“Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.” This is Wikipedia’s take on feminism. It is noteworthy to add that feminism doesn’t intend to demean men. Nor do feminists hate men (yes, really!). In fact, men can be feminists as well. The word ‘feminism’ first appeared in the 1890s. Feminism can be branched into different kinds. For example, eco feminism is the amalgamation of ecological and feminist concerns as a consequence of the male domination of society. The oppression of women both in home and in the workplace is the prime focus of marxist feminism. It looks down upon capitalist economic practices and the system of private property. It believes that the labor put in by women doesn’t usually not pay off. Other forms of feminism include cultural feminism, liberal feminism and radical feminism. On the other hand, womanism refers to the repression faced by women of color or women belonging to marginalized groups owing to their race and gender.
Education is important to you
Why wouldn’t it be? You take education extremely seriously, to the extent that you sincerely believe it has the power to change the world around you. You strive to be a better version of yourself every day.
Getting married is not your only aspiration
Indeed. You know that there are more things to life than a fancy wedding ceremony. Nevertheless, a feminist never would belittle the institution of marriage. He or she only objects to a marriage when one party is at a higher footing than the other.
You oppose misogyny
And male chauvinism and patriarchy. Big time. Google defines misogyny as the “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”. You’re a crusader for equality, which brings me to my next point.
You want equal pay for men and women
You feel you’re rightly entitled to all the comforts that men have. You work really hard in your job and therefore expect a return which is not subject to your gender. Discrimination on the basis of sex is entirely inexcusable.
Your career is as important as a man’s
You may be often asked to sacrifice your career for the sake of a man and never vice versa. And you’ll not know what it is that makes your diligence less valuable than a man’s. For you, giving up on your career is a complete no-no.
You can take care of yourself
You’re independent and self-sufficient. You know what’s right (or wrong) for you without anyone’s telling you so (well, most of the times!). You’re perfectly capable of taking decisions and pampering yourself! Way to go girl!
You wish for a more fair society
Sure you do. For who likes to be treated differently? And you want things to be different. More importantly, you want to make a real difference. Being a feminist is about envisioning a better future.
You wouldn’t (or don’t) stop your children from doing what they want because on their gender
“You can’t be XYZ because you’re a girl.” “You can’t be ABC because you’re a boy.” Nope, that’ll never be you. Gender roles disgust you, to say the least. You are aware that such roles can never define the type of a person one is.
You knew the definition of feminism before you came across this article
Certainly. It wasn’t like you checked out the title and Googled ‘Feminism’. Am I right? You’ve been interested in it all the way long. Isn’t Jane Austen your favorite author right from you-don’t-even-remember-when?
You’re intrigued by women’s studies
I bet you’ve taken a course as well! Even if you haven’t ( because reading ‘The Bell Jar’ doesn’t count), you’re never too late. I promise that you’ll not regret it. You can thank me later!
You’re offended when you’re given specific chores according to your gender
“You don’t think I can carry my own suitcase and should settle for the handbag just because I’m a woman?” Sounds like you? Well, you protest against stereotyping women, even in popular media. Don’t you? Now that’s a feminist.
What’s wrong with women who run their households?
Or choose not to marry? Or have children? What problem can you possibly have with them? We must all have the freedom to do what we like. It would essentially be a step towards the emancipation of the fairer sex.
The first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Jane Addams. But the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes was Marie Curie. The first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton for her novel ‘The Age of Innocence’. The world’s very first novel, ‘The Tale of the Genji’ was published by a woman named Murasaki Shikibu. In 19th Century England, “upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights and obligations were subsumed by those of her husband, in accordance with the wife’s legal status of feme covert. An unmarried woman, a feme sole, had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name.” This was termed as Coverture. There still are 10 countries on the planet where women are legally bound to obey their husbands. While women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, in Yemen they forbidden to leave their house without their husbands. Nations which don’t permit women to vote are Saudi Arabia and Vatican City. Major feminists, throughout history, include Mary Wollstonecraft, Amelia Bloomer, Simone de Beauvoir, Alice Paul, Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, Betty Friedan and Sojourner Truth among others. The chief feminist works are ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’ (1792), ‘The Subjection of Women’ (1869), ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State’ (1884), ‘The Second Sex’ (1949), ‘The Feminine Mystique’ (1963), ‘The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution’ (1970), ‘The Creation of Patriarchy’ (1986), ‘Gender Trouble’ (1990), etc.
“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”