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10 March 2011 @ 12:20 am
Ohhhkay, I have a quick question that's primarily for female-identified feminists on my flist: in your opinion, is feminism only for women? I'd always thought that it would include other feminine-presenting folk who'd also have a stake in equality and defending the feminine, but lately I've seen a lot of people saying otherwise. And as a genderqueer FtM androgynous person, I'm no longer feeling comfortable in feminist spaces. Idk. :/

Eta: And I'm seriously not interested in intruding on women's-only spaces. I'm just wondering whether feminism as a whole is one of them!

I'M SORRY ABOUT ALL THE GENDER POLITICS ON HERE LATELY. Twindrej ficlets upcoming to make up for it.
Londondrowning_london on March 10th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
I personally feel anyone can consider themselves a feminist--just like they can be considered a misogynist. I think generally it would be female-identified persons, but even men (queer, straight, bio or not) could call themselves feminist and I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Londondrowning_london on March 10th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
This from the POV of a bio-female lesbian.
when the gales of November come earlykishmet on March 10th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
I personally feel anyone can consider themselves a feminist--just like they can be considered a misogynist. This makes a lot of sense to me.

Thank you for this. <3 Overall I love the driving ideologies behind the feminist movement, and I would like to consider myself a feminist. I've been seriously wondering whether I'm allowed to lately, and whether it'd be overstepping my boundaries, but this comment makes me feel better.
Paceuspaceus on March 10th, 2011 06:46 am (UTC)
I'm a primarily female-identified (it's a bit complicated) feminist and my answer would be, OMG NO. I'm aware that a lot of feminism, especially in the past, was for white middle-class cis-gendered straight women. I don't feel comfortable with that at all. For me, feminism is about being aware of all kinds of exclusive human behaviour (like ableism). Saying that feminism is for "women" sounds exactly like that. It... makes me feel very headdesk-y.

I'm sure there are people who identify as feminists and think that, but luckily feminism isn't just one thing and there are a lot of different kind of feminists. So it's a matter of finding a feminist space where you feel comfortable.
Majestrixmajestrix on March 10th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
As a female identified black woman, I totally agree with what you've just said lady person. Most black women are accused of being that stereotypical "angry black woman"; instead can't I just be an angry woman? I think anyone who has a sensitivity and consideration for women (as a whole and on an individual basis) and is determined to see/help that women get the best thing for them (which, lets face it is different depending on so many things...), and be truly happy that they've fought for and achieved said goals, is a feminist.

Just like there are different types of femininity, I think different types of feminists should be considered.
Paceuspaceus on March 10th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I think anyone who has a sensitivity and consideration for women (as a whole and on an individual basis) and is determined to see/help that women get the best thing for them (which, lets face it is different depending on so many things...), and be truly happy that they've fought for and achieved said goals, is a feminist.

This is an excellent definition! As I said below, I know two guys who think of themselves as feminists and who I consider to be feminists. I'm not for excluding people...
when the gales of November come earlykishmet on March 10th, 2011 07:01 am (UTC)
I'm a primarily female-identified (it's a bit complicated) You know, this is part of why I'm uncomfortable with a 'women only' brand of equality movement. Because gender is complicated, and who's to define 'man' and 'woman' except for ourselves? I dunno, and obviously I don't know your exact circumstances! But that's sorta my take on it.

Anyway, yeah, I've always seen feminism as a movement that centers on people who are female-identified but is aware of intersectionalities like racism, ableism, cissexism, all that. I thi-ink that the exclusive sectors of feminism are the reason a lot of people, even female-identified people, feel uncomfortable with declaring themselves feminists.

In short, I agree with this comment, and I think I might stick to discussing with the awesome people on my flist for awhile. :) This is where I feel most comfortable, so. <3
Paceuspaceus on March 10th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Gender is complicated, exactly!

I have a male friend who I'd call a feminist, and a male co-worker who calls himself a feminist. I'd say they're both as much feminists as I am.

Discussing things with your flist sounds great! I'd love to read more of these gender politics posts, so please, go ahead. :) I'd be interested in reading about your personal experiences, too, if you feel inclined to share them.
7veilsphaedra7veilsphaedra on March 10th, 2011 06:51 am (UTC)
Wow. It sounds like you've picked up something demeaning from someone with a huge ego, a narrow mind and a big mouth.

If you have an interest in rectifying social inequalities that affect women — all women — and you call yourself a feminist, then you are. Let's help each other realize that, instead of getting hung up on someone else's ego-strut.
when the gales of November come earlykishmet on March 10th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
It's a lot of people in certain communities lately - some seem only to want to include female-bodied people (which is flat out ridiculous to me) and some only want to include those are female-identified.

If you have an interest in rectifying social inequalities that affect women — all women — and you call yourself a feminist, then you are. This has always been my definition of feminism, too, which is why the exclusionary forms confuse me! But given the way I've been identifying, it's good to hear that some female-identified people define feminism the same way I do. Thank you for that.
Bishie Lurve: SZS - Sensei sparklenerfracket on March 10th, 2011 07:01 am (UTC)
*points up* What she said.

I'm 47 and have been a feminist all my life. I carry the name of one of the founders of the feminist movement. I'm also the mother of male children, both of whom are committed to social justice and equity. My precious granddaughter is named for the same woman whose name I have, and when my son called me to tell me that they knew the baby was a girl, he said, "We're calling her that, for all the XX women who keep on storming the barricades, Mum." For us, feminism is both an ideology that informs our daily lives, and deeply personal. I work in the community sector, my kids don't, but we all work every day to redress the inequities that affect women the world over.

There are many different types of feminism, but there are core facts that link us together. Find the type that fits you best and fight on! ♥
when the gales of November come earlykishmet on March 10th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
That is so cool. I love that the name is continuing on through the generations. It's a great reminder that the fight for equality is still going on. <3 Your kids sound awesome, too. I think it's a good thing to have as many people as possible working, as you said, to redress all the terrible inequities facing women everywhere.

Definitely going to keep on fighting, and thank you for this comment.
Poor Medeapoor_medea on March 10th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)
I think there are no strict 'lines' or 'rules' when it comes to these things.

I'll admit that when I hear a gay man (who identifies wholly as male) declare himself a feminist, it makes me slightly uncomfortable. Only because he doesn't seem to have the same stake in the issues that I do, for instance. I would rather he declare himself sympathetic to feminist issues, supportive of equality for all, etc. (That would go for straight men, as well, but I don't hear it from them with any regularity). That being said, I'm not offended or anything, because I know that what he's saying is that he's supportive of my right to equality, just as I am supportive of gay and lesbian rights, even though I'm straight.

I think anyone who considers themselves to have a stake in feminist issues should not only be allowed to have those opinions, but be welcomed by other feminists. The more the merrier, and all that.
anehan: Sparkle for me Tomanehan on March 10th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
This opinion resonates with me. I'm not offended if a cis-gendered man says he's a feminist. Actually, I'd be glad to have an ally. But I'd wonder, how much does he know about these things? Has he taken the time to read about these issues and to listen to women talking about these issues? I'd be slightly sceptical. It's weird, because I don't have the same kind of reaction to men who say that they are pro-feminists. Maybe it's because by adopting that label, they are already showing that they are at least familiar enough with feminism to know some terminology.

I think there are women-only spaces, like women's support groups and so on. But then we come to the question of who is a woman. People who were born biologically female? Female-identified people? Where do intersexed people come in? And so on. So I think those kind of things should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

However, I don't think feminism as a whole is a women-only space. There may be pockets that are women-only, like support groups and other such things, but the movement itself should, in my opinion, to be open for everyone, both those who call themselves feminists and those who call themselves their allies. I'm sorry that you have had such bad experiences in feminist places. I hope that you'll find some in which you feel comfortable.
darcyundrockroll on March 10th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I really agree with this comment ^ :)
when the gales of November come earlykishmet on March 10th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
See, I can totally understand women being uncomfortable with men declaring themselves feminists. If, say, my father proclaimed himself a feminist, I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable with that either (partly because I think he's unaware of his privilege in many areas, including his male privilege).

I'm just not sure, then, where I or any other genderqueer people fit in. Particularly genderqueer/androgynous/whatever people who do identify as more feminine/female, or people like me, who were born female and experience a lot of the same issues. Should we identify as feminists or as pro-feminist/allies? I'm cool with identifying as an ally because I'm primarily male-identified at this point, but I think it's even more of an issue for others who might not be.
Zephyrustwig_tea on March 10th, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
I do not believe that feminism is restricted by any definition of gender. I am happy to call people/for people to call themselves feminist no matter their gender identity (or even if they don't have one).

Where it gets complicated, and where I can see this becoming problematic, is when discussions occur and particularly when decisisons are being made. Everyone wants a voice, and I know that cis-women can get protective of that voice, because they have experienced in the past that cis-males (feminist or no) tend not to really or fully 'get' what they're talking about, and so their ideas sometimes fall short of the ideal. That's not true for all cis-men, and it's certainly true that all cis-women automatically get it either. But I firmly believe that the group whose rights and priveliges are being discussed are the ones who should have the final say (or at least, that's how I approach any discussion with a member of another group about that group, because how the hell can I say I know what it's like and what they need better than them, no matter how much I have learned/think I know?), both in any discussion and particularly in any policies that affect them.

That being said, cis-gender women are not the only ones being directly discussed or affected by feminist change. I firmly believe that feminism creates a better reality for all genders, and of course feminine-presenting people and trans women in particular are of course going to be more immediately and directly affected. And I think feminist spaces in general fail to be actively inclusive (though I have noticed this changing recently).

Of course, the feminist movement historically has failed horribly at being inclusive in general, particularly to trans/genderqueer women, women of colour, and working class/below poverty line women. So this isn't anything new, I think a lot of us realize we need to do better.

IMHO anyone who is a feminist and who isn't also active and engaged in the struggles against opression based on race, class, disability, sexual preference, and gender identity are missing the point, and are failing the vast majority of women on this planet.
カト。: films/harry potter→ full circlepotter on March 10th, 2011 01:08 pm (UTC)
Anyone can be a feminist, but I feel that the female voice must transcend all others. By female, I do not mean cis-female, I mean female-identified. If you consider yourself a woman, then you're a woman, as far as I'm concerned (and, frankly, I have no right to police anyone's identity in the first place!)

So, in short - anyone and everyone can be a feminist, but when it comes to discussion and politics, the cis-male voice should never take precedence over any female one.

I am uncomfortable with the way feminism regards transgendered people and really hope that feminism can become as inclusive as its argument suggests. :/

Edited at 2011-03-10 01:09 pm (UTC)
Die Kleine Hexehexenhasel on March 10th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Anyone can be a feminist - it isn't restricted to those who have a vagina.

Unfortunately the original movement of feminism has become lost over the decades and generations and has branched off into these groups that advocate women as being superior to men and I don't jive with that.
Talya Firedancer: andrej: sultryfyredancer on March 10th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)

I don't think feminism is, or should be restricted to, those who identify solely as female.
lynn: Model -> the great illusionchicaintcheap on March 10th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Nooooo. I don't see the point in treating feminism like an exclusive 'members only' club. Where's that going to get us? I'm sorry if you'd encountered people who act like that, because imo, that seems to me like they're missing the point of feminism :/ Until we're all free, we're all oppressed; and oppressing other people to feel superior isn't going to help anyone ever.

Besides, anyone who wants to be a feminist is more than welcome - it's a damn good cause, and the more the merrier. By excluding and inferiorizing certain groups of people, you're only going to enforce the stereotype that feminists are angry, irrational, woman supremacists.
We're only several miles from the sunanimegoil on March 10th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
Mmm... I think men can be feminists as well. It's like how white people could be for the civil rights movements, even though that was for blacks. If you're trying to propagate equality, then that equality should be practiced as well by that group.
Jain: chae yeonjain on March 10th, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)
Female-identified feminist here, and I'm definitely of the opinion that anyone who 1) supports gender equality, 2) understands that we have not yet achieved gender equality, and 3) wants to identify as a feminist, is a feminist.
Morgan RoAnn: Disney - Jack WTFnorcalnoise on March 12th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC)
...Wouldn't excluding a gender from a feminist movement be sort of hypocritical and defeating of the purpose of feminism?

"Equality, we're all the same! ...'Cept you, we don't want you here."

It's sort of like the Animal Farm thing that is suggested with that thought process: all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others. To exclude a gender from feminism, or any cause that strives for equality, is like a backwards progression (that's a contradictory phrase, isn't it...)

But I'm not really a feminist (like, I support female rights and want there to be equality for everything, no matter what happy places they are born with, but I don't do anything with it. I just sort of sit and wave a flag, go team!) so I'm not sure if my opinion is right or whatever.