How To Explain Why You're A Feminist

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Sometimes, especially when put on the spot by a “skeptic” we have a hard time knowing how to present the intersectional feminist agenda in a comprehensive way. So I put together a PowerPoint presentation; not. What I actually did is create an intersectional feminist agenda “Cheat Sheet” for a tongue-tied feminist to use when engaged willingly (or unwillingly) in a conversation about what feminism is and what feminists want.

Q. What does feminism mean?

A. Equality - for every human being. That’s it. That’s all.

Q. Do feminists hate men?

A. No. Feminists are passionate about correcting the inequalities inherent in our  patriarchal/patrimonial culture.  

Q. Why do we still need feminism in the developed world?

A. Because we have yet to achieve:

  • Equal hiring

  • Equal Pay (in the US, white women make an average of 79% of what white men make; for black women, it’s much worse, at 62.5%, and worse still for Latina women, at 54%)

  • Equal Political representation

  • Contraceptive rights/availability

  • Office/Street/Domestic safety

  • Equal employment opportunity.

And we have yet to eradicate:

  • Sexual abuse

  • Domestic abuse

  • Rape culture

  • Misogyny

  • Discrimination

Obviously, there are many far more complicated problems to be solved in our deeply patriarchal, misogynistic, racist, gender, and sexist culture but these are the easiest to understand. I recommend googling some stats/arguments on these topics as people can usually grasp and visualize hard data.

Q. Why does the emerging world need feminism even more than the West?

A. Because the feminist end all be all is not just that white cis gender women in the western world receive equal pay. Intersectional feminists understand that there are billions of women who still need solutions to:

  • Accessing clean water  

  • Accessing education

  • Ending child marriage

  • Ending FGM/C

  • Accessing  birth control and maternal healthcare

  • Combating climate change (which affects and will affect the poorest of the world, who are overwhelmingly women and children) - (Climate Change Is Sexist Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3)  

  • Accessing technology

  • Accessing technical training

  • Sexual violence

  • The use of rape as a weapon of war

Again these are just the basics but they are also what people seem to “get”.

Look up some facts and figures like how many miles (4-5) millions of girls walk every day to collect water for their families, making it impossible to attend school, manage menstruation and protect themselves from sexual assault.  

Q. What does intersectional feminism mean?

A. The term isn’t new although it’s made its way into the mainstream fairly recently. It’s used to explain how the feminist movement can/should be more diverse and inclusive. Intersectional feminism understands how women's overlapping, interwoven identities affect how they experience oppression and discrimination. For example,  white women are disadvantaged because of gender but advantaged due to race. Black women are disadvantaged by gender and race. Latina lesbians experience discrimination based on ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation. And a disabled poor Asian woman who’s genderqueer…. You get it….

Q. How do feminists want to fix the wrongs and create the rights?

  • Encourage women to run for political office and elect leaders who have a feminist/equality agenda.

  • Pass laws giving all women and girls complete autonomy over their bodies (prohibiting child marriage and FGM/C and legalizing contraception and abortion)

  • Provide free mandatory education for everyone everywhere through high school.

  • Provide free accessible maternal healthcare to women and girls everywhere

  • Raise boys who understand that true masculinity is not oppressive

  • Use the ample evidence available to show men that true equality is in their social and economic best interests. How Feminism Has Been Good For Men

  • Improve the infrastructure in developing countries so that everyone has access to clean water, education and employment.

  • Make and enforce laws against trafficking and slavery

  • Understand that until sexism/racism no longer exist in schools, business and government affirmative action and/or quotas are necessary.

  • Make rape a war crime punishable like any other  

All of these would be a great start. None of these will be easy. Logistics, finances, and lack of willingness has meant that in a world that will have spent an estimated  $3.4 billion by 2019 on erectile dysfunction drugs we still haven’t figured out how to bring clean water to every town and village on earth.

The world needs to believe that women and girls, not hard dicks are our priority.

Hope this helps. What’d I forget?              

 

Article by Anna Quick-Palmer