As well as a heckuvalot of roundups over the next couple of weeks (probably), there will also be a lot of “reflection” pieces on the state of feminism and women’s rights. Inevitably also, some of these will be about the redundancy of feminism. Let’s start with the piece below which veers much too close to the just “lean in" philosophy. Because anything is possible you know (what structural and institutional inequality?! Never heard of it!) if you just set your mind to it. Women: rest easy.


It is a constant source of irritation to me that women are still fighting the feminist battle. Surely feminism has run its course and the word should now be banished from the English language.

I was interested to see last week that Sweden is to distribute a copy of best-selling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ to every 16-year-old student in the country.

It is hoped this works as a stepping-stone for a discussion about gender equality and feminism.

The book is adapted from Adichie’s renowned TED talk of the same name, and aims to offer a modern definition of feminism and outline the discrimination and oppression facing women in the past. It is really interesting and, by putting feminism into historical context, is very useful.

The book asks the question I am constantly asking. Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that? Adichie does attempt to answer this in her book, saying to declare you are a believer in human rights rather than a feminist would be dishonest. "Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender.”

She says it would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded.

“It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human.” Adichie concludes by saying that for centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups - men and women - and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group.

“It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.”

I don’t think what Adichie allows for, though, is the fact that men and women are “divided”, for want of a better word, because they are different in lots of ways.

© and read the rest: Independent.ie

(Excerpt etc. first posted on feimineach.com. Orig. attribution above.)

#todayin: smh: It's time to consign the word 'feminism' to dustbin of history