Let’s start with the basics, not all of us have studied gender related subjects. Yet we’re all supposed to know where we stand when it comes to feminism, what it means, truly means to us and our circumstances, but also to know how it’s different for other women. I’m here to give you an overview, something to expand your knowledge from. I like learning something new in small chunks, to really lay the foundations down and then add layers.
So, what actually is feminism, feminism is the equality of the sexes. It is striving for equality among all, however you identify, whatever your race or class may be. A simple google search will come up with a neat definition; “feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Bell Hooks definition is “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.” The definition is clear and concise, pretty easy to remember.
Despite popular belief, feminism isn’t out to get men, it isn’t about going head to head and waging a war against them, hoping to come out superior…although we can quietly whisper that in our souls. (lol jk…shhh, the men are coming!) The problem is sexism. We need to realise and remember that all of us have been socialised from birth to accept sexist thought and action. As simple as ‘be a good girl, a nice girl, an unopinionated girl’ & ‘toughen up boy, take what you want, bulldoze in.’ It might not be entirely our fault on what beliefs we were predisposed to as infants, but it is our fault if we do not choose to wake up and see society for what it is today…patriarchal.
What are the core beliefs?
At its core feminism seeks to achieve equal social, political and economic rights for women and men.
Feminism focuses on the idea that since women comprise one-half of the world population, true social progress can never be achieved without the complete participation of women. Almost all modern societal structures are patriarchal and are constructed in such a way that men are the dominant force in making the majority of political, economic, and cultural decisions.
Feminist ideals and beliefs focus on what culture is like for women as compared to what the world is like for men. The feminist assumption is that women are not treated equally to men and as a result, women are disadvantaged in comparison to men.
The ultimate goal of feminism is to eradicate discrimination, which is vital for creating equality to ensure that no one is denied their rights due to factors such as race, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or other beliefs, nationality, social origin, class, or wealth status. http://www.thoughtco.com
Women have been long oppressed regarding sexuality, exposure of the body, interactions with men. Feminism seeks to celebrate and embrace female sexuality and prowess as opposed to societal conventions that condemn women who are aware of their sexuality and explore it.
There are double standards when it comes to how society views men and women’s sexualities, men are championed and celebrated for having sex with multiple partners for not ‘settling down’, yet if women act in the same manor they are looked down upon as a disgrace.
However, when it comes to men sexually objectifying women it’s okay. Women have been objectified since the dawn of time! In many cultures’ women are to dress in a way that does not sexually arouse men, as if they cannot control their urges. And in more liberal societies women have been sexually exploited, full nudity or being cantily dressed is common in tv, movies, music videos and adverts. Yet, many women are shamed for breastfeeding in public.
These conflicting views on female sexuality creates a difficult and confusing path of expectations that women and men must navigate on a daily basis.
Feminism is multifaceted, but this is a good foundation to start your knowledge. There are many different forms of feminism. Such us; radical feminism, black feminism, third-wave feminism & intersectional feminism…to name a few.
Feminism has to consider many factors such as race, religion and class, not all women are the same and for those their fight for equality will look different.
It’s important to remember that, we’re not free, until we’re all free.
Bell Hooks – Feminism is for Everybody