Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ordinary Me: F

F: Feminist I'm not sure there are many more misunderstood words in English than this one. I think several factors contribute to this problem. First, the conservatives shout the loudest, so their definitions get the most airplay. As a result, not many people can define "feminist" but most know exactly what a "feminazi" is. I once asked my students to define the word feminist, and they refined it until we came to this: "A woman who bulldozes her way over men to get what she wants." Ahem. Then I asked the gender studies student to define it for them. It sounds so harmless when you look at the face of it.

The other problem is that there are many feminisms, and things that make people think can so easily confuse them. It is a label I embrace, and if you wonder why, I invite you to do research into the subject to find out. You didn't think I was going to make this easy, did you?


Aussie Stitcher said...

Alot of people think of feminists as being men haters, which is not the case. Feminists just want equal rights and conditions for women.


Kathryn said...

The problem with power is that those who have it often are afraid to lose it, They are afraid that if they give some of it away that the people who take it will do all the nasty things to THEM that they did to those without power.

The issue that many men who hate feminists don't realize is that some of their power concerns are absolutely of no concern at all to feminists. We don't need to say that Degas was a poor artist to say that Mary Cassatt was a great one. We don't need to say that Dickens doesn't interest us when we read Jane Austen instead. The mere fact that some women may be powerful is disruptive to men and even some women. People like to think they know "The Rules" and hate anyone who changes them, even if the change is for the better.

Over time, the things that feminists fight for just blend into the mainstream. I hope that those who come after us don't forget that we had to fight for those rights.

C in DC said...

A 19-year-old student won $1 million the first night of the new Power of Ten show by accurately guessing (within a range) what percentage of women would consider themselves feminists. The precise answer was 29%.

The frustrating part of this part of the show was listening to Drew Carey revive all the old stereotypes.