Friday, December 11, 2009

The Female Feminist

Many posts have discussed the topic of Feminism in reference to the uneasiness that men feel when the topic is discussed.  I am actually more interested in the way in which even women tip toe around this subject.  In my own experiences, I find this subject to very threatening.  It is not difficult for me to understand the men’s view, when I myself whisper the word in public.  Why is this word so socially unacceptable even to women?

In class someone brought up the idea that many women don’t want to be linked to the extreme cases of Feminism that have been seen throughout history. It seems that if a woman is to identify herself as a Feminist, they are lending themselves to the sole identity of a workingwoman who remains independent and refuses all the preconceived characteristics of the stereotypical housewife.  This is where the problem occurs.  The idea of Feminism is not in itself threatening, but the outdated definition of the word causes many women who actually do believe in their rights, to stand back and keep their mouths shut on this subject. 

I am guilty of doing just that.  Instead of standing up and saying that I believe in women’s rights, I would rather brush over the word whenever it comes into a conversation.  The word Feminism goes onto the list of topics you just “don’t” talk about in public: Politics, God, and Sex.  It is very sad to think that even women go around this word.  It seems that many want to rename the concept.  This could also be due to the fact that a percentage of women actually want to stay home and raise their children.  Many can’t identify with being a Feminist because if they do want to be at home, then they may seem hypocritical.  However, it is possible to be a housewife and still believe in equal pay and equal opportunities.

This is mostly seen as a negative subject in reference to males, but I think that many women are also uncomfortable with the connotations that come with the word itself.  This may just be my opinion, but I usually have to think twice before I affirm that I show Feministic ideas.  I feel like I get the concepts of the movement, confused with the stereotypes when the stereotypes themselves should not interfere with the actual value behind the cause.  Even though I do believe in the equalities between men and women, I just don’t know why I can’t get past the word.  I sometimes feel like I don’t want the word Feminist to be a describing factor of my character, which is interesting to contemplate.


  1. This is a great post! I was hoping that one of the females in the class would talk about this issue, because I felt like it didn't get enough attention in class. What you describe is an interesting and, I'm sure, frustrating paradox for women to experience, and I bet that you're not the only one to feel this way. It seems that a serious public discussion of feminism must occur in order to resolve this issue. Thanks for writing such a thought provoking post.

  2. I agree completely. And I think Colin is right in saying that open, public discussion is a must for finding a remotely effective solution. The question then becomes, how? Can the clearing up the nature of the word be something for the political forum?

  3. I think that female aversion to feminism is based on some connotations(some of which are classically stereotypical of course) of feminists or the feminist movement. I think a great deal of women fear being associated with the image or more radical beliefs of the movement out of personal disagreement as well or fear of alienating men. I think that it is true that feminism has a male-alienating component, in the same way that the civil rights movement in America could sometimes be focused on whites in a negative fashion. This is unavoidable because of the nature of both movements. However,I think that like every political movement, feminism has a spectrum. And within every spectrum, there is room for moderate stances like yours.