I have had trouble identifying or truly understanding where I, my thoughts, my principles and values fall in line with others. Fundamentally, it is not important to me to have a label. But, I am a human being, I crave social acceptance, and social identity. That’s why we group. We find others that connect with our ideals. We group to have a connection. We find this connection ever more important, ever more identifying, when we are ‘in defense’. Defending against villainy, whatever that may be. The larger the group, the better the defense, more effect. The capabilities become more substantial, more operative; stemming from outreach, facilitation, and access of resources. So yes, big picture, labels are important. The group, the name, what it stands for is important. Unfortunately, the feminist movement has taken a nose dive in effectiveness due to this identification of the group. And leads to my confusion as to where I lie, in or out?
In or out of the feminist movement. Feminism: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. This definition, I identify with. I believe, but do not assume, that most women can also identify with this. Feminism should always be this clear-cut definition, the doctrine of the entire movement. Yet, it has strayed so far away. The “movement” has yielded due to a collapse from within. I have read many posts and articles of ex-feminists that no longer identify with this new wave group of left-wing feminism. So much so, that they decided to shed their label as a feminist altogether due to a loss of connection with the group. I’m talking monumental, relevant people to the movement, critical thinkers, intellectuals, and philosophers. This is astounding, but I understand it. I, myself, am very apprehensive to identify as a feminist for the same reasons. In past blogs, I state that “I am not a feminist” or I am a “partial-feminist”, whatever the hell that means. I am so concerned with being identified as a far-left radical feminist man-hater, and all other irrationality assigned to that, that I don’t even know what my own label is. Well, I’ve come to this conclusion, I am a feminist. I stand for social and political equality, I stand for the breaking of gender norms that innately oppress women, I stand for chastising men’s unwarranted sexualization, I stand for advancement of women in “the men’s club” of government and corporate America. And I disown, disavow those who have made this movement a joke. A fucking crybaby fest of miniscule irrelevancies. The aim of the feminist movement is equality in all domains, on a large scale. It is not about the villainization of men. Men can be, and are, a part of the feminist movement as well, and to make them feel as if they should apologize for all of man-kinds wrong doings is outrageous. Hating men only further divides the gap between genders, in which feminism is directly trying to close. Have we learned nothing from Martin Luther King versus Malcolm X? Peace and hate, the effect on the Civil Rights movement. Feminism is not about breaking gender norms that some women themselves, socially accept. Demonizing the color pink, and “femininity”, and what that may mean from one woman to the next, is not of relevance. It is about breaking gender norms that put men in a place of superiority, or place women into inferiority. Feminism is not about rising to higher level of superiority, it is about evening the playing field. That superiority itself, should not have a place within the sexes. It is not about denying the biological differences between men and women, feminism is not saying “we are the same”. We are not the same biologically. What we are, is humans, and all humans deserve the same freedoms, the same political rights, the same opportunities within education and employment, the same social rights. Feminism is not about getting offended and outraged at the drop of a word or action. Emotions, and the unity and connection that stem from those emotions is what makes the movement strong. It is difficult to construct thoughtful and meaningful dialogue when feelings of anger or frustration cloud the mind. And the anger is understandable, unavoidable even. I have been treated by men in ways that leaves me filled with rage, and a desire to lash out. But our thoughts, interjections, stances, and defenses need to be well constructed, well informed, and always backed by the feminist doctrine. Derive everything you say and do toward, for, or against the movement with its very premise.
The movement needs to be put in check. The branches of liberalists, radicalists, far-left radicals, etcetera etcetera, need to remember the definition of feminism, its inherent doctrine, its finite truth, in which we all find our underlying pursuit; the social and political rights of women as human beings, being no different to the male sex. I read a quote many years ago in a book about the women’s rights movement in the Middle East. It states, “if I rise up, if you rise up, everyone will rise up.” I have this quote tattooed on my inner wrist because it struck me right to my core, took hold of me, inspired me. And as I look down at it in this moment, it is as if reading it for the first time all over again. A fresh yet constant reminder. This is what we need. We need unity. We need intellects and critical thinkers, to give structure and well-rounded meaning to the movement, one that all women can identify with.
Do you find yourself emotionally responding to this article? Are you angered, frustrated, irritated even? Stop, ask yourself why. What have I said that has triggered this emotional response. Identify a sentence, phrase, word, that I used that has led to you feeling this way. Analyze it. Question it. Pick it apart and put it back together. Offer a rebuttal of substance. It is okay to feel these emotions, it is not okay to just spew anger out of nonsensical uneducated thought. I say this in earnest, and feel free to leave comments.
Below I have included important information to develop a well-rounded critically thoughtful attitude on or toward the movement.
Liberal feminism entrusts the rights of women to be fully enforced through political reform. Liberals place value in individual pursuits, for women to make their personal choices that will result in better equality.
Radical feminism focuses on the patriarchal society’s enforcement of gender roles to keep women oppressed. The use of politics is futile, as it is a patriarchally dominated arena as well. Therefore, radical feminists target cultural change, focusing on breaking gender norms that result in male superiority and female inferiority. RadFem’s actively protest pornography and prostitution.
Marxist feminism is focused on the oppression of women through capitalist agendas.
Socialist feminism combines the theories of radical and Marxist feminism, the resulting oppression of women stems from both capitalist control and the patriarchal society enforcing gender roles to keep women subservient in political and economic standing.
Libertarian feminism (branch of liberal feminism) believes rather than pursuing political reform, it is simpler to exist in the world as is, and women should emphasize their skills and abilities to better compete and adapt.
Cultural feminism emphasizes the revalidation of the “female essence”, that is the attributes that make the woman a woman, i.e. our capacity to reproduce. Women should identify with these female characteristics as strengths rather than weaknesses.
Rape culture is the social normalization or trivialization of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse, and now I believe even sexualization of women falls under this umbrella.
Gender roles are a set of behaviors considered normal (norms), acceptable, and appropriate for the designated gender to follow.
Sex is the biological identification of genitalia at birth, and gender is assigned at birth, boy or girl, and sets the designated gender role for which that individual is expected to follow.
Want to be hit in the face with the reality of what many people think about feminism? Why I decided to write about this topic? Check out these provided links:
Also, check out some of these great articles: