There’s lady blogs all over the internet tackling the issues of pop culture, and how it intersects with the attitudes and behaviors of women. A few of my favorites include, but by no means are limited to XOJane, Persephone Magazine, and Bitch Media. Often, these are dismissed by anti-feminists as middle-class feminist issues and therefore not worthy of discussion or evidence of our near-sightedness. I don’t know a feminist worth her (or his salt) who is not concerned with the way that women are treated overseas, but there are some issues that still need to be tackled at home. We can’t always push off the concern towards the ways women are treated ‘elsewhere’ as that idea borders on xenophobia—it is easy to see a broken ideology in a culture that you are not a part of. It is harder to challenge those ideas in your own. We can do both, we have the power!
As the new blogger in town, I wanted to introduce my self and some of the topics that I will be writing about. My name is Danielle Paradis and I am 25 I live in Alberta, Canada and I am currently taking my Master of Arts in Learning and Technology. I started school wanting to be a writer and I have ended up a bit of an (inept) technology nerd. Social justice has always played large in my life. I joined Amnesty International in high school and I have remained a donor and letter-writer for their campaigns ever since. I’ve been to Brazil to visit the favelas and teach the children English, and to help renovate their homes. In my studies, I am particularly concerned with the way we can make education more open, more freely accessible to all people.
I’ve been a feminist since about 18, and one of the most influential books I ever read on Feminism was Ariel Levy’s “Female Chauvinist Pigs”. I’m very proud to call myself a feminist. I don’t hate men, I’m very fond of them. I have a lot of male mentors and friends in my life. It was actually a man, my first year college teacher, who really got me to start thinking critically about the way society works. And, another male teacher taught me rhetoric and pop culture. You can say these men have helped me to become the feminist that I am (which is hopefully a woman they can be proud of).
I love writing about international feminist issues, sex, language usage, books, and cultural critique.
Now you know me (and if you have questions you need only ask) let’s cuddle up with feminism some more. This year during Makers Gloria Steinem was asked by someone what she should say when asked what a feminist was. Her answer: send them to the dictionary.
For our reference, the Oxford dictionary defines the movement thusly:
the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
The issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late 19th century that there was significant political change. A ‘second wave’ of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood.
ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from French féminisme .
Additionally intersectionality is a big interest of mine. It is a feminist-sociological theory described very well by the Geek Feminism Wiki as
a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. Third Wave Feminism, especially, thrived on the concept of intersectionality in order to redefine Feminism as inclusive. The concept first came from legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression.
I try to never say what a person should or should not believe. Feminism is not a monolith, and there are almost as many feminisms as there are people that call themselves feminists. However, intersectionality is an important topic to look at because is addresses more than just the middle-class feminism that people who are anti-feminist critique us for. We need, as feminists to be culturally inclusive, and sensitive to the ways in which oppression, and patriarchal systems affect everyone.
There’s a lot of work that feminists have to do still, ladies and gentlemen. One of the most important things you need to know is that our work, our thoughts are important.
Pointing out the sexual objectification of women in the media or the victimization and rape-culture surrounding us is not denying women sexual agency or infantilizing. Feminists should believe that women are strong! We are. Look how far we have come from the 19th Century.
What we do when we think critically about feminist issues and speak out is stand up against victimization. We say: it is no longer acceptable to us that society sees us as prizes to be won, and denies us the access to education and jobs due to our gender. It is no longer acceptable that “feminine” be seen as weaker or less capable than “masculine”. The sisterhood is strong.
Wrote this listening to the Stitch and Bitch Playlist on Songza
You can find me at danielleparadis.com or Twtter: @daniparadis