Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An F For the Ladies.

I have been fortunate that for much of my life, I have been able to keep feminism at a comfortable arm’s length. I could abstain from the more heated conversations, since I don’t have a uterus. I recently heard an interview that made me re-consider. The March 21st episode of Reality Check Podcast featured an interview with the co-founders of Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph.

I found their site to be pretty large for a cursory glance, so I looked to their Facebook page for a concise summary: “Feminism is hard. Any sane woman believes in female empowerment, but putting those beliefs into practice can prove nebulous at best, disheartening at worst.” I guess it’s the nebulous nature of feminism that makes it hard to define, so it takes a pretty large site to cover an adequate cross-section of the movement.

Visiting the site, I felt a little like I was intruding on a private meeting, despite the co-founders saying in the interview that they welcome men to get involved. In fact, if men aren’t on board with women’s rights, it can only go so far before it just degenerates into the same hostility that feminism has inspired for generations.

Another interesting site is which is the National Organization for Women (the nation being the US). It featured more social and political content, while Sexy Feminist is more of a lifestyle site.

While feminism did not start in the Sixties, it was then that it arguably became mainstream. Therefore, my generation of men was raised with a bigger idea of women’s roles in society. We also had parents and grandparents with narrow but tidy definitions of a woman’s role.  Please forgive us men who come to the discussion table with some confusion.

It has become time for me to acquaint myself with what feminism is all about, Now that I’m raising a little girl, I have some skin in the game, and it’s important to me that she goes out into the world with what she needs to succeed, mentally and socially.

Since many of my blogging buddies are ladies, I’d like to hear your thoughts on what feminism is, and how it applies to your live. Bonus points if any of you have a daughter, and want to say how it affects your parenting!


  1. Hi, I am stopping by from the A to Z challenge. I am your newest follower.

  2. Please remove your word verification from the comment section. It makes it almost impossible for readers to comment on your post.

  3. I have two daughters and leave the feminism to wifey. She tries to teach me and I try to listen to ... what were we talking about again?

  4. I have one daughter who is more like a friend than a daughter,
    We seem to have that special bond though when her dad was alive she was a proper "Daddies Girl".

    Quite an issue here Will, enjoyed the post.


  5. Guess you did need to know since you have a daughter.

  6. I think that today's feminists fall into two catagories. The first is made up of women that truly want to find and regulate an honest balance between the sexes. For the most part, those that fall into this first catagory of feminism are thinkers and doers, wanting to prove by example just what women are capable of, as well as serving as constant reminders of the monumental contributions made the world over by women, who in the not too distant past were pushed into the shadows of "a man's world." Then, there are those who call themselves "feminist" in a failed effort to dress up their complete disdain and contempt for the Y chromosome. It is this group of women that make me instinctually cringe at the word "feminism" these days, because I have come to instantly suspect that a loud and boisterous round of man-bashing will soon commence after their introduction of, "Hi. My name is Matilda, and I am a feminist." And that, to me, is the most palpable difference between Feminist A and Feminist B. The former seeks to define a better society for everyone by way of sincere and honorable action, while the latter seeks only to define themselves with cat-calls of "I am woman, hear me roar" and "All men suck!" and "I am a feminist." Unfortunately, the numbers of Feminist B seem to be growing, and therefore tainting the work and sacrifice of female warriors of past regard and esteem. It is unfortunate, indeed.

  7. hmmmm don't know if i am a feminist---i just give and take what i want from the more conventional definition of a feminist---my daughter doesn't even worry about---interesting post

  8. Bear with me: I was raised by hippies (the real 1960's and 70's kind), and most of them female, so my feminist ideology (if that's what this is; I'm not entirely sure) might be a little earthy, hippy-dippy, let's-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya.

    I am female before I am anything else. I'm a redhead. I'm a lefty. I'm Rebecca's daughter, Katie's mother, and Pete's wife. I'm all that, too. But the first, last and always of what defines who I am is female. As such, all other women on this planet are my sisters.

    No, seriously. I'm NOT going to break into a hearty round of "I Am Woman."

    I am connected to the other 3-whatever-we're-up-to billion double X's out there because I'm a double X. Res ipsa loquitur -- it speaks for itself. Every woman out there has gone though or will go through everything I have and will. We all get it. We all know. And that thought is comforting to me.

    That isn't to say I don't love men. I love men! I think they're fascinating and infuriating and wonderful and weird. My sisterhood is no better (or worse, mmkay) than their brotherhood, either. We can all be pretty batcrap crazy at times, and lots of us from both sides of the gene pool flail around with our heads planted up our rear ends. We're -- men and women -- often just crazy or stupid or fabulous or inspiring for different reasons.

    Acknowledging those differences and not condemning them as fatal flaws is key.

    I've raised my daughter (now nearly 17) with these belief, too. You are female first. Guys rock. We're all lame sometimes.

  9. I just try to live my life the best way I can. Sometimes, that is interrupted when people make statements or ask discriminating questions based on my gender. I have been told and asked a lot of things over the years. Things that my husband, brother, and father have never been asked and would never be asked because they are men. I know this and it does bother me. To me, it all boils down to respect and isn’t that what this is all about?

    I have defended myself and other women before because I have felt disrespected, but I choose to believe that most people who are making these comments are just ignorant. I don’t believe they are evil and I don’t believe they are trying to make me feel inferior or hurt my feelings although I think these can be consequences of some of these comments and questions.

    I have a son and I have heard a lot of things on television and in other forms of media about how all men are dogs and how men don’t treat women right, and a lot of other disparaging comments and it really bothers me. I have a wonderful son and I am married to a wonderful man. There are some good guys out there and I don’t think it’s fair for people to make these sweeping comments about men, just as I don’t think it’s fair for people to make such sweeping comments about women.

    We all have our own strengths and weaknesses that have nothing to do with gender and I wish we were not subjected to the whole you’re a girl so you should act/do this and you’re a boy so you should act/do this game. We are all individuals and should be treated as such.