For some time now I have been lamenting the fact that feminism seems to have become the dirty F word – particularly with young women. Why do so many women who talk to me begin their discussion with “I am not a feminist but…”
Is it fear of being perceived as a man hater? Hairy? A wearer of sensible shoes?
Essentially, feminism is the belief that women deserve equality and an acknowledgement that for many women, this is simply still not the case. Not too radical surely?
Certainly, like all movements aimed at creating change, feminism has had its share of outspoken radicals. I connect with many feminists (Naomi Wolf in particular) but not with all. However, I am not threatened or alienated by the other voices of the sisterhood for it is this diversity that allows us to question, reflect and shape our own understandings. For example, although I find Jessica Valenti, US blogger and feminist author, frustrating at times (she uses lots of swearing for one – I think she would be more pursuasive without the hard core language) and I do not share all her values, I really like the passion she brings to interpreting feminism for this generation of young women.
I had contemplated describing my own ever evolving feminist understandings in this post in an attempt to demystify the movement and encourage others to “come out” and join me in proudly waving the sisterhood flag.
That is, until Sonia Lyne, Program Director for Enlighten Education Victoria, sent me a YouTube link to a clip recently posted by a young Australian man, Brett.
This, my friends, is ALSO what a young feminist looks like.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/euTx0l3B9uw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
I love that he is questioning, challenging and shaping his thoughts. I am so inspired by young feminists, male and female, who are refusing to rest on their laurels. The hard work is not all done. If it was, our daughters would not be cutting, starving, comparing and despairing. Women would not be massively under represented in the boardroom and in politics. We would see more women of all shapes and sizes, and those over 40, in the media. Working women would all have access to affordable, good quality childcare. Women overseas, and indeed here at home, would not be subjected to circumcision and other barbaric practices…
My feminist movement welcomes all who support the radical notion that women are people too.
Welcome to the hairy and the clean shaven: those that like Birkenstocks. and those that are in love with their stilettos.
Guys definately included. And enlightened guys like Brett- absolutely embraced.
There is nothing to be ashamed of; wear your “F badge” with pride in 2008.