Is being feminist ‘enough’?

When I was an unruly teen my father used to frustrate himself with my determination to always root for the underdog. This has redefined itself in my adulthood as a call to issues of social justice. I feel strongly about issues – in other words – give me an issue and I’ll feel strongly about it. Whether it’s porn on an ipod or fairtrade coffee or debeaking chickens or dealing with feral cats – I’ll carry it with me and it will colour most everything I do.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we support more than one cause when possible.
I’m not saying we have to take them all on and dedicate our lives to every injustice in the world, but every choice we make is political. Need to choose coffee for a conference? Why not make it fair trade? Cost too much? Drink more water. Need conference bags? Why not make them cotton or from sustainable materials? Need a speaker? Why not look for women? Need anything? Why not look locally, and support micro-enterprise? If we don’t start making healthy choices now, when will we?

I am the queen of mixing causes. Or the champion of the need that needs to be heard. Outside women’s studies I am the one who will open the gender issues box. In the comp sci department I see the advantage that comes with considering philosophy and sociology. Wherever I get involved I see sustainability issues, childcare issues, interlocking oppressions, the view of the ‘other’ as relevant to what we’re doing. Is this what women’s studies does to a person? How can I not speak up?

I just figure it’s worth the extra effort if your choice makes life better for someone now or in the future. To say you’re a ‘feminist’ but then act in ways that oppress others – how can that be compatible? These are political times. The personal is political now more than ever.


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  1. Sour Duck
    08 February 2006, 10:03 am

    Hasn’t feminism led to the other issues you’ve mentioned? That is, there are vegetarian-feminist books, and eco-friendly-feminism, etc.

    I think of Feminism like the field of Philosophy – it is a very broad subject with many specialized areas (e.g., Philosophy of mind, philosophy of language…).

    I think feminism *is* enough; and that solely focusing on, and being absorbed by feminism, is a valid position that inevitably leads people into other areas (such as consumerism), that need to be reassessed.

    “To say you’re a ‘feminist’ but then act in ways that oppress others – how can that be compatible?”

    Yes, I agree.

    (Come to think of it, maybe this comment ain’t very good, but I’m submitting it anyway to give you at least one comment! :))

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