"Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away."
-bell hooks

Monday, February 28, 2011

What is Your Feminism?

Feminism can mean a variety of ideas, concepts, beliefs and practices to each individual person. In my opinion, feminism can work the best when a person fully understands their own feminism first and then applies it to the greater society as a whole. I have written a feminist manifesto which publicly declares my feminist intentions and beliefs.

I was first introduced to feminism in my senior year of high school, which in turn assisted me in shaping my path to major in Women’s Studies in University. Through my current life in academia, I reflect back on feminist activists such as Uzma Shakir who found oppression within her own community. By using her own knowledge and tying it within her culture, she is able to move forward to fight with her western sisters. I am inspired by Judith Butler who deconstructs gender ideologies every day. To me, Butler exemplifies that our gender and sexuality is not fixed upon, it is ever changing and growing. Finally, a feminist that speaks to me is Nawaal el Saadawi, whose work every day tells me that third world women do have an agenda to fight for their own feminism. She inspires me to think outside of the box to create another world of feminism. Her strength and endurance gives me the inspiration to be free to fight my own oppressions every day.

Now, my feminism calls upon embracing all of the things that I once ignored, that shaped me into the woman who I am today. My feminism calls for me to not back down when things are tough. My feminism challenges me every day to work hard and help others.

My manifesto calls for me creating my own self through the use of language, culture and ideas. My manifesto calls on my feminism to create world where I see out of a cultured lens, to view things from another view that has not been discussed in academia. My feminism is a construction of everything I have ever learned, through my religion, relationships and power. My feminism also reflects on my own power, the power that I have lost, the power that I have gained, and the power that I hope to instill in others.

Manifesto Goals

  • I will life my life fully, expressing all of the different forms of confidence that I have instilled within myself. I will not jeopardize my own physical health by any form of eating disorder cosmetic surgery or use harsh chemicals for the purpose of attempting to better myself on the outside. I will create my own image of beauty through language, knowledge and culture. For any person out there who does not believe that they are beautiful, I will help create their own image of beauty, specifically designed to suit their own self. I will love myself, my body, my spirit.
  • I will not be afraid to love, to look for love or to romantically dream. I will fall in love, and my own mind will come first. I will give a piece of myself to love, but not let go of everything I know-my strength, because of love.
  • I will dream wonderful things for myself. Health, happiness and prosperity. I will work hard to achieve all of this without forgetting the privilege I have. I will remember the sacrifices that I have made for myself. I will not forget those who are not as financially stable and privileged as I am. I will donate, and continue to donate my time to help others in need.
  • I will remember my privilege. My ableism, my knowledge my power. I will use it to advocate for others who may not have similar strengths as I do. I will not forget that my privilege is only here to help others find their own stepping stones to power.
  • I will remember those who have sacrificed and fought to keep this country safe. I will be forever grateful that my freedom came from the expense of others. I will also be thankful for everything I was given because my family and I were able to come to Canada. I understand that my life would have been different if I never immigrated here. I will use this new freedom to support other women in third world nations who are battling their own feminism.
  • I will express my feminist voice for women and men who were harmed in doing so. I will suffer and fight for those who cannot; not by fighting for them, but empowering them to fight on their own.
  • I will be independent. I will accept my own responsibilities for my own self. I will work, learn, grow and share all that I have learned into my own life goals. I will breathe the injustices that were brought upon me by others and I will analyze them on my own. I will not depend on others to fight my own battles. I in the end, I will win this war.
  • I will not back away from my culture. I understand that it is a gift, given to me to work with. My culture gives me a stepping stone against all others who may fail to acknowledge oppression and power. I will embrace every aspect of my culture, the food, the language, the stories passed onto me from previous generations. I will keep my culture and share it with others.
  • I will not construct my own self based on the assumptions of others. I will wear whatever fashion accessories I see fit; glitter, dresses and makeup when I want to. I will embrace my feminity. I will not feel guilty if I change my appearance for my own self. I will choose when I want to be sexual and beautiful. I will wear loose clothing when I am lazy. I will abolish all gender constructed norms of fashion. I will create my own fashion, for myself.
  • I will create myself. I will use my privilege of receiving a great education to create my own self as a person. I will grow, change, and use the resources that I have been given to create the best version of myself. I will share my confidence, my feminism with others, end find a way to empower myself every day.
  • Finally, I will be an activist. I will work hard to fight for the things that matter the most to me. I will not only fight collectively with others for a common goal, but I will use my individualism for myself to reach my own creation of a feminist world
So I ask you, the readers, to comment and tell us what you feel your feminism is and whether you have reached some of your feminist goals in your own personal life.


  1. Teires,

    I thought your feminism was really well written and it shows that you explore many different aspects of society. So you asked what is feminism to me and at first I was not to sure what feminism was to me but after I thought about it I came up with this.

    My feminism is not afraid of gender or sex or living life to the fullest. My feminism demands respect, love, equality and space. My feminism will not tolerate gender discrimination. My feminism does not dislike men but dislikes power wielded as a force of authority. My feminism is a friendly place where girls and boys can be friends with no judgment. My feminism is all about equality, liberation and living as humans even though society stereotypes people into categorizes. And that is why my feminism is not a product that is distrusted but hopes for change towards what really matters in life and the desire for humans to recognize that we have a lot more in common with one another than we think, despite our differences. My feminism is not afraid and will certainly not be silenced.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Feminism is a social, economical, and political movement. Being a feminist means being someone who believes and supports the idea of equality of both men and women. Feminism shows that women are as valuable as men in society.

    Therefore feminism is a way to free women from the oppression that they have been faced with for countless centuries. Because of the three waves of feminism, women have the freedom to make their own decisions; therefore proving that women are not objects owned by men and that men do not have authority over women. This shows that feminism truly has helped free women from oppression. If it wasn’t for feminism the true value of women would not be seen in the world.

    It can be seen that women can be just as successful as men in the work force. There is no job that is better suited for one gender. As it can be seen, there are women working in fields that before normally it was thought that only men were capable of doing.

    Someone who was born and raised in North America in recent years might object to this definition. The reason being is that this definition in our current society is seen that men and women are treated equally and that women are not oppressed, even though that might not be the case. Our society does make it seem like both men and women have an equal opportunity to reach certain objectives; however men have an easier time than women reaching those objectives.

    Also because society has a way of thinking that some things are better suited for men to do and others for women, it is not seen as a problem. This however is a problem because it makes people generalize and think that women are not capable of doing things that normally men would do and vice-versa, when in reality both men and women are just as capable.

  3. My manifesto calls for me to be cognisant of my construction of difference and the effect that it has on the identity of others. The western construct of third world women’s identity should be the responsibility of that individual not social constructs that surround them. I believe in a world where there are no pre-supposed frameworks of difference that construct identity. All should work together. My feminism challenges the western social construction of identity and the paradox between first and third world feminisms. While feminism attempts to provide a collection of voices, it tends to be the voices of white middle class affluent women as the ones being heard. My feminist manifesto is comprised of a postmodernist and feminist lens, which is inspired by the work of Chandra Mohanty and Lila Abu Lughod.


    I will not construct an identity that is not my own. I will not fail to properly and critically theorize ‘other’ women. I will not construct ‘other’ women as a monolithic subject or object of knowledge. I will be inclusive and ignore my white privilege. Instead of reinforcing and perpetuating oppressive western dynamics suggesting that third world women are in need of immediate assistance, I will listen to these women’s experiences and proceed.

    I recognize that as a western feminist I took for granted my position of hierarchy and privilege that permitted me to distinguish non western women in a victimized position. I understand that being a white woman, constructing difference results in discursive homogenization and systemic oppression of these women. I do not believe that I have the right to define and name other women.

    I will not attempt to save rather support third world women. I will not filter the western woman’s fixation with constructing and reiterating difference through the process of labelling these women as victims in need of saving from either male violence or colonial processes which freezes these women in time, space and history.

    Western feminists need to recognize that there is a difference between the self and ‘other’, and we should work together to overcome oppression rather than letting western feminists assume dictatorship. Westerners need to ignore their preconceived stereotypical notions of how they view non western women and should instead work as a collective to move away from this universal inequality.

    I want to promote support third world feminists as they struggle against western scholars’ creation of a colonial discourse which represents them as an undifferentiated ‘other’ oppressed by both gender and third world underdevelopment. I intend to allow all women to be active participants in alleviating all oppressions in order to create a safe space. We have the responsibility to act and advocate on behalf of human rights. I want to find strategies to restructure and dismantle the notion that non western women need to be saved from themselves as well as their communities.
    My feminism revolves around challenging traditional feminist practices by working collectively with non western women to support their experiences and choices.


Please keep use constructive criticism when commenting on other people's post. Comments that do not engage with the author's post, are in any way discriminatory will be deleted without notification. Thank you.