“What do you mean by ‘What do you mean?’?”

May 5, 2008

I’m still struggling with the questions I was asking in my previous post What is transfeminism? and wonder if it’s actually possible to combine the two in some sort of pragmatic symbiosis. What if – despite my personal conviction that there are immense areas of overlap between trans* issues and feminism – what if it really is a case of ‘east is east, west is west and never the twain shall meet’? That’s quite a depressing thought, actually, now I see it written down…

It’s entirely possible, I think (and, like all of us, I reserve the right to change my mind), that my experiences as a trans woman, including my questions about my gender identity and expression and so on, are such personal things that maybe it really isn’t possible for me to do a Vulcan mind-meld with feminism. Transitioning is primarily about surviving, I believe, and sometimes that makes it difficult for me to raise my head and look for the bigger picture.

But feminism? My old friend Wikipedia would have me believe that “Feminism is a collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women“. Nice soundbite – but is that really the whole story?

So I thought I’d turn it around and ask the TFW readership the questions: how do you define feminism? What does feminism mean to you? How do you reconcile your feminist views and beliefs with living in what seems to be an inherently anti-feminist patriarchal society?

I realise that feminism means different things to different people and that asking the question is not going to produce one single definition that works for everyone everywhere, but maybe the vox pop responses of The F Word’s readers will help give me a better general understanding.

“Feminism is…”

“I’m a feminist because…”
———-

Posted at The F Word on 04 April 2008

©2008 Helen G

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