Pondering feminism

I was discussing feminist topics with a couple of friends last night when the issue of men and trans people being excluded from some feminist events came up. I was reminded of an old blog post of mine where I decided not to call myself a feminist as the pressure from certain types of feminist became too much (N.B. I have since changed my mind about this). However, now I ask myself why anyone dares to think they have the right to tell other people who and what they are. Just because you enjoy sex, you can’t be a feminist? Just because you don’t go on protests and write on posters, you’re can’t be a feminist? Just because you weren’t born (and remain) female, you can’t be a feminist? We can label ourselves however we like, thank you very much! Wiktionary describes feminism as:

A social theory or political movement supporting the equality of both sexes in all aspects of public and private life; specifically, a theory or movement that argues that legal and social restrictions on females must be removed in order to bring about such equality.

This was my favourite definition from my, admittedly rather brief, search as it mentions equality and doesn’t specify that this is only for women. (I’m not entirely happy with their use of the phrase ‘both sexes‘ but at least it’s more than one, which is a start.) In my opinion, anyone who is interested in feminist issues can call themselves a feminist, so why can’t all these people be welcomed at all feminist groups and events? I doubt I’ll ever be an activist but I don’t think that makes me any less feminist than someone who is. I wonder if I should start a feminist discussion group that welcomes anyone who identifies as a feminist?

8 thoughts on “Pondering feminism

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  1. It would be good to have something like that. I have arguments with London Feminist Network types whenever I encounter them because we disagree over fundamental things like trans women, and pro-sex issues.

    The only adjustment I can think of to that definition, to make it match my brand of feminism, would be to say “equality of opportunity”, since we can't physically be equal. I would explain but all brainfoggy, and commenting from my mobile – maybe another time, if you/others want me to.

    Did you see the link I posted to Twitter earlier about feminism and being sexy?

  2. well, yes, that is a definition that I subscribe to since it talks about equality in general rather than the idea that feminists should be out to “restore the balance” in some way or another.

    extremism is always going to happen though, to simply behave equitably to all people will often not be enough for some.

    the reasons behind it are manifold, including, but not limited to, the desire to “right wrongs”, appear to be completely on side with the group, simple zealotry or because that kind of attitude was how they were introduced to the concept of “feminism” (although all of this applies to pretty much any group, see religion)

    basically, people are not always great, and you can find yourself holding the same beliefs as some people whilst their way of expressing it leaves you sad and shaking your head.

    on the subject of that definition, although I like it, it is somewhat dated and might well do with changing to “all sexes” to be truly equitable.

    then again, I'm a sucker for equality.

    – wiggly

  3. two quick things:

    yes, why the hell should I only get to be a 'pro-feminist' (at best) and never be allowed to discuss issues of gender-based violence as I experience them as being feminist issues;


    why do you not call yourself an activist?!


    please do start the discussion group!

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