Championing feminism

Kassidy Crown and Alex Moore

In this time when we are engaged in a fierce battle for women’s rights, we feel it is necessary to acknowledge the past progression of these rights and to honor those women who have set the foundation, through devoted activism, for where we are today.

There are many women’s rights activists who have been influential in advancing the rights of women throughout the recent years.

Although dissatisfaction and discouragement are essential fuel for igniting action and inspiring change, we must not forget the vast history of the women’s movement, without which we would not be publishing this special edition issue.

These women have been present throughout the many waves of feminism.

Through decades of protests, court cases and keeping the faith, these women endured endless degradation in order to ensure a more equal future.

It is also important, however, to acknowledge that the feminist movement, and its ideology, has not been perfect.

In recent years, feminism has become a spotlit argument on center stage.

While feminism has brought forth many advances in women’s standing today, we are still getting bogged down in several issues.

Many people feel averse to feminism because they do not know the true meaning of the feminist movement.

When people think of feminism, they apply a “feminazi” view of the movement, due to either masculine insecurities, or the presence of extremists within the movement.

They see the feminist movement as only a way for females to “get the upper hand” and put down men, when in reality feminism just means that women want equal rights as men.

This isn’t the only challenge feminism faces, according to Yajaira Roque, president of SPU’s Intersectional Feminism Club, we must ask the questions, “Whose rights have been advanced?” and “Whose movement is it really?”

Throughout history, we can find examples of activists excluding women who don’t fit the majority image.

As we can see from the suffragette movement, cis, straight, white, able-bodied women have been the main beneficiaries of the women’s rights movement.

Whereas white women won the right to vote in the 1920s, black women had to wait until the 1960s.

Many black women faced not only sexism, but racism from their own sex.

Thus, when asked what is next for feminism, Roque instantly responded with the driving force of the club: intersectionality.

According to the club’s Co-president Mackenzie Russell, intersectional feminism attempts to combat this issue by accepting everyone. “Feminism isn’t feminism if it’s not intersectional … and if historic trends continue, more damage will be done and the movement will negate itself.”

Roque also says that intersectional feminism is “not what’s next, but what is.” ‘This fact is imperative to the very foundations of the feminist movement.

If we only champion one segment of women, then we risk repeating our past mistakes in the suffrage movement; being blind to how women of color were left behind while white women championed for their right to vote.

Therefore, even though it is necessary to remember and acknowledge the achievements of women in the past, it is also important to still fight for intersectional feminism and to continue to champion the women’s movement as a whole and expand our rights.

We must remember the strides women before us have taken to get us here, in order to educate us on moving forward.

Both what is right and wrong with the feminist movement must be acknowledged.

As women, we need to be discussing how to best include every race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and able-bodiedness; everyone who wishes to champion the cause of feminism.