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Feminism: What is it? Is it still relevant?

What does being a feminist mean to you?

Being a feminist strikes me as a rather loose term. There are so many different labels that can be ascribed to feminism that it seems almost as disjointed and ill-defined a group as say, Republicans or Democrats. In other words, Republicans are a unified political party with a flexible message and values. This allows for many types of Republicans to exist (Tea-Party Republicans, Religious Value Voters, Old-School Republicans, Pro-Government Republicans , etc.) making the party incredibly versatile, and broad enough to mean almost anything.

I think that the core of feminism lies in women’s rights issues.   From there it encompasses almost all of the academic disciplines from the historical, cultural, scientific, political, etc. Types of feminists include Liberal, Radical, Marxist, Socialist, Eco, Intersectional, Eco-feminists, etc. Their specific goals and methods for achieving women’s rights vary greatly. Look them up if you’re curious! Just as the Republicans can’t always agree on policies despite being a single group, Feminists cannot always agree amongst themselves. However at the end of the day, Republicans typically feel more comfortable with other Republican policies than with that of Democrats, as feminists feel more comfortable with the ideas of other feminists than with anti-feminists.          

I think that the term, “feminist” is an identifying label we give to ourselves. It helps us to classify ourselves, and consolidate our ideas about female equality under a general umbrella heading. Depending on the type of feminist you are, you may be an activist, or a removed supporter. What you do with the title is entirely up to you. I am a feminist, and though I don’t participate in marches, or protests, I support my beliefs in the way I vote, and the way I live my life. Things like my refusal to limit my career options, my clothing choices, my commitment to higher education, and organizations that promote equality are what being a feminist means to me.

Do you think feminism is still important today?

Absolutely! There will always be a need for feminism so long as gender inequality exists. However, should we eventually achieve total equality, I see no reason for feminism to die off either. As feminists continue to achieve desired reform in the area of gender equality, they formulate new ways in which to push the boundaries of women’s rights and a woman’s potential. They seek to further develop the image of what a strong and capable woman can be, by adapting it to an ever modernizing world.

Keeping pace with the times is difficult for anyone; big name stars, and low profile players alike are constantly being uprooted by a fresh wave a young college graduates, fresher minds, innovative ideas, and new technology. I believe that as women get closer to closing the equality gap, the role of feminists will be to empower women with competitive skill sets to stand firm and be successful for all of their life. That said, in a world that is rapidly changing by virtue of globalization and new technology, I believe that feminists will always find a new frontier in which to combat gender inequality.

Unfortunate as the realization is, I do not think that there will ever be a shortage of injustice in the world. Just as competing political ideas are never resolved, and forever in a state of combat, so too will there be a back and forth between men and women, due to the fundamental differences which undeniably separate them. The challenge is to figure out how to integrate these differences into something harmonious and useful for society. We must find a way to utilize the strengths of both sexes, while not denying a place to those who fall outside the realm of normal gender capabilities.

As you Latinitas think about feminism contemplate these images and insights from other feminists:

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