gender equal opportunity or representation

This week I have decided to write my blog post on the “Introduction” section of the Week 1 reading assignment, this includes Chapter 1, 2 and 4 from “Feminism is for Everybody”, the article “What is Women’s Studies”, and the videos “What has Feminism Accomplished?” and “Why am I a Feminist”.

A point was made in the article “What is Women’s Studies”, that the negative connotation surrounding feminism has a large effect on its followers. In a national pole there was an increase in women identifying as feminists from 1995 to 2003. Aside from the years that the pole was taken, there was a difference in the way that the same questions were asked. In 1995 women were asked if they were a “feminist” (51% yes), and in 2003 women were asked if they identified as “someone who supports the political, economic, and social equality of women” (77% yes). The same thing happened with “women’s rights movement” in 1995 and “women’s rights” in 2003. As stated in the Article this may be due to the negative connotation that the terms “feminism” and “women’s rights movement” carry.

I found this to be very interesting because people were being asked the same question, just in different ways (and years) but the reaction was totally different to the same question. The difference was because of the connotation of the word or phrase, people weren’t willing to associate themselves with “Feminism” or a “Movement” but they were willing to support the things that “Feminism” and the “Movement” were supporting. It seems a little backwards.

Through out my reading I found a similar effect through out. Of course we all know that there is a negative connotation associated with Feminism, but it doesn’t really make sense why people would give Feminism a negative connotation, after all Feminism is about equality. What is bad about equality? Doesn’t everyone benefit from equality? Why does something good have such a bad connotation?

In the Book “Feminism is For Everyone”they outlined man of the ways the “Feminism”, the thing that has such a negative connotation, helped and benefited people. First for women, through open and honest groups discussions about discrimination sure to their sex, it was therapeutic to them, and helped women get together and become feminists. Second through education; Feminism allowed us to have degrees in women’s studies and celebrate the work of women and men, when in some settings, curriculums are devoid of any female writers or high achieving role models.

Of course those are just two examples of how ridiculous the negative connotation about Feminism is. But, in the video “What has Feminism Accomplished?”, Youtube Christen explains just a few more of the remarkable things that Feminism has accomplished, just in the last few years, that benefit women and men; such as opening professional doors, giving paid paternity leave for fathers after the birth of a child, and legal punishment for revenge porn. How could someone look at these things that stemmed from Feminism and still associate negative ideas with it and its members? It baffles me.

The patriarchal society that we live in has perpetuated the negative perceptions that some hold about Feminism because there is a fear held by those who benefit from inequality that they will lose the power they possess if Feminism takes hold. This sentiment is furthered by the things that are said about feminists to attempt to discredit them; such as “1. feminists are angry whiny women with an axe to grind, 2. feminists hate men 3. all feminists are lesbians 4. feminists are said to reject motherhood, consider children a burden and 5. feminism is a white midddle class movement that draws energy away from attempts to correc social and economic problems and discourage s coalition building”.

To that I say; 1. Wouldn’t you be angry is this was you? Calling women “whiney with an axe to grind” rather than “persistent about addressing an important issue they are passionate about” is sexist. 2. Feminists don’t hate men, they hate the sexism and exclusion of women that the patriarchal society have been allowing and bolstering for all of history. 3. Thats just not true. 4. Why is not wanting to be a mother a bad thing? Plent of people have very valid reasons for not wanting to be a parent, they may value their career, or their independence. Children are a burder, ask any parent ever. Have you seen how much it costs financially and emotionally to raise a child, no one in their right mind would say that children werent a burden! 5. There are plenty of white middle class women involved in the feminist movement, they are not its only members, feminism does try to correct a social and economic issue, it effects women, and it effects their ability to work at the same level as men.