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Reconsidering Feminism

March 14, 2010

Last week, I wrote about Africana Womanism and my senior thesis, and since then, I have been seriously reconsidering what it means to identify as a feminist. bell hooks, Elaine Brown, and many other women of color I read for my senior thesis have me seriously reconsidering feminism. I’m reading Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl (more on this book later!) and although she doesn’t disavow feminism, she has some serious critiques of the way feminists have historically treated trans women. The fact of the matter is, that although the feminist movement has made huge leaps for some women, historically it has not included all women and the progress has not spread equally to all women. A really disheartening current example is the new study reporting on women’s wealth. The Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that: “the median wealth for single black women is only $100; for single Hispanic women, $120. This compares to just over $41,000 for single white women.” Although I’ve felt tied to my label as a feminist for a long time, I’ve been rethinking it a lot lately. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself:

1. What is the value of labeling myself a “feminist”?
2. How do I define a “woman’s experience?” Who does it include? Is anyone left out?
3. Which definitions of “women”, “feminine”, and “femininity” do I need to broaden?
4. Who are my feminist heroes? Why? Did they advocate for all women?
5. What are the limitations of asking: is/was she a feminist?
6. How do I treat women who don’t identify as feminists? Do I allow other women to experience their womanhood in different ways?
7. Are there other models of women’s empowerment that I’m not acknowledging?
8. What can I learn from other communities of women?
Am I putting myself in situations where I can do so?
9. Do I believe that feminism can overcome its historical failings?
10. How can I step back and be an ally to other women?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about, feel free leave your thoughts.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 12:54 PM

    On my public blog (the one linked in my signature isn’t “private” but my parents/clients don’t know about it) I wrote about this very issue. I’m at the reevaluation and redefinition stage for myself.

    Here’s what I wrote:

    I love this blog of yours, by the way.

  2. March 15, 2010 12:55 PM

    PS I’m going to use your questions as a meme over at and encourage my readers (lots) to do the same. With a link to you, of course.

    Thanks for the questions.

  3. March 15, 2010 12:58 PM

    Just one more comment from me. TsaphanBabe has addressed feminism, too. Much more on that to come over there.

    This one’s a decent post:


  1. Interesting posts, weekend of 3/20/10 « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

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