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Feminism

Dear Amy,

While feminism, along with humanity, is evolving constantly, I feel that there are aspects of our movement that counteract the ultimate goal of our revolutionary work.  I am specifically speaking of women-only/safe spaces that have proliferated throughout the country recently. 

Beginning with perhaps the most prevalent and well-known, the Michigan Women's Music Festival, and moving to more "grass roots" periodicals and organizations, women-only spaces continue to intentionally segregate the sexes on the basis of safety, politics and various other reasons.  This frightens me. 

Why do feminists, or groups of feminists, corrupt the entire concept of a "feminist revolution" by excluding almost half of the world's population.  My question can also include transgendered persons, who are repeatedly left on the periphery of "safe/women-only spaces".  It's terribly frustrating.  If I can't take my male friends to places such as a Women's Salon discussing Sexual Harassment...something that their counterparts participate in on a regular basis...and show them the error in their ways and the negative ways it makes women feel, then how will we ever proactively seek to end such discrimination and harassment. 

How is being exclusionary effective?  And how can we seek to educate the young feminists in our movement to recognize that men are not the "evil ones" but rather a potential advocate of the women's movement?  Women may be socialized to think that their greatest adversaries are other women, but that is not always or necessarily the case.  How can feminism include EVERYONE if it doesn't allow EVERYONE to participate?  Enough group therapy...I'm calling for a revolution!

Radically Yours,

Meaghan

 

Dear Meaghan,

I total agree with you. I get many emails from young women asking about "male bashing," etc... And while I think most people come to understand it as a myth -- it is a prevalent one and one that takes some time to reverse. I actually think that the entire point of feminism is to liberate us from being either male or female or being dependent on the characteristics associated with both.

I think that feminism is working toward having us be recognized as unique individuals and for valuing these qualities irrespective of our genders. I think that our dependence on gender traits has been learned and can easily -- though time consuming -- to unlearn. And I also believe that feminism has to take some responsibility for this false impression.

Historically, feminism did require women only spaces, but we have realized that individual men are the problem, just as individual women are, but not men as group. Our initial response to men was that they should be included in feminism for the sake of their wives, lovers, daughters, etc.... Today, however, we realize that it's for their own lives that they need to be involved. Hopefully more people will think like us.


—Amy

 

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