What Does My Feminism Look Like?


There are many misconceptions out there about feminism. People apply things to feminism that aren’t necessary too feminism. While some feminists may add those particular beliefs to their version of feminism, it is not necessarily something accepted by all feminists.

Remember: feminism is a widespread movement with millions of members. Saying that all feminists X is almost certainly wrong. Saying things like “all feminists hate men” would be like someone saying “all atheists hate god” or “all Christians hate gay people.” Do you see how this can be a problem?

Yes, some feminists hate men, but most don’t. I certainly don’t, otherwise why would I plan on marrying one? And how would you account for all the male feminists? Even if some male feminists hated themselves, I highly doubt that would be commonly held among all male feminists. To say it is is a cop-out. It’s a way to dismiss them so that you don’t have to deal with their arguments.

So rather than make baseless claims, or applying a version of feminism to me that I don’t agree with, how about I let you know what my feminism actually looks like. The foundation of my feminism is the simple idea that men and women are equal. No sex is superior to the other. This is the one thing that most feminists share. But, as everybody else does, I’ve added other beliefs to my feminism. The first thing I’d add is that there are more than two sexes. Intersex people are also the equals of men and women, or, more aptly, males and females. Then I’d add the gendered dimension, since man and woman are gender terms, not sex terms, the gender aspect of the feminist claim is explicit. So I’d add that there are more that two genders and they are all equals. This makes me a trans* inclusive feminist. Sadly, not all feminists are inclusive to trans* people, but I believe that they are a very important part of the movement.

The next thing that I would add to my feminism is the ethnic aspect. Feminists worked along side African-Americans back when neither were considered legal persons. But despite this, feminism was very much a white, middle class movement. It was mostly made up of white, middle class women and it mostly dealt with their problems. This is an issue that still exists. As does racial discrimination and disparity. But we’re all people. We all deserve equal rights. As such, feminism shouldn’t be devoted solely to solving the problems of white women. It should be devoted to solving the problems of all women, be they white, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, trans*, intersex, rich, poor, etc.

I already mentioned the focus on middle class women. Like I said, feminism is for all women. Feminism, in my mind, should spend more time focusing on problems faced by poor women. They are the ones mostly likely to be single mothers, to struggle with child care payments, to have to work so often that they barely get to see their children. To watch there children get substandard educations and drop out of school, to be uneducated themselves, to be victimized, etc. Solving those problems alone would drastically improve our societies. Because of that potential, I’d say that this should be a major focus of feminism.

I alluded to males within feminism earlier, but have also said that feminism is for women. So let’s talk about that. Men are an important part of the feminist movement. They are great allies. And they benefit from feminism in many ways. It’s much the same as straight allies in the LGBTQ movement. Those allies are important, because it shows that the LGBTQ movement isn’t anti-straight people. They also give the LGBTQ movement some strength that they would not otherwise have. Straight people have the power to convince other straight people that non-straight people deserve equal rights. They give the movement legitimacy for some. They also give it a certain political strength. The number of LGBTQ people is fairly small, but straight people help the numbers grow. This gives incentive for governments to actually support LGBTQ rights. While the movement isn’t for straight people, they are important allies, and they reap many benefits. For example, they’ve changed views on sex from something controlled by the church to a normal human behaviour. It forces governments to give marriage benefits to more people. They can no longer deny people as easily as they could before. And it have made society more accepting in general. In the same way, feminism isn’t for men, but it benefits them. Men add power and legitimacy to the movement and in return they get a more fair society. For example, if we stop looking at men as strong defenders and women as weak nurturers, then society can no longer justify drafting men and not women, or giving preference to mothers in custody cases. Personally, I’m glad that my country doesn’t have the draft, and I hope it’s abolished in other countries sooner rather than later, but more women in the military can only be a good thing. Women are often over looked for promotions, they are less likely to be allowed into combat situations, rape in the military is rampant, and they are overall treated worse than men. This doesn’t mean that every woman in the military will experience these things, but too many do. But more women in the military, especially in higher up positions, will normalize it. Men will no longer be able to get away with abusing their female coworkers, and they will no longer be able to excuse their own behaviour by saying “she can’t do the job.” And I have no problem with more men getting custody of their children. Custody should be given to whoever is most capable of raising the child, not who ever is seen as biologically more nurturing. But we can’t achieve these things with traditional views of gender. We need to change how we see men and women. We need to be equals.

The final point that I feel I need to make is this claim that feminism is a way to play the victim card. Pray tell me, at what point in this post did I play the victim card? This isn’t about being a victim, it’s about equality. I don’t know how I could make this any more clear. I don’t think that I’m a victim, but I do think that there are many problems with society that need to be addressed. However, there are a lot of people out there who have been victimized. They are, definitionally speaking, victims. Most of them choose not to focus solely on their victimhood and are able to fight to overcome their pain and fear. These people are very brave and should not be shamed. So what exactly do you find so wrong about being a victim? Why do you feel the need to shame these people? Why not just accept that some people are victims and we as a society should do our best to prevent the victimization of others?

This is what my feminism looks like. I am a trans* inclusive, non-man hating, intersectional feminist.

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5 responses to “What Does My Feminism Look Like?

  • Joanne Corey

    Thank you for laying out what feminism is for you. Like you, I often experience misunderstandings over my use of the word feminism and appreciate your ability to articulate both the core of feminism and the variables that factor into individual manifestations of feminism.

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  • Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist | Godless Cranium

    […] I read two posts by an atheist- feminist that I follow. You can find those posts here and here. I’ll be quoting from the first linked article to make my […]

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  • Godless Cranium

    Good post. I’m still trying to decide how I think and feel about feminism. I’m probably going to write a post about it in the future. Thanks for writing this. It helps to read posts by you and other feminists so I can clarify my own thinking on the subject.

    You said: “Feminism, in my mind, should spend more time focusing on problems faced by poor women. They are the ones mostly likely to be single mothers, to struggle with child care payments, to have to work so often that they barely get to see their children. To watch there children get substandard educations and drop out of school, to be uneducated themselves, to be victimized, etc. Solving those problems alone would drastically improve our societies. Because of that potential, I’d say that this should be a major focus of feminism.”

    So far, this is the problem I have with feminism. It targets females on issues that affect both males and females. I raised two kids on my own, and I wasn’t rich by any means. I could have used help like this, yet got none.

    Why not address this from a human perspective, rather than a gendered one?

    “It’s much the same as straight allies in the LGBTQ movement. Those allies are important, because it shows that the LGBTQ movement isn’t anti-straight people. ”

    Agreed. The difference in my mind is that the LGBTQ movement has clear goals that pretty much all of them agree with. That allows them to work towards those goals.

    Feminism used to be like this historically, but I don’t see it as that way now.

    For example, I’ve read feminist posts about women who think pornography and strip clubs devalue women and objectify them. I’ve also read just as many that say women should be free to do what they want, including strip or take part in pornography.

    Which is it? What’s the stated goal?

    ” I don’t think that I’m a victim, but I do think that there are many problems with society that need to be addressed. ”

    Which is why a modern feminist movement would need goals.

    The other thing that makes me pause is the way that many feminist blogs and sites I visit rarely deal with (what I consider to be) serious human rights abuses against women, but instead deal with issues like video games.

    For example, I read a post yesterday by a male feminist who went into detail about how the Final Fantasy tactics game is anti-female. I looked through his blog quickly and saw nothing on women being circumcised, being forced to wear a bag, being told they’re literally worth half of what a man is, being unable to drive in some countries or a host of other human rights abuses.

    I know one ‘bad thing’ doesn’t mean the other things are unimportant, but when it comes to feminism, I’d say those issues are far more pressing than a video game. I could see writing about both, but there was nothing.

    I also see a lack of viable solutions by modern feminism. I see a lot of people talking about the patriarchy or how women get paid less etc, but no solutions. If this is true, then what are the solutions? That’s what I’m interested in.

    Anyhow, sorry for the long comment. Thanks again. It was a thought provoking post. Sorry for running at the mouth here. LOL

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Unfortunately I think you’re wrong about the lack of divide in the LGBT movement. Yes, when it comes to wanting fair treatment they are pretty united. Everybody is willing to fight against police brutality and systematic oppression. But there is a lot that they don’t agree on. For example, not all LGBT people care about being able to legally marry. Some even go so far as to say they shouldn’t be able to. Others are exclusive towards trans, bisexual, and asexual people. They think the movement should be just about gays and lesbians. There’s a lot of in-fighting about all these little details. To the point where it seems that pride parades are the only thing the LGBT movement does effectively any more.
      I don’t think this is a feminist issue. I think this is a too-many-people-working-together issue. Not that all the support is a bad thing, but it does make the divide more likely.
      Look at the atheist community: 5 or so years ago it seemed fairly united. All the big names seemed to get along, and everybody seemed to be moving towards the same goal. Now look at it. Look at all the little schisms. There’s PZ Myers and his crowd, Dawkins and his crowd, Randi’s crowd has been having a lot of eternal strife. The Dawkins crowd can work with the Randi crowd, but both are against the Mayer crowd. Everybody seems to have their “team.”
      Sure, we’d be better off if we could all agree. We’d be better organized and get more things done. But I don’t know how we’d ever mend the divides. I don’t even know if we should.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Godless Cranium

        Of course there are people who identify as LGBTQ who disagree with the overall movement, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the movement has a clear goal and has been steadily moving toward that goal for some time. We’ve seen clear examples of their gains, as State after state, country after country permits gay marriage. If they don’t allow gay marriage, many of those countries at least have a conversation about it.

        Not so with feminism.

        Your atheism example isn’t really a good example. Atheism isn’t extensive enough to hold people together or to organize.

        We often see individual atheists form groups to deal with specific issues and then disbanding once those issues have been dealt with. Atheism by itself is not a sufficient glue to organize around. For that, you need a cause.

        Feminism is a cause. It just doesn’t have any clear goals and as a wider modern cause, it seems to fail badly. It often targets things and tries to make them women’s issues, when they’re human issues. Feminists can’t even seem to agree about what equal rights means or how to achieve it.

        I’m not saying feminism hasn’t been useful in the past or that it shouldn’t be tackling issues today. I’d love to see more solutions out there. I’d also like to see them tackling some of the bigger issues that face women worldwide, instead of blaming video games.

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