Wikipedia describes Feminism as
“a political discourse aimed at equal rights and legal protection for women. It involves various movements, political and sociological theories, and philosophies, all concerned with issues of gender difference; that advocate equality for women; and that campaign for women’s rights and interests.”
I am a proud feminist. But I have learned that to say this makes some people think that I grow my armpit hair and hate men. That’s a big fat NO on both counts. I believe that women are capable of anything they put their minds too – in my mind being a feminist is about being pro-woman, not anti-man.
It doesn’t mean that I am out on the stump advocating for equal rights for women. I am not an activist by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe that makes me a quiet feminist, but I am one all the same. If throughout history men had been subjugated, I would be a staunch masculinist too. Seriously folks, we are all people, we all deserve the same rights and freedoms as each other. Why does the word feminist have such a negative connotation to some people??
Gloria Steinem once said “a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”. I don’t happen to follow her philosophy. I need a man, not to make me whole, but to add fullness to my life that would not otherwise be there. I was happy before I met the KoD – I didn’t need him to make me happy. My happiness comes from within me. If I cannot find happiness within myself, how can I expect someone else to provide it?? He enhances my happiness – but it is not dependent on him. He adds so much more meaning to my life, his partnership is something I will cherish forever. In my opinion to say we don’t need men is to deny our own humanity.
You can be a feminist and still wear a bra, you can be male and be a feminist even, you don’t have to wear birkenstocks – the definition evolves along with the world. Our foremothers fought for equal rights, voting rights etc – we don’t have to fight for that anymore. Indeed, we almost take it for granted that we can do all those things that were fought for years ago. Feminism today is about encouraging women to be all they can be, to not give up, that the world is our oyster. As far as I am concerned man-bashing has no part in today’s feminism.
I posed this question on Twitter and Facebook “in two sentences – what does being a feminist mean to you” and got back some awesome and interesting responses.
“My worth does not lie in my reproductive organs”
“Femme, female. Ism a belief. Feminism is a belief in women”
“In society women need to be treated equally and with respect. Judaism has to figure out how to do that without violating God’s laws. (Third sentence? Neither is easy.)”
“Men are. Still in charge.”
“Feminism means freedom to be whatever sort of women you wish with no expectations and no strings attached”
“Woman says wants to make kiddush fri night, hamotzei lechem, and feels need to carry sefer torah simchas torah. Plus the other usual nonsense.’
What does feminism mean to you? and for my Jewish commenters, what does it mean to you to be a feminist in a Jewish world?