Pretty basic question, I know. Perhaps it's even a stupid question. But, also, perhaps it's good, in the early days of this blog, to address the fundamentals.
This is a question I'm asking, not a question I intend to answer, by the way. Some people are really hot on feminist literature and have read all the stuffs. I haven't. I have read zero feminist literature, except for some PhD-related stuff on medieval women, if you count that. So I know very little and so this is an honest question.
So far in my life I have come across two, wildly differing but both fairly simplistic, definitions of feminism. The first is basically the belief that men and women are equal and should be treated equally. I think most reasonable people would agree with this assertion. I was at a gig once - I think it was Ani DiFranco - when Ani or whoever it was screamed out into the audience that any reasonable person should call themselves a feminist. But they don't, do they? I know lots of people who are very reasonable and who believe that women should be treated as equal to men, and yet they don't call themselves feminists.
That's because those people have subscribed to my second definition of feminism: the angry feminist. I recently claimed not to be an 'angry' feminist and my (male) friend replied, "Is there any other kind?" Yes, most of the time I am quite an amiable feminist. Though there are issues of inequality and mistreatment about which, I think, some righteous anger is justified. But there's still this bra-burning, man-hating stereotype which makes me sad and with which I am reluctant to associate myself. Some of my favourite people are men, and I'm up for a feminism which empowers men and women. But am I really qualified to say that the stereotype, that this definition of feminism, is 'wrong'? To get all postmodern for a minute, if that's what feminism means for you, is that not at least partially what it means?
What does feminism mean for you?