Why we should not hesitate to call ourselves feminists

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reports of Feminism’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Writing for his blog on Voice Male, the magazine he edits as “a navigational tool assisting men and boys on the voyage to healthy manhood,” Rob Okun voices concern over the tendency of many people to avoid calling themselves “feminists” because they’re worried about the way feminism is portrayed by those who oppose gender equality.  He points out that even if we gave feminism another name, opponents of gender equality would still oppose it— because it’s the idea behind it that they can’t stand.  Okun says: “In our 24-7-365 online culture, there’s a tendency to overlook history, if not an outright attempt by some to rewrite it. The current debate about the usefulness of the word centers around concerns that feminism has been poorly ‘branded,’ including having been irreparably smeared by conservative commentators. (What else is new? The effectiveness of a movement can in part be judged by the actions of those trying to squelch it).”  He says a feminist response to today’s issues is especially needed now when rape, sex trafficking, “and the “mainstream ‘pornification of sexuality'” are such widespread threats.  “The fact that some longtime proponents of the ideas embodied in feminism are now shying away from identifying themselves as actual ‘feminists’ is disappointing and contributes, perhaps inadvertently, to erasing the history of the feminist movement (including men’s supportive role in it). . . . .”  Take some time to read the article in full.  (This article was also cross-posted on the Ms. Magazine blog.)

Related: You’ll also find it interesting to explore other parts of the Voice Male website, including these words from its “About” section: “In its pages readers discover a chorus of men’s voices—fathers, father figures and mentors; men of color; activist men; gay, bisexual, questioning, and trans men; and younger men. The vibrant voices of women ring clear and true in Voice Male’s pages as inspiration in the work of gender justice.”  Note also their attractive poster display  on the theme, “I support feminism because . . .”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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