She's an old-time ambassador

I was memailing some friends this morning about my views on feminism - a fluid concept, subject to various definitions, such as women's liberation, liberal feminism, (seeks to establish equal rights through policy change) cultural feminism (seeks to establish competitive female power structures) and that most hated and controversial of approaches - radical feminism which seeks the abolition of gender as we know it.

When someone is talking about feminism, it's not always clear whether they are referring to women's liberation or modern feminism. Like everything from menstruation to orgasms - for women it comes in waves.

First-wave feminism
1800 - 1945. Centered on securing basic civil rights, such as the right to vote and to own property
Second-wave feminism
1945 - 1980. Centered on achieving equality in the workplace, protecting reproductive choice, and attempting to pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).
Third-wave feminism
1980 to date. Incorporates racial justice, LGBT rights, and class oppression into the main feminist worldview which seeks practical equality for all women.

"feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings." as someone once said. As a movement it began to allow women the freedom to live on equal terms with men and not be made subservient by law or culture. I think we can argue that in terms of  men and law we are more equal and less subservient, but in terms of culture we have never been anything less than subservient.

The concept posed by mumsnet recently that feminism is dead is ridiculous. It is as vital today as it was in the 1800s, but Modern Feminism has simply been rebranded. It has evolved to incorporate new goals.

Feminism is not about division of the sexes.
Feminism is not about hating or emasculating men.
Feminism is not about judging women for the choices that they make.

Feminism is about re-educating both men and women about:

1) the institutions that restrict their choices and define how they "should" look or behave or feel
2) the factors that contribute towards the cultural climate

and taking  positive action against both.

For example - modern feminists do not say that pornography should be banned. They strive to ensure that we recognise the impact of pornography on children, teen and adult relationships, female body image and calls for content which is less accessible to those under age and does not demean or enslave women, but rather reflects a healthy view of human sexuality.

For example - modern feminists do not say that women should not have cosmetic surgery, wear makeup, be feminine or glamorous. They suggest that the media be responsible for what they project and perpetuate, and that women are not under pressure from men, from women, from society as a whole to look a certain way.

For example - modern feminists do not dictate whether women should work or raise a family, or suggest that the traditional roles of men and women in relationships are archaic and anti-feminist.
They suggest that support is available for parents to make a choice between career and family or juggle both. That there is fluidity around maternity and paternity rights. That there is equal pay and support systems in place from healthcare to benefits to support families. That organisations do not discriminate against women as if they're a ticking time bomb that may eventually get pregnant.

In La Trahison des Images (The Treachery of Images), Magritte annotated his painting of a pipe with the immortal words "ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe), which means nothing more than to explain that the painting is not in fact a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. Surrealism was bred based on the freedom that this concept provides - your view of a pipe depends on how the artist paints it, but it does not define the literal definition with a pipe and it's the same with women.

The media peddles images of women that do not reflect what women literally are, and this is part of the problem that feminism attempts to address.

Have you signed the No More Page 3 petition yet? WHY NOT?

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: Queen Bitch by David Bowie