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  • mw3c09

Feminism is ____________

The other day, I googled the word ‘feminism’ to understand how the collective consciousness of thought leaders was defining it.

I found this rainbow of content:

  • Doing it her way: Penny Marshall broke barriers for women – but rejected the ‘feminism’ label

  • Twelve Books for Feminist Boys and Girls (yes, seriously)

  • What is Feminism, And Why Do So Many Women and Men Hate It?

  • Can Feminists and Non-Feminists Agree on Gender Equality?

  • Who Needs Feminism?

  • 4 Reasons Why Feminism is Full of Hypocrisy

  • Feminists treat men badly. It’s bad for feminism

  • The Gender Wage Gap and 5 Other Feminist Fantasies

The potpourri of ideas and opinions leaves me with a very clear takeaway: we each have our own minds. While this is hardly earth-shattering, it does seem that we may tend to forget this fact when discussing feminism.

If you are a woman whose prime years of life occurred in the 1960’s, your views about feminism are more likely to diverge with mine as a Generation X-er. Our political leanings will almost assuredly place us in different feminist corners. Even our racial and ethnic identities will creep in to our personal definitions of feminism. That’s just the way it is.

As I wrote in my new book, Tough As Nails: Finding Your Voice as a Woman in the Workplace, it is no more sensible for a declared feminist to speak for all women, than it is for a black person to speak for her entire race. As women, we must never allow ourselves to be held hostage to another’s view of feminist ideals. We are individuals, first and foremost.

Perhaps the surest sign of progress around female equality will be when, at some point down the road, a young adult has to ask his elder to explain ‘feminism’— a label which may have slowly and steadily faded into obscurity.

For now, I offer my own definition of feminism:

The full and complete embracing of a woman’s worth, and how she chooses to express it—without any qualifiers due to her gender.

Grounded in my definition is a strong belief that we are individuals with an ability to express

ourselves in ways that: make sense to us; are driven by our religious (or other) values, as applicable; and are not harmful or offensive to others.

How would you fill in the blank above – Feminism Means (what?) Do you have your own definition and is it something that you feel particularly strongly about? Why?

I’d love to hear it.

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