What is Feminism?
"[Feminists are] just women who don't want to be treated like shit."
In the most basic sense, feminism is exactly what the dictionary says it is: the movement for social, political, and economic equality of men and women.
Breaking down that one very basic definition, feminism has three components. It is a movement, meaning a group working to accomplish specific goals. Those goals are social and political change - implying that one must be engaged with the government and law, as well as social practices and beliefs. And implicit to these goals is access to sufficient information to enable women to make responsible choices.
Recently, the right wing has discovered "feminism!" Well, sort of. They've managed to mint a new kind of feminism that shoves those of us who have actually been working for women's rights out of the picture. They've taken the proverbial F-word, that term we love, fight over, continually redefine, and work ourselves to the bone for, and re- appropriated it into: "Sarah Palin Feminism".
Real, true, honest-to-god feminism does not just mean fighting for women's rights. It also means fighting against sexist slurs.There have been several instances of sexist slurs being used against Palin, like VPILF (Vice President I’d like to F**k) and “can a mother be a politician?” These are certainly instances of sexism because they diminish a woman to nothing more than her body, a vessel of reproduction and something nice for men to look and play with while they continue to further their anti-woman agendas. I cannot condone behaviors such as these no matter who the target is, nor will I ever. Keep in mind though, forty years ago there was a landmark feminist protest against the Miss America pageant. Now we have a vice presidential candidate who was a former beauty queen yet is a self-proclaimed "feminist". The irony continues to mount.
Conservatives have jumped on the bandwagon decrying sexism in media coverage ever since their gal, Sarah Palin, became the target. Ironically, that whole sexism thing was mocked during Hillary Clinton's campaign. Of course you remember that many a wide-eyed pundit and commentator seemed offended at being called out on, it saying, "I don't know what you're talking about." You might even remember one in particular, David Shuster who was suspended by MSNBC for his overtly sexist remark about Chelsea Clinton.
As women, we should and we will defend against any and all sexist remarks against any women, including Sarah Palin but the botton line is, true feminists believe in voting for a candidate based on what he or she will do for women's rights and unfortunately, Palin's uterus alone isn’t enough to garner votes in the department of educated feminist women in America.
Just released yesterday was a statement from one of the National Organization of Women announcing their decision to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States. The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest American feminist organization. It was founded in 1966 and has a membership of 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Although it is very unusual for NOW to endorse in a presidential election, they believe Obama is an unprecedented candidate during an unprecedented time for our country. The NOW PAC reviewed Sen. Obama's record and public statements on issues that disproportionately affect the women of this nation and believe he is the best candidate regarding his policies and his commitment to women's equality. This is the true meaning of feminism. It is supporting a candidate who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of men and women. You do not have to be a woman to support feminism and with that said, Barack Obama is more a feminist than Sarah Palin will ever be.
Here is the statement issued yesterday by the National Organization of Women:
STATEMENT OF KIM GANDY
Chair, National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC)
September 16, 2008
It is with great enthusiasm that I announce today, on behalf of the nation's oldest and largest women's rights organization, that the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) proudly endorses Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States.
It is no coincidence that I am joined in this announcement by so many allied organizations that collectively represent a broad and diverse cross-section of U.S. women. From teachers to social workers, from business owners to college students, women in this country are lining up behind the candidate who is out there every day standing up -- clearly and consistently -- for women. Women of all ages, races and ethnicities are coming together in support of Sen. Obama and his pledge to fulfill this country's promise of equal opportunity for our daughters as well as all our sons.
Although it is very unusual for us to endorse in a presidential election, this is an unprecedented candidate and an unprecedented time for our country. The NOW PAC reviewed Sen. Obama's record and public statements on issues that disproportionately affect the women of this nation, and I spoke with him at length about his commitment to women's equality. For example:
On pay equity. Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation to end wage discrimination against women.
On reproductive rights. Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Prevention First Act, to strengthen access to contraception and reproductive health care, and prevent unwanted pregnancies. He strongly supports Roe v. Wade and will oppose any efforts to overturn it.
On violence against women. Sen. Obama supports the continued reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act -- of which Sen. Joe Biden is the chief sponsor -- as well as the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act, which is legislation to provide legal, medical and financial support to victims of domestic violence.
On the Supreme Court. Sen. Obama opposed the nominations of George Bush's extreme right-wing nominees to the Supreme Court, who have consistently ruled against women's rights,
For more than a decade, Barack Obama has said "yes" to women's rights, while John McCain has consistently said "no" - NO to pay equity, NO to contraceptive access and reproductive rights, NO to appointing Supreme Court judges who will uphold women's rights and civil rights, NO to funding shelters and other anti-violence programs, and NO to supporting working moms and dads with policies that support work/life balance.
NOW supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in the primary, and now we join with her in saying "NO" -- No Way, No How, No McCain! And we proudly stand arm-in-arm with her in putting our hopes and our dreams, our hard work and our hard-earned money, behind the next President of the United States -- Barack Obama, and his running mate, longtime friend and ally of women, Sen. Joe Biden.
For more information, visit the NOW PAC Obama website.
As the publisher and founder of Lesbiatopia, I stand behind the National Organization of Women and support their reasons in backing Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but as always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on the matter.