GUESS WHO'S A FEMINIST ?
A feminist is, and always has been, anyone who favors political,
economic and social equality for women and men. So, if you
think that people should be judged according to their own
unique strengths, abilities and weaknesses, and NOT accord-
ing to what someone else thinks their strengths, abilities and
weaknesses "ought to be" because of their gender, then YOU
are a feminist !



YOU'RE IN GOOD COMPANY !
Despite the fact that the concept of equal rights and opportuni-
ties for women was for so many millenia the most radical idea
ever proposed, it is arguably the most powerful as well. Such
was the strength of this concept of equality that by 1986, 56%
of American women - once read a definition of what a feminist
was - identified themselves as either a "feminist" (46%) or a
"strong feminist" (10%). By 1995, the figures had jumped to 73%
(48% "feminist" and 25% "strong feminist"). The reason many
polls show lower figures is because without being told what a
"feminist" actually is, people must construct a definition from
what they see in sensationalist media, or hear from radical
antifeminists on radio talk shows. Some decide "Well, THAT'S
not me," without realizing that feminists are as varied a group
as any other, and have only one thing in common: a commit-
ment to equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for
women and men.



BUT WHAT ABOUT .....
HOMEMAKERS, MARRIAGE AND MOTHERHOOD:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton had already been married for eight
years when she convened the first women's rights conven-
tion in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848. Then, in addition to rais-
ing 7 children, she spent 54 more years working for total
equality. Betty Friedan, who kicked off the modern feminist
movement with "The Feminine Mystique" in 1962, and the
founder of the National Organization for Women (1966),
was a homemaker for 16 years before publishing her book.
What feminists strenuously - and rightly - opposed in the
early days was not motherhood or homemaking, but the
viciously sexist laws that made marriage a totally unequal,
patriarchal institution which denied women basic human
rights, as well as widespread social indoctrination that ALL
women ought to have children and find ALL their satisfac-
tion in the home. Making a free choice to become a parent,
or entering into a marriage or other partnership based on
principles of equality are just as much feminist choices as
remaining single, or having no children, or becoming an
astronaut, surgeon or company president. Feminism is
defined by the making of free and responsible choices,
not by the individual choices that are made.

MEN:

Feminism is an idea and an attitude, not a gender. Men
have been part of the feminist struggle ever since famed
abolitionist Frederick Douglass (and 39 other men) went
to that first Women's Rights Convention in 1848. (Regret-
tably, anti-feminist women have been around since the
National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage fought
against women having the vote.)

It's easy to confuse an exploitive philosophy like sexism
with those who benefit from it. But while hostility toward
all forms of bigotry, and contempt for those who espouse
prejudice is totally feminist, hostility toward any individual
or group because of what someone "like them" has done
is not. In fact, that's exactly the kind of stereotyping and
"collective guilt" that defines the kind of prejudice we've
been fighting against since 1848.




SUGGESTIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE WELCOME !
Equality48@aol.com