What is Feminism?

I got so excited about this blog post! I want to share my deep feelings about feminism and the movement. Talk about neat happenings and tough issues. Instead, I’m going to rein myself in, and begin at…the beginning. One of my greatest teachers shared an important lesson with me at the onset of my Feminist journey:

The question, “what is feminism?” has many answers.

Amazing women like bell hooks, Marilyn Frye, and Audre Lorde provided me with a strong grounding in feminist thought over the years. There is always something new to read or think about or learn. Rocking advocates in anti-violence movements help me to shape my ideas about feminist praxis. I could probably prattle on and on about the different frameworks and philosophies and approaches. In truth, I just love hearing the ways folks respond.

In recent years, though, I have struggled to integrate what I know about feminism and patriarchy with what I know about other forms of oppression. I have asked myself,

“Ali, why do you identify yourself as a Feminist? All of the many forms of oppression are interconnected. What makes “feminist” your go-to?”

Short, easy answer could be that it takes a really long time to list out all of the different things that contribute to oppression. I think the more accurate answer is that feminism was the first lens through which I saw oppression. Describing the importance of mustering around a unified voice, bell hooks provides a short but powerful definition. "Feminism is the movement to end sexist oppression." I love her writings on this topic and truly believe that sexual violence prevention, like feminism, is for everybody.

I would love to hear about your definitions of feminism. Post your thoughts to help keep the ideas flowing and stay tuned for new posts exploring the hooks’ definition in more depth.