Blog #1: Define Feminism

Valenti and hooks’ definition of feminism is similar in the sense that both of them support the argument that women in our society should be treated better. For example, Valenti’s definition of feminism is a progressive movement that has the goal to make women’s life better, by presenting to women that they can have self-respect wihout the outdated expectations of the society and by offering different alternatives so they can make better choices for themselfes. Hooks’ definition of feminism also agrees with the argument, by stating: “[…] feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” Both authors’ definition of feminism reinforce the reasoning that there is something fundamentally wrong with how the society treats women based on a very generalized and narrow point of view and this needs to change.

The difference between Valenti and hooks’ definition of feminism is that Valenti seems to promote internal growth, personnal identity and self-respect as an individual, while hooks’ seems to support gender rights and gender equality and seem to promote feminism as a group.

Feminism is important for both authors because they both know that the society we live in is often biased towards women and that feminism is a movement that would change the way we see women, and that this movement needs to be promoted so changes can be made faster so that women can be free from all the expectations and domination.

After reading both texts, I would define feminism as a movement that promotes gender equality and that informs women about their rights and responsibilities as a woman. In my opinion, feminism is the movement that would make both men and women aware that everyone should be equal regardless of their gender. My definition did not change after reading Valenti and hooks’ works, since I agreed with the majority of points of their work.

After reading Valenti’s work, the part where she mentions that another woman posted a homophobic comment on another writer’s article where she was quoted in. I kept thinking about this passage because after reading Valenti’s work that was introduced, I didn’t think that she was wrong in her statement, maybe it was a bit exagerated with the part where she wtote that “[…] younger women who are nervous about feminism because they’re afraid that boys won’t like them […]” Not everyone like or recognize themselves as feminist and it can be due to multiple reasons other than being afraid that they will not be liked once they “come out” as being feminist. I remember (maybe not exactly what she said since it was a long time ago and that my memory is bad, but this was approximately what she said) a teacher I had that said that she would not call herself as a “feminist” because she thinks that this word is so much used today that it seems to have lost its meaning. Feminism is a word that has different meaning depending on the places you go (my teacher few semsters ago told us one day that she went to somewhere in Russia and there, girls thought that being a feminist meant that being lesbian that hated men), therefore I think it is understandable for some people to not feel comfortable about this term, and Valenti’s expression and portrayal of women not wanting to identify as feminist almost seemed moking at those people so I can understand if some readers were offended by what she wrote. But I was still surprised that to person that commented was being vulgar and used words such as “fat”, “dykes” and “mannabees” (I don’t even know what this word means, probably not a good word) to describe other women. I was expecting that this reader would be more mannered and would start a rationnal debate without the use of offensive slang to express her anger. I was expecting that all women would have some sort of… solidarity? But clearly I was wrong about this. Valenti’s statement about homophobic women made me think again about my view on female solidarity.

After my reaserches (both article found from Wikipedia), Jassica Valenti is one of the founders of Feministing. She has recieved many threats after the creation of this blog that allows women to discuss multiple issues that concern women. Bell hooks, her real name is Gloria Jean Watkins, and has published many books and scholarly articles all about gender and race that has the goal to raise awareness on these issues. After better knowing both women, my appreaciation of the two texts did not change since they both pointed out important issues of the society (for example, people do benefit from women’s need to perfecting themselves) with gender and I think what they wrote are true and accurate.

4 thoughts on “Blog #1: Define Feminism

  1. In your text, you mention that the feminist movement can be promoted so that the changes occur faster in the world. This implies that the feminist movement takes place all the time somewhere in the world which fits the definition that the authors try to convey, which is that any action against sexism or inequality would make that person a feminist.

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  2. You pointed out that you felt that the writer was mocking people who don’t consider themselves to be feminists. I agree with your statement because I also feel that Valenti could have addressed the situation better although I do also understand where her frustration must come from as well.

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  3. I really love that you mentioned in your definition that everyone should be seen and treated equally. I’ve always noted that people mistake feminism for putting women on top of men, this always insinuates that men can’t be part of this movement or that women must be on top for “justice” and “equality”.

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    1. True, some people think that making woman equal to a men is the same as the devaluation of man. They don’t seem to understand that those two concepts are not the same.

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