What is Feminism?

What is Feminism?

Like any social movement, the idea of feminism conjures up different images for different people. Here’s how the ladies involved in our July 2013 cover story identified it.

Alexis Dow Campbell: “I just feel that people are people, and it should be equal regardless of who we are. I have a lot of gay friends who are really active in the LGBT community, and for me, it goes right along with that. We are human beings, and we all deserve respect and equal treatment. I think the word feminism evokes a reaction in people. Like every feminist is like militant or hates men. There are stereotypes that go along with it, which are unfair because I don’t think it’s reflective of what it really means. So I think there’s definitely some reaction that people have. I think a lot of women are afraid to self-identify as feminists as a result of that. It has gotten this weird reputation, and it was given that reputation by men that were threatened.”

Yuneh Ee: “I think as a woman, feminism just means ‘confidence.’ You know those feminists who don’t shave their legs or their armpits? I get that, but that’s not me. What you should do is dress the way you want, shave wherever you want, put make up on if you want. Whatever you want as a woman. That’s what I think feminism is.”

Georgianna Hicks: “For me, feminism is just the freedom to be whoever I want to be and to decide whatever being a female means. I feel like people have different ideas about what it means to be female and to be a feminist as well. I would consider myself a feminist, but I think it’s interesting that some feel like women who like to wear dresses or makeup or whatever shouldn’t be included. That’s just as silly as saying women shouldn’t be allowed to wear pants. I think the entire point of feminism is to have the freedom to decide for yourself. And that’s why it’s important.

Sarah Newman: “To me, feminism is equal opportunities for all things. Just because I’m a feminist, I don’t feel like every woman has to go on to be a firefight or do something that is more male-gender specific. We don’t all have to wield hammers or play tackle football, but I feel like if that’s what you want to do, there should be a space for you to do that. And I feel like we have to recognize as a society the other side of that. Those who have identified as men should feel comfortable to sew or raise children at home or come into any of the women-dominated opportunities.”

Megan Slaboda: Feminism to me means, well, the first parts of that definition in my head are “angry,” “rebellious” and “fighting.” I know that’s not true. There are so many definitions and parts of it, but from what I remember and even when I hear about it now, it’s just that that’s what clicks first. I don’t like to rule my life through fear or anger. It just sucks me in and it destroys my mind. But when it comes to the overall battles, what I believe women are fighting, I usually don’t agree with the overall social media of women still fighting. I think that they’ve either exaggerated to make it look like a fight or they’re picking fights. I know that there are things to fight for, but I also think you can make more of a difference by just doing what you believe in.

Martha Wickelhaus: I don’t believe in radical anything except radical love. But I do admire those raging feminists. When you are in a battle – and it was a battle and it still is a battle and we are still talking about the equal pay gap – I understand that there is sometimes a need for the first throes of a revolution to be hopefully not physically violent but at least verbally violent and aggressive. Assertive. I’ve been called a feminist. I’m not offended by that. I don’t think about it, but I would say, “yes,” I do identify as a feminist because we still have things to do.