Monday, April 23, 2012

Feminist Question of the Week: Semantics

My question this week is a simple one, but one that I do think is important. People are always getting fired up at the term, "feminism;" some people hate the connotations associated with it, some love that it has such a rich history. Some people think it's too narrow and should rather be, "humanism," and others think it shouldn't exist at all because everyone should already be pro-women's rights, so we should only have the word sexist (much like the term "racist").

So, what do you think? What does the word, "feminism" mean to you? Is it time for a new moniker for what we do? Or is this word sufficient?


  1. Oh gosh, Rachel. This question is really a tricky one. From my perspective, I have perceived the continual reshaping of application of the term for decades. It means so many things because its applied in multiple contexts, artistic, legal, political, economic, social, religious, and on and on. Feminism, in my view, places the rights of women at the top of all categories. Helen Reddy's song, "I Am Woman" comes to mind. Here's a link to the song lyrics.

    To me, personally, women will always be primarily nurturers and mothers. I can relate to women pretty well that way. Outside of those two roles, women are very problematic. I definitely don't think I could, nor would, ever compete against a woman for anything. Demi Moore's 1994 film "Disclosure" with Michael Douglas really shook me.

    Good question.

    1. Anonymous, I'm a little fascinated by your response, and I hope you'd be willing to elaborate a bit more? What do you mean when you say that
      outside of those two roles" of nurturer and mother, "women are problematic"? Do you mean women don't fit into other roles, or that you have a more difficult time understanding women (a la Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus), or do you mean something entirely different? Do any real-life examples spring to mind?

      Also, just so you know - our usual policy is to delete anonymous comments if the commenter doesn't choose a nickname. Selecting a nickname allows you to carry on a conversation.