What is feminism, really?

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Dustin replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

Just so it's clear; yes I acknowledge sexism is real and needs to be fought. Same goes for prejudice in the justice system. By the definition Kai-An laid out I have no issue with identifying as a feminist. I understand the juxtaposition to society terms like feminism and BLM represent. When the rubber hits the road, though, unnecessary hang ups are a semantical inevitability even when everyone is using the same dictionary. If the goal is coexistence then putting opposition in the title seems a poor strategy.

My instinct is to go where the opposition is. It's worked for a couple subjects so far. And by worked I mean online. And by so far I mean I'm untouchable to by the subjects or the opposition any more, it's an old play thing. I haven't gotten to a point where I can determine how this strategy works in real life, but the reasoning seems solid. In the civil rights period was it the marches or the peaceful sit-ins that got the most attention? Either way seeing peaceful people in the place of their opposition to make a presentation of prejudice. How can that work for hiring, wages, law enforcement, rape culture, etc, etc? While typing this up some ideas came to my mind.

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin
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Baru replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

I am an egalitarian - or equalist for short.
I am all about equal opportunities and chances for everyone.

If feminists are about equality, then why not be "equalists"?
OR is feminism just for and/or about women?

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Dustin replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

Ala Wiktionary feminism is:

A social theory or political movement which argues that legal and social restrictions on women must be removed in order to bring about equality of both sexes in all aspects of public and private life.


Even from a colloquial definition feminism is about bringing about the ideal of bringing equality of both sexes with the implication that restrictions to women should be removed to achieve this. So I would agree that feminism is attached to the egalitarianism Venn diagram with one side being inside with implied focus on how society could be made more equal in regards to gender; I think this is how most people intend feminism to be interpreted. The other half of the Venn diagram, equality for genders while promoting inequality for other characteristics, is nonexistent in my experience. People promoting matriarchy aren't feminists, but that is more common.

If feminists are about equality, then why not be "equalists"?


Most probably because the promotion of true equality is nebulous. It doesn't imply what's wrong; what needs to change. Also the most obvious indicator of social equality would be for people of every characteristic filling every role in society and getting equal pay with consistency in respect to that characteristic's representation in the population. Equality level: OCD. That isn't going to happen without making artificially equal, someone forcing equality... which isn't equal. I hear different variations of "equal opportunity > equal outcomes" being used to impress on people that we should be less concerned about how many of each gender, race, or whatever we see in the various roles in society and focus more on why people of certain characteristics end up in a life-route away from them. Which leads to a promotion STEM programs with particular emphasis on girls, which I think is far better than artificially filling the outcome quota which is both insulting to the token women hired for their sex rather than their merit and less efficient for the employer being told how to stock their workforce.

Hopefully that made sense. I'm in the process of working it out myself, so thanks for the opportunity. ;)

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin
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Jax replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

Because Baru, it's still the women who are short on receiving equality. But by getting equality for women men become more free of the chains of misogyny and rigid gender roles. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable to say that it's about lifting up women, and that's why it's necessary. Because that discomfort is rooted in misogyny. Call yourself an equalist if you want. No one is stopping you. But you aren't going to get people to stop focusing on increasing equality and access for women and minorities. Just as all lives matter erases the real issue, I believe saying equalist instead of feminist also erases the issue. It's complicated. It's subtle. But it's the energy I perceive behind the words.
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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

Heh, I think we've had this exact discussion before Baru. I still feel that using the word feminist will have you be misunderstood less, and help the women (and people) in your life feel less afraid and more supported and heard. I know that's how I feel, and I'd say 90% of the women I know as well.

Also, excellent point about erasing the issue Jax! Feminism has 'fem' in it because the core issue hurting everyone is not that everyone isn't equal, it's that society views femininity and all things associated with it (whether that's looks (leading to homophobia), toxic gender roles, or emotions (boys can't cry, women can't be taken seriously because they are inherently emotional, the idea that emotion and reason are opposites, etc) as inferior or bad, unless it's controlled and kept in its proper place. This is an issue for all people, but the issue is the hatred/fear of the feminine. Just like Black Lives Matter means more than All Lives Matter; of course all lives matter, the issue is we have a lot of evidence that people don't believe in the value of black lives *specifically*.

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Baru replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

As a man, I have my issues that I work with. We have stereotypes that we have to work with. I get to be associated with "white men" and "trump". Because I am a man, I have to field a lot of prejudices projected upon me. So does "feminism" address these? Do I have to create a "masculism" movement to address the issues confronting conscious men in the world? Do transsexual and trans-gender identified people need to be "tranists"? Feminism is a limited title that seems to encompass a lot of "issues".

I am a Jedi. I am here to stand for what I stand for and that is - equality for all. Opportunity for all. So I must be true to my truth. As a fellow jedi, I would hope that you would be able to respect that about me and my path? I respect your desire to be and to use the word "feminism".

I do feel that all lives matter. Is this concept specifically for the States? Is this representing all black people in the world? There are different subjected minorities in different countries? What about the Sikhs who are thought to be Muslim? What the Muslims that reject terrorism? There are so many minority groups in the world, that I feel that a statement of "all lives matters" would be more powerful and inclusive. We need unity, not more divides. As long as we continue to argue amongst ourselves about our own individual causes - those who take advantage of this get to continue doing so.

I am for people, being, and all life. I feel that choosing a term that represents all life universally is better for me. Is that acceptable?

For me, the only true cure is raising consciousness across the board.

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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

I'd say that feminism does address those stereotypes, because it has to do with how gender roles limit you. Certainly the feminism I know and engage with does. This is why my feminism is intersectional, aka looking at the intersections of identity and working towards liberation for everyone from these issues. And I guess I don't see how pointing at the leak in the dam damages the dam further; talking about specific groups doesn't have to divide us in my opinion.

I'm a Jedi too, I work to defend and protect all beings, and respect all life; this is a core part of the path, and of my own being. But I also feel it's my duty as a jedi to look at the specific political soup in which I live and make those injustices my focus, because those are the ones I can work to change. (e.g. Black lives matter is specifically an american movement, it's not meant to be a statement about existence, just a statement about instututional racism in america). What is America bad at? What are the areas my communities need improving in? How as a Jedi can I bring all the parts of my experience and identity (including the hardships I've faced and the privileges I have) to bear on injustice in specific and actionable ways?

But this way of approaching the jedi path, (aka using modern activist approaches) is something I prefer, and it is by *no* means the only way to Jedi, nor would I ever suggest as much. Of course you can use whatever word you like; you're a free human capable of making your own choices, and I completely respect your right to choose. My point was only about connotation and understanding; as Jedi we need to speak in ways we will be most clearly understood, to create greater understanding. My point was only that people make assumptions based on language, and 'equalist' and 'all lives matter' are just as politically loaded as 'feminist' and 'black lives matter'. It's just up to the individual which to use and what we want to communicate about ourselves when we do so. Does that make sense?

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Jax replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

Yep. When I hear all lives matter I know someone doesn't get it. When I hear equalism I feel you don't understand it either. That you have succumbed to the smear campaign that discredits these movements to weaken them. It's easy to do. I do it too at times.

Baru, I think you are focusing on a minority that lump you with trump supporters. Most people won't believe that because he only received 27% of eligible voters. Perhaps shift your focus away from those who target you and you will find you can see these other movements with more clarity. You will see how they benefit you as well. I know that's hard when we are targeted. I get defensive all the time. It's something I am working on, because when we are in defense we are not in awareness. I suspect that is keeping you from having awareness in these areas as well. You may also want to read more things from/for allies of movements. I recommend reading Waking Up White. I think that will help you a lot because the author goes through a journey of understanding the other perspectives even though she was coming from a well intentioned space before she understood. The book isn't meant to make you feel bad but offer a new perspective.
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Baru replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

I did share my opinions in this thread to see how they would be accepted and received. I find it interested that when people reference feminism, they talk about acceptance, but I find such people unable to accept anything else other than feminism. I feel like I am being told that I am "wrong" for my beliefs and that if I want to be correct and accepted, I have to use the word "feminism" to describe my beliefs or I am stupid, discriminatory and a "trump" supporter? Wow, that is powerful. I wonder why that is?

" because it has to do with how gender roles limit you. " - what if we got past gender and sex? What if we saw people as people and simply cared about each other as equals instead of furthering the divisions by making causes that distinguish the divisions?

Maybe if all lives did matter, we could all get along.

I do validate women, transgender, men and others. Women do matter and I do feel that bringing issues that affect women forward is important. As well, I would enjoy allowing each group and person to bring forward their needs, concerns and issues. We all have our issues with how we are being treated and how the world treats us. I feel that we are all important in our universal and unique ways.

I do feel the solution is easy - lets just love our selves and each other. The hard part is getting past the hurt, pain and experiences that keep us from connecting.

What about understanding my perspective without writing that I am "wrong" and that I have to fall in line with your perspective?

What about accepting the fact that I am for all people being the best being that they can be - beyond labels?

We are the Force.
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Jax replied the topic: What is feminism, really?

We aren't saying you are wrong, but that your word choices are not helping you. The words you choose say something different energetically than what you are intending. Therefore, if you want to be seen as who you are, rather than what people link with the words you use, you can considering shifting your language. We all have to communicate for the audience we are in front of. If the people you speak to cannot unlink the vast majority of people who mean something hurtful with phrases like equalism and all lives matter, then you need to change or accept that you will be lumped together with them. It's all a choice. We are trying to help you understand that, but in the end it's a choice for you to make.

As for labels...what you wouldn't understand due to being a while male (not an insult) is that people who are in a minority fought for the right to live as those labels. They were beaten, raped, and many people were murdered for the right to be what that label represents. To say we are beyond labels discounts everything they went through. Unless you have been raped for punishment for being gay, you don't get it. Unless you have been beaten for daring to act in a way other than what is accepted by the dominant society, you aren't really going to get it. This is what I mean when I say your wording erases people's experiences. When you say to be beyond something, without truly listening to their experiences, they hear 'just get over it. It's not relevant.' But they still live that torture every day in many cases. Please try to understand. I know you want to help. I know you want to support. But your words are hurtful to people with experiences that aren't so rosy.
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