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Old August 18th, 2010, 9:54 am
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Yoana  Female.gif Yoana is offline
Assistant to Minister Granger
Join Date: 29th January 2006
Location: Bulgaria
Age: 37
Posts: 6,435
Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

1. How would you define feminism?

As the movement to establish equality between the sexes, to fight discrimination and violence against women, to improve women's lives, to draw attention to problems women face because of their sex, and to define womanness (being a female) in a non-male-centric way.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, I do. As I read recently on feministing, I think, feminism has always been obvious to me.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?

Before the suffragettes, women were basically property. Now we can vote, study, work, have control over our sex lives. I say that's plenty.

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?

Well first of all, women in developing countries should be a priority, because things are dire for them. In my opinion, it's crucial that attention be drawn to their lives and the way they are seen and treated, because I feel not enough is being said about it.

Secondly, lately I feel like I'm noticing things moving backwards for women and it pains me extremely. I think feminists should work to identify the cause for this and see what we can do about it. Women are still paid less. Women are still underrepresented virtually everywhere with any authority or power. Women's problems are still seen as a secondary issue. Violence and harassment are still not only fairly widespread, but still enjoy a high level of social tolerance, in my opinion - the most prominent example of that is victim blaming; another is the rarity of reporting such crimes. The image of women in media and advertising, especially as a target group, is very worrying, in my opinion, because a lot of it is based in making women feel bad about how they look, dress, act, smell, what they eat, what they do, how much attention they get, etc. The sexualization of younger and younger girls poses a very serious problem. There are too many unsolved problems for me to list.

As for methods, I'm afraid I've lost hope. Discussion doesn't seem to work, and all the conferences and congresses in the world would be doomed if people continue to not care to choose to believe it's all just an exaggeration, or think feminism has done its work. Perhaps working on a government level for the enforcement of laws against violence against women and harassment would be a good idea. I think it's crucial to expand the issues beyond the narrow circles of people actively engaged with or interested in feminism and women's issues - awareness raising campaigns? I really don't know, I'm afraid.

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?

Maybe some controversial ideas, branched and/or individuals have helped paint a negative picture of the whole extremely diverse and complex idea of feminism. As DancingMaenid said in the old thread (I think), if one of us says something perceived as reasonable, people would say it's just a lone voice, and exception, but if we say something perceived as controversial or aggressive, it's taken as representative of the whole movement. That doesn't help. In any case, from what I know of feminism, the negative effects have come primarily from the backlash against it and from continued misunderstanding. After all, in what way can equality be bad?

6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?

No, never. I don't know any in real life.

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?

Yes, plenty. What I would like to say I've said a thousand times. Only very rarely has anyone paid attention to it.

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