February 12, 2013 by Vicki
Feminism fights for:
– true equality with men
– an end to gender-based violence
– an end to rape
– an end to the objectification of the female body
– an end to oppression of women by religion,and government
– a global phenomenon
– a personal belief
– the heart of several activist groups
– a show of solidarity among women
– a criticism of today’s society
Feminism does not discriminate
– against men
– based on sexual orientation
– based on religion
– based on race or colour
– based on cultural beliefs
– based on language
– based on occupation or Class
– based on age
The above lists describe my understanding of what feminism should be. I recognize that there are certain places where it has fallen short of its creed. Women are no more perfect than our male counterparts. We also are products of our culture. Feminism, however, continues to evolve and to grow. It has the opportunity to become a force for change and a force for good.
I often hear that we, Canadians, do not need feminism anymore; that women have equality with men. I have to disagree. Currently, the statistics state that one in four girls, in Canada, will be raped by the time she is eighteen. This is not equality. Women do not earn as much as men when they work at the same position. Some positions are still regarded as male occupations. This is not equality.
Canada also needs feminism to stand in solidarity with women living without the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy. I always remember that it is easier to lose rights and freedoms then it is to gain them. We have some measure of equality but it would be so easy for us to lose them. We stand in solidarity with all women stating that all women deserve equality. I read about the young girl who was shot for writing about women’s need for education. I hear about Universities closing their doors to female students. I watch in horror as the news broadcasts about another woman who was brutally raped and killed. Feminism joins us together across oceans and deserts with a common call for female equality and end to gender-based violence.
Feminism also faces its own problems. One of the largest problems for feminism is diversity and how to handle it. How do we support our common demand for equality while recognizing and acknowledging our differences? I believe it comes down to respect. We must respect each other before we can expect anyone else to show us respect. We must respect our differences and find our commonalities. In my previous article, I was reminded that not everyone has experienced the solidarity of support from other women. Many have been disenfranchised for a variety of reasons and causes. We cannot allow division to separate us. We must accept the differences among us if we are to succeed.I am thankful for the reminder not to forget those differences.
Another aspect of those differences are the issues that feminism tries to tackle. Many feminist issues are “hot-button” topics such as abortion, the provision of day care, single parent families, and the role of the state in the home. All of these issues create a great deal of passion and women can find themselves on the opposite sides of an argument. Personally speaking, I have divided emotions on the subject of abortion. I do not believe that the state should have any control over a woman’s body. I also believe, however, that abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. (For a fuller description, please see my previous post.) These issues can become more divisive because of different cultural and religious beliefs. Feminism needs to find a way to allow free discourse and different opinions within the the larger view of Feminism. You can still be a Feminist and be against abortion. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and feminism focus needs to be on equality.