What is feminism and where does it come from?
So, what is feminism? Put simply; Feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities. It is about respecting the experiences, cultures, knowledge, and skills of diverse women and striving to empower all women to recognize their full rights.
By the average population, the concept is beyond calling women humorless bitches or debating whether feminists shave their legs or armpits. Absolutely beyond the misogynistic approach and how!
A feminist strives for equality for all. Rather intersectional feminism includes everyone regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, ability, or sexual orientation.
Feminism offers a lens sans gender biases and makes it possible for people to look at the world not as it is but as it may be.
Women were restricted to the domestic sphere for much of Western history, while public life was reserved for males. The right to own land, research, or engage in public life was denied to women in medieval Europe. They were still forced to cover their heads in public at the end of the 19th century in France, and in parts of Germany, a husband still had the right to sell his wife. Particularly as late as the early 20th century, women in Europe and much of the United States (where many territories and states granted women’s suffrage long before the federal government did so could not vote or hold elective office.
Without a male representative, whether it was a father, brother, husband, legal agent, or even son, women were prevented from doing business. Without the authorization of their husbands, married women could not exert power over their children.
Where does it come from?
It’s impossible to imagine now, but there was also a time when the Roman laid outlaws in which expensive goods were limited for women. And, we quote consul Marcus Porcius Cato “As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors.” Such were the methods adopted to control and suppress women.
But only scattered voices spoke out against women’s inferior status for much of recorded history, presaging the claims to come. The feminist movement started with the first feminist philosopher, Christine de Pisan, who questioned traditional attitudes against women in the late 14th and early 15th century France with a strong demand for female education. Women had to fight for a fundamental right like education while men got it served on the platter.
Later in the century, her mantle was taken up by Laura Cereta, a Venetian woman of the 15th century who wrote Epistolae familiares (1488; “Personal Letters”; Eng. trans. Collected Letters of a Renaissance Feminist), a volume of letters dealing with an array of grievances about women, from denial of education and marital injustice to the frivolity of the dress of women.
By the end of the 16th century, the safety of women had turned into a literary subgenre when Il Merito Delle Donne (1600; The Worth of Women), a feminist tirade by another Venetian poet, Moderata Fonte, was posthumously published. Defenders of the status quo reacted foolishly by painting women as shallow and ultimately unethical. Simultaneously, the budding feminists created long lists of brave and accomplished women and declared that if they were given equal access to education, women would be the intellectual equals of men.
The self-styled “debate about women” did not enter England until the late 16th century, when shallow and unethical women and debaters joined the battle over womanhood’s true nature. In England, the first feminist pamphleteer, Jane anger, responded with Jane Anger, Her Protection for Women (1589), after a series of satiric pieces mocking women was published. The torrent of opinions continued for more than a century until a more reasoned rejoinder in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694, 1697) was given by another English poet, Mary Astell. The two-volume work suggested that women create secular convents where they could live, study, and teach, not inclined to marriage or a religious vocation.
There has been a fight from the start for basics.
There’s more to what is feminism and where does it come from.
Stay tuned for more.
27 thoughts on “What is feminism and where does it come from?”
Impact, that’s the word !!! That has to be our focus right now: Are things getting done ? Well written.
I agree. Thanks. Your blog just made me think on quite a lot of issues. keep Writing such brilliant pieces.
Sure, but only as long as you do the same 😛
I will try. Stay tuned. 🙂
Being a loving and caring mother is one of the highest levels of feminism. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog.
It is my pleasure. You know you made me smile. 🙂
It’s more how people think
not necessarily what they think about
Thank you for visiting
That’s true. Thanks to you as well for visiting. 🙂
The trouble with Feminism is because of men like Trump………period! Women create,…..while males destroy.
& yes,I am a male.
And you said it all in just one sentence 🙂
Thank you for stopping by.
Proverbs 20:28 describes qualities God wants in a leader: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne”
So true. Those qualities are definitely embedded in Obama though. I can hardly even see a flash of those in two of the standing candidates.
The male and the female genius and energy, the „patriarchy“ and the „matriarchy“, are equally important in every happy and fruitful relationship, family and society. Our childs need a true Father (who embodies the Heavenly Father here on earth) and a true Mother (who embodies the Divine Femine). Man and women are both created in the image and likeness of their loving Creator. Man should not become women and women should not become man (this would be a desaster for sexual attraction 🙂 ) but they should embrace and enjoy each other in their uniqueness.
I desire to become a true Patriarch, so that my family (if God will give me the gift of a family in the future) can grow stronger, more faithful and more successful, because of my leadership. Trump is not the representation of a true loving and compassionate Father. A true patriarchy reflects the love, wisdom and authority of the Heavenly Father 😉
„Women create,…..while males destroy.“
I don’t agree 😛
There is a male and a female genius. The bird of humanity need both wings to fly. They are equally valid and important for our advancement (and that’s exactly the reason, why marriage is so important and part of the spiritual design of humanity, because it inspires the evolution of the soul, if it is based on true love, compassion and mutual understanding).
Because neither of us can do it alone. Both the genders have their own mark in this world. Furthermore, there needs to be equality so none of them suppresses another. Nobody deserves to be oppressed, abused, controlled and degraded. Every aspect of their respective lives alone or together needs to be balanced. Life is not a fairyland and balancing skills don’t come easy. Hence, the inequality and social evils. We know what happens when imbalance occurs; even nature gets angry and brings in disastrous calamities.. Each one of us needs to advance ourselves to make our minds healthier and richer to live a meaningful and composed life. Keep sharing your views so I can have different perspectives to advance myself. 🙂
Personally, being born in the 50’s, feminists help change the role of women in several venues. But, you are absolutely correct. It veered off into a different direction and I believe can lead to the destruction of the strides women have made. And yes, modern day feminists are B**ches. I enjoyed this entry. You were fair and thorough. And right.
I agree, Feminists have really helped uplift women status. But, I also think that we are not taking full advantage of this wave of Feminism. We are not addressing root cause of women predicaments. We need to deal with genuine evils that our last generation; mothers, friends, women relatives and even strangers faced in day to day lives. And, we still seem to face them. Because they are the people who have raised this generation with their respective mindsets, that can benefit or disrupt it. We have come a long way from where we were but we have to go higher. I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that, when a woman says “NO”, people should hear a No. And she has a mind of her own to decide for herself. That’s all there is for me. Same goes for Men. And, Thank you
In many homes, cultures, religions and countries the rights you enumerate so clearly are being denied to women. I’m no expert, but I will go out on a limb and say that these rights should be at the very heart of any feminist agenda. I see Maslow’s Hierarchy at work in this. His basic argument was that only when we satisfy certain survival, safety and other basic needs will we move on to needs of a higher level. In some fortunate places the lower level needs have mostly been met; but in others, these needs may still just be the dreams that keep the soul alive. If the focus is not placed on this latter group, the movement is in danger of splitting apart.
Thank you for encouraging me to think today, Rich
Your mind is positively well placed. Thank You very much for sharing your opinion.
Your view is exactly what I am trying to inculcate through this. Basic survival needs are still denied to innumerable places to most women and that is only going to further disturb future of their children. It will eventually lead to another life of denied rights. Feminism is not only about equal rights to men, because even women do not share equal rights all over the world. Firstly, Women need to be at the same level to progress further. We need to shift our focus to genuine and core issues if we really want to change present-day situation. I welcome you to my Blog. I admire how you beautifully picked up the gist of this write up.
Thank you so much. I was moved by what you wrote and decided to add my voice in support of it. I’m glad I found your blog.
Your voice absolutely matters. I really appreciate it. I can’t thank you enough for showing support. I am glad you took out the time to comment. 🙂
The rights you listed already exist. Unless you’re living in some Islamic state. Women can say no prostitution, child marriage. They do have the right to continue studies and work after marriage and the gender wage gap has been disproved so many times its pointless to talk about it.
Even men are objectified, and men are more unsafe since in almost all countries men have a greater statistical probability of being murdered and killed. Men comprise majority of the workplace deaths, 90%+ in US.
So the majority of the issues you raise seem hollow to be honest. The problem with feminism is the victim complex it is determined to spread. It’s whole agenda is based on the notion that women are somehow oppressed, even in countries where they have equal rights.
I definitely understand where you are coming from. I appreciate that you took the time to express yourself. The image of the 21st-century woman is confident, prosperous, glowing with health and beauty. But for many of the 3.3 billion female occupants (and men) of our planet, the perks of the cyber age never arrived. All of the rights exist but with an absence of eternity. How do women say no to prostitution when they are being drugged, assaulted, abducted and trafficked all over the world under the name of slavery and prostitution? I am sure you are aware of child and women trafficking. I assume you are talking about women taking up prostitution willingly? Many of these terms can be loosely arranged into an overarching standpoint that is generally either critical or supportive of prostitution and sex work.
Also, there are many women who never even get to start their education properly. One’s heart especially goes out to the ones who did get a flavor of formal teaching at some point in their lives, but then had to cease the process to either fulfill their other responsibilities that are apparently deemed more important than education, or simply to appease the overwhelming waves of newcomers that enter into a woman’s life after marriage. Of course, on any given day it is a better option to finish off one’s studies before tying the knot, but if the time calls for it, then pursuing one’s academic dreams even after marriage is quite doable in this age. All one needs is a little bit of support, especially, from the predominant lady (mother or MIL) of the family. Of course, after children, they have to take a break, but that’s their own choice. I believe it depends entirely on a woman’s husband whether she can complete her studies after marriage or not (still in some countries). The common element that appears to be present in both the opinions is the willingness of their immediate family members whether husband or mother-in-law. The most common reason due to which most of the men feel reluctant to send their wives to get a higher education is not having a sufficient source of income to fund the studies. It is quite understandable actually. Some men simply do not make enough to send their wives to college or university. And if the wife would want to work for it, then it becomes a prestige issue for the husband sometimes … end of story. I hear and read about it all the time from friends and acquaintances.
It is a fact that there are numerous reasons that cause immense pressure on the women after marriage such as in some families they are expected to have a baby immediately which is followed by the taxing task of taking care of it. However, it is also a fact that there are times when women intentionally drop out of their own will and make it look like they are making a noble sacrifice for their families. Therefore, the men are not to be blamed every time.
Educating women in India, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Guatemala, Sudan, Chad, Middle East countries and many more has been quite a challenge. Where there is a great deal of work being done on it with some significant progress visible now, perhaps we can expedite the process a little by focusing a tad more on those women first who have had their basic education, have enough motivation and are capable of going the distance on their own, but are dependent on the wavering whims of other people.
I am of the strong opinion that the girl must complete the studies before marriage and she can attend to any jobs before marriage. After marriage, it is virtually not possible for a dedicated daughter in law to do multi-tasking between husband and in-laws and her studies cannot take place amid daily chorus of daily life. If a girl really wants to finish her studies then she should be allowed to do so and more than that if she is not allowed then she should fight for it. Education is an integral element for social well-being and it not only gives you self-esteem but also self-confidence to progress through life’s milestones.
A woman may work after marriage, but not at the cost of household and familial responsibilities. Women experience a burnout of not being able to manage everything. A woman must ensure that she performs well as a daughter-in-law, even though she does not perform well professionally (cultural thing). A woman’s profession and her colleagues need to be approved by family members before allowing a woman to work. A man helping a woman in household chores is not appreciated by society. Women do not have economic independence, even if they earn in the majority of countries. Her expenses are always calculated and she has to account for it, but this does not apply to a man. Also, do we realize genital mutilation is still a thing in many parts of the world?
Although I agree, gender wage gap is disappearing in these times. The majority of the issues elaborated in the post do not apply to privileged and fortunate people or “women”, which are obviously many just as well as others because that’s how our world exists. There is always a balance between both. I also agree the problem with feminism is the victim complex it has determined to spread. I have a post about it too. You can check that out too. I’ve also talked about men and women having their own battles to fight in the post. It’s not a prizefight. I’ve talked about men rights and their stereotypes as well in few of my other posts. I definitely feel for men rights and related issues too. In reality, both genders exist in unison. Thank you for the valuable feedback. Did I bore you? Where are you from? I suppose again, US?
I’m actually from India. And no, you had an interesting view point. A bit of it seemed anecdotal, but I gather you’re attempting to stand up for the downtrodden sections in third world countries. Feminism on the other hand, is prevalent in first world countries which rarely have the problems you mentioned. It would more advantageous for feminism ad a movement to give everyone a reason to relate to it, and it should consider bring men’s issues like high suicide rate right along with women’s problems. It was good talking to you, and your style was non aggressive and understanding, which is both rare and delightful. I’ll give you a follow, if I haven’t done so already, and it’d be awesome if you could do the same.
Being an Indian, you certainly understand the ground reality of the subject. Our Indian mothers have been denied their rights for decades now. They hardly have a say and an influential opinion about proceedings at home. They are there to only cook and fulfill duties of a good wife and mother as per the society. However, it is not only about downtrodden section of the society as they have to deal with poverty, sanitation and education before women rights. They hardly even reach to the climax where they come across the term “women rights”. I only touched upon the issues you mentioned. Feminism used to be a movement in early 60s but now we have come a long way and have embraced it as an ideology. It is no more a movement. Women in first world countries are also fighting for their reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, racism and social and cultural inequalities. Also, I am in no way saying that men’s issues are any less than women’s. We are all equal and that is why we are all claiming for our freedom and equality rights. I always believe in uplifting people, be it men or women. Feminism is narrow in its definition in books but we need to inflate the vistas of “equality” so that men do not feel recluse in this wave of “feminism.” Men suffer from colossal pressure from society for numerous things but we are the only ones who build a society so I understand your viewpoint. Good wishes to you. It has been wonderful interacting with you.