I am constantly wondering what it means to be a feminist. I thought it was merely the idea that women should be equal to men. However, there are so many variations of this simple first embodiment, I mean we are in the FOURTH wave of feminism currently.
This current wave is about justice for women, but I guess my issue with feminism in the first place is not the idea behind it or the reason for it, but the fact that so many people think of it differently. I see it as respect, justice, and equality for everyone through a feminist lens that would be strictly for women. But, what if someone else sees it differently are they not a feminist because they don’t agree with me?
“Women don’t act as one. The question is why so many people are still surprised that they don’t” -Susan Chira
I have seen over the years women attacking women for being feminists and vice versa. What I wonder is if the term itself is getting in the way. The term is, at least as I believe, trying to be broad enough so any woman can resonate with it.
However, I think it takes away from the idea that not every woman has the same feelings or beliefs in life.
A recent article I saw from the New York Times got me thinking even more about all this. The article, written by Susan Chira, a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for The New York Times, titled Women Don’t Think Alike. Why Do We Think They Do? talks extensively about how women have different viewpoints on issues constantly facing the feminist movement. She specifically discusses sexual assault, as that is a main issue for this wave of feminism, and tries to understand why women voted for Trump, or supported Brett Kavanaugh.
She discusses the frame they are looking through is what they choose to believe in. In the case of Kavanaugh woman who have sons or husbands sympathized more so with him, rather than Dr. Ford. While this is a very controversial issue and I have very strong opinions about it, there is a point beyond just this current topic.
Everyone is different.
I can’t say that every viewpoint or opinion I have aligns with every other woman who claims they are a feminist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a feminist. Doesn’t everyone have the right to decide what they believe and choose to stand up for? There is no way every single person in the entire world will think the exact same way as everyone else. So, maybe we should stop expecting that from everyone and just empower and support people who align with those views, rather than put energy and effort into tearing people who do not down.
To me feminism has always been about empowering women. Let’s get back to that and stop condemning women just because they don’t agree with “us”. Focus on the progress being made, not the number of women, because not EVERY woman has to be a feminist.