Writing this week’s writing prompt is a bit easier than I thought it would be yet more time-consuming than I thought it would be… because once I started looking into what feminism is and isn’t and learning more about the stories and stances of notable feminists, I couldn’t stop. Their philosophies, theories, actions, stories, and work are compelling and have profoundly shaped our modern-day society. And I’m appalled I didn’t know more about most of the feminists I came across and their work much sooner. Or that the work they accomplished that I was familiar with wasn’t even a fraction of what they actually accomplished (and are still accomplishing) for future generations.
So far my process for writing this week’s writing prompt: Write A Short Piece About what ‘Feminism’ Is has been pretty straightforward, but didn’t come about overnight. I came up with the idea for this week’s writing prompt after completing a draft for the last Daily Drafts & Dialogues writing prompt Write a Dialogue With a Notable Woman in History, where I had to take a very deep dive into the work and writings of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Mary Godwin Shelley, to write the draft An Imagined Dialogue Between Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter.
After I completed the last Daily Drafts & Dialogues writing prompt, mentioned above, I acquired as much of their work and writing as I could. It has now become sort of a fringe obsession of mine. So, I started intensely parsing through The Complete Works of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (I’m still looking forward to taking a closer look at Mary Shelley’s work). And the more I read, the more I realized how often her work had been (and often still is) misattributed, misquoted, misunderstood, and maligned. For centuries. I was even one of those maligners while I was in grad school, due to how her work was presented to me. But, worst of all, recent generations seem to take for granted everything she spearheaded and wrote while she was alive, and how extraordinary her life and voice were in the time period in which she lived. But I digress…
The experience I had while working on the last Daily Drafts & Dialogues writing prompt made me wonder how many current feminists and advocates for women’s rights are also being misattributed, misquoted, misunderstood, and maligned— as well as the entire concept of ‘feminism’ itself and how our current world understands what it is. And if I am one of the culprits who are misattributing, misquoting, misunderstanding, and maligning them, even if unintentionally, I want to know as soon as possible to correct my course, and hopefully shed some light on the matter for others too.
‘Feminism’ is still a dirty word, or one to be avoided, in our current world. And knowing why, is important. It isn’t because of what it is or entails, but because of the abuse and false rhetoric it continues to endure.
So, here I am, attempting to write a draft about what ‘feminism’ is this week, to at least start a dialogue about it…. or if nothing else, to get the current literature and discourse around it somewhat organized in my own mind. And so far what I’ve uncovered is that the underlying concept of all schools of feminist thought (read What Is and Isn’t ‘Feminism’ for more info. on that) is quite simple: Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights— you know, what Hillary Clinton said at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. And how we educate ourselves and others (especially women) about that fact— that all feminism is, is seeing people (especially women) as humans— is what matters. All humans matter, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation, and should be treated equally. Women are humans first. So they deserve to be treated equally as humans. I’m sure Mary Wollstonecraft would agree with this.
I am convinced that while the varieties of feminist thought that are out there are necessary and helpful to unpack and understand individually, human rights remain central to all of them. So, in this sense, writing about what feminism is, is quite simple: feminism= human rights.
I plan to share my own draft of this week’s writing prompt on the blog tomorrow or over the weekend. Stay tuned to see it or subscribe below to be notified when it’s posted. You’ll also want to subscribe to receive insight into my writing process and to receive writing inspiration as you complete your own draft this week and to receive notifications for future writing prompts.
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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