This post by Achelois, or rather the comments, reminded me of the problems we encounter regarding the word, or concept of ”feminism”. There are nowadays a lot of different interpretations of what it means, and especially there is a lot of shying away from the word itself. Why is that?
It seems to me that here has been a fairly succesful attack on the concept of feminism, with the result that most women who truly are feminists in the original sense, feel constantly compelled to regularly add the comment: ”I am not a feminist”. Sorry, but all the intelligent women I have met in Blogsphere àre feminists.
Any woman, or man, who insists women have a mind of her own, who does not want women’s intelligence diminished by artificial patriarchal or religious misogynists is a feminist in the true sense of the word.
Feminism stands for women’s rights.
What can be so bad about this that women who also stand for women’s rights have to denounce the suspicion that they too are ”Feminist”?
Let’s recapitulate, feminism stands for human rights for women.
- the right to vote,
- the right to be educated,
- the right over her own reproduction, both having children, or using contraceptives to avoid having children,
- the right to own property,
- the right to be an individual,
- the right of bodily integrity and autonomy,
- the right to work,
- the right to be protected against violence, abuse, sexual harassment and rape,
- the right of equality to men,
- the right of equal pay for equal work,
- the right to get medical assistance,
- the right to be protected against gender-specific discrimination
- the right to choose religion
- the right to speak out
These rights are still not fully established in what is generally called ”The West” and the rest of the world is far behind. Because ”The West” happen to be those societies which where most successful towards gaining some of these humanitarian rights for women, people from other societies on the planet like to point out that these basic human rights are not suitable for their cultures or religions, that women’s rights and feminism are some sort of evil, alien ”western” influence, and that therefore they do not need to heed them.
I beg to differ.
These ”feminist” rights are human rights, which apply to any human, any woman and any culture. When ”culture” disagrees with feminism, culture is wrong. When a religion denies with women’s rights, religion is wrong.
Same way the different cultures and religions of the ”West” were wrong when they disregarded the rights of women. As the misogynist cultures and religions of ”The West” had to give up their misogynist ways to the demands for equality and human rights by strong intelligent and organised women, so can the faults of other cultures and religions be amended by women and men if they are strong enough.
And that’s a good thing. Not a bad thing. Feminism is a good thing.