Thursday, December 17, 2015

Making Feminism More Inclusive: Part 1

This is part one of a series of ideas by TaraElla to help make feminism, well, more inclusive.

The movement of feminism has gained many supporters in recent years. Some of my friends have even come on board, even though just five years ago they would have thought it to be outdated. Though this may be encouraging, I have also encountered other women who still have concerns about identifying as a feminist. It's not that they don't want gender equality - all of us want that. It's just that they have a perception of feminism being about certain rules, including rules they cannot obey. Whilst this is certainly not true of feminism itself, if it's a perception some people have, I think it needs to be addressed.

For example, one of my friends thought that all feminists had to support affirmative action, something that she was consciously very opposed to, due to personal experience. In fact, when I told her that I was a feminist who didn't support affirmative action, she was surprised. I mean, parts of the feminist community do give us pressure to conform with the majority view here, but we do exist. For me, feminism is about equality, rather than about specific ways to achieve it. Therefore, there will always be differences amongst feminists. Whilst some feminists believe in affirmative action, others think non-rigid targets are more helpful.

Another friend was hung up on the idea that she could not, with her religious conscience, say that 'abortion is a woman's right'. Whilst this idea is often attributed to feminists, once again I don't think it's what feminism generally is about. Otherwise there wouldn't be pro-life feminists, right? Abortion is always a difficult topic, and even the most progressive and libertarian people sometimes have to agree to disagree. If feminism is to be a broad church, then we must show that both pro-life and pro-choice feminists are equally welcome. In true feminism, not only are men and women to be equal, women of different religious views and consicences are to have equality too.