Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Well, do you?

Are you a feminist?

Did you cringe? Roll your eyes? Shrug your shoulders?

As I sat in the Barnes & Noble cafe at Rowan University this past week, I decided to use this time to figure out what people on campus thought of feminism. Even as I wrote the question out, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?” I sighed a little. Me, being a full blown feminist, and not in any way ashamed of it, sighed sadly. I knew people would be hesitant to answer simply because of that word.

I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be, but I was still a little disappointed. Out of the ten people I asked, almost all of them considered themselves feminists, but most of them elaborated on their answer. One of the employees at Barnes and Noble claimed she considered herself a feminist, but a “calm feminist.” A man I asked thought about the question for a couple of seconds, to the point where I told him it was fine if he didn’t, then he answered, “Well, my wife is.” He then went on to say he would claim to be a feminist. Another girl my age Lauren, 23, said, “I would say yes, I am somewhat of a feminist. I’m not an extreme feminist, but I agree with most feminist ideas.” That was generally the answer to the question. I only received one definitive yes. Well, to quote Tina, 23, “Fuck yes I’m a feminist.”

There were two people who didn’t consider themselves feminists, but they believed in equality between the sexes. Both of these were guys my age, Brandon and Darron. One of them said he understood where girls were coming from, yet he did not consider himself a feminist.

When I then went on to ask them what feminism means to them, I received three answers. Equality between the sexes, respect, and empowering women. Since I had not planned for these interviews to go into any type of depth, I simply thanked them and walked away. While I was walking away I couldn’t help but think that some of their answers were conflicting. It seems society has tainted the word feminism, and people don’t necessarily understand this movement’s roots.

I figure as a nice beginning to the semester and an ease into the subject, I’ll share some links that I have found to be helpful when I began to learn more about this brash word. Dare I say it?

Feminism.

Breaking down Barriers – This article focuses on the beginning of the feminist movement, and focuses on the workplace equality, as well as the expectation for women to stay in the home when that did not make them happy. This focuses on the shift from home to working women.

Sexual Freedom – This article is actually an excerpt from a bigger book titled, “Delirium: How the Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America” by Nancy L. Cohen. Although it is quite lengthy, it is worth the read if you wish to understand more about the sexual revolution. It touches on aspects such as birth control, marriage, the nuclear family, and the change that has taken place throughout the 20th century regarding these.

Intersectionality: The Dream – This article, written in 2013, is one of my favorites. It focuses on the differences between white feminism, and feminism as it pertains to women of color. The dream would be for feminism to include all races, but mainstream feminism tends to focus on white, middle class females. Enlightening without berating or judging, this read is definitely worth it for anyone.

I hope those links have helped anyone who is slightly confused about what feminism means today. It is bigger than ever, and it is always nice to touch up on aspects, especially since I feel as if people are not as versed as they should be on this matter.

Until next time!

Post 2: Aggregation

I would be lying if I told you I knew everything there is to know about feminism, but that is because feminism is an idea based around equality. Equality means different things for different people. As the video easily shows, there are different types of feminism. Sexual, political, and economic rights are three of the main pushes the feminist movement has taken. Although feminism has a negative connotation, as that video again easily proves, there is no reason for anyone to be ashamed to call themselves a feminist. It is, quite simply, a wish for equal rights between the genders.

What is patriarchy, you asked? This word was said multiple times in the video, and to give you a concrete definition, patriarchy is, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “a family, group, or government controlled by a man or a group of men.” Well, you asked, what aspects are controlled by men? Basically all of them. From politics to media to education, throughout history men have created a system of government all over the world where they are in charge. (Please don’t burn me. I love men, I swear.) Patriarchy does more than simply hurt femininity, in the traditional gender sense, but it also hurts males. “Boys don’t cry,” “boys are tough, emotionless beings,” “they are shrewd, engineers, scientists,” etc., are all stereotypes that box males in as well as females. That is why the feminist movement is not a movement for women only (NO BOYS ALLOWED! is so elementary school, when we believed everything adults told us, right?) rather, it is a movement for any person, regardless of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, or sex. I find most people would readily say they were a feminist, if it was not called feminist, which is why we need to call it feminist, don’t you see? Ah, a bit confusing, I admit. Feminism is a movement for equality. Simply put.

Patriarchy is not the only word in that first video that was said multiple times. Equality was also one of them, and I’m sure almost everyone heard Beyonce’s song “Flawless,” where she actually used a section of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech titled “We Should All be Feminists.” In Beyonce’s song, Adichie is heard saying “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” which, in my opinion, is the premises of feminism.

While many people think that feminism is equated with misandry, which is the hatred of men, it is not. It is not a bunch of angry women picketing around the world who hate men, but this stereotype, one that is often portrayed in media, is exactly why feminism is necessary. (Apologies for the poor video quality.)

parody

(Photo courtesy of @Remiel on flickr creative commons page. This is a parody of cosmopolitan magazine, but as outlandish as it sounds, it took me a couple of minutes to even figure out it was a parody, which is utterly depressing. The top right says, “He’s definitely cheating. What you’re doing wrong.” Under fucking tips it says, “Hold his interest for yet another month.”)

If you believe in equal rights for every human being, you’re a feminist. It’s time we take the negative connotation off that word, don’t you think?

Until next time!

Introduction Post

Hi guys!

My names Briana, and I’m going to use this blog to look at every day life through the lens of a feminist. I shouldn’t say lens, perhaps, because once a person becomes a feminist it’s as if they are taking off a lens, and seeing the full picture, but I’ll use that word since I’m aware that not everyone identifies as a feminist, which is okay. I hope to open your eyes a little and simply expand your mind on the ideas and goals a feminist has, while also reporting on events such as sports and plays, art exhibits, radio shows, and writers at Rowan University. I hope to interview male and females who consider themselves feminists, male and females who don’t, professors, athletes, artists, writers, radio hosts, actors and actresses, basically anyone at Rowan. I just wish to broaden your understanding and expand your mind. I enjoy intellectual conversations, so please, by all means, comment on my posts and perhaps help me while I help you! Nobody has all the answers, after all.

The picture I have chosen for my header above is actually a piece of art featured in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It was created by Judy Chicago, and it is called The Dinner Party. There are 39 place settings, one featuring a powerful historical or mythical woman. For example, Sojourner Truth has a place, as well as Virginia Woolf, Susan B. Anthony, Emily Dickinson, and Mary Wollstonecraft. (Apologies the aforementioned are mostly authors, the variety is endless, but these are some of my favorites.) There are Roman goddesses, Christian figures, and more featured. It is definitely something worth checking out, if you’re into art or feminism, or if you enjoy standing in awe of anything.

Until next time!