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I would like some information about modern feminism. I have two daughters (14 & 12). I have always taught them to be open minded and explore questions they may have. I have taught them to go to the best source they can for information. So, I am here to ask: what is the state of modern feminism? I hear about "feminism" on T.V., radio, newspapers, and such. I want to know your viewpoint. Thank You for your time, Anthony

Thank you for your note to FEMINIST.COM --and for caring enough about your daughters to let them be them. It sounds like there should be more fathers like you.

I just saw a great film--Girls Like Us--which profiles over four years (from ages 14-18)--six girls growing up in South Philadelphia. The issues that they are mostly grappling with are 1.) boys and sex and 2.) college/education/life's goals. In number one, it was clear that regardless of how much information was out there, what seemed to have the biggest impact on these girls was not only a parent that said 'if you want to have sex use condoms' but a parent who was a friend and who spoke as openly about their life as they did about their own. As for the second issue, it was clear that there is still so much out there that limits the choices available to girls and women.

Both of these points, lead to explaining where feminism is....as you may know feminism, by definition, means the full social, political and economic equality of all women. To elaborate on this, I think it means having enough information and resources to make informed choices about out lives. The First wave of feminism in this country, which began in the 1800s and lasted through the 1920s, worked to secure basic rights for women--the right to vote, own property, inherit, etc... The Second Wave of feminism, which evolved around the mid-1960s, was really about using these rights and about opening up opportunities to women. It was also about having resources--like domestic violence shelters, birth control pills, medical research done about women--that empowered us to take control over our lives.

Today, the reality is that many women still don't have access to these resources and/or know that these resources are available to them. Likewise, while women have 'proved that they can do what men can do'--in order to move feminism forward 'men have to prove that they can do what women can do'--like be more active parents (which doesn't seem to be your issue), fighting for equal pay for work of equal value and empowering themselves to organize men who batter to stop battery as much as women organize women who are battered.

Personally, I think its about showing and telling your daughters that they can be anything that they already are--and do anything that they want to. It's also about providing them with enough examples to show that them that everything they do matters and they can do anything. There may be some links in our Parenting, Children and Community section that you might also find helpful. Good luck and thanks for writing.


Amy

 

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