The word “feminism” has gotten a bad rap. “Feminism” is associated with everything that feminists have fought against, especially the earliest feminists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Wollstonecraft. It is associated with pushing women into boxes. Its considered blasphemous by many to be a feminist and be pro-life or (gasp) anti-artificial birth control.
I’m a devout Catholic and a feminist and some people on both sides question my sincerity.
It has hurt my heart to see this “Women Against Feminism” movement. On one side, feminism as a whole has made their lives possible. Earlier generations of woman would not have been able to choose between staying at home and working outside the home (Heck, plenty of women today still don’t have a choice there, but that’s another story). Earlier women would not have had the freedom to vote. Many of the women who have participated in this campaign are working in professions that were once closed to them.
And many of them, like the woman below, hate feminism because of the actions of individual feminists.
One of the first questions that come to my mind is, “Can the word “feminism” be redeemed?” I think it certainly can. Movements such as “New Feminism” have roots much older than second or third wave. Heck, you can even say New Feminism’s roots are biblical (ex: Genesis 1:27) if you’re into that kind of thing. We are trying to go back to the beginning with the early suffragettes that said things like:
“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”- Alice Paul
“Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.”- Susan B. Anthony
“Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” – Victoria Woodhull
This is only the tip of the iceberg of all that I have to say, but I don’t want to keep you all day. I’ll revisit it Friday for “7 Quick Takes”