Thursday, November 29, 2012

A common misconception with Feminism

When I first started getting into Feminism, I was very excited to share it with my brother. He's a few years older than me, also an English major, and he loves critical theory. I thought he'd be very interested.

He wasn't.

It'd be pretty easy to write that off as another man who doesn't want to call himself a feminist because he feels threatened by them, or because it would bruise his ego to align himself with them.

But his explanation was that he felt the feminist movement would dominate women just as much as patriarchy does. That it would just replace the current patriarchy with matriarchy, with women telling women what to do instead of men telling women what to do.

Now this is not true. The first thing anyone ever needs to understand about feminism is that there are many different facets of it. Like any movement, countless people have put in their two cents, creating Lipstick Feminism, Stiletto Feminism, etc. Part of feminism is constantly asking questions. Is being a sex worker a feminist act? A stripper? A wife? A stay-at-home mom? Different feminists have different answers to these questions.

The main thing that every one of them would agree upon, however, is the feminism means equality. More specifically, it means everyone has the same opportunities. What they decide to do with those opportunities is up to them, but feminists do not want anyone making that choice for them either (such as the media, men, anyone).

So in a feminist's ideal world, even if she disagreed with another woman's decision, she would support her. Because in that ideal world, there would be no entertainment, advertising, media, politics, and other powers that be to try to make that decision for her.

Here are some awesome quotes I found by Bell Hooks, author of Feminism is for Everybody. They weren't the quote I was looking for, but that's okay. I still like them.

“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.” ― Bell Hooks
“Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and preactice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.” ― Bell Hooks 

4 comments:

  1. Where did you find these two bell Hooks quotes? I'm doing a Women's Studies project and I would love to use them, but I have to quote the source. Book? Speech?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kaitlyn! I believe I found the quotes on GoodReads.com. Something like this: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/10697.bell_hooks?auto_login_attempted=true. Hopefully, the sources will be there. I'm sorry I left them out! Good luck on your project!

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