As a feminist, it really puts the wind up my skirt when I hear another woman say, “I’m not a feminist, but…”. If you believe in equal pay for equal work, the right to choose what to do with your own body, the right to vote, the right to education, the right to have a career and/or children and the right to own property, then you are a feminist. If you are against rape as a weapon of war, marital rape, sexual enslavement, genital mutilation (female circumcision), sexual discrimination and being treated as less than human, then you are a feminist.
Women want the same freedoms, rights and privileges that are afforded to men, no more, no less. I don’t see why that is so hard for some women to understand.
We have accomplished so much in a relatively short period of time, but change takes time and we still have battles yet to win. In North America alone, we are still struggling. As a matter of fact, just last week, after 28 years in the Canadian courts, Canada Post has finally lost a pay equity case. Yes, the Post Office fought for 28 years, taking this case all the way to the supreme court, spending far more than they would have spent if they had just abided by the first ruling against them. http://www.psac-afpc.com/news/2011/issues/20111117-e.shtml. It was just 1982 when the Canadian Equality Law went into effect.
In the United States, Nebraska was the first state to criminalize marital rape in 1976. It took until 1993, yes 1993 for the other 49 states to follow suit. In Canada, Bill C-127 came into effect on Jan. 4, 1983, making marital rape a criminal offence.
I hope that these examples will make women think twice the next time they want to say, “I’m not a feminist, but…”. The more you distance yourself from the fight, the less likely it is that we will continue to win these kinds of battles. It’s only by standing united that we will continue to advance.
4 thoughts on “What do women want?”
Good post … I think part of the problem is that “feminist”, like “liberal” has become a dirty word, and many people don’t want to be associated with such a label when it has unduly picked up a bad reputation, even though they fundamentally agree with pretty much every aspect of the agenda of such movements.
Granted, there are feminists that do more harm than good – the same can be said of any group – and some people have a problem with the word itself (I think “equalist” a far better term; it sounds less “loaded”, less “we’re taking over-y” :)). Maybe it needs more people like yourself writing more posts like this that simply *remind* people what these words mean, what they involve, and that they don’t need to be afraid of them …
I love a good pun and nearly wet myself when I saw taking over-y. Thank you for a great chuckle and a very thoughtful comment.
Great point Windy, I have for years proposed that the Congress push to be made up of a 50-50 split women to men for true representation for women, case in point is HR 3 and HR 358 that hurts women’s reproductive rights.If there had been 50% women voting population in Congress, I doubt it would have passed the House, and it infuriates me that men pass laws about women for which they themselves will never be faced with the decisions women may have to make in their lives. And they make the abortion decision sound like a choice between toothpaste brands, while I suspect it is a most difficult decision to make for women.
Based on your definition, I am a Feminist, and I do happen to be a member of NOW. If only for donating to the cause.
The ERA amendment is raising its head I hear, at the Huff, post, Great, I’ll vote for it again if it comes up.It has been introduced in Congress almost every year for decades, I understand.
Rep Jeannette Rankin, Republican Representative in the House, from Montana, the first woman in Congress, for two terms one of which was before women had suffrage, 1916 and 1940, said this, and it is where I got the original notion of a 50-50 Congress years ago: “:We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress.” She also voted against US entry into WWI and WWII and was a pacifist.
So great to hear from a male feminist. I suspect there are many more out there. Thank you for your very welcome and thoughtful reply.