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F Word

Approaching and deconstructing the F Word: Feminism!
by

Joanna Silber

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of F Word

What is Feminism? The F Word: deconstructing myth Merriam Webster dictionary defines feminism as the "political, economic & social equality of the sexes" + "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression~
Bell Hooks, Feminism is for Everybody But we believe as a society that feminism affects all areas of thought and society. To say that feminism aims to achieve equality in socio-political & economic realms would be too limiting! and why is it controversial? presents THE F WORD ! Where there is thought; there's feminism! Feminism can be viewed through sports, politics, legal theory, history, arts, literature, psychology, philosophy,... Feminism shapes most aspects of our society! (it really is!) Bell Hooks Feminism is a complex movement to track; some would argue that feminist thought existed long before the term was coined. The expression was first used in the late 19th century, but "proto feminist thought" (expression of feminist value; ie promoting female empowerment) existed long before then. Many branches & waves define this movement... Feminist "waves" : a basic break-down of the perceived waves of feminism! first wave: the "suffrage"; demanding the right to vote! second wave: debunking the housewife complex & an in-depth analysis of the feminine condition ~women's lib! third wave: a critical re-evaluation of two previous waves and their essentialist, white-centric, middle-class perspective proto feminism with
Mary Wollstonecraft Feminism: The Branches! While historians, sociologists, etc. have enjoyed breaking down feminism into "waves" from a mainly white anglo-american/european perspective, feminist thought can also be understood in terms of their branches.

There are as many branches in feminism as there are feminists--nothing is simple! Examples of Branches: Radical feminism, liberal feminism, anarchist feminism, socialist feminism, marxist feminism, essentialist feminism transfeminism, lesbian feminism, lipstick feminism, queer feminism, chicana feminism, womanist feminism [womanism], Islamic feminism, Jewish feminism, Christian feminism, post-modern feminism, body-positive feminism, sex-positive feminism, post-colonial feminism, conservative feminism, punk feminism MAINSTREAM FEMINIST MOVEMENT, VIEWED CRITICALLY:

straight
white
cisgender
middle-class/upper middle-class
ableist
Christian societal perspective
INTERSECTIONALITY! :D PATRIARCHY! >:( KYRIARCHY! MALE GAZE SLUT SHAMING RECLAIMING INTERNALIZED MISOGYNY Gender Essentialism Sex & Body Positivity! :D Some divisive Feminist issues include: Sex industry + pornography
Maternity & paternity leave
Equal pay
Sex positivity & slut shaming
Marriage
Female representation in the media While we may all differ on these issues, it's important to bear in mind that we are all allowed to be a part of this movement as it is complex and not always pleasant ! WHY IS FEMINISM CONTROVERSIAL? Debunking the *myths* Could you stop being such a... ? Top Feminist Stereotypes! (Extra points for pointing out some which aren't on this list!) Man hating
Lesbian
Hairy (doesn't shave)
Unattractive
Angry/Loud (all the time)
Masculine/butch
Whining about nothing
Overly militant in their activism
Generally dislikes all things feminine
Shames other women for not working
Hates sex & shames other women for having it
In need of a "good shag"
Have no sense of humor
Hates the idea of motherhood & shames other women for being mothers
Doesn't believe in God/religion
Men can't be feminists
Burns her bra
Supposedly jealous of women who ARE "attractive" & have sex Why the controversy? It's a movement of WOMEN! I mean WOMEN getting together, organizing, finding comfort in one another, bonding? EW! (refer back to internalized misogyny!) and it doesn't focus on men... A.G Johnson argues in his book The Gender Knot that the words "man-hating", "hairy", "lesbian" & "angry" are not used randomly : they're an indication of identities/positions/states of being that women hold which threaten the fabric of society.
If women don't "need" men, then perhaps they don't "need all of the attributes which constitute traditional femininity either Threatens men's position False media portrayals of women AND feminists (the two go hand in hand) help perpetuate these stereotypes! Straw Feminists! An effective media portrayal which helps effectively delegitimize the movement and its people : here the YT channel
FeministFrequency demonstrates effective examples of "straw feminists" portrayals in the media All in all, there is a severe lack in education concerning Feminism, as it is:
not approached in all aspects of school curriculum
systematically delegitimized by media portrayals, media articles and statements made by important societal/political figures Debunking the bra-burning myth! Above all, one of the most harmful stereotypes people have of feminism in the long run is that

all

feminists

are the same

and come from the same line of thought

(as seen in FeministFrequency's video!)
But this can be quickly disproven simply by looking at the number of different types of Feminism out there!

FEMINISM = IN ALL FORMS! Feminism is not only rejected and dismissed by many due to the image of the women belonging to it, but it is also rejected on the claim...

Why do we still have Feminism; is it even relevant any more? I mean, women can work, women can vote...what more do they want? Feminist endeavors still remain unresolved! While we are grateful that past feminists have succeeded in getting us the right to vote and the right to work, there is still more work to be done. equal pay
maternity leave
slut shaming: stigmatization of women's sexual lives
stigmatization of women taking on typically male roles in the workplace
street harassment
women being stigmatized for being a "single mother"
women of color being sexually racialized
sexualization in the media
lack of women in positions of power & decision Our conception of women in MOST realms is one which is socially constructed, oppressive and therefore far from reality. What we need to bear in mind is that Feminism affects MOST realms of discussion. While a few legal decisions have certainly paved the way for change, there is still a whole socio-cultural dynamic which affects women's life choices: the insitutionalization of sexism. Interested in learning more about Feminism? http://onegirlrhumba.tumblr.com/post/21828797853/feminist-theory-101-a-crash-course http://www.feministfightback.org.uk http://ukfeminista.org.uk http://www.feministing.com THANKS AND VISIT OUR PAGE!

http://facebook.com/UniversityOfEssexFeministSociety
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