It is increasingly difficult to find ways to unite with other types of feminists in common interests. So much so, that often we forget all that we could achieve together. It is as though hate is the preferred way of dealing, and this doesn't sit well with me. While some issues are naturally of greater value or importance in this re-branding of sorts, let us not pretend one issue alone is our cause.
Education: I can sit here and regurgitate the statistics for you. I can analyze the trends of women in higher education all day, but that is simply not the point I want to make. Every last political, feminist, or societal debate I enter into, leads me back to the same conclusion: we have forgotten how to educate ourselves. As a woman that earned not only an undergraduate degree but a graduate degree, I absolutely believe in the value of higher education. I am not saying there are not problems with the system, but there is wealth of knowledge there. However, I am speaking of education on a more basic level. Somewhere along the way, I believe our generation lost touch with some common sense educational principals. This includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Thorough research
- Analysis of statistics and reports (not just taking the media’s word for it)
- Household finances (budgeting, tracking spending, saving, knowing the difference between a need and a want)
- Knowledge of how our government works
I mention these things specifically, because YouTube is filled to brim of videos of people that do not seem to have base knowledge in these areas, and I am particularly disturbed by the trend that has us knowing more about a reality TV show than real life. The women that stood up for their right to vote and to be treated as equals did not always have the opportunities we have today. Higher education was not always open to them. Their own financial information was not always open to them. They helped open many doors for us, yet we have forgotten how they did so: self-educating. You do not have to end up with 4-6 years of student loan debt to self-educate. We have tools such as libraries and the internet (believe it or not, there is more than Facebook and porn out there!) at our disposal. (There are also many hot shot universities offering their post popular classes for free via the internet.) All it takes is drive and motivation. This is of vital importance to the new feminist movement because of things like this book review. While we know we are more than females just chained to a stove, popping out babies, there is nothing wrong with brushing up on a few things once in a while to back it up.
Career: Believe me. I use this term loosely. I am not talking just about equal pay for equal work. I am not just talking about the need for true merit-based work environments. There is more to life than a career, but we cannot escape this world without the need to purchase some things, like food, clothing, shelter… I will try to side-step my “Where has the Family Unit Gone?” rant for the sake of this post, and speak directly to the need for women to stop the bickering. I have written previously about the SAHM vs. Working Mom Debate and the ridiculousness of it all. New feminism means the true acceptance of the many ways women choose to show their womanhood. There is no ‘one size fits all’ career and home life balance. Every woman has unique skills and talents. Why don’t we give each other the room to figure this out and support one another?
Violence: If you are not well informed about domestic and sexual violence, you need to be. If we ourselves are not educated on this issue, then how can we expect our leaders and elected officials to be? It is not enough to take a self-defense course. It is not okay to assume women that have been attacked did not take the same course, or were somehow dressed in a way that was “asking for it”. It is not okay to assume that intimate partner violence is mutually combative, or that she “stays because she likes it.” It is not okay to chalk it up to the “for better or worse” vow and look the other way. Sexual and domestic violence is about power and control. I will say it again: If you are not well informed about domestic and sexual violence, you need to be.
Support: We need organizations that take a more holistic approach to supporting women from all walks of life. We all have different needs: counseling, fertility support and knowledge, medical, parenting… you name it, and there are women that need it. Not in a way that makes them dependent on someone or something else, but in a way that builds community. Women are amazing creatures, as if you didn't know! I have heard enough derogatory comments made about women by women to last me a life time. It is time we begin building communities that support one another. (Warning: this link is a shameless plug for GSP!)
New feminism, the new wave of feminism, Cathofeminism…. Whatever you want to call it is more than a pro-life movement. It is more than anti-hormonal birth control, and it is more than anti-abortion. It is pro-woman. A reality that is pro-woman does not seek to manipulate her by pills, devices or unnecessary surgeries. It does not seek to make her seem like or behave like a man. It seeks to recognize that women are equal to men in their own right, and do not need to contort themselves to meet someone else’s expectations. It also does not seek to tear down men. New feminism is pro-woman and pro-man.