A few years ago, a friend of mine, inspired by the 2005 AWID Conference, started a local feminist discussion group. We met regularly to discuss and debate a range of complex and controversial feminist issues. While our group has since dispersed, I don’t think any of us lost the desire to continue these conversations. While there was talk of reviving our local discussion group after our passions were reignited at the 2008 AWID Forum, it proved too difficult to get people together physically, with all of our time constraints.
I would like to continue these conversations here on PulseWire and invite all who are interested to take part.
One of the hot topics that came up in many of the conversations I had at AWID was this idea that “I believe in women’s rights, but I’m not a feminist’. It is with this statement that I would like to begin discussions. In contemporary society, feminism has become a bad word, and many women are hesitant to describe themselves thus, for fear of the stigma that is attached to being a feminist. Some people believe that feminism is outdated, that it has served its purpose and is no longer relevant. I would argue that as long as gender based violence and discrimination exists, feminism is relevant.
Here are some questions to ponder: why is feminism so stigmatised? Is it simply because feminism questions the status quo and dominant patriarchal ideology? Is it because some extreme feminist views skewed public perceptions about what feminism is and what it is hoping to achieve? Is feminism flexible enough to apply in this new era of struggle for women’s rights and empowerment?
I look forward to hearing the diversity of perspectives that will no doubt arise as our feminist discussions continue.