Often in the fight for equality do we find ourselves facing new and distinct problems. Be it financial, spiritual or religious, or even physical, we can usually find support systems in place to help us progress or at least learn more about different solutions. What can be said, however, for a problem that has no name?
Feminism is a movement. That is to say that it is ever-changing and will evolve to include more groups and to defend the rights of those it already protects. Feminism can be defined as a push for equality. A common misconception that exists around this movement is that feminists do not like men. That is not the case. Feminists do not like those who enforce the patriarchy, thosewho refuse to treat others the way they treat wealthy white males. You know who said it well? Emma Watson, the renowned actress and Goodwill Ambassador, has been working
towards making the nature of this inclusive movement known: “For the record, feminism by definition is: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.'”. Pretty neat, right? I mean, we all knew that if anyone would be able to teach this, it would be Hermione, but that’s something J. K. Rowling can talk to you about.
Just one more thing to clear up before we get into the real nitty-gritty nameless problem. So while the definition of feminism is still making its way around town, feminists themselves are having some trouble at home. Women everywhere are choosing to associate their actions as feminist based on… really nothing, actually. Choice feminism is when people go about their daily lives without meaning to make any social justice change, but claim their actions are feminist based on the fact that they identify as female. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just take a look around. Is a woman who “chooses” to quit her job to become a homemaker and accepts the praise from society as she retreats into domestic oblivion really acting as a feminist? By all means, call yourself whatever you’d like, just try and be sure that you are being honest with yourself. There also exists value feminism, which presents itself in stark contrast to choice feminism. Value feminism is the conscious effort to establish a lifestyle that is progressive in its acceptance of all people. It is, at its very core, an active pursuance of equality. To make things clearer, if a woman chooses to leave her job because she wants to stay home and raise her family, more power to her. But, if she is leaving because societal norms dictate that being a stay at home mom is more valuable than being a female professional and she guises her actions as a “feminist choice”, it’s really not feminism. If you’re not really catching my vibe, feel free to check out Full Frontal Feminism by Valenti. She can break it down for you.
Now that you have some background, we can come to the real problem. Obviously choice and value feminism are subject to differences in opinion and rely heavily on how individuals have been socialized. The problem that arises as a result, however, is that feminists struggle to define their actions clearly and therefore cannot unite to progress. The unnamed problem is that the movement isn’t moving as a whole. People aren’t agreeing on a single definition for feminism and it slows the entire process. The problem isn’t unnamed at all (see the definition for divided).
Valenti, Jessica. Full frontal feminism: a young women’s guide to why feminism matters. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2014. Print.
Friedan, Betty. Problem That Has No Name. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Katherine Cross • @Quinnae_Moon • 1 year ago, Dana Bolger • @danabolger • 2 Weeks Ago, Reina Gattuso • @reinagattuso • 1 Month Ago, Barbara Sostaita • @@BarbaraSostaita • 2 Months Ago, Quita Tinsley, Barbara Sostaita, Meg Sri, Reina Gattuso, and Senti Sojwal. “Choice Feminism: Time to “Choose” Another Argument.” Feministing. Feministing, 2016. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.