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Old 11-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #1
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Is Feminism Still Relevant?

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Country singer and millennial Taylor Swift recently told the Daily Beast she doesn't consider herself a feminist, explaining to the interviewer who posed the question: "I don't really think about things as guys versus girls." But many feminists would argue that Swift, 22, is missing the point, that feminism isn't a battle between the sexes.
I can't say I blame Swift if she hasn't quite pinned down the definition of the word. I do identify as a feminist -- after all, I trust in my abilities, combat stereotypes and believe in equal rights. But I've also been unsure at times what exactly it means to be a feminist and whether the modern movement is the best vehicle for gender equality.
Women have been divided over feminism, its definition and practice, since the first suffragettes demanded space in politics. Even today, asking a roomful of millennial women, roughly those 18-29, whether they identify as feminist will elicit a range of responses: yes, no and someplace in between.
"If you went up to a millennial and asked if they believe in equal rights for all, they would look at you like you're crazy, because that's a silly question," said Lauren Rikleen, executive-in-residence at Boston College. "But if you ask if they're feminist, there's this backing away and an emotional reaction."
That reaction is at odds with the attitudes of women who came of age in the '70s, '80s and even '90s, said Dr. Paola Bacchetta, an associate professor of gender and women's studies at University of California at Berkeley.
Read more: Women gain wider access to power
After the first wave of women's rights activists campaigned for the vote and the second wave fought for reproductive rights and parity in the workplace, it seemed a given that many progressive young women had no qualms calling themselves feminists, even if they didn't participate in the movement. But progress has given some young women grounds to dismiss feminism's necessity, Bacchetta said: "We have a long way to go, and the idea that things are OK, that people aren't thinking about it because they feel like their lives are OK, is also a part of the problem."
After an election season that spurred debate over women's rights so heated that some said a war was being waged on women (a fight that may have given President Barack Obama and other Democrats a bump in the polls) it bears exploring what feminism means to millennial women.
Where are all the millennial feminists? - CNN.com

I agree very much with this article. Believe it or not, I'm not sure if I should call myself a feminist. Sure, I believe in reproductive rights, equal pay, and women being treated with respect. But as this article points out, there are so many ways to define feminism that it can be very confusing. Some groups make slam women who choose to be stay-at-home moms, others want to ban pornography and strip clubs forever (note: I'm not too crazy about both but they are complex issues). Heck, some feminists say women should be domineering towards their male partners and reject any type of chivalry, even if a guy holds a door open for you on a date. If you don't agree with certain forms of feminism, you are not a real feminist then.

But then again, there are still many misogynists out there and not enough justice for rape victims. If some men hear the term "feminist" they think, "oh she's a lesbian who hates men" - and that can be a man of any age. There's even some women who despise feminists (Phyllis Schlafly, anyone?)Hence the reason why feminism is a term to be proud of because it tells those woman-haters to go to hell.

I don't think feminism has run its course because there is still work to be done, but it has gone in so many different directions that it is hard to pin point what is real feminism. So that's my attitude towards the term.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:07 PM   #2
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Everyone seems to have different ideas of what a feminist is or should be. Most of these different definitions seem to come from people who will tell you're they're not feminists. Like Taylor Swift.

I happily call myself a feminist. Anyone who thinks that women should be treated equally should happily call themselves a feminist, too - men or women. (And "equal" covers a ginormous range of things.)

I don't let other people's misconceptions about feminism stop me from calling myself a feminist.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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I'm a feminist and it will always remain relevant as long as we have fairly large sections of our society who still don't seem to get it.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
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We have a black president, elected with many white votes, twice.

and 20 women in the Senate.

So racism and sexism no longer exist. We all just need to move on.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #5
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I'm with Cori on this one.

I feel being a feminist means supporting the idea of and allowing women to do what they want to do without making them feel like less because of their choices. If a woman wants to be a career gal who doesn't have kids, fine. If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom, fine. If a woman likes having a crazy sex life, or enjoys doing porn, or whatever, fine. If a woman wants to get married, fine. And so on. As long as the woman is willingly choosing to live whatever live she wants, and is happy with or in whatever she's doing, whether she's acting like the stereotypical "girly girl" or not, I consider that a good thing.

And I certainly will continue to support things like equal pay for equal work, and being able to have control over my own body, and things of that sort, as well. I think there's been some great improvements made in regards to how women are treated in this country and in the world (for the most part) over time, but there are still a lot of horrible ways to mistreat and disrespect women still going on out there that we should continue to be aware of and try and stop. The comments this year from some politicians about women's health issues, the patronizing attitude about women voters that was out there...that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of problems we've still got to deal with.

Anywho, blah, blah, bottom line, I would consider myself feminist, yes.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Yep- the Mr. And I are both feminists. I've always defined it as equal rights, equal pay, etc- not "us against them."

I would have never married a man who wasn't a feminist as well.

I hope there will be a day soon when feminism will be irrelevant- when both sexes are on equal ground. I think it's coming, but we still have a long ways to go.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:14 PM   #7
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Feminism is always relevant.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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The sexes are not yet on equal ground with regards to pay and prestige, so feminism is still relevant. Men and women are not "the same," and the only misguided brand of feminism is the sort that tries to equate them qualitatively, but the two sexes deserve equal opportunities and honor in our society. Until that happens, I'll always consider myself a feminist.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BVS View Post
I'm a feminist and it will always remain relevant as long as we have fairly large sections of our society who still don't seem to get it.
This. The fact that feminism's continued relevance is even a question is testament - unfortunately - to how successful the Right has been in giving the movement the connotation of some misandric, bra-burning cult.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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Yes. I think a lot of people just associate it with Germaine Greer and that's why they think it's no longer relevant.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:48 PM   #11
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Yikes, I guess I'm making a mistake being reluctant to call myself a feminist

Well, I guess this is a good time to start?
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:28 PM   #12
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I think you should do whatever makes you comfortable. If you don't want to call yourself a feminist, don't. A label, or lack thereof, won't affect your values one bit
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:08 AM   #13
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I never walked away from the term feminist, though I've walked away from some feminist organizations in the same way I would not associate myself with PETA.

I claim the right to define myself in any way I see fit without apology or justification. I am a feminist.

I believe in reproductive rights and choice, but that is not the be-all and end-all of feminism for me. My feminism doesn't see women as being morally or intellectually superior to men (nor do I see men as morally or intellectually superior to women). I've seen horrible and stupid women and I've seen horrible and stupid men. My feminism doesn't want to limit, define, punish or discard men. My feminism just doesn't want women to be limited or defined or punished or discarded.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BonosSaint
My feminism doesn't see women as being morally or intellectually superior to men (nor do I see men as morally or intellectually superior to women). I've seen horrible and stupid women and I've seen horrible and stupid men. My feminism doesn't want to limit, define, punish or discard men. My feminism just doesn't want women to be limited or defined or punished or discarded.
I agree with that 100%. Taylor Swift is only 22 so I get why to some extent. But if she thinks feminism is about boys vs girls, maybe she should do some more reading about it.

Feminism is about being able to call yourself whatever you want, about having the right and choice to do that. It's about women having the same rights to freedoms and choices that everyone else enjoys. About having rights to equal pay, education, all of that too.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:11 PM   #15
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Personally, I would say that Taylor Swift's opinion on feminism is beyond irrelevant. This is someone who makes her living through juvenalia. The trend of media pretending that any given celebrity's thoughts on social or cultural issues are intrinsically relevant is an extremely dangerous one, especially in terms of women's issues. There are very few A-list female celebrities whom one can safely call feminist. In music especially they tend simply to exploit many of the worst stereotypes of women for their own gain.
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