Monday, February 22, 2010

Feminism 101

I think I wear a sign on my forehead that says, "Tell me your thoughts on Feminism." I tell people that I am involved with women's empowerment and automatically I am a RADICAL, bra-burning, man hating,  dare I say the word... FEMINIST! My favorite part of these conversations is that the person then decides to explain why they don't agree with me (even though I usually haven't said anything yet). 
This is the part of the conversation when I hear:
“Men and women aren’t equal. Have you ever seen a woman play in the NFL?”
“Men are just stronger than women. Women's bodies weren’t built for athleticism like men are.”
“Women cry all the time and are so emotional. They just aren’t as strong as men.” 
To me, these comments are proof that most people don’t understand feminism. Feminism is not a battle of which sex has more physical strength or athletic ability. Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.  In particular terms this means women should have equal opportunities to education, employment, voice in our governing systems, ownership in resources, and balanced power in relationships. 

In September of 2000, it became apparent to the world that gender inequality was a factor of extreme poverty. So for all of the people who don’t think sexism and inequality exist please visit the UN’s webpage and read the goals that deal with gender equality, education, and maternal health. Feminism is important because it is a movement that seeks to give a voice to a segment of people who need to be heard. 
Our society places value on a woman's body. Just watch a movie, log on the internet, or read a magazine... we are what we look like. Women I have talked with in other countries find that their value is placed on their ability to please or serve. To be a feminist is to value women's stories, thoughts, and voices.
ROAR! Feminism is worth a discussion. What do you think... are you a feminist?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I am woman, hear me roar

"I Am Woman" was a song written by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton back in 1972. Helen wrote the song because she had difficulty finding a song that encapsulated what being a woman was about (since "I Feel Pretty" was not making the cut).

This desire for a song that reflects women's empowerment is the same desire I want to reflect in this blog. My desire is for an outlet to "roar" about the injustices against women. This blog is not about man hating... which is truly unproductive. In fact, I have found that women can often instigate injustice against other women!! This is a problem that I will discuss in a future post. Instead my goal is to bring awareness, vent my frustration, and hopefully offer action steps to seemingly impossible issues.

If you are reading these posts, I encourage you to dialogue with me. I would love to have intelligent discussions about sexism, feminism, international development, and poverty. I see a connection between these topics that the global community can not ignore. I hope you join my conversation and roar with me.