Can you? I don’t know. Because honestly, that’s what a lot of feminists do. And that’s why they call themselves feminists. (That’s why I call myself a feminists. But even if I didn’t self identify that’s what people would call me…as a result they throw all kinds of belief systems on me, most of which I know nothing about it.)
But it has caused me to research the accusations being thrown at me. Academic feminism, which I actually know very little about and find most of it very hard to digest, is actually becoming more and more mainstream due to all of its opponents yammering on and on and on about what it actually is.Svetlana Voreskova (who hates me) actually taught me more about academic feminism, than any feminist book I’ve tried to read. Because God!!! Those books are freaking boring!)
I had a cousin who cursed me, for trying to have a discussion about women’s issues, although I knew nothing of “patriarchy.” So…I looked the term up. I think the term itself is pretty innocuous. Just a description of reality…but this is a term that polarized the hell out of people.
Others I’ve encountered on Medium, quite reasonable people, whose opinions seem to be well reasoned and based in fact and logic John Hopkins and Estwald as well quite a few others, have it out for feminism, and I (who have always considered myself a feminist, am quite honestly shocked by the backlash!
Ever since I was introduced to the term, way back in high school, from teachers, very smart women who said to me ( and all my classmates as this was an all girls school) “we didn’t get a fair shot at life, because we’re women; and we want you all to change things” I have been mildly interested in identifying as a feminist. Because it just seemed fair and right.
But actually, the concepts our teachers threw at us constantly meant very little to us teenage girls. We just didn’t get it. But as time and life went on, I totally did.
I maintain that feminism is the revolutionary idea that women are people. I’ve known far too many men (I worked in a male dominated field, aviation) who simply do NOT believe this is the case. And are beyond stunned to encounter a woman who thinks and talks and understands concepts that are considered to lie solely within the realm of men. (Plane piloting, for example.)
How did this term, and what it stands for, get so off track? There’s a lot more going on here than whether feminism is good or bad.
When you go down the rabbit hole that academic feminism tends to be, you are talking about destroying the entire framework that society has built itself upon for the last 10,000 years at least.
So yeah, understandably people find that threatening as all hell, but I’d like to point out that those pushing so hard against feminism are bringing the ideology into greater clarity and focus, (for those of us who are fuzzy on it) than the actual academic feminists!
AND — this is highly ironic- are probably actually creating more feminist and other brands of feminism. Because when you all are saying: feminism is a, b, c, d! Some one like me can make a decision based on the information you have provided- and be like, hell yeah! I’m a feminist. Or, if greater clarity is needed, they might look all of that stuff up and try to decide where they stand.
Honestly, I feel a little pressure to do this just because I want to be informed and sound informed about an issue, that I swear to you, just four years back, was nonexistent!
I know, because I worked with a male feminist colleague who challenged all of us to put some feminist content in our curriculum. I did it. The first thing I would ask my students is, “what is feminism?” Rarely did I get any answers at all, much less substantive ones. In asking that question, I provided a very basic answer: equal political, legal and economic rights for women. Very practical stuff. The right to open a bank account. The right to own a house. Women are still being challenged on these fronts to this very day. So yeah. I am a feminist.
I want to definitely say: I am this type of feminist! Not the Nazi feminists or feminnazis as they are actually called Estwald!
Or maybe decide it’s not something I can be down with. If it’s not peaceful, I can’t participate. But ultimately I do question if you can advocate for the rights of women without calling yourself a feminist. But all this controversy over the term…what is it really about? Like seriously, think about it!