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  #1  
Old August 17th, 2010, 11:36 pm
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Feminism: Definitions and Opinions

Righty. This is the last chance to discuss the issue of feminism on CoS. If this thread rapidly descends into the squabblefest of mass bickering and rule-ignoring of the previous version, it will vanish into the ether, never to be replaced.

Some questions to get you started:

1. How would you define feminism?
2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
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?
5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?
7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?


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  #2  
Old August 18th, 2010, 1:38 am
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

1. How would you define feminism?

A movement centered around the rights and dignity of women. Also, more academically, a school of thought where society, culture, or art may be studied with an emphasis on women and/or feminist thought.

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


I've always identified as a feminist, and probably will continue to do so. To me, it's a natural thing. Equal rights are important to me, and sexism and prejudice based on gender bother me a lot. I'm also very interested in gender and how it's treated in society. So aside from caring about what many feminists want to achieve, I'm also very interested in what a lot of feminists have to say and feel like parts of my experience are relevant.

I'm very proud to support feminism.

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

I think feminists have done a lot to push for equality. I think a lot of the strides women have made in recent years, such as better employment opportunities, were contributed to by the feminist movement. I also think feminists have played a big role in exploring gender and gender roles, and have added some good alternate perspectives that may not have been there before.

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?

I think wage discrimination is something that should be focused on. Another issue I think is important is helping victims of things like domestic abuse and sexual harassment. While people can seek help, there are still some big flaws with the system that I think could be improved, and some people have a hard time finding the help and support they need. I think it's a feminist issue because women make up the majority of abuse and harassment victims, and male victims are frequently taken less seriously because they're male. Either way, gender and sexism can play a big role.

I would also like to see focus on supporting women in other countries (when they want support). I've seen more focus lately on LGBT rights, which is nice to see, because even though LGBT rights is an issue of its own, I do feel that there's a lot of overlap with feminist issues.

As for how goals should be achieved, I think we need to work on multiple levels. Some things can actually be fought for in courts or at a legislative level. But I think just talking and letting our voices be heard can make a difference, if it makes people think.

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

To be honest, I can't think of a negative effect that I feel feminism has caused. However, feminism is made up of people and people have flaws, and there are things that could be done better and, I'm sure, mistakes that have been made. I know some people feel that feminism has been too focused on only white, western women, for example.

While feminism has helped usher in some great changes, there have been some growing pains. For example, women have more freedom to have careers, now, but they're still expected to get married and have kids. And if they want to do both, they can end up juggling a lot. I don't think it's fair to blame this on feminism, and I absolutely think that the growing pains have been worth it to give women more choices, but it does go to show that some things don't come totally easily.

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

No, not really

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

In my experience, a lot of feminists are willing to disagree with things they find offensive, even if voiced by other feminists. I don't think I've ever been involved in a discussion on a feminist website where someone expressed an extreme or prejudiced opinion and wasn't called out on it. Like with any group/philosophy, there are some people who are extreme or who are maybe in it for the wrong reasons, but I think a lot of feminists are aware of this.

Also in my experience, most feminists want a woman to be happy and be treated well first and foremost, and want women to be able to make their own choices.


  #3  
Old August 18th, 2010, 5:05 am
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

1. How would you define feminism?
I would describe feminism as the philosophy that every person should be treated with respect and dignity, without respect to sex. So feminism is anti-sexism. In the real world, that translates into uplifting women because sexism, as it currently operates, more often than not puts women at a disadvantage.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
I do define myself as a feminist because I am am against sexism and want to do what I can to destroy it.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Feminist movements (plural) have brought maby positives to the world. A general thing it has brought is the belief that women are the intellectual equals of men (even if everyone doesn't believe this). It has helped women stand up for themselves, given women the right to vote (and consequently, the right to be involved in the political world and have a say in what laws are passed and how laws affect people).

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now?
Everything. There is no specific things feminist movements should be working to to achieve because there is enough time and energy to fight for many feminist causes. But, if I had to name something very broad, I would say teaching people that women are the owners of their own bodies is very important. Many of the problems I see in the world come from refusal to acknowledge this very fact.

What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?
Education. People should learn this stuff in school, at community centers, even on forums like these. Humility would also help, but I don't know how to teach that.

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
None, honestly. I can't think of anything negative that's been brought by feminism. I do think, however, that feminism is often used as a scapegoat for many of the world's problems, especially concerning relationships and economy.

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

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?
A common misconception is that feminists want to be men or are somehow ashamed of being women. Another one is that every feminist must feel the same way about every issue. I would tell people who think this to use common sense. A feminist doesn't want to be a man anymore than gay rights advocate wants to be straight or an antiracist of color wants to be white. All people want is equality and to be treated with dignity. And there are people in every philosophy who disagree; that doesn't mean our core beliefs aren't the same.


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Old August 18th, 2010, 5:39 am
Midnightsfire  Undisclosed.gif Midnightsfire is offline
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

1. How would you define feminism?
Hmm..with difficulty.
However, the very word suggest pro-woman, perhaps an affirmation of the "feminine principal" maybe.

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

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.


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  #5  
Old August 18th, 2010, 6:27 am
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Me thinks International Woman Suffrage Timeline provides quite a good list of the more important achievements.


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Old August 18th, 2010, 9:54 am
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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.


  #7  
Old August 18th, 2010, 11:46 am
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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

Quite a lot but the latest was introducing paternity leave and I think that's a good step towards making sure women and men get paid the same for doing the same job. Employers no longer have the excuse of having to pay a woman less because she stays home with her children. Now men are doing the same.

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?

Getting rid of gender stereotypes and enlighting people as to what the differences between sexes really entail. Sorry guys, but having more testosteron doesn't mean you can't do the dishes.

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

Most misconceptions stem from ignorance so getting knowledge about what feminism really is and what feminists do would be a step towards understanding it properly.
Also, I was thinking in regards to our discussion as to why can't feminism simply be called Human Rights. I see Human Rights as being a political thing. Everyone should have the same rights because we are a democratic society and we need to be politically correct. However, there is a difference I believe, between thinking all people should enjoy the same rights and that all people are equally worth. The latter is a very personal belief, the former is being politically correct. Feminism takes care of the dignity of women, it makes them feel empowered and really equal to men. It makes them feel as though they can do whatever men can do and that their perspective on the world is equally valid and valuable. I don't think Human Rights alone could achieve this. It's the same for homosexuals. We give them equal rights and fight discrimination but they need to feel accepted and valued, not just tolerated. This is why I believe Human Rights isn't enough. This is also why some people have such a problem with feminism even though they support equal rights. They believe women should enjoy the same rights but object to anything which makes women believe they are equal to men.


  #8  
Old August 18th, 2010, 2:48 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by Trixa View Post
Quite a lot but the latest was introducing paternity leave and I think that's a good step towards making sure women and men get paid the same for doing the same job.
"Paternity leave?"

I believe you meant maternity leave.

Hmf...most workplaces (in the US) don't have a paternity leave. (for men) But then that's considered acceptable.


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  #9  
Old August 18th, 2010, 3:28 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightsfire View Post
"Paternity leave?"

I believe you meant maternity leave.

Hmf...most workplaces (in the US) don't have a paternity leave. (for men) But then that's considered acceptable.
No, paternity leave. Men stay home with small children. It doesn't exist in every country so maybe that's why you haven't heard of it. I hope it will though because men have the right to bond with their children just as much as women have.



Last edited by Trixa; August 18th, 2010 at 3:47 pm.
  #10  
Old August 18th, 2010, 3:50 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by Trixa View Post
No, paternity leave. Men stay home with small children. It doesn't exist in every country so maybe that's why you haven't heard of it. I hope it will though because men have the right to bond with their children just as much as women have.
This is something which feminists have fought for, so IMO a good example of how feminists do fight for men's rights, as well as women's.

We have Statutory Paternity Leave in the UK, too:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/...ay/DG_10029398

although the amount of time fathers can take and the amount of money they're entitled to is limited and falls far short of maternity leave and benefit, which is a shame, IMO.



Last edited by Melaszka; August 18th, 2010 at 3:53 pm.
  #11  
Old August 18th, 2010, 4:01 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

Bulgaria has paternity leave, too. Actually it's just called "parental leave" and either of the parents can take it.


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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:40 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

1.How would you define feminism?
As the movement of people who believe men and women are equal and want them to be treated as such.
2.Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, I do, but if I give my reasons, I may get carpel tunnel.
3.What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Many--the vote, of course, and it has raised a lot of awareness about discrimination in countries all over the world.
4.What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now?
To legalize abortion worldwide, fight for women's rights in poorer countries, end bride-burning, stop rape (banned topic so I won't go into it) and loads of things that are practically impossible but that shouldn't matter at all.
4.What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?
No idea. I'm still new to this. But I do think it's important--even essential--to get men involved in the efforts.
5.What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
It's made men and women resent each other quite a lot...but hey, they sort of did anyway.
6.Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?
Nope.
7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?
I've said enough on my thread. At least for now, anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightsfire View Post
3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.
.....The vote?


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  #13  
Old August 20th, 2010, 3:11 am
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightreading View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightsfire
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.
.....The vote?
I think what Midnightsfire means is that taking into account how many years there has been a feminist movement around, most of their achievements stopped right around the time women were allowed to vote and own property. Even if lawmakers consider themselves feminist, most of them don't work purposefully towards reforms that only include the advancement of women. Second Wave feminism did focus much more on social research about gender and gender roles, but I don't think Third Wave feminism has done much in any of these respects at all.


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Old August 20th, 2010, 12:35 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by FGG View Post
I think what Midnightsfire means is that taking into account how many years there has been a feminist movement around, most of their achievements stopped right around the time women were allowed to vote and own property. Even if lawmakers consider themselves feminist, most of them don't work purposefully towards reforms that only include the advancement of women. Second Wave feminism did focus much more on social research about gender and gender roles, but I don't think Third Wave feminism has done much in any of these respects at all.
As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.


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Old August 20th, 2010, 2:38 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.
I mean Third Wave feminism as an ideological movement, not the generation of women it encompasses. As far as I've learned in class, TWF has fought for reproductive rights like abortions, language (reclaiming derogatory words like the b-word and the fact that most jobs include the word "man"), the representation of women in the media, and the riot grrrl movement. While I think all these fights are great if that's your cup of tea, I don't see how they can compare to, say, what the Suffragettes did. Nothing conclusive has been reached on the reproductive rights arena (or any of the others) since Roe vs. Wade. If anything, most places (besides Mexico City) are going backwards in that respect. I'd say one of its biggest achievements has been to find a nice-sounding name for the fact that they can't make up their minds about anything: "embrassing diversity and contradiction".


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  #16  
Old August 20th, 2010, 3:30 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by FGG View Post
I mean Third Wave feminism as an ideological movement, not the generation of women it encompasses. As far as I've learned in class, TWF has fought for reproductive rights like abortions, language (reclaiming derogatory words like the b-word and the fact that most jobs include the word "man"), the representation of women in the media, and the riot grrrl movement. While I think all these fights are great if that's your cup of tea, I don't see how they can compare to, say, what the Suffragettes did. Nothing conclusive has been reached on the reproductive rights arena (or any of the others) since Roe vs. Wade. If anything, most places (besides Mexico City) are going backwards in that respect. I'd say one of its biggest achievements has been to find a nice-sounding name for the fact that they can't make up their minds about anything: "embrassing diversity and contradiction".
Must we compare the waves of feminism? Honestly, IMO, it just doesn't matter.


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Old August 20th, 2010, 5:12 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.
I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.


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Old August 20th, 2010, 5:27 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.
I think that's true to a large extent. There are still some legal barriers, but I think in the U.S. it's becoming more and more about enforcing existing laws and making sure that they're taken seriously.

In my experience, at least, a lot of third wave feminism is centered more on analysis and criticism as opposed to activism or legal battles, and I think that makes sense. I think today, at least in the U.S., people are less likely to support overt, tangible sexism (like denying someone a job because of their gender), but may be less likely notice sexist attitudes or stereotypes. So I see a lot of feminists today challenging things like the idea that a man harassing a woman is just a compliment, or the perpetuation of sexist stereotypes in the media.


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Old August 20th, 2010, 7:58 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Originally Posted by lightreading View Post
Must we compare the waves of feminism? Honestly, IMO, it just doesn't matter.
Well, this thread IS called "Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions". The definition of feminism has changed with time, that's why there is more than one wave of it. How is this not relevant?


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Old August 20th, 2010, 10:30 pm
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Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions

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Well, this thread IS called "Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions". The definition of feminism has changed with time, that's why there is more than one wave of it. How is this not relevant?
I just don't want to get into 'this wave was more productive/important' or anything like that. Simply discussing the way it has changed is fine--sorry.


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