I’m pretty convinced I’m going to have a very love/hate/understanding/hate relationship with this book.  Keeping in mind that I’m not the audience for this book helps, but half the time I’m just screaming in my head “That’s not how it is for me!” and “How can you make such generalizations and pass it off as fact!”  I keep hoping that even if I don’t agree with her in the end this book will help to understand those who do sympathize with the author.  But for now here was my two cents for this week.

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Oh Mrs. F-G you’d get a big red pen mark on if this was an essay in any of my English classes all over Page 12! She talks of the definition of the word Feminism, and how it’s wrong to support a cause that you might not support 100%, but she doesn’t get to the root of the definition.

The definition of Feminism from the dictionary is this
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

In its basic form there is no idea of feminists must believe everything a feminist group believes. If we use this basic definition of the word, her argument falls through. I can call myself a feminist based on that definition and not believe everything every feminist or anti-feminist group believes.

And I would argue further with her, that call yourself by such a label does not mean you support everything everyone else does under that label. To be a Republican or Democrat you do not have to support every single bill and idea. If you subscribe to a religion you do not have to support everything the majority of Catholics, Muslims, etc. subscribe to in order to call yourself a part of that group.

My biggest issue with her logic is also on page 12.
“More than any other single issue, support for a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion has become the litmus test of feminism. Feminists, must by definition, support the right, and, according to feminists, anti-feminists oppose it. … Do feminists believe that feminism has no room for pro-life women even if they support equal pay for equal work and related women’s issues? Apparently it does.”

Then she goes on to tell about the Group Feminists for Life being left out of a protest, etc.
So here it goes:
Problem 1: “Feminists, must by definition…” Who’s definition, she’s not given us a solid definition. I’ve given you the dictionaries definition and no where does it say a “Feminists must support abortion”
Problem 2: The long functioning group “Feminists for Life” proves that feminism has room for “pro-life women even….”, especially since that group is growing in its popularity and scope today. In fact one of the arguments of FforL is that true feminism, the first wave of the movement, did not support abortive rights.
Problem 3: Mrs. F-G just makes a lot of sweeping generalizations about what a feminists “must” do or be.

So my first reaction was that Mrs. F-G wants to have a singular definition of the word in order to call herself one of them, rather than accepting that the word itself needs to be fluid and allow each person to make it their own. We can accept that a white, middle class mother of four’s definition of feminism will be different that of a single woman, a minority, or a woman with disabilities and still give them the opportunity to call themselves feminists under the basic definition of the word. Just because one group or another expands on this basic idea does not mean that all of us have to accept it. By using her logic of what a feminists “must believe” is like saying all Christians MUST believe everything those famous televangelists believe or that all Republicans MUST support every belief of every member the party, and this is not true.

So my response to this chapter is “Since when does feminism have to live in a little box?” It seems that is different peoples attempts to do so (from radical feminists to radical anti-feminists) is what gives the word feminism such a bad taste in their mouths.

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