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1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
2. The movement organized around this belief.
feminism (fèm´e-nîz´em), movement for women's political, social, and educational equality with men. Early leaders, including Mary WOLLSTONECRAFT in England and Elizabeth Cady STANTON and Susan B. ANTHONY in the U.S., demanded full legal and economic equality for women. Gradually, women in the U.S. won the right to own property and to enter the professions, and in 1920, after a prolonged struggle for WOMAN SUFFRAGE led by Carrie Chapman CATT and others, they obtained the right to vote through the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. CONSTITUTION. Women were fully enfranchised in Britain by 1928 and throughout most of the world by 1950. Betty FRIEDAN and the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN played prominent roles in the resurgence of feminism in the U.S. from the 1960s, stressing equal pay and employment opportunities, DAY-CARE CENTERS, the right to ABORTION, and the need to end SEXUAL HARASSMENT and sex stereotyping. The movement failed in one of its key goals, that of securing ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, and legalized abortion also energized an anti-abortion, anti-feminist backlash in the U.S. that succeeded in restoring some restrictions on abortion. Nonetheless, much of what feminists sought in the 1960s was gained.
Jack Parsons and an associate attempted to bring about some sort of incarnation of the goddess Babalon. To understand Parsons' attitude towards Babalon, one can refer to his "Freedom..." essay:
"She will come girt with the sword of freedom, and before her kings
and priests will tremble and cities
and empires will fall, and she will be called BABALON, the scarlet woman....And women will respond
to her war cry, and throw off their shackles and chains, and men will respond to her challenge,
forsaking the foolish ways and the little ways, and she will shine as the ruddy evening star in the bloody
sunset of Gotterdamerung, will shine as a morning star when the night has passed, and a new dawn
breaks over the garden of Pan"
"Distinguish between Feminism
and Women's Liberation. Feminism is simply, a demand for justice
which all ethical persons must support. It may be more basic than
any other demand for justice, because the exploitation of women is
damaging also to children and thereby to the whole human race; so that
anybody who works for Feminism is working for the sanity of the
species. Women's LIberation is a specific brand of Feminism born
out of the ugliness and fanaticism of New Left politics. To some
extent, it has outgrown the worst aspects of that background; to some
extent, it has not. It will outgrow the ugliness eventually, as
the HEAD revolution teaches everybody to use their brains better. Meanwhile, one can support
Feminism and still recognize that Women's Liberation, like all the
fallout of the New Left, is partly a pathological hate trip."
-Robert Anton Wilson - _The Illuminati Papers_
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (born in Köln September 14, 1486 - died in Grenoble February 18, 1535) was a magician and occult writer and alchemist. He may also be considered as an early feminist.
During his wandering life in Germany, France and Italy he worked as theologian, physician, legal expert and soldier.
He is most known for his books:
* De incertitudine et vanitate
scientiarum (printed in Köln 1527) a satire of the (according to
Agrippa) sad state of science.
* Libri tres de occulta philosophia or Three Books of Occult Philosophy (printed in Paris 1531 and in Köln 1533) a book about magick and cult-classic for practitioners of this art to this day.
* Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex a book on the equality of women.
(A complete collection of his writings were also printed in Lyon in 1550.)
Feminism is a set of social theories and political practices that are critical of past and current social relations and primarily motivated and informed by the experience of women. Most generally, it involves a critique of gender inequality; more specifically, it involves the promotion of women's rights and interests. Feminist theorists question such issues as the relationship between sex, sexuality, and power in social, political, and economic relationships. Feminist political activists advocate such issues as women's suffrage, salary equivalency, and control over reproduction.
Feminism is not associated with any particular group, practice, or historical event. Its basis is the political awareness that there are uneven power structures between groups, along with the belief that something should be done about it. There are many forms of feminism.
One subtype of feminists, Radical feminists, consider patriarchy to be the root cause of the most serious social problems. This form of feminism was popular in the second wave, though is not as prominent today. Some find that the prioritization of oppression that Radical feminists did was too universalizing and that women in other countries may find race instead of gender to be the root oppression that they may face.
Other feminists believe that there may be social problems separate from or prior to patriarchy (e.g., racism or class divisions); they see feminism as one movement of liberation among many, each with effects on each other.
Some of the major subtypes of feminism are: Amazon feminism, cultural feminism, ecofeminism, libertarian feminism or individualist feminism, material feminism, gender feminism, French feminism, pop feminism, liberal feminism, sexually-liberal feminism, spiritual feminism, separatist feminism and third-world feminism. Certain actions, approaches and people can also be described as proto-feminist or post-feminist.
Although many leaders of feminism have been women, not all women are feminists and not all feminists are women. Some feminists argue that men should not take positions of leadership in the movement, but most accept or seek the support of men. Compare pro-feminist, humanism, masculism.
Feminism has been principally a movement within the Western societies in the 20th Century. Some limited advances have been made in some non-Western countries; but the movement has been principally Western in origin and effects. Feminists hope that their movement will have an equal impact across the rest of the world in the 21st century.
The earliest works on 'the woman question' criticised the restrictive role of women without necessarily claiming that women were disadvantaged or that men were to blame. Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the few works written before the 19th century that can unambiguously be called feminist. By modern standards her metaphor of women as nobility, the elite of society, coddled, fragile and in danger of intellectual and moral sloth, sounds like a masculist argument. Wollstonecraft believed that both sexes contributed to this situation and took it for granted that women had considerable power over men.
Feminism is generally said to have begun in the 19th century as people increasingly adopted the perception that women are oppressed in a male-centered society. The feminist movement is rooted in the West and especially in the reform movement of the 19th century. The organised movement is dated from the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.
Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the founders of the suffragette movement and aimed to reveal the institutional sexism in British society, forming the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Often the repeated jailing by the Cat and Mouse Act, for trivial misdemeanours in activism, inspired members to go on hunger strikes, and because of the resultant force feeding that was the practice, caused these members to be very ill, serving to draw attention to the brutality of the legal system at the time and to further their cause.
Over a century and a half the movement has grown to include diverse perspectives on what constitutes discrimination against women. Early feminists are often called the first wave and feminists after about 1960 the second wave.
Feminist history in the United States
In the United States, this view had begun to evolve by the 1830s. Early feminists active in the abolition movement began to increasingly compare women's situation with the plight of African American slaves. This new polemic squarely blamed men for all the restrictions of women's role, and argued that the relationship between the sexes was one-sided, controlling and oppressive.
Most of the early women's advocates were Quakers. It started with Lucretia Mott's involvement as one of the first women to join the Quaker abolitionist men in the abolitionist movement. The result was that Quaker women like Lucretia Mott learned how to organize and pull the levers of representative government. Starting in the mid-1830s, they decided to use those skills for women's advocacy. It was those early Quaker women who taught other women their advocacy skills, and for the first time used these skills for women's advocacy. As these new women's advocates began to expand on ideas about men and women, religious beliefs were also used to support them. Early feminists set about compiling lists of examples of women's plight in foreign countries and in ancient times.
As the movement broadened to include many women like Susan B. Anthony from the temperance movement, the slavery metaphor was joined by the image of the drunkard husband who batters his wife. Feminist prejudice that women were morally superior to men reflected the social attitudes of the day. It also led to the to focus on women's suffrage over more practical issues in the latter half of the 19th century. Feminists assumed that once women had the vote, they would have the political will to deal with any other issues.
Victoria Woodhull argued in the 1870s that the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution already guaranteed equality of voting rights to women. She anticipated the arguments of the United States Supreme Court a century later.
Feminists of the second wave in the 1960's focused more on lifestyle and economic issues; "The personal is the political" became a catchphrase. As the reality of women's status increased, the feminist rhetoric against men became more vitriolic. The dominant metaphor describing the relationship of men to women became rape; men raped women physically, economically and spiritually. Radical feminists argued that rape was the defining characteristic of men, and introduced a new phase of hostility to maleness. Lesbian separatists appealed to lesbian women, advocating the complete independence of women from what was seen as a male-dominated society.
Radical feminists, particularly Catharine MacKinnon, began to dominate feminist jurisprudence. Whereas first-wave feminism had concerned itself with challenging laws restricting women, the second wave tended to campaign for new laws that aimed to compensate women for societal discrimination. The idea of male privilege began to take on a legal status as judicial decisions echoed it, even in the United States Supreme Court.
One of the largest, earliest and most influential feminist organizations in the U.S., the National Organization for Women (NOW) illustrates the strong influence of radical feminism. Created in 1967 with Betty Friedan as president, the organization's name was deliberately chosen to say for women, and not of women. By 1968, the New York chapter lost many members who saw NOW as too mainstream. There was constant friction, most notably over the defense of Valerie Solanas.
In 1979, Belva Lockwood became the first woman to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Relationship to other movements
Most feminists take a holistic approach to politics, believing the saying of Martin Luther King Jr., "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". In that belief, feminists usually support other movements such as the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.
Impact of Feminism in the West
Feminism has effected many changes in Western society, including women's suffrage; broad employment for women at more equitable wages ("equal pay for equal work"); the right to initiate divorce proceedings and "no fault" divorce; the right of women to control their own bodies and medical decisions, including obtaining birth control devices and safe abortions; and many others. Most feminists would argue, however, that there is still much to be done on these fronts. As Western society has become increasingly accepting of feminist principles, some of these are no longer seen as specifically feminist, because they have been adopted by all or most people. Some beliefs that were radical for their time are now mainstream political thought. Almost no one in Western societies today questions the right of women to vote or own land, a concept that seemed quite strange 200 years ago.
In some cases (notably equal pay for equal work) major advances have been made, but feminists still struggle to achieve their complete goals.
Feminists are often proponents of using non-sexist language, using "Ms." to refer to both married and unmarried women, for example, or the ironic use of the term "herstory" instead of "history". Feminists are also often proponents of using gender-inclusive language, such as "humanity" instead of "mankind", or "he or she" in place of "he" where the gender is unknown. Feminists in most cases advance their desired use of language either to promote a respectful treatment of women or to affect the tone of political discourse, rather than in the belief that language directly affects perception of realities (compare Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis).
Impact on heterosexual relationships
The impact of feminism has certainly affected the nature of heterosexual relationships in Western and other societies affected by feminism.
In some of these relationships, there has been a change in the power relationship between men and women. In these circumstances, women and men have had to adapt to relatively new situations, causing confusions about role and identity. Women can now avail themselves more to new opportunities, but some have suffered with the demands of trying to live up to the so-called "superwomen" identity, and have struggled to 'have it all', i.e. manage to happily balance a career and family. Instead of the onus of childcare resting solely on the female, it has shifted somewhat, and the men are expected to assist in managing family matters more than in previous times. Various socialist feminists in response to the family issue blame this to the lack of state-provided childcare facilities, but this is not the case in all societies.
Men in some circumstances have also felt a loss of power and identity, and have struggled to come to terms with the changing social environments and differing demands made upon them.
There have been changes also in attitudes towards sexual morality and behaviour with the onset of second wave feminism and "the Pill": women are then more in control of their body. perspective.
Despite advances made by women toward equality in the West, there is still a very long way to go, according to those who provide the following statistics:
* Women own only 1% of the world's wealth, and
earn 10% of the world's income, despite making up 51% of the population.
* When childcare and housework are taken into consideration, women work longer than men in both the industrialised and developing world, (by 20% in the industrialised world, and 30% in the developing world).
* Women are under-represented in all of the world's legislative bodies. As of 1985, Finland had the largest pecentage of women in national legislature at approximately 32% (P. Norris, Women's Legislative Participation in Western Europe, West European Politics). Currently, Sweden has the highest number of women at 42%. The United States has just 11%. The world average is just 9%.
* Worldwide, women on average earn 30% less than men, even when doing the same jobs.
Perspective: the nature of the modern movement
Discrimination against women still exists in the USA.
Some feminists, like Katha Pollitt (see her book Reasonable Creatures) or Nadine Strossen (President of the ACLU and author of Defending Pornography [a treatise on freedom of speech]), consider feminism to be, solely, the view that "women are people." Views that separate the sexes rather than unite them are considered by these people to be sexist rather than feminist.
There are also debates between difference feminists such as Carol Gilligan on the one hand, who believe that there are important differences between the sexes (which may or may not be inherent, but which cannot be ignored), and those who believe that there are no essential differences between the sexes, and that the roles observed in society are due to conditioning. Modern scientists sometimes disagree on whether inborn differences exist between men and women (other than physical differences such as anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones). Regardless of how many differences between the sexes are inherent or acquired, none of these differences is a basis for discrimination.
This mostly Western debate about Feminism, should not distract from the fact that the major goal of the Feminist movement in the 21st Century is to improve the situation of women in non-Western countries.
* All-women band
* Feminist science fiction
* Feminist spirituality
* French feminism
* Heroines in literature
first mention of feminism on Usenet:
From: hcr!anton (hcr!anton)
Subject: more Person by any other gender still has a name
Date: 1982-07-08 16:38:25 PST
Feminism in England has a very
different face from in America; it is concerned more with social
eqaulity and fulfilment, trying to counter 'roles' which are still
being indoctrinated on this continent, mainly by the advertising
industry and it 'labour saving' and 'home-making' projections of
females. As long as women are being compelled to
worry about makeup, deodourants, fashion... they will be second class citizens. Political and business achievements are secondary, they burn up 'men-who-would-be-managers' as readily as women.
The mutilation of language by rabid feminists is just such another sublimation and misdirection. In England, it is perfectly normal to address the female head of a meeting as 'madam chairman' or 'madam chairwoman'. The term "ChairPERSON" is taken as vulgar, and by many women as insulting.
An example in point is quoted by one female English journalist who went to America to cover some event. She wrote up her 'adventures' there for the women's page (although by the letter received, it has more male readers...) of the Guardian.
On arrival after being moved by coach to the site of said event, the guide pointed out where ther washrooms were; the words ran something like...
"The mens' washrooms are over there and the persons' are along the corridor."
The substitution of 'person' for 'ladies' or 'women' is what is termed a euphenism. Euphenisms remove two words from the language, the one they are substituting for, and the real meaning of the euphemistic word. It is in this that the danger of the personification of feminism lies.
No doubt there are bigots, but I doubt whether most people meet one rabid feminist's accusation of the early '70s:
"We say 'The Brotherhood of Man' and pretend we also mean the 'Sisterhood of Women'."
For the most part, English is a genderless language; we don't see German & French feminists trying to mangle their language because a noun that they don't want associated with women is feminine in gender, or some complementary one is masculine.
Watch out everyone, or next the churches will be holding EcuPERSONical meetings, and you will be receiving memos from the PERSONagment or perhaps even the PERSONagPERSONSnt ! No, its not mangling the language, its PERSONgling it.
Why are they doing this to our language ? I don't know, but there is a line in 'Number of The Beast' which bodes omminous:
".. give them the vote ? We should neve have taught them to speak.."
Yes, then they wouldn't be turning a language into a parody of interpersonal communication.
(OK, let the falmes rip !)