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Hello, I am a sophmore in highschool and I had a few questions regarding feminism. First off I was asked to be on a radio show with a lady who is taking the couse: Women Studies. I don't exactly know what feminism is, but looking it up in the dictionary gave me a good idea. However, this lady has mailed me questions that will be brought up and talked about during this show. Maybe you could help me out, even though I am new to feminism. The following questions are to be answered by my own thoughts and of course, there is no wrong answer, but I would enjoy it if you could give me your ideas/opinions on the following. I belive that once learning about this will interest me into taking a stand to being a feminist.

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com--and for being new to feminism--being new is better than not being here at all. I have attempted to answer your proposed questions to the best of my ability, but you really need to answer these for yourself for the show. I hope my response can be used as a guidepost:

-How do you define your personal feminism?
By dictionary definition, feminism is the movement toward the full social, political, equality of all people. I always add on to this--having enough information to make responsible choices about our lives.

Have your ideas changed over time?
Yes, certainly. I used to be much more superficial about my feminism--for instance, that it was only about who opened the door, etc...Now, I understand that feminism is much more radical than I ever expected. It's not so much about changing individual attitudes and circumstances--as much as it is about changing society.

-Is your personal feminism different from what you consider to be "mainstream" feminism?
No--as explained above.

-Do you see some feminist issues as harmful?
No, though I do see some feminists as harmful to other women. For instance, some feminists think that feminism comes with a set of rules. But this isn't the fault of feminists--it's the fault of the individuals.

--Is there a downside to being a feminist?
Just having to deal with other people's misconceptions and with all of the baggage that comes with feminism. It's also hard to deal with the sad aspects of feminism--for instance, that feminists are the only ones who deal with domestic violence, rape, race relations.

-Is there anyone right now that inspires you, or prods you to action?
Yes, the many people who write to me at Ask Amy, the young women I meet at Third Wave Foundation, my friends who are pursuing their own careers, lives.

-Do you know any names of the famous feminists of the 1970's?
Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Angela Davis, Arlie Hochschild, Patsy Mink.


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