by Bea Keeler
Welcome to the Feminist Perspectives online series. The aim of this collection is to highlight the many facets of feminism, but we believe the series showcases the difficulties in explaining and understanding what feminism actually is. The word feminism doesn’t mean the same thing it did when the movement began almost 70 years ago; people take what they want or need from it for use in their lives and belief systems. As progressive as this may seem (because it allows the movement to grow and transform along with our society), it can also cause immense rifts within the community. Now it’s almost impossible to define exactly what it means to be a feminist, and perspectives can be complete opposites while remaining equally as valid . For some, feminism is the idea of women against men, in the attempt to claim power back for their gender. For others, it’s about equality, acknowledging that men require and deserve the same access to safe spaces, and the same kind of consent, as women, recognizing that women are not always the victims. Unfortunately, women often are the victims, and society has told us that for the most part, it’s our fault for the abuse we receive. In situations like this, it’s hard to feel like we are equal, because we’re consistently having to fight to have our voices heard.
This doesn’t even touch on what it is to be a woman; do you need to be born with female genitalia to be considered a woman, or can you simply identify as one? If you do identify but aren’t equipped with female anatomy, should you be allowed to use a women’s restroom as freely as someone born female? The feminist community is fairly split on this subject, which makes it difficult for the movement to seem like a united front, because in reality, it’s not. My intent is not to comfort anyone with this forward, nor make it seem like we’re moving towards a resolution to the oppression plaguing our society for too long, because I don’t always feel comfortable as a feminist. I don’t always feel like we’re moving forward; quite often I feel the opposite. And yet, this is why collections like Feminist Perspectives are important, because they don’t try to create an image of feminism that is cohesive or united. The entries in this series are true accounts written by feminists who want to have their voices heard, who want to share their stories in hopes that those who read them will be positively affected. I believe this collection really reflects how much feminism has grown, how much growing it has to do, and how it’s ok we be honest about that.