Feminism is NOT a dirty word

After reading articles (links to a Swedish article) about the rape of women as warfare tactic I became enraged.

Yesterday I read that Marilyn French (R.I.P.) has died of a heart attack and her death prompted a small discussion which in turn made me think about feminism.

For a while now I’ve noticed that women are afraid to call themselves Feminists. I often hear people utter sentences like “I’m all for women rights but I’m not a feminist“. It’s as if the word has become dirty, ugly somehow. Does that mean that campaigning for the rights of women makes you undesirable or unwanted?

I fear that it’s ignorance that mostly prompts these answers. Some may think that the rights we were fighting for have already been achieved. Some may think feminists are just radicals who don’t know what they’re talking about.

But feminists aren’t something you can make simple statements about and  then dismiss. Don’t think you know what a person is all about just because you hear they are a feminist. Feminists aren’t just angry manhating women wearing red socks with too much hair on their bodies. Feminists can be of both sexes, they are concerned with equal rights and they strive to analyze gender issues and relations. But If I tell you “I’m a feminist” don’t think you know exactly what I believe in. Feminists are different and there are many types of feminists. There are radical feminists that hate all men and there are feminists that believe that the rights of a woman as a house maker, a wife and a mother should be respected, there are Marxist feminists, black feminists, post-structural feminists and I could go on naming the different types. But what it means is that we believe in different things. We believe in different goals and different solutions but what it also means is that we believe in equal rights and we believe that analyzing the gender relations is the key element.

Feminism is not an ugly word.

There has also been talk of post-feminism. But I fear the urge to rush forward into a post-feminist status is taking the step too soon. Because the battle isn’t won yet. We don’t have equal rights in the world. While women are being strategically raped as a part of some warfare we don’t have equal rights. (Read about the subject here and here. And do your own search there are surely more interesting articles out there.)

In the western world we have come a long way. We have voting rights, we have women in politics and we have at least in theory equal rights to jobs and equal pay. So what would a feminist fight for in modern society is a question I’ve heard a lot.

I think in todays society one of the most important battles we face concerns children and a father’s right to spend equal amount of time with the child as the mother does. This is just one example and I think that feminism has a lot of work to do still in the world.

For all I care you can rename feminism and call it something else  but don’t forget that feminism isn’t just about the fights. It’s also about the analyzing and that is just as important as any battle we might rage to sure that people have equal rights. Analyzing why things are the way they are and why the genders communicate the way they do and so forth is important to understand the basics of society.

And remember that if we  sleep on our guard what we have today may not be what we have tomorrow. Look at freedom of press, after two decades of progress we now see a decline. We should not sleep on our guard with these things. We need to be wakeful and we need to continue with what has been done. Thinking that everything is now alright and will continue to be that way automatically will turn us all into Elois.

I’m a feminist. I believe in equal rights and I believe that analyzing the relationship between the sexes is important. This is not a movement that only benefits women – it benefits the entire human race. Stop nitpicing over what to call it and start focusing on the problem at hand. This needs to stop.

One Comment Add yours

  1. joseph mcgrath says:

    a whole new well thought out take on a issue that often baffles me.i guess my feelings on this issue.have not always been the focus of your eleoquent explianation. i always try to be reasonable.this is an issue i have lost interest in,and i think most american males,especially white males,and black males laugh at.the leaders of that cause have always been the achillies heel.jane fa viet vet the last person we listen to is her.bette friedan,look what i dare to do ,and say.gloria stienam,always fighting issues on the political seen.always comes off as obnoxios.joy behar of the view.mad at the men, blaming catholicisim for everything.your article brings into focus those women that are abused.the middle-east,africa.these afore menpundits,never list them as such,because that would take the attention from them.exellent read! just one more thing.the most discriminated group.the u.s. male bluecollar worker.50-66 years of age.


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