Response to 'Rebranding Feminism'

Lynn Cicada responds to the article Rebranding Feminism.

Lyn Cicada, 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 cassettes.

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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