Response to ‘Rebranding Feminism’

Lynn Cicada responds to the article Rebranding Feminism.

, 16 March 2002

Rather than a feminist, I have come to think of myself as someone who cares

very much about Human Rights. There are several reasons. First, I, as a

disabled woman am usually not included by feminists at all. I am just as

likely to be patted (literally) on the head and called “Honey” at a feminist

conference as anywhere else. No one at feminist conferences speaks of the

struggles disabled women have in getting jobs, health care adequate for

their needs, sex education of girls with disabilities, (yes, we like it too)

or getting information relevant to all women, including us, into media we

can access, such as sign language videos, Braille, large print, or on


I also find a lack of concern for girls and women of my income class. We

cannot even afford to Get to feminist conferences, because we have to work,

etc. We can’t afford the restaurants feminists of the middle class gather

in to debate the issues.

A third frustration with almost all political “Movements” for me is just

their NARROWNESS! We have to get big enough inside our heads and hearts to

know that the veiled women of Iran who have learned the Qur`an and are

challenging legal decisions Under Islamic law which unfairly benefit men ARE

feminists. They are working from Inside their religion For Women’s rights.

Lesbian separatists who take time and space away from men to heal may be

doing the same, working For women’s rights.

Tibetan nuns caring for orphaned children and the survival of their culture

may Also be working For the rights of girls and women Within their culture.

Some women can work alongside men, some cannot. So some work for the

benefit of all people with AIDS, including the special concerns and symptoms

of women with AIDS, while other women prefer to work on issues which are

Women’s issues, such as abortion rights.

When I enter a conference I say to myself, ok, where are the poor women, the

disabled women, the old and the young women, the women of color, the

lesbians, and are prostitutes welcome? By who is missing, (often all of

these groups) I can usually predict how the conference will go and what will

be discussed.

There is SO much which needs doing in our world for the preservation of All

Life, (and Women are the authors of human life in my tradition) that I

salute Anybody who is Doing Anything to benefit women and girls, whether men

also reap benefits or not.

Feminism to me is about making the world a better place in which to live as

a female. And there are so very many ways of doing this that I dare not

presume to judge who is a Feminist and who is not.

There are doll designers making active, strong, and happy dolls for little

girls to play with. Their are women fighting for divorce and property

rights given them in the Qur`an. There are women raising children to be

more flexible about what a woman’s or a man’s work is. There are women working

for the protection of sex workers. There are women breaking the “glass

ceiling” and fighting for equal pay for equal work. There are women

fighting for their cultural identities and the right to be strong women

Within those identities.. Some women work to change things within their

particular cultures which are violent or oppressive to girls and women. All

of them are contributing to our betterment as women.

The Earth to me is Female. Doesn’t treating women like things go right

along with treating our only Home and Ultimate provider like a thing too?

So I am thankful to women who work for the well-being of Earth as well.

Thank you, Ms. Redfern, for making the effort each month to forward your site’s updates and for making your site screen reader friendly to disabled women like me!

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