The Other F Word – In Defense of Feminism

(Note: This article was written for the launch of collectivelybeautiful.com, an online resource center for women that is scheduled to go live in mid-March 2011) I read an article recently by a woman who believed that Feminism was essentially the root cause of all the woes of the modern woman.  She asserted that the mad rush to get out of the kitchen has left most of us out of our element – that women are simply built to be nurturers and caretakers, and that feminism demands that women deny their true nature in some misguided attempt to be more ‘manly’.  I managed to make it all the way through the article – much the way that one cannot look away from a train wreck. Though I somehow resisted the urge to hit the comment button and spew a little vitriol, I decided instead to ask a few of my peers, both men and women, what ‘feminism’ meant to them.  I got some very interesting answers.  Overwhelmingly, it seems that the backlash to the feminist movement has been largely successful in making ‘feminism’ a dirty word – one associated with chip-on-your-shoulder aggression, and exactly that type of ‘false manliness’ the offending article had been railing against.  And not just from men.  There are many otherwise intelligent women who admit they wouldn’t describe themselves as feminists “because of what that might mean.”  Apparently, even my own generation is far removed enough from the original message that they view the movement itself as something rather extremist and outdated. And that is unacceptable. So hold on to your stiletto’s ladies.  No, seriously, hold on to them.  You can keep ’em.  You can even wear...
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