It happens every week: a political or social event puts the debate about feminism and gender representation back on the table. Whenever this happens, it is accompanied by numerous outbursts, burning curses and loss of roles either in office discussions next to the coffee machine or in the digital equivalent that is Twitter.
What is feminism?
Let us start with the dictionary. According to the RAE, an institution that is neither suspected of progress nor heterodoxy, feminism has two meanings:
But of course, there is no single feminism, nor is it a firm and immovable movement. It has its currents, its internal divisions. It evolves through the centuries and generates opinions, debates and all those things that make life in general something more controversial than mathematical laws. So how to know if you are a feminist?
Is feminism “machismo upside down”?
Machismo is the “arrogant attitude of men towards women” (RAE). Thus, to think that feminism is “machismo upside down,” apart from a fallacy, makes no sense, because we would be comparing an attitude to a social movement.
What is a feminazi?
The word was created in 1990 by conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh mixing “feminism” and “Nazism” and used it to equate women demanding abortion rights with the Nazis. Its meaning was later broadened to define all women fighting for social equality, i.e., all feminists.
What is “Hembrism”?
This new word is used to define “male chauvinism upside down,” that is, to consider that women are superior to men. But who promotes feminism? Where is the female movement or the female organizations?
There are only people who use the term as an insult or people who use it just to distance themselves from it. Therefore, we conclude that it does not exist. Machismo does not exist because for a similar phenomenon to occur we would have to relive thousands of years of patriarchal culture but ‘the other way around’ is something that is impossible unless we immediately start to do so.
What is patriarchy?
In a word: everything. In many: it is the type of social organization in which the paterfamilias exercise authority, that is, practically all the societies in history.
Its dismantling and destruction have been one of the objectives of feminist movements since the 1960s, considering that it is patriarchy that explains the ancestral domination and subordination of women to men.
It implies the domination of female sexuality, the objectification and relegation of women to the home, and distancing them from all public space and sphere. It goes from the most obvious and aggressive to the most invisible or subtle, such as contempt for “girls'” things (films, interests, cultural constructions of the feminine universe) by considering them of less importance and value than “men’s” things.
What does “sorority” mean?
It is feminine twinning, solidarity between women, sisterhood, sisterhood.
What is suffragette?
It is a movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, especially important in England, which fought for women’s suffrage.
The name comes from getting the vote, but the real one, not the one that excluded half the population. The suffragettes to protest staged demonstrations, threw themselves at the feet of the horses, went on hunger strike and generally scandalized the Victorian and Edwardian society of their time, causing the fall of many monocles.
The first country in which women were allowed to vote was New Zealand; in England, it was obtained in 1918, at the end of the First World War; in Spain, it was granted in 1931 (although it was suspended for almost forty years due to an affair).
There are still countries where women’s suffrage is denied or restricted to certain elections or certain ages, or women can choose but not be elected.
What are the waves of feminism?
The historical division of feminism into waves is mainly used in the United States, although it has become popular in other fields of study.
The First Wave was born in the 18th century and reached the beginning of the 20th century; it focuses on getting women to vote and the importance of education (for example, with access to university, which was forbidden).
The Second Wave took place in the 1960s and 1970s and was linked to civil rights and counter-cultural movements that sought to turn the unjust society of the time a little upside down. It claimed that women could have a role beyond being wives and mothers: emphasis was placed on reproductive rights, sexual freedom and access to work.
The Third Wave of Feminism is Passing By! It seeks the presence and integration of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations within the movement and gives importance to cultural aspects such as female representation in various media.
What is the meaning of “gender”?
Gender is composed of “the social (as opposed to biological) differences between men and women who have been learned, change over time and vary greatly both between and within cultures” (European Commission, 1998).
It is not the same to grow up in a Greek gynoecium of the fifth century BC as it is in a nomadic tribe of the steppes of Central Asia right now, yet the children of some places and other times are biologically the same.
That is to say, with sex one is born, gender is constructed little by little encouraging some behaviors, values, and attitudes or others. For example, dressing children in specific colors or with phrases and choruses such as “boys don’t cry they have to fight.”
What is “empowerment”?
It refers to the process of awareness of power on the part of a collective or a person, usually disadvantaged or in a situation of exclusion. Empowerment implies valuing one’s capacities and assuming an active role beyond that traditionally provided by society (which tends to be somewhat passive).
Lately, it is used a lot in the analysis of pop culture when talking about the empowerment of artists such as Beyoncé (double empowerment regarding women and black) and not being free of controversy.
For example, is empowerment what Miley Cyrus does or just another form of sexism and the use of the female body as a commercial claim? The debate is open.
How do I know if I am a feminist?
Do you think that men and women should have the same rights? If your answer is yes, congratulations, you are a feminist.