Feminism: An Analysis Of Three Generations

2029 words - 9 pages

Feminism has always been a colorful word with a wide variety of meanings, interpretations, and connotations. Unfortunately, these definitions and connotations are sometimes depicted in negative and wrong ways. Feminism is not wearing pants and shunning pink and being mean and poo-pooing child-rearing and hating men. It is not about scoffing at those that choose to stay at home with children or judging other women for their own choices. It is not about relying on stereotypes or assumptions about what the word 'woman' should or should not be. Most importantly, feminism is not a universal, one-size-fits-all term, simply because there are so many women living such differing experiences around ...view middle of the document...

“How would you define feminism?”, a simple question, with a not so simple answer. As mentioned above, feminism is a word that has a wide array of interpretations depending on who is asked. Lynne and Katie answered in a similar way. Their answers reflected the typical dictionary definition of the word. Their beliefs centered around the idea that gender shouldn’t qualify or disqualify a woman in anything she wants to undertake and also around the idea of women standing up for themselves and their rights financially, politically, and socially. Corinne, however, defined it in a slightly different manner. She said that “...feminism is about developing self-hood as a woman in the context of the world...and working with others to do the same. It is about taking notice of power structures that influence my life (political, social etc), and taking action in favor or against them.” All of these answers are, in their own way, correct. There is no single answer for this question. In fact, the definitions are a reflection of a “woman’s concrete experiences” in life (Radacic). Lynne was born at the height of a sexist society, where a woman could have one of three jobs: a nurse, a teacher or a secretary. Otherwise, the only job women had was in the house: cooking, cleaning, and caring for her husband and kids. Obtaining any other profession was completely unheard of.
Women were not supposed to speak their mind. As Lynne put it, “...there was emphasis given to giving in to your husband so that everything would be harmonious. If a woman had an

idea, she was not allowed to think it, much less speak it. She was forced to think, ‘Well I'm being the bigger, more wonderful person by letting my husband have what he wants all the time.’” Through this exposure as a child, Lynne grew up thinking ideas of greater significance for women. She formed pathways in her mind for the thoughts and ideas, though a little reserved, that she maintains to this day regarding feminism. Katie’s definition is like Lynne’s in that it is more reserved but for a much different reason. Katie is still young and hasn't had much exposure to the customs and beliefs of being an adult woman in society today. She is still growing and learning about herself as a woman. With time, Katie will hopefully be able to open her mind and step outside the metaphorical box that society places around each and every one of us the day we are born.
However, Corinne’s answer was crafted after much thought about life and experience with others throughout her teens and twenties, “...I got so depressed reading fashion magazines, full of images and standards and expectations that I found totally unsatisfying, uninteresting, and shallow. I sort of felt stuck in a world where I knew I didn't want to be 'typical' but I didn't quite know how to find another route...to me, high school seemed like such a bubble of brimming hyper-sexualization, laden with all the classic gender stereotypes and complimentary stigmas. Being...

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