ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Gender and Relationships»
  • Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships

What Is Feminism?

Updated on August 11, 2017

....for most of history, Anonymous, was a woman…

— Virginia Woolf

What Do I Mean By Feminism?

When you hear the word, feminism do you flinch or go “here we go again?” Feminism is a dirty word. Feminism is a contentious word. Feminism to me still emotionally sings a military anti-men stance with females taking on the persona of a male chauvinist ego and presentation which is personally unnecessary from my perspective.

Someone has described feminism to not be the belief that one gender needs to be raised in power over another. The word feminism can also be mixed into the meaning or illustration of sexism. However, sexism is about patriarchy and patriarchy is a term used to describe a system of something or government where men hold the majority of power and women are largely excluded from it.

Brief History of Feminism

In 1957, Mary Scott founded the Influential Guardian Women’s Page that defined Feminism as a search for identity and a protest at being typecast by sex from birth to death.

In the late 1960’s, the word feminism took on political energy and grew into an international movement whereby by the mid 1970’s, there was a more middle of the road approach (uniting the two divisions of radicalism and socialism). Here, people began to realize that we need just needed a fresh new look at what politics of intimacy and the politics of sexuality was about.

It’s March 2017. Where do we stand now in relation to Feminism? Forbes magazine realized there are five basic groups of thoughts in our global population about why we struggle with the word feminism. These five groups of thoughts are: -

* one group of people believe there shouldn’t be equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women

* another group of people feel we have made a photo finish at our definition for equality for both men and women

* another group believe we still have along long way to go before we reach equality between the sexes. To get there, we have to take on advocacy positions and fight for equal rights.

* then, there is a group of people who have experienced first-hand discrimination because of their gender and subsequently feel they haven’t healed from those damaging experiences. Therefore, doubt, that gender equality has been reached.

* lastly, there is a group that believe we are still consciously and unconsciously detrimentally gender biased, still

…. females are passive recipients of charity….

— Anonymous

From a Sociological Point of View....

If we take a look at feminism from a sociological point of view, some people who are Feminists are dismissive, critical, irrational and man-hating. Therefore people, including me, dislike the word feminism. Feminism, is seen as the destruction of a social system designed by men who are guided by their gendered experiences; world view; and designed to privilege their value and experiences at the expense of others. These men historically have been white, wealthy and heterosexual.

It is those in power that determine how society functions. Society is still based on these male interests, perspectives and experiences which tend toward unequal and unjust systems. Feminist social science is about reshaping these unjustified claims made by this ruling type of male class.

…if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor….

— Aonoymous

What some females have said about Feminism….

1.One South Korean Woman described feminism as –“it conjures up an image of an unattractive woman who is antisocial and unlovable by men”

2.One woman in Portugal said-“feminism is seen as man-hating”

3.One woman from the U.S.A said – “feminism means women have equal wages, and females have control over their bodies like men”

4.One woman in Poland said-“feminism means to fight for equal and basic rights”

Do You Like Being Categorized?

If you are like me you don’t like being categorized or wearing labels. If you are like me you see yourself as a human being first and as a female second. Fortunately, or unfortunately being a female human being with individual rights, crosses over into the feminist side of matters. This then means if the latter still stands, that you have to be in agreeance with being associated with the sisterhood; and militant, anti-male lesbians who more often than not share the personal characteristics of dominance, control and bullying. No thank you very much. I do not like nor share those same sentiments or characteristics of being man-hating lesbian, who is domineering, controlling and bullying.

Power, Privilege and Oppression Intersect to....

American sociologist, Patricia Hill Collins presented the theory that power, privilege and oppression intersect and rely on one another in order to produce their affects. This happening was said to be an expression of intersectionality, and this is seen to be critical to the understanding and fighting of inequality. Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins concluded that feminism comprises the fight from the existence of classism, racism, global corporate colonialism, heterosexism and homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance together with sexism.

…. feminism isn’t about making women stronger. It is about changing the way the world perceives that strength…

— G.D.Anderson

Feminism Is the Search for Having.....

For me, the word feminism is about the search and having your own identity irrelevant of your sexual organs. I am a human being first followed by being a human being with an intellect secondly. Followed thirdly being a human being with an open mind.

I recall my first introduction into the effects of the feminist movement was through our educational facilitators telling us girls we “could have it all”. What “having it all” meant to me at that time: -was having a feminist husband, my own professional career and money, three children, however many pets we wanted, a beautiful home with nice cars, regular overseas trips and doing a lot of home entertainment for our loved ones. This is what our group believed how our lives would turn out.

The contradictory situation at this time though, was still the female had to play coy, less intelligent than her man or not really voice her needs or opinions in the home otherwise you were unwanted. How confusing, right?

I always grew up with the expectation I would go to university which was alien in our family as were from hard working class stock. I chose Latin in my first year of secondary school in case I decided to do Medicine. At 14 years of age I wanted to become a Surgeon however I knew I had two things working against me. I had unsteady hands; and my style of learning was holistic and wouldn’t easily deal with the needed rote learning style combined with the huge amount facts to be memorized for Medicine. I knew if I pushed myself to study and with a lot of hard work and sacrifices, I could make it but I also knew I wanted to experience University in a social way as well. Becoming a Psychologist came next as I loved to understand, followed by being a language teacher or a Flight Attendant so I could travel the world and meet all the interesting people and their cultures. Yet, with the later, the career span was short and travelling away would interfere with my relationships and I didn’t want to endanger this side of my life as our family line have a history of broken marriages.

So, what did I choose? My marks chose it. I now needed to choose my career on my values rather than my interests. With having experienced confusing times with truth and deception from the surrounding adults in my life, I learnt to value truth. Truth was beautiful to me just as it was beautiful to the poet John Keats. Consequently, I chose to study science because science to me was the study of truth in life. Having a career and having a career that I loved was important to me. This experience could at that time brand me as a Feminist but all it represented to me was a person loving what they were doing and using their time constructively.


Feminism in a General Way Means.....

How else did I experience Feminism in a general way? I am a heterosexual female that has been in relationships with heterosexual males. (as far as I know) I have had LGBTQ friends, employers, work colleagues and relatives.

Now? I have met many working females, straight and gay that have shamed my female gender, as far as I go. I thought because you were of female gender you liked your other female friends and wanted them to do well. No. Not in my case. These females were largely experienced as untrustworthy, competitive, hostile, and military in their own way. I didn’t see any of their tender, nurturing attributes of their gender. Time and time again I was disappointed by these findings.

Currently, whether it is right or wrong, I have found with simplifying my everyday world I have become embarrassingly more conservative, which I am not too proud of. And I cannot believe I am going to say this but I now come from the perspective that if our internal anatomy is created to give seed or receive seed in this lifetime, then this is nature’s natural successful remedy for making our lives work the best at this time in history (in general).


I am of the mindset that because females are built with the natural anatomy to carry a child, she is, fortunately or unfortunately still the bottom line nurturer and caregiver of the child. To me, that means, she still needs to be emotionally sensitive to the needs of others, empathetic and nurturing whether it is in a physical, dietary, emotional or in a mindset way. However, this is not to stop her partner from supporting and rearing his child to becoming a well-rounded caring human being.

Nature still believes the male species needs to be a nurturer and devotee to his children. For instance, male seahorses will show their love and care by becoming pregnant and carrying their children. Daddy wolves regurgitate their food to their young. While the male Giant Water Bug carries his 100 eggs on his back, combing the eggs regularly to prevent fungal infection so they can be given the best start in life. Then, there is the Marsupial Frog that carries his babies in his brood pouch until they hop out as frogs. Therefore, if wanting a male partner to take on interactive compassionate role with my children makes me a Feminist, so be it.

Having Feminism thrust down my throat still, and it is 2017, seems farcical to me. Using highly inflamed words like “movement” and “revolution” to goad people take on an advocacy role in the resurgence of feminism, just because it is a sign of the times, is just unhelpful and rejecting in my opinion. Do I personally want to take on that role? No. I don’t want to be stirred up in a frenzy to become something I don’t want to be just because it is a sign of the times. No. For me, I just want to live my life fulfilling my own set of values.

Why Is that Word Feminism So Dirty?

See results

Society Needs to Stop Burdening Females to Change....

Society needs to stop putting the burden and focus onto females to either change or to take charge. Males need to be worked upon to loosen their grip on power and ownership as well as their mothers making it okay for their sons to feel and be intimate in their life. The men can still steer the ship if they desire just as a female can still steer the ship if she desires. It’s about all of us refining and practising our negotiation skills and having the well needed resources to bargain with in life.

Why would you choose to become a feminist?

From a personal heterosexual’s point of view as a female and a humanist:

  • You want the same rights offered to your male counterparts socially, economically and politically.
  • If you want to keep your own name, irrespective of whether you are married or not
  • To put a halt to our gender being objectified during personal sexual expression, via the media and advertising campaigns in order to raise commercial profits and men’s sole sexual gratification
  • To have a right to how we use our bodies. E.g:stopping Female Genital Mutilation
  • To stop being physically harmed or killed due to female infanticide in the Middle East and Afghanistan
  • Justice for Women group changed the law to prevent that “nagging” was a justifiable reason to kill a female
  • You stop others still thinking you are an inferior race and you need to be told what to do

Why You Wouldn’t Choose to be a Feminist?

  • ·Your life is not about becoming an advocate and pushing your ideals or beliefs down other people’s throats
  • You have to belong to a man hating group of dominatrix lesbians that forces you how to dress, think, act or speak
  • You have to wear utilitarian clothing and let your body go
  • You have to sleep around to prove you are a feminist
  • You lose half the population as your friend.

If I am to be political about anything? I am political about intimacy and boundaries. Does that make me a Feminist? No. I am a human being first. I am a female second. Who are you?


Sources of Images:

Copyright © March 2017 Threekeys

© 2017 ThreeKeys


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 4 months ago from Australia

      Hello Jo. Yes feminism can mean different things to different people. You are lucky you have a good man that gets you as a individual and female. Always good to hear your thoughts Jo.

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 4 months ago from Tennessee

      I came of age in the 60's so the civil rights and feminists movements were very important in my development as a human being. But I believe I would have felt this way regardless of when I had been born. I always reacted negatively to injustices, even as a child. I have never seen feminism as a negative word. I'm proud to be a feminist. I in no way see it as man-hating. I have a very loving relationship with my husband, and he respects my feminism. I probably wouldn't be married to him if he didn't.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 months ago

      ThreeKeys, This is an excellent article!

      My point was Feminism was meant to be about giving women the equal opportunity to live their lives as they please.

      However some women (choose) to pose nude on magazine covers or make sexually charged music videos to make millions of dollars or generate publicity for themselves.

      One looks at Madonna, Kim Kardashian, or Jennifer Lopez and it's clear to see that these women (don't see themselves) as being "objectified". It's feminist who are upset with them over the (choices) they've made promote their careers and earn riches.

      Truth be told these women have more (female) worshipers than male when it comes to buying magazines that feature them and the products they hock for consumers.

      Very few men are interested in viewing the "red carpet" portion of award shows. And yet many female celebrities wear see through and barely there revealing outfits.

      Maybe one goal of feminism is to get these women to stop doing what they're doing because it influences young women.

      This is very similar to women who look down or shun other women for being promiscuous. In essence they're afraid that men will start to treat (all women) the same way based upon the actions of a few.

      However a true feminist or equal opportunist would believe it's okay for women to choose however they want to dress or behave. Until this happens there will always be a "double standard".

      Men don't typically put down other men for being promiscuous and men (don't care what women think about them).

      As long as women (care) what (men) think they'll never be truly (free). They will continue to berate those women who don't fall in line with their idea of feminism. - Great topic!

    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 4 months ago from Australia

      A warm holistic response in relation to your experiences and views to feminism. Interesting dashing.

      I have now made some edits and additions to this article. I hope it is improved reading:)

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 5 months ago

      Very interesting article!

      Feminism in my opinion is nothing more than a movement to ensure women are treated as equally to men. Just like the civil rights movement was about making sure minorities enjoyed the same rights and liberties as the majority.

      In essence Feminism is about giving women (the choice) to (live and freely pursue the life that they want) without discrimination. Technically anyone in favor of equal rights for women is a "feminist".

      What gave Feminism a bad name however was some of it's louder "mouthpieces". Some of the leaders came off as "man haters". One such person said: "All men are rapists!"

      In other instances some women in the feminist movement have (attacked" other women) who preferred to maintain traditional upbringing as being "gender traitors".

      Women who had no desire to compete with men, or break through the glass ceiling, who aren't "pro-choice", or held onto romantic notions of having men take care of them physically, emotionally, financially, or did not view (men) as being the "enemy" were looked down upon by feminist women.

      There was no room for traditionalist women who may have been happy with the way things are for themselves.

      Stay at home mothers felt the need to "justify their importance". Many women also resented being dictated to on how they should behave, dress, or view their bodies and beauty overall.

      Gradually Feminism started to be viewed as a group of average looking or unattractive "angry women" who were not accepted by society and they wanted to blame or strike out at men.

      Some women were shamed for wearing sexy outfits, makeup, or following beauty trends. Debates over whether Madonna was an example of female empowerment or was she being used like Marilyn Monroe took place.

      Feminism seemed to be against femininity.

      In the end I believe it was this divide among (women) that gave Feminism a "bad name". Ultimately equality is about having the (choice) to live as one pleases without being attacked for it.

      Mary T. Barra the CEO of General Motors shouldn't be viewed as being "better" than a stay at home wife and mother. She just made a different (choice). Both should be respected by society.

      The fact that there is a Mary T. Barra means little girls can see it's possible to run a Fortune 500 company and she is not the only one doing so. The women of the 1950s and prior are most likely blown away by some of the achievements women have made. Having said that there will never be a time where (all) people are afforded the same opportunities.

      In the end: Life is a (personal) journey regardless of our gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Threekeys, with my youngest son I have been blessed to be at home. A whole new chapter in life being the nurturer instead of the bread winner. (of course there is overlap) Your hub strikes at the core of my life. I just cannot see myself as playing a role. So switching roles has made no difference. I hope for both my boys to maintain the great respect they have for others.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 5 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a well written and very compelling hub, ThreeKeys. Great job.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 months ago from london

      Actually, three keys,

      I like this hub very much. You say things of which you are passionate, but at the same time very meaningful.

      Some small grammatical work needed and a tiny bit of editing. HP are also worried about pics that do not relate. Do the children ones do?

      For me, slightly harsh or perhaps too subjective in some areas. A piece with this title needs a more objective argument.

      I,m happy to look at it on Tuesday, if you like. In Germany. Much Love.

    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 5 months ago from Australia

      Eric from what you say here and there you have worn and juggled many hats and hats of stature/meaning. I admire that you seem to have turned over many stones in your life....what are your hopes for your son?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I was sitting behind this powerful lady at a conference of Hospital Presidents in my home state. She was the first Lady Chairman of the Board of a major hospital in that state.

      She started a county run ladies and dependency clinic in our town. We kind of started a relationship when I co-wrote and published the first newspaper in town that promoted things like contraception and clean needles and counseling. She spoke up for us when they tried to shut us down on decency concepts.

      So fifteen years later I sat behind her as her legal council. We enjoyed each other's company and went after the chauvanistic pigs in the healthcare and insurance industry. She insisted that she was chairman and not some lame concept of chairwoman. She told me that we could put anything on her gravestone but "nice" that adjective pissed her off. She was not a feminist she was a kick ass and take names later woman.

      I really enjoyed working with her and she said I helped her stay focused on not backing down and coloring opponents as pigs.

      She was the finest mom that a boy could have. I miss her very much.