YES,​ ​I’M​ ​A​ ​FEMINIST​ ​-​ ​QUESTIONS​ ​I’VE​ ​BEEN ASKED​ ​AS​ ​A​ ​FEMINIST.



Picture​ ​this:​ ​sitting​ ​at​ ​the​ ​table​ ​with​ ​your​ ​extended​ ​family​ ​and​ ​everyone​ ​is​ ​there​ ​-​ ​​ ​your grandma,​ ​your​ ​aunts,​ ​that​ ​uncle​ ​that​ ​isn’t​ ​really​ ​your​ ​uncle​ ​but​ ​he’s​ ​your​ ​dad’s​ ​friend​ ​so​ ​you still​ ​call​ ​him​ ​uncle.​ ​All​ ​present.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​it​ ​happens​ ​-​ ​the​ ​debate.​ ​​Oh,​ ​you’re​ ​a​ ​feminist?​ ​Well, (insert​ ​some​ ​question​ ​you’ve​ ​probably​ ​got​ ​100​ ​times​ ​before,​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​spark​ ​a​ ​debate).​ ​​​ ​You​ ​see,​ ​I understand​ ​that​ ​everyone​ ​isn’t​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​just​ ​like​ ​I​ ​understand​ ​that​ ​not​ ​everyone​ ​fully understands​ ​what​ ​being​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​means.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​gotten​ ​into​ ​many,​ ​many,​ ​many​ ​debates with​ ​people​ ​who​ ​don’t​ ​identify​ ​as​ ​feminists​ ​and​ ​it​ ​really​ ​opened​ ​my​ ​eyes​ ​to​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the questions​ ​people​ ​might​ ​have​ ​about​ ​feminism​ ​as​ ​a​ ​movement.​ ​So,​ ​I​ ​thought,​ ​why​ ​not​ ​delve into​ ​some​ ​of​ ​those​ ​questions.

These​ ​are​ ​some​ ​questions​ ​that​ ​you​ ​might​ ​be​ ​asked​ ​whether​ ​you​ ​have​ ​just​ ​begun​ ​to​ ​use​ ​the title​ ​of​ ​feminist,​ ​or​ ​if​ ​you’ve​ ​identified as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​for​ ​years.

Just​ ​a​ ​reminder,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​constantly​ ​learning​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​everyday​ ​so​ ​if​ ​I​ ​have​ ​said​ ​something​ ​that you​ ​disagree​ ​with​ ​or​ ​you​ ​found​ ​offensive,​ ​let’s​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​it!​ ​My​ ​views​ ​might​ ​not​ ​represent​ ​all feminist​ ​views!​ ​These​ ​are​ ​my​ ​own​ ​views​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​and​ ​how​ ​I​ ​would​ ​answer​ ​these​ ​questions.

“WHAT​ ​IS​ ​‘FEMINISM’?”

The​ ​Oxford​ ​English​ ​Dictionary​ ​defines​ ​feminism​ ​as​ ​an​ ​“​advocacy​ ​of​ ​equality​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sexes and​ ​the​ ​establishment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​political,​ ​social,​ ​and​ ​economic​ ​rights​ ​of​ ​the​ ​female​ ​sex”​ ​(1). The​ ​definition​ ​has​ ​since​ ​been​ ​upgraded​ ​with​ ​the​ ​introduction of​ ​​​‘third-wave’​ ​feminism​ ​in the​ ​1990s​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​what​ ​the​ ​OED​ ​calls​ ​​“​ ​the​ ​perceived​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​class​ ​and​ ​race issues​ ​in​ ​earlier​ ​movements”​ ​(1).​ ​The​ ​introduction​ ​of​ ​third-wave​ ​feminism​ ​now​ ​recognizes​ ​a diverse​ ​identity​ ​of​ ​feminists​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​just​ ​those​ ​who​ ​are​ ​primarily​ ​white​ ​or​ ​economically privileged.​​Although ​​feminism​​ does ​​have ​​a​​ generalized ​​definition,​ a​​ll ​​feminists ​​choose their​ ​own​ ​beliefs​ ​and​ ​they​ ​may​ ​differ​ ​from​ ​other​ ​feminists,​ s​​imilar​ ​to​ ​how​ ​those practicing​ ​a​ ​religion​ ​may​ ​pick​ ​and​ ​choose​ ​on​ ​what​ ​they​ ​believe​ ​and​ ​practice.​​ ​​That​ ​being said,​ ​this​ ​article​ ​will​ ​be​ ​focusing​ ​on​ ​my​ ​beliefs​ ​as​ ​a​ ​third-wave​ ​feminist,​ ​representing women​ ​of​ ​“​many​ ​colors,​ ​ethnicities,​ ​nationalities,​ ​religions​ ​and​ ​cultural​ ​backgrounds”​ ​as well​​ as ​​identities​​ and ​​supporting ​​both ​​“q​ueer ​​theory, ​​​and ​​abolishing ​​gender ​​role expectations​ ​and​ ​stereotypes”​ ​(2).

“WHY​ ​ARE​ ​YOU​ ​A​ ​FEMINIST?”

I’ve​ ​always​ ​been​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​strong​ ​females.​ ​My​ ​grandmother​ ​was​ ​a​ ​really​ ​big​ ​part​ ​of that​ ​and​ ​she​ ​always​ ​taught​ ​us​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​how​ ​strong​ ​women​ ​really​ ​were.​ ​Defining myself​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​came​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​later,​ ​when​ ​I​ ​started​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​more​ ​of​ ​the world​ ​around​ ​me​ ​and​ ​became​ ​old​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​really​ ​get​ ​a​ ​grasp​ ​of​ ​what​ ​I​ ​believed​ ​myself, without​ ​the​ ​influence​ ​of​ ​others.​ ​That​ ​was​ ​also​ ​when​ ​I​ ​came​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​that​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not the​ ​belief​ ​of​ ​women​ ​being​ ​superior​ ​or​ ​the​ ​movement​ ​of​ ​hating​ ​men,​ ​despite​ ​common internet​ ​troll​ ​belief.​

​I,​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist,​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​equality:​ ​amongst​ ​many​ ​things,​ ​I​ ​personally believe​ ​in​ ​women​ ​being​ ​successful​ ​in​ ​the​ ​workplace.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​men​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​be stay-at-home​ ​parents.​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​those​ ​who​ ​declare​ ​their​ ​pronouns​ ​and​ ​how​ ​they​ ​identify and​ ​I​ ​understand​ ​that​ ​sexual​ ​orientation​ ​is​ ​not​ ​a​ ​choice,​ ​just​ ​like​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not​ ​your​ ​choice​ ​to​ ​be born​ ​into​ ​a​ ​body​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​foreign​ ​to,​ ​and​ ​you​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​change​ ​that.​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​the equality​ ​of​ ​sexes,​ ​classes,​ ​colours,​ ​identities,​ ​nationalities​ ​and​ ​religions.​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​that everyone​ ​has​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​an​ ​education.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​here​ ​for​ ​black​ ​girl​ ​magic​ ​and​ ​I​ ​want​ ​everyone to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​express​ ​themselves​ ​without​ ​feeling​ ​as​ ​if​ ​they​ ​can’t​ ​due​ ​to​ ​social​ ​expectation and​ ​especially​ ​not​ ​because​ ​of​ ​fear​ ​for​ ​their​ ​own​ ​safety.​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​gender​ ​is​ ​a​ ​construct and​ ​giving​ ​a​ ​girl​ ​a​ ​baby​ ​doll​ ​while​ ​giving​ ​a​ ​boy​ ​a​ ​chemistry​ ​set​ ​is​ ​not​ ​only​ ​shady,​ ​but damaging​ ​to​ ​their​ ​development.​ ​In​ ​short,​ ​although​ ​that​ ​wasn’t​ ​short,​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​you​ ​being yourself​ ​unapologetically,​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​you​ ​aren’t​ ​hurting​ ​anyone.​ ​And​ ​when​ ​I​ ​say​ ​hurting someone,​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​like,​ ​stabbing​ ​them,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​in​ ​no​ ​way​ ​referring​ ​to​ ​those​ ​people​ ​who​ ​might say​ ​you​ ​are​ ​hurting​ ​them​ ​because​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​approve​ ​of​ ​who​ ​you​ ​are.​ ​​TIP:​ ​If​ ​you​ ​have negative​ ​people​ ​like​ ​that​ ​in​ ​your​ ​life,​ ​remove​ ​them.​​ ​So​ ​when​ ​you​ ​ask​ ​me​ ​why​ ​I’m​ ​a feminist,​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​listing​ ​all​ ​of​ ​that,​ ​I​ ​will​ ​probably​ ​ask​ ​you​ ​why​ ​you​ ​aren’t​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​and then​ ​go​ ​from​ ​there.

“WHY​ ​DO​ ​FEMINISTS​ ​HATE​ ​MEN?”

Hating​ ​men​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​preface​ ​of​ ​feminism.​ ​It​ ​never​ ​has​ ​been.​ ​As​ ​a​ ​feminist,​ ​I​ ​just​ ​want people​ ​to​ ​have​ ​equal​ ​rights.​ ​And​ ​in​ ​us​ ​having​ ​equal​ ​rights,​ ​that​ ​means​ ​I​ ​want​ ​men​ ​to​ ​be able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​things​ ​that​ ​have​ ​been​ ​previously​ ​declared​ ​stereotypically​ ​“feminine”​ ​via​ ​gender roles​ ​without​ ​feeling​ ​like​ ​you​ ​shouldn’t,​ ​or​ ​worse,​ ​can’t.​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​love​ ​romance​ ​movies?​ ​Nice! Watch​ ​them.​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​love​ ​the​ ​way​ ​your​ ​calves​ ​look​ ​in​ ​heels​ ​and​ ​a​ ​mini​ ​skirt?​ ​SLAY!​ ​Part​ ​of my​ ​personal​ ​goal​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​is​ ​to​ a​​bolish​ ​gender​ ​role​ ​expectations​ ​and​ ​stereotypes. That​ ​being​ ​said,​ ​let’s​ ​revisit​ ​that​ ​whole​ ​baby​ ​doll​ ​and​ ​chemistry​ ​set​ ​theory.​ ​

Did​ ​you​ ​know that​ ​“as​ ​of​ ​2010-2011,​ ​women​ ​made​ ​up​ ​just​ ​17.6%​ ​of​ ​computer​ ​science​ ​students”​ ​despite computer​ ​science​ ​being​ ​amongst​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​prominent​ ​topics​ ​of​ ​study?​ .​ ​Have you​ ​ever​ ​thought​ ​to​ ​ask​ ​why?​ ​It​ ​is​ ​suggested​ ​that​ ​this​ ​may​ ​be​ ​because​ ​children​ ​are​ ​so accustomed​ ​to​ ​their​ ​stereotypical​ ​gender​ ​roles​ ​at​ ​an​ ​early​ ​age​ ​and​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result,​ ​they​ ​lack interest​ ​by​ ​the​ ​time​ ​they’re​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​a​ ​major​ ​or​ ​even​ ​earlier,​ ​when​ ​they​ ​are choosing​ ​courses​ ​in​ ​high​ ​school.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​surround​ ​your​ ​children​ ​with​ ​unbiased​ ​opportunity from​ ​the​ ​beginning,​ ​they​ ​are​ ​more​ ​likely​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​in​ ​their​ ​true​ ​identities.​ ​In​ ​short,​ ​let’s​ ​give everyone​ ​equal​ ​rights​ ​and​ ​work​ ​to​ ​abolish​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​that​ ​you​ ​should​ ​be​ ​one​ ​way​ ​because​ ​of the​ ​sex​ ​you​ ​were​ ​born​ ​as.​ ​So,​ ​no,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​hate​ ​men,​ ​if​ ​that​ ​answers​ ​your​ ​question.

“IF​ ​FEMINISM​ ​SUPPORTS​ ​MEN​ ​TOO,​ ​WHY​ ​DOES​ ​TO​ ​STEM​ ​FROM​ ​THE WORD​ ​‘FEMALE’?”

This​ ​might​ ​be​ ​better​ ​suited​ ​from​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​history​ ​expert,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​the​ ​help​ ​of​ ​the​ ​internet, I’ve​ ​answered​ ​this​ ​one​ ​multiple​ ​times.​ ​Thinking​ ​about​ ​to​ ​the​ ​original​ ​Oxford​ ​definition,​ ​the word​ ​feminism​ ​stems​ ​from​ ​female​ ​simply​ ​because​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​the​ ​movement​ ​originally represented.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​the​ ​belief​ ​that​ ​women​ ​deserved​ ​equal​ ​rights,​ ​but​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​sense,​ ​it was​ ​incredibly​ ​discriminatory​ ​because​ ​that​ ​definition​ ​did​ ​not​ ​cater​ ​to​ ​all​ ​women​ ​but​ ​rather, a​ ​specific​ ​group​ ​(minorities​ ​didn’t​ ​count).​ ​That’s​ ​why.​ ​No​ ​secret​ ​ulterior​ ​motives, nothing​ ​crazy.​ ​As​ ​feminism​ ​has​ ​evolved,​ ​it​ ​has​ ​surpassed​ ​the​ ​confines​ ​of​ ​supporting​ ​one specific​ ​group​ ​of​ ​women​ and ​has​ ​grown​ ​to​ ​benefit​ ​​everyone​:​ ​Anyone​ ​can​ ​be​ ​a​ ​feminist.

I​ ​hope​ ​I​ ​answered​ ​some​ ​questions​ ​anyone​ ​may​ ​have​ ​had​ ​about​ ​feminism​ ​and​ ​successfully managed​ ​to​ ​share​ ​my​ ​own​ ​personal​ ​beliefs​ ​as​ ​a​ ​feminist​ ​in​ ​the​ ​process.​ ​Being​ ​supportive of​ ​such​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​and​ ​inclusive​ ​movement​ ​has​ ​been​ ​a​ ​learning​ ​process​ ​and​ ​I​ ​try​ ​to​ ​improve myself​ ​everyday​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​world​ ​a​ ​better,​ ​more​ ​inclusive​ ​place​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​feel comfortable​ ​and​ ​confident in.​ ​

Still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​burning​ ​question​ ​that​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​get​ ​to?​ ​Let’s​ ​get​ ​the conversation​ ​going!​ ​We​ ​would​ ​love​ ​to​ ​read​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your​ ​thoughts,​ ​so​ ​be​ ​sure​ ​to​ ​get involved by commenting and sharing!​ ​Until​ ​next​ ​time​ ​~

References:

  1. "feminism,​ ​n."​ ​​OED​ ​Online​.​ ​Oxford​ ​University​ ​Press,​ ​June​ ​2017,​ ​26​ ​Oct.​ ​2017. www.oed.com/view/Entry/69192.

  2. “Third-Wave​ ​feminism.”​ ​Wikipedia,​ ​Wikimedia​ ​Foundation,​ ​24​ ​Oct.​ ​2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism.

  3. “Women​ ​in​ ​Computer​ ​Science.”​ ​​ComputerScience.org​,​ ​COMPUTERSCIENCE.ORG, www.computerscience.org/resources/women-in-computer-science/.


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