Posts Tagged ‘ what is feminism ’

Are They Feminists?

When you all sent in answers to my questions about feminism, I asked you to name someone famous and tell me whether or not you thought she was a feminist.

But as one Georgetown student pointed out, forcing people into boxes based on our individual perceptions of an idea is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do. So I’d like to make this disclaimer before continuing: I am not explicitly calling any one of these famous women a feminist or not. I am simply using their images to further illustrate how individual respondents view feminism.

After the break: inappropriately using famous women as pawns in an intellectual exercise!!

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“I’m not a feminist, BUT…” – What the feminist community can learn from “outsiders”

Working through all of these responses was DIFFICULT (which is why it’s taken me, like, two weeks to wade through all of them and write something semi-coherent). While it was a daunting prospect to classify and organize the responses of people who were confident that they were feminists, trying to sort the emails of people who were less confident in their answers was far more overwhelming.

Most of the responses that I received, though, were from people who said that, at the core, they are feminists – they think gender roles are silly; they believe equality is important. What is keeping them from calling themselves feminists? This post is set up to demonstrate that the feminist community has a long way to go in defining itself to “outsiders” – even if people who don’t call themselves feminists are drawn to the core message feminism, as a community, we may have failed to make the nuances of feminism accessible to people who aren’t searching for them.

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“What is feminism?” – A Feminist’s Perspective

Finally, here is my first installment of some of your answers to the question I asked last week – what is a feminist? I originally wanted to separate answers based on age, but I decided it would be more interesting to talk about feminism from the perspective of people are, without qualm or question, feminists, and then to discuss answers from people who maybe aren’t feminists, or at the very least, aren’t sure.

Before I continue, I want to thank all of you who submitted answers. Everything that was written was thoughtful, intelligent, and honest. I didn’t agree with all of it – in fact, there’s a decent amount that I didn’t agree with – but I’m so glad I got to see the perspectives of so many different people. The large variety of answers had me rethinking my own identity as a feminist and really questioning what I understand as feminism, which is incredibly important, and really gave me an opportunity to solidify, clarify, and maybe modify some of my own beliefs. I hope that writing your responses – and reading those of others – will help you do the same.

After the break: feminists tell us what the hell they mean when they say that they’re feminists!

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What is a Feminist?

It always seemed like such an easy answer to me: a feminist is a person who believes in gender equality.

But apparently, it’s not that simple. I have friends who have told me that they’re not feminists, even though they believe in equal rights. I have friends who have told me they think feminism is ruining men’s regard for women. I know guys who think that only women can be feminists. And of course, the grand debate occurring across the Internet right now: are Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, or Nikki Haley feminists? What about Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift?

Because I’m SUPER COOL (and actually because I’ve always wanted to do this), I’m going to do a multi-part installment of how other some people (and obviously me because I like to talk) answer this question. I’d like to write several parts; one that includes students and recently graduated students, one that includes adults, and one that primarily focuses on female politicians and celebrities.

So, here’s what I need from YOU: email me at with a few sentences to a few paragraphs (as long or as short as you want it) that answers some or all of these questions:

  • What is feminism?
  • Are you a feminist? Why or why not?
  • Pick a celebrity, politician, or other famous woman. Is she a feminist? Why or why not?

Please include your age (or an age range), gender, and some sort of geographic location or university or something. I won’t identify anyone by name (unless you really want me to).

Remember: you can answer one! or all! of those questions! So even if you read this blog and don’t really feel like writing much, please drop me a word or two. I would really appreciate the help.

And since most of you who read this generally call yourselves “feminists,” I’m going to ask a couple of my non-believing friends for help. Hopefully a few of them will be willing to contribute. This won’t be much of a series unless I can get some people to explain to me why they aren’t feminists.

Thanks for all your help, internet! See you in a few days (hopefully) with my first post.