Feminism 101: An Introduction

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Feminism 101: An Introduction

let's open that third eye together

In order for us to effectively engage in critical discourse and discussion we need to discuss and analyze the points of contention within and between the issues we are discussing. The main reason for doing so is to recognize and accommodate the spectrum that we all exist on.

Some of you are absolutely new to any discussion on feminism, race, intersectionality, and prejudice. That’s okay. Some of you are intermediates who have some exposure to these topics but still feel like you could, and want to learn more. That’s also okay. Some of you are knee-deep in critical analysis, and want a space to actively discuss and examine these theories. That is also okay.

Some of you are in the middle of these different planes. That is okay. Trust me, allow yourself to accept whatever you know, and especially what you don’t know.

We exist on a spectrum, not as a binary of experts and learners.

Feminism 101: An Introduction

Interested in the way gender intersects with race? Access here.

Interested in a PDF copy of this text to share around: Access here.

This is a critical space for you, no matter where you are at on this spectrum. Given the diversity of you, it is important to highlight, define, and examine the key roots and theories we will be dissecting, as well as the formal language that we utilize in its analysis.

So, don’t be scared. Don’t be worried.

This is a safe space for you to learn. For us to learn together.

Feminism 101: An Introduction

It’s hard to confine this term into narrow roots, but as a general rule of thumb, it is important to understand this definition to be able to critically examine its discourse:

” to be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from role patterns, domination, and oppression.”

― Bell Hooks, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

Here are some general glossary sub-definitions:

- Misogyny: Explicit and implicit hatred towards women.

Feminism 101: An Introduction

- Misandry: Explicit and implicit hatred towards men.

- Misogynoir: Explicit and implicit hatred of black women.

Internalized misogyny is an extension of a patriarchal system, which produces a wide held belief within women themselves, that they are inferior, thus becoming an aspect of their self-identity, shaping one’s relationship with the world around them.

This is an important concept to learn, so we can not only unlearn its consequences, but because it is a belief that effects our navigation around this world, not just with ourselves, but with other women around us, who may carry this internalization.

It is also important to note that internalization is not just a conscious state, but an involuntary state, which we can only climb out of when consciously choosing too.

Feminism 101: An Introduction

“For instance, women and girls may learn to have low expectations of their capabilities, may be subtly channeled by teachers or parents into gender normative fields and away from traditionally male-dominated roles, may lack female role models in professions of interest, may be treated as if they need to be taken care of, may paradoxically be expected to be caretakers, to serve men, and put the needs of others before their own, may be criticized or ostracized for being assertive, visible, or outspoken, may find their opinions discounted, may be disliked as leaders unless they fit female stereotypes by acting nurturing, may be valued and appreciated primarily for their looks, bodies, may face expectations that they will spend considerable time and money modifying their physical appearance, may lose their names when they get married, and may be excluded from written or spoken discourse by the default use of male pronouns and other male-centric language constructs.

Because of the variability of misogynistic practices, it is no surprise that discrimination is often unintentional; both the agents and the targets are unaware of their role in them.

Regardless of whether these acts are intentional, however, the cumulative effects of oppression are pervasive, impacting how women shape their personalities and identities, negotiate their relationships, feel about themselves, make meaning out of their experiences, and make choices about their lives over the short and long term.”

― Bearman, Korobov, & Thorne, The Fabric of Internalized Misogyny

“Without confronting internalized misogyny women who picked up the feminist banner often betrayed the cause in their interactions with other women.”

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