As I worked on this week’s writing prompt, Write A Short Piece About What ‘Feminism’ Is, I started digging deeper into various schools of thought on feminism. I came across notable feminists within those schools of thought, their work, and their various approaches for advocacy. And what I ultimately discovered, ironically, is that feminism is not essentially about women or femininity at all.
Feminism is about all humans and whether or not there is equity among them, and how this equity should be understood and brought about in the real world. Feminism is about human rights. Period.
bell hooks hit the nail on the head when she said, “Feminism is for everybody.” To me, that statement has a dual meaning. It means that feminism is for everybody, as in all humans have a vested interest in feminism whether or not they are aware of it or not. And it also means that feminism is about or for every body, as in every living human body that breathes.
Feminism is essentially about and for all us humans, regardless of our genders or lack thereof, and regardless of our sexual orientations.
Feminism is about advocating for equity among humans regardless of their gender or lack thereof, and regardless of their sexual orientation, via a multitude of approaches and concerns. Such feminist advocacy approaches run the gamut and have been known to include legislation, litigation, protests, written works, speeches, organizations, acts of kindness, and more. Such feminist advocacy concerns also run the gamut and are all centered around political, economic, and social equity for humans.
What’s most important to note: all feminist approaches and concerns have merit and weight on their own and collectively when it comes to advocating for equity for humans. And they can all only come about via educational means; educational means that start both inside and outside the home.
As Mary Wollstonecraft proposed over 200 years ago, equity of education for children is important for everyone. All young children, including girls, should be encouraged to use their reason, engage in critical thinking, and engage in physical exercise. All adults inside every child’s home or domestic environment or boarding school, including parents, servants, governesses, etc. have an impact on every child’s character and understanding of the world. The education of how humans are treated and what is expected of them and cultivated in them begins in infancy and is directly tied to home life, and is also tied to their schooling and social encounters later on. And if there is to be equity among humans, there must be equity in their education. They need similar instruction and opportunities, if not inside the home, then hopefully outside of it as they grow older.
In the twenty-first century it still seems that education is tantamount to equity of humans of all genders and non-genders and sexual orientations. All humans learn about equity or the lack thereof when they’re younger, at home or where they live. But education outside the home can significantly change one’s understanding of human equity, as long as one continues to learn and use their own critical thinking skills.
All advocacy efforts regarding the equity of humans, even today, happen through various avenues of education, both public education and private education. Some people learn about equity in school or from their peers. Some learn about equity via published works. And some learn about equity via rallies and speeches and legislation and local organizations. All advocacy avenues are valid and necessary for continually educating people about equity.
Now, as we learn more as a global society, we’re starting to see things and understand things on a broader and more global scale, and want to cast a wider net on what we need to learn about and advocate for when it comes to equity. So we are starting to see a subset of concerns within traditional feminism surface, such as ecofeminism and psychoanalytic feminism. But I still maintain that all facets and sub-facets of feminism center around human rights and human equity. Read more about how I came to this conclusion: What Is and Isn’t ‘Feminism’? ; Writing About ‘Feminism’.
Here are some remaining thoughts and questions I have about ‘feminism’ after completing this week’s writing prompt, which I’m likely to periodically come back to in the future.
- If we started viewing ‘feminism’ as ‘humanism’ instead, or women’s rights as human rights first, would it matter? Would it change the polarizing nature of the term ‘feminism’? Would it take away from concerns women have?
- Will feminism become more prominent when human rights also become more prominent and accepted around the world?
- Are feminism and human rights essentially about morality? If not, what are the non-moral facets of human rights and feminism that need to be emphasized?
- How can we make ‘feminism’ a less polarizing term? According to a recent Pew Research Study, while women in the U.S. are more likely to assign positive characteristics to ‘feminism,’ only 61% claim that they are feminists and many of them admit that it is a polarizing term. It is interesting to note that women with a higher education are more likely to call themselves feminists, according to the survey. And that a fairly sizable amount of people seem to think that the term ‘feminism’ is becoming outdated.
What are your questions about what ‘feminism’ is? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Are you working on a draft for this week’s writing prompt too, and want to chat about it? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. You can also share questions, more about your writing process, or a draft of your writing for this prompt in the Forum for Daily Drafts and Dialogues. Or tag me @kecreighton on social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium. I can’t wait to see what you’re writing too!
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