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May 10, 2011

Eight day: What is Feminist? And some movies and books recommended

Dr. Angela Miles
University of Toronto Professor
Captivating the time with Dr. Angela Miles, and the way she handle the discussion about "What feminism is". 

We had a short time discuss among two of us.  Natalie told me what feminism means for her, what I summarize in the next sentence:  “Is the right of women to be equal to men”.   She also refers the situation in African countries where the religion context is dominating women, putting them in second positions.  To stop discrimination from sex, she also said “women most of the time are discriminated just because you are a woman, because of your sex and feminist movement wants to stop this”.

After the short exchange, Angela Miles started explaining that “feminist movement is very divers as women priorities are different”, and also started to ask some questions:

·      Do you consider yourself as a feminist?

The answers were in the middle, as the feminist movement: “very diverse”. Some of the women as Katja, from Finland, clearly said: “I consider myself as a radical feminist”, and is very much convinced about the need of changing the structure based on the subjugation of women.  Some others as Rahel, originally from Ethiopia, said: “I am not sure about feminism yet”.  Anya, from Mexico, said:  “I prefer to be named as a human rights defender”, Gulnaz, from Kirskistan, said a cleaver word:  “There is a “misunderstanding” referring to feminism”.

Yes. Absolutely right, people around the world and sadly many oppress and controlled women, don’t even know what is feminism about.  Most of the people link the feminism with lesbian, or women wanting to be like men, or women screaming everywhere, demanding actions against men.  The imaginary of feminism in the largest of the population, unfortunately, is totally distorted and even perverted by the religion, the politic, the economy, and the culture.

Some questions started to emerge after these short reflexions. 

What the feminist is?
What the other people think it is?
Are my struggles based in social changing?

Definitely is not sufficient for women recognize themselves as feminist.  An interesting point Dr. Angela Miles gives is that a feminist woman needs to give her point of view and then, people can just define what kind of feminist you are, but feminism women must to know how to support their convictions. 

Reinforcing challenges is also a very interesting topic regarding feminism, as the patriarchal world is based in divisions of women for their control and oppression, which make you to develop things about the political thinking as a different priority in terms of what we need. 

From another point of view, is very contradictory how we see some feminist women.  Feminist does not means that women have to feel superior, and I have to say here, that I know some many feminist that are even feeling more that this, some of them suppose they are untouchables, more intelligent that other not only men, but women, more capable of interaction, all this, just because they are feminist, which makes me think about the balance among the issues the feminist is demanding for respect and the speech language of their principles, when those kind of some feminist women don’t have respect for small details; and Salma was saying after this reflections that we still divided, and I am totally agree, we are absolutely divided, replicating the guilty against women when at the same time we are trying to rebuild our identities, in a very conflictive environment in terms of domination and power.  Power, must not be based in how can we fight among ourselves as women, but how can we strength our capacity of understanding among us.

Anyway there is very difficult for me to understand a woman who doesn’t have any respect for the sacred territory of other woman, and at the same time is giving more credibility to a man that made terrible damage to another woman, besides putting all the responsibility and guilty in a woman who have been attacked and discredited when there are evidence of an ongoing harm.  Double struggle: among the power of historical patriarchal structures of domination, and among ourselves.  This is a big challenge and I think also a big dispute we need to analyze deeply in order to achieve unity. 

Misrepresentation of feminism

Is a reality that many women do not even know the existence of   domination and power based in patriarchal construction, much less, most women do not know what is equality, or dignity, or human rights, but at the same time there’s a misinterpretation for some other women when some others talk about those matters.  At the end we need to be clear that feminism is not a western imposition when it is  demanding for respect of women’s dignity and life itself.

Abha, from Nepal, also gave us a good example regarding the issue of feminism, which is not given as important as other issues raised by feminists.  One of the main issues of the feminism is equality; nevertheless on the name of equality we are transforming ourselves (feminity) into masculinity.   She was talking about an example that happened in her country. Women activists felt proud when they succeeded to include women in army.  But we are teaching them about violence  but not about peace.

The movie:

How painful is just to remember, that women and all their knowledge and wisdom was just exterminated in the name of control.  I highly recommend this movie, which I want to talk more, but is not sufficient time for it.  Whether you have the chance for watching it, will be just great to share some opinions.   You can just click on the link above and you will be able to watch the film online.

The Books

“Home Girls:  A Black Feminist Anthology” by Barbara Smith.  You can reed this in Google books just clicking the previous link.

Toronto, Canadá
Monday 9th  of May de 2011

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