I try to be very mindful of sexism, and to point it out when I see it. Is that enough to be considered a feminist? I don't know...<br><br>
I have always been curious about women who specifically say that they are not feminists or do not agree with even the most general feminist ideals. I don't understand how woman could actually NOT want sexual equality, esp. a woman who has a job, has an education, and votes.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kamilla626</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938743"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have always been curious about women who specifically say that they are not feminists or do not agree with even the most general feminist ideals. I don't understand how woman could actually NOT want sexual equality, esp. a woman who has a job, has an education, and votes.</div>
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It's a good question. Some people find the word feminist really frightening, I think. Which is too bad, IMO.
 

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Feminism means that I consider myself to be equal to men. Not the SAME as men, not BETTER than men, simply equal, while a woman in my own right. It's not about being bitchy, or not having decent manners and consideration. It's about wanting better for my dd. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamajama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938623"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">ETA: My brand of feminism means that I believe that our capitalist economic structure (especially with its emphasis on colonization and globalisation) starting with industrialisation, is responsible for the patriarchal oppression of women and the proliferation of racism, heterosexism, ableism etc. as well as the destruction of communities and the environment. I would like to see a complete overhaul of our economic system in order to create equality and sustainable business practice. I agree with 'affirmative action' type programmes as a mini-move in the right direction to make up for the vast systemic injustices that exist. But I think the whole system is corrupt and oppressive.</div>
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I agree with all of that, but I think that's exactly why I sometimes shy away from calling myself a feminist.<br><br>
The word feminism - to me - doesn't convey all that you describe. Even "humanist" doesn't quite cut it. It's about more than just treating women better, it's about changing the social structure at its basic level, so that women, people of minority groups, people of low income, etc. ALL have opportunities for living safe, fulfilling lives in a society that acknowledges their needs and hears their voices.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kamilla626</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938743"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Even though I probably fall into that same category of social feminism, I have always been wary of calling myself a feminist because I sometimes feel as though I have to back it up with specific tasks, political efforts, marches, letter-writing, etc. I feel like I don't do enough to hold that title, if that makes sense.</div>
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The plight of feminists everywhere. We're too busy doing things like getting groceries, pouring juice, reading to our kids, driving to playdates, going to the park, paying bills, to be activists. It's difficult. You're still a feminist even if you're not able to be an activist yk? I'm in school so I have the privilege of time and energy for the cause right now. But I know how it is to *not* have that time too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ThreeBeans</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938792"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Feminism means that I consider myself to be equal to men. Not the SAME as men, not BETTER than men, simply equal, while a woman in my own right. It's not about being bitchy, or not having decent manners and consideration. It's about wanting better for my dd. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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I disagree. I think sometimes it IS about being "bitchy," since bitchy is what we so often brand women who stand up for themselves and demand what they deserve. I don't think it matters to have decent manners when decent manners translates to "be kind to your oppressor." And I don't just want better for anybody's daughters (since I don't have my own). I also want better for myself.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ThreeBeans</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938792"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Feminism means that I consider myself to be equal to men. Not the SAME as men, not BETTER than men, simply equal, while a woman in my own right. It's not about being bitchy, or not having decent manners and consideration. It's about wanting better for my dd. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>avengingophelia</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am a feminist. Put simply, my definition of feminism is the political and social movement to put an end to male dominance in all aspects of life.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamajama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The plight of feminists everywhere. We're too busy doing things like getting groceries, pouring juice, reading to our kids, driving to playdates, going to the park, paying bills, to be activists. It's difficult. You're still a feminist even if you're not able to be an activist yk? I'm in school so I have the privilege of time and energy for the cause right now. But I know how it is to *not* have that time too.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> It's hard some days to wonder how and where and when my day-to-day <i>actions</i> and my <i>ideals</i> diverged so radically.
 

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Feminism is the movement for the political liberation of women. I'm not a feminist, so take it for what it's worth. And I'm not a doormat, either.
 

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I consider myself a feminist, but most feminists want to kick me in the head. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I believe that the feminist movement was meant to bring us into equality, but isn't meant to try to say that we are <i>the same.</i> Far too often, I see feminists wanting entitlement, not equality, and it irks me. Just as much as it irks them that I would actually have the gall to call it entitlement.<br><br>
I really hate quotas, because I think they are separatist. I really hate special tests for women, versus tests for men, in any field of work. If you can't pass the existing test to be a police officer, you can't be one. A special test should not be created for you because of your gender. Would this naturally slant some fields more towards more men than women, and vice versa? Yes. This upsets feminists who want us to be the same.<br><br>
The problem is, if we were the same, we wouldn't need special tests.<br><br>
If you are qualified, you are entitled to the job. Male, female, purple, green, or chartreuse. But if you can't pass the qualifications, you can't- male, female, purple, or chatruese.<br><br>
The problem, as I see it, isn't that men are better qualified for some jobs, and women better qualified for others. The problem is that as a society, we value more the jobs that men are better qualified for. I think that it would be better to get rid of THIS concept, as opposed to making quotas to fit the genders into different jobs than they're qualified for.<br><br>
I feel a lot of concern that in some areas, we have moved from male oppression of females, to female oppression of males. Women want the right to work outside the home, but it's still pretty much frowned upon for "deadbeat men" to be stay at home dads. This moniker shouldn't apply, yet it often does, a snide undercurrent in our society upon men who want to stay home. Most stay at home dads do so because they are diabled... it's pretty sad that a man must be disabled before he is socially accepted to stay home and parent while his wife works.<br><br>
Instead, the job of stay at home parent is valued even LESS when a man does it, than it is when a woman does it. And the value of that job is already socially pretty low. It is viewed as one of the "silly" and "cute" foibles of the upper class, rather than an honored and needed profession in and of itself. Child care providers are poorly paid and their jobs are not honored, either.<br><br>
I don't personally believe that there is a problem with men dominating some professions, and women dominating others. In acknowledging our weaknesses, we can acknowledge our strengths.<br><br>
When our society begins to acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of each gender, and the exceptions to that norm, and allows for all professions to be valued... then I think we'll reach equality.<br><br>
I don't think socialism is the answer, because it infringes on our freedom. The USA is consistently moving towards a socialist state, and that is very unfortunate, because socialist states are not places of freedom, historically. In fact, they are historically even more oppressive than our current system (our= USA).<br><br>
Life in the USA can be very difficult, certainly, yet at the same time... we have a tremendous amount to be grateful for. When we begin to swing the pendulum in favor of equality, let us be certain that it doesn't swing too far to the opposite side.<br><br>
For equality to be true, NO ONE can be more entitled than the other. And historically... the oppressed becomes the oppressor. If we want a lasting peace and a lasting beauty in our society, we must strive not to allow that to happen.
 

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"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute."<br><br>
~Rebecca West, 1913
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>avengingophelia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938984"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I disagree. I think sometimes it IS about being "bitchy," since bitchy is what we so often brand women who stand up for themselves and demand what they deserve. I don't think it matters to have decent manners when decent manners translates to "be kind to your oppressor." And I don't just want better for anybody's daughters (since I don't have my own). I also want better for myself.</div>
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I don't think you quite understood what I meant <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Amris</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7939572"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I really hate quotas, because I think they are separatist.</div>
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When you're trying to go from Point A (racist, sexist, classist, etc.) to Point B (equality), it's tough to pull off without an interim step in between. My former firm struggled a lot with whether to have quotas for diversity hires, women at certain levels, etc. But it wasn't until we started tying HR's pay to the percentage of diversity hires they made that they actually got a clue and realize, huh, maybe advertising on NPR isn't reaching "everyone" after all, and maybe relying on 73% of our hires coming from our CURRENT (non-diverse) employees referring their (non-diverse) friends and family members and fellow alums is a really good way to perpetuate our existing levels of diversity, and gee maybe having white male executives recruit at their (white male dominated) institutions of higher learning is not doing enough to ensure a diverse workforce. I did a lot with diversity initiatives in my firm. It was shocking what happened to levels of diversity as you moved up the corporate ladder. Once we got the new hires in good shape, we had to put a whole mentoring/retention program in place because our women and employees of color were dropping like flies as they entered the higher levels... or didn't as the case turned out to be. And yes we set quotas... a certain percentage of female top executives, people of color, etc. I just can't see as we could have done it any other way.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I really hate special tests for women, versus tests for men, in any field of work. If you can't pass the existing test to be a police officer, you can't be one. A special test should not be created for you because of your gender. Would this naturally slant some fields more towards more men than women, and vice versa? Yes. This upsets feminists who want us to be the same.</td>
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What if the tests are stacked against you in ways you don't fully understand, that have a lot less to do with physical requirements to do a specific job and a lot more to do with cultural norms and expectations? That's like saying you need a SAT score of at least 1450 in order (old scoring, lol!) to go to Harvard.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I feel a lot of concern that in some areas, we have moved from male oppression of females, to female oppression of males.</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"> Really? I am sort of speechless that anyone feels that women have the power in this country. There is SO much work left to be done.
 

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Yep, agreed. But also remembering that there is a reason I usually don't try to converse on this subject...brings up the bile too fast.
 
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