What does feminism mean to you?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
What does feminism mean to you?
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 6:20am

I noted that feminism was touched upon in another thread and that people involved in the discussion seemed to have different definitions and outlooks on feminism. I'm curious about all of these different views and definitions not only as a student, but in the context of the WOH/SAH debate. 

FWIW, this wouldn't be the first place that I've heard about varying levels of feminism. I once stumbled across a group of women who were proud to tell me that they were anti-feminist, because they didn't hate men and they enjoyed wearing bras and having babies.

So, what does feminism mean to you? Do you think that feminism is big and complex enough to have multiple definitions?


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2009
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 7:08pm

<How do you explain the rist to power of Marissa Mayer and Michelle Obama, Esq., Hillary Clinton, etc.?>

Women currently hold 4.2 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO roles. It is not zero, but it is DISPROPORTIONATE!

19% of the Senators are women and 18% in the House. Gains have been made, but hardly equitable.

<You're both living the American dream, even with you earning more and with men often being the decision makers w/re to hiring, pay.>

Though I lack an Ivy league education, I am highly educated, in a male-dominated field, in a company that values diversity. It is not the norm, yet. It will be if we keep pedal to the medal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 10:26pm

<<In coining the term **fairy tale** to describe gender equality, you necessarily clarify your belief that no one can have it all.  Even I don't go that far!  What did you say about "raising" kids?>>

I was being "civil" in describing the lack of facts in your statements about equality and though fairy tale had a nice ring to the fiction you were spinning.  It seemed to fit.  :)   You have mispoke again here as my belief is that one can have it all, takes a lot of hard work and so forth but one can have it all, yes, I believe that.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 10:27pm

So hardy that would be a no, you can't provide any support for your claims.  I'm not surprised, fairy tales normally have little basis in facts.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 10:42pm

jamblessedthree wrote:
and ivory towers..... Lol.

Why place yourself there and why throw stones?  


Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 2:34am
"My great grandmother was almost nine years old when women were granted the right to vote." ------ And I had a friend who taught at an esteemed university. Her husband taught there too. Her paycheck was issued to him, he was the head of the household after all. Another friend, also an academic, was being beaten up by her professor husband. The police refused to believe her since her husband was a nice and respectable man. She had to flee to her mother's house eventually, with her two kids.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2013
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 11:10am

When u feel shy infront of a guy

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 9:22am

Interesting question.

Personally, the definition of feminism has evolved for me as I have aged. To whit, in my teens and 20s I was definetley a "gender feminist," i.e. men were the enemy. My whole outlook on my life and my future was aimed at avoiding "female careers,  like secretary, and taking a seat in previously all-male streams of life. In high school (1974-78) I avoided home ec and shorthand. I took shop and learned to weld. I took math and science and decided I would study medicine. My classmates were happy taking "girl stuff" and I thought they were nuts! LOL! I still took music lessons and learned to sew and cook (my mother was a classic 1950s housewife) and I'm glad I did. The only "office class" I took in high school was typing. Good thing I did! I've spent my entire professional life in front of a computer! I did want to get married and did. I also knew I wasn't going to be a parent, and I haven't been.

In my 30s and 40s I began to realize it didn't have to be political. I was a skilled and smart person and I could do anything I wanted. I started to realize I didn't have to prove anything to anyone else but myself. It was liberating as I feel I had a chip on my shoulder for a long time. I was able to appreciate tradition and social convention without getting bothered by it. For example, I personally didn't sign up to be "coffee hostess" at church but I could appreciate the important role these women played in the church culture and that they deserved credit for participating in a way that made sense for them. I was more interested in teaching Bible classes than serving coffee. And I got to do that.

Now in my 50s I am more confident of myself, my abilities, my role my marriage, my place in the workplace and the church. I am content to let others be who they are and I pay no attention to people who think that I should be defined by my female gender. I'm way past that.

I am concerned that young women have not grasped the opportunities they have and the responsibilities they have did come at a cost to those of us who went before them. It's taken for granted you can be unwed and pregnant for example. It's taken for granted you can be pregnant and keep your job. It's taken for granted you can vote, run for office, get any job you want and look forward to something to show for your efforts (raise, promotion, recognition).

This is where my old-fashioned upbringing rears it's head: What distresses me the most is how we've taken the "right to choose" with our sexuality and lowered the value of our bodies and our children by being so free with sex and so flippant about abortion.  I took my own sister aside when she was dating and told her I wasn't going to tell her NOT to have sex but to be very smart about who she had it with and to protect herself from STDs and pregnancy. This is a conversation our mother would never dreamed necessary in her virgin-on-your-wedding-night belief system. I am fond of saying, "this is 2013, not 1913." We have the power to vote, work, and control our sexual destiny more than any generation of women who came before. Yet, we have devalued our sexuality and sexual relationships by promoting the idea you can give yourself away like candy, dispose of unwanted babies like garbage, and be happy and fulfilled without any commitment. It's little wonder men don't committ and leave women wondering why they won't.

I'd say my new definition of feminism based on 35 years of living would be this: Be yourself. Set high standards for yourself professionally, personally, sexually, and economically. Don't "settle" for the next thing because you fear you won't be just like your peers. I'll rejoice when women take a decidely different path and stop allowing the culture to shape their worldview exculsively.  Final note: BE PICKY. You're worth it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Sun, 03-10-2013 - 12:34pm


Here is an article about what some of the discussion has been about.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Mon, 03-11-2013 - 6:05am

Did you watch 60 minutes last night? The second in charge at Facebook was on there talking about her job, her past and why women are NOT getting ahead, It's not b/c there aren't opportunties for them it's b/c women, by nature still chose to be mommys and prefer NOT to climb those ladders the way men do, And it wasn't a stab at women it was the reality that the % of people that WANT the big jobs are still men to women. It was interesting to listen to b/c she grew up bossy and that certainly worked to her advantage, Lol. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Mon, 03-11-2013 - 9:05am

I did, Jam.  I heart Sheryl Sandberg.  There have always been networking circles...mostly men.  But she espouses Lean In circles of women, which are gaining momentum.  If you're not in one, you have no one but yourself to blame.  Sadly, Sandberg has been harshly dogpiled by jealous, confused women who attack her without even reading her book

<< Much of the criticism presented Sandberg as a superficial, fashion-obsessed Marie Antoinette muscling her way into a milieu she didn’t belong to and couldn’t possibly understand. (Online commenters, as they so often do, took the implication and made it explicit. Readers of Dowd’s February 23rd column dubbed Sandberg a “huckster,” an “arrogant narcissistic upstart,” and “Paris Hilton in disguise.”)>>

Sandberg is ahmahzing.  But it won't matter until powerful women in positions of authority help out other women.  Not just the average Jane.  But the woman with the mid to upper six figure salary who has the singular authority to hire, fire, promote, give pay raises/bonuses.  I don't see it happening.  Women in the workforce hate successful women.  Women hate women.  I know NO ONE here has ever experienced that. Wink  But I'm thinking only about the powerful women with mid to upper 6 figure salaries who have the position to hire, fire, etc.  It's not gonna happen unless these Lean In Circles catch on.  (And women read her book before hating on her.)