What is Feminism?

Throughout history, women have always struggled to gain equality, respect, and the same rights as men.

Suffragette banner carried in picket of the White House, 1918.

Suffragette banner carried in picket of the White House, 1918. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Throughout history, women have always struggled to gain equality, respect, and the same rights as men. This has been difficult because of patriarchy, an ideology in which men are superior to women and have the right to rule women. This ideology has permeated the social structures of societies throughout the world and as a result, even in the new millennium, women are still struggling for rights that most men take for granted. The struggle was even more difficult for women of color because not only were they dealing with issues of sexism, but also racism. In order to fight patriarchy, feminism and feminist theory was born.

What is feminism? By general definition, feminism is a philosophy in which women and their contributions are valued. It is based on social, political and economical equality for women. Feminists can be anyone in the population, men, women, girl or boys.

Feminism can also be described as a movement or a revolution that includes women and men who wish the world to be equal without boundaries. These boundaries or blockades are better known as discrimination and biases against gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status and economic status. Everyone views the world with his or her own sense of gender and equality. Feminists view the world as being unequal. They wish to see the gender gap and the idea that men are superior to women decreased or even abolished. There are many different types of feminist theory and each has had a profound impact on women and gender studies.

The first is cultural feminism, which is the theory that there are fundamental personality differences between men and women, and those women’s differences are special. This theory supports the idea that there are biological differences between men and women and sexism can be overcome by embracing the “women’s way.”

The second type is individualist or libertarian feminist. This feminism is based upon libertarian philosophies, with the focus on autonomy, rights, liberty, independence, and diversity. Next, there is the radical feminism; this theory began during the Sixties. This ideology focuses on social change, and “attempts to draw lines between biologically – determined behavior and culturally- determined behavior” in order to free both men and women as much as possible from their previous narrow gender roles.

Finally, there is liberal feminism, a theory that focuses on the idea that all people are created equal and that education is the primary means to change discrimination.

Kathy Henry is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and a graduate of Roosevelt University's Class of 2006. She currently works at Ketchum Directory Advertising as a Group Adminstrative Assistant and is planning on obtaining a Master of Liberal Arts from Northwestern University. She hopes to have a book finished by the end of the year and is also the proud mother of three beautiful children.

Copyright © 2007 Kathy Henry

Comments

so if liberal feminist says that men and women are all equal, so how can it narrow the gap in relation to maxist?

It can be said that feminists are either mistaken about the notion of man or about the essence. meaning, purpose, ethics and value of human existence. That is a very humanistic way of seeing feminism.

The existential way of seeing feminism is that they anr antiGod, anti-relgion and anti-tradition. Would they anwer the folowing questiin: Indeed, I hoope someone whi is a feminust or supports feminuists whpuld get into dialogue wit me by sending me answer to the questins''

1. Did man create himself?

2. Did man create women?

3. Did man create evolution, the cause of existence, as we are told by evolutionists?

4. If man did not create evolution, did evolution create woman and man the way they are -- physically, biological, psychologically and appetitively?

5. If society created the differences or, in the words of feminists, "inequality" between man and woman, who or what created society -- and why?

6. Feminists intend to change that situation (5) Are feminist part of the society or outside the society?

7. If feminists are part of the socierty, which society created the inequality?

8. If feminists are part of the society, are feminist greater than and superior to that society that they claim created the inequality -- and how if yes?

9. If feminists reject he creation of the "inequality" and the "oppression" by the society - which I hold are the creations of God -- what right have the feminists to impose the "equality" and "no oppression" intended to be created by them, on the society and on God? Where did they get the right to do so from?

10. Do feminists believe in the existence of God and all the attributes of God -- the creator of all that are, omniscience, omnipotent, infinite, infallible, good, etc.

10. On the issue of the place of biology in men-women difference it be known that if women cease to be BIOLOGICAL, they do not become feminists, they become NOTHING. Also, if men cease to be biological, they do not become un-oppressive or docile to women, they cease to exist or they become nothing. Therefore being a being of biology means that in order for women to exist as women and continue to be women in by reason of all the functions of their external and internal systems as a whole and regarding their elements, and avoid becoming nothing, they must accept their biology and leave it to function as it was ordained by the one who is responsible for it – God. We can see that tampering with an element of that biology, the reproductive element, has caused many women to become infertility and, not having lost the desire and appetite for children, now resort to the voracious consumption of what is called fertility drugs, to the manufacture of babies for them in test tubes, called test tube babies, to stealing children, and to adopting children.

If feminism is "a philosophy in which women and their contributions are valued", what is to value contribution? Has anyone, government, nation, or group of women the right -- an exclusive right that is -- to value the contributions of men and women ? Can all the people of the world have the same value for the contributions of men and women in families and communities (societies)?

In Africa, we value women based on the morality, spirituality and humaneness that they exhibit, their fertility ,and their ability to settle disputes and stop wars. How is that not superior to the value that Americans and Canadians put on women?

Why is there distinction in the value of human beings based on the colour of their skin or their race? Why is this not being fought as fiercely and even fiercer than feminists are fighting feminists' aims. All women who suffer racial discrimination, inequality, oppression, injustice, and dehumanisation are VERY FOOLISH TO BE FIGHTING FOR FEMINISTS AIMS AND NOT WHAT DISADVANTAGES THEM MORE --- RACISM


Prince Pieray Odor

Lagos, Nigeria