I am a feminist because…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Written by Peter Miller

feministfixed“Feminist because” started as a class project by students from the College of Charleston and has since become a popular Internet phenomenon. “Feminist because” campaigns occur when pictures are taken of people holding signs describing reasons why they identify as Feminists. 

On Friday, March 15 in the University Centre, the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRGCED) started its own “Feminist Because” campaign at Guelph. The event page promoted the event by asking students and community members: “Are you tired of the stigma you face about identifying as a feminist? Are you committed to promoting feminism's relevance and importance?” And encouraged students to participate in the campaign if they answered yes to both of the questions above.

Some examples of what students wrote to describe why they are feminists include “because I want all women to feel empowered and safe in their community”, “because gender equality in Canada is a Myth”, and because “my body, should equal my choices.”

Brenda Whiteside, the Associate Vice President of student affairs wrote, “We can’t take progress for granted.” Some students who saw this picture on Facebook were shocked that Whiteside would participate in the campaign, considering she is one of the people who helped cut women studies at Guelph. As a result, the University of Guelph is one of the only major universities in Canada that does not have a women’s studies program.

Ashley Lowenthal set up the booth and took pictures for the event. She decided to help out with the project because she has been researching about why feminism and why being a feminist is so stigmatized. When asked about why there is such a stigma for feminists Lowenthal responded by saying:

“I think it has a lot to do with the feminist backlash. I think it comes with miseducation… There’s a lot of stereotypes that get reinforced with miseducation, like man hating for instance….I think, feminism is a pretty radical ideology, and it really challenges, in particular, patriarchy, and this is threatening to a lot of people, so that’s why there is a backlash.”

What is a tactic people can use to combat the stigma around feminism?

According to Lowenthal we all should “educate [our] friends about what feminism is, and not be shy to tell people about [our] politics.”

Lowenthal also played a key role in this event to promote GRCGED. GRCGED is a resource center run collectively for people of all or no genders that provides services and campaigns around social justice issues within a feminist framework. The resource center organizes a conference each year. This year, the Everybody Conference is happening from March 22 to March 24. The facebook event page for this conference describes the Every Body Conference as a “convergence of voices building towards a community in which we can address systemic barriers that prevent us* from having autonomy over what happens to our bodies, while also exploring grassroots movements that are working to reclaim that power.” Students can learn more about this conference at www.theeverybodyconference.wordpress.com

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  1. Posted by: on Mar 26, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    It is movements and events like this that add to all the negative stigma that feminists receive. Drawing negative attention to their selves on the basis of inequality and combating patriarchy via slander and complaining only contributes to the perceived patriarchal domination. Females have all the rights and opportunities males do, is the goal now to have more rights and control than males? How is this equality? Or is the goal to take away the rights of males, like mentioned in "my body my choice". Eliminating the males influence on issues of whether to abort or not is contradictory to equality, as half of the to-be born is the fathers. The implications of a female keeping an unwanted child for males would impact their lives much more drastically and holistically than a simple (be-it disagreeable) medical/surgical procedure. More is at stake than just the values and morals of one individual. Feminists disregard the repercussions that their actions have upon males on more accounts than one. They believe they are fighting for sex equality and rights however recent trends lead males to believe that they would take rights away when this has already been accomplished. Attribution errors for each and every circumstance and consequence can be justified with "It is because I am female". An emotional clouding has begun to plague the female sex as result of this overly radical feminist movement. The more the feminists complain about inequality, the more they receive "rights", rights which correctly belong to both sexes. However these rights in some cases are taken away from the males. How far the world has come to this day has been based on a patriarchal system for good reason, reason based on logic and calculation. These "systematic barriers" are simply constructs of the distorted female interpretation of the world and need refining. I support equal rights for all sexes, in all circumstances, and fail to see how women's autonomy over what happens to their bodies (concerning abortion) can satisfy this while ignoring the consequences it has on others. Recent trends in feminism have adopted a push for female superiority at the cost of sex equality. This I cannot support.

  2. Posted by: on Mar 27, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Well Anthony, concerning only your problem with abortion, it is their body their livelihood and health for 9 months. The male carries a finacial burden and a small emotional one. The woman has this inside her, this precious peice of life and if she chooses to abort it or keep it that is her choice. The male should not get any say in the matter. If the two people involved love each other they will discuss the matter and have an equal opportunity to voice their thoughts. That is equality. Until the male has to risk his life and livelihood then he doesnt get a veto power. Feminists are also pushing for equal pay, which still isn't a reality. Wouldn't you want the mother of your child, wanted or not, be able to provide more so you don't have to have so much of a burden? Feminism doesn't seek to dominate men, some radicals yes but there are always extremists in everything. It seeks to eliminate the socially promulagated hate towards women. Think of an insult to males, they usually concern themselves with atttributing that male female characteristics, man boobs, for example. The inequality of women oppresses men too.

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