Jan 22 2006
11:09 am

This article by Bonnie Erbe brought this topic back in my thoughts a couple of months after I was asked if I was a feminist:


I had to stop and think, what is a feminist? What is the definition? I could not immediately come up with the definition, so I asked the person what is their definition for feminist. They could not come up with an answer either.

Problem solved, I did not have to answer the question.

However, I looked up the definition when I got home.
1. a doctrine advocating social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
2. a movement for the attainment of such rights.
3. feminine character.

Thus, yes I guess I could call myself a feminist. I like to work, I like what I do for a living, and yes I like to earn. Growing up with multiple brothers I have always felt equal to men (except physically, of course). I have always tried to achieve equality with men socially, politically, and economically. My husband certainly treats me as an equal. He is the best.

To this day some people think being a feminist is not a good thing. Are feminist too butch? I don't think so. Do feminist hate men? I know I don't. Do feminist want to be independent, equal, safe, and self-supporting? Most definitely.

S Carpenter's picture

Hi power5483, Having read

Hi power5483,

Having read and absorbed many of Mary Shelly Wolstonecraft's views as an adolescent boy, I've always wanted to be a feminist.

I couldn't qualify to be a feminist because of #3. "feminine character". This makes me not gay as in not happy.

Is it really a necessary part of the feminist definition?


"Going back to first principles, vice skulks, with all its native deformity, from close investigation; but a set of shallow reasoners are always exclaiming that these arguments prove too much, and that a measure rotten at the core may be expedient. Thus expediency is continually contrasted with simple principles, till truth is lost in a mist of words, virtue, in forms, and knowledge rendered a sounding nothing, by the specious prejudices that assume its name." M.S.W.

R. Neal's picture

Is it really a necessary

Is it really a necessary part of the feminist definition?

That's an interesting question. My reaction (as in a not well thought out response) is, what's wrong with "feminine character", whatever that means?

If it means a feminine style, manner, point of view, or the ever nebulous feminine "mystique", then I can't imagine where the world would be without it.

Reproduction aside, in my view (call me sexist if you want), women are wired differently. Men implant their seed and then move on to hunt or watch NFL on TV. Women are left to the gestating, birthing, and nurturing part. I think it gives women a unique perspective in their relationships, one that men can never experience.

If you mean (most) men can't adopt a feminine character because they aren't, well, female, then I see your point.

If you mean it in the sense that men and women should be equally supportive of women's rights without regard to their own gender, then I'm with you.

rikki's picture

Like Mr. Carpenter, I strive

Like Mr. Carpenter, I strive to be a feminist, which to me means respecting women, seeking their input and perspectives, and promoting legal equality. But that's a male-oriented definition. Regardless, I think feminism is a good thing. It is progress. Those who use the term as a pejorative are dull cowards, men like Limbaugh and O'Reilly whose purpose is to dig deep moats around their own stupidity and hurl feces at all who dare cross. The counterattack to the empowerment of women and minorities has been an empowerment of idiots.

Feminism has gotten more interesting in recent decades as women have re-embraced their sexuality. The push for legal equality engendered a sense of androgyny, wherein any asserted difference between the sexes was rejected as a cultural artifact. But there are biological differences, physically and psychologically, and feminism is moving toward embracing these differences and exploring the different ways men and women approach challenges and problems. We are moving past a contrived, literal equality toward a sense of being equally important complements.

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