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?
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!