Pop music & its proselytizing of rape culture

Don’t get me started on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

OK never mind. I hate that song. I hate the fact that the lyrics seem so clear but the rest of the world sings and dances to that song without a concern. But “Blurred Lines” came and went a few years ago, it unfortunately helped continue the topic of blurry consent lines being sung about in mainstream music that is sung by the masses.

Fast forward to this current year of 2015 has brought Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” Upon first listen, assumption would think Justin’s just confused about what a woman wants, no harm intended right? You could even make a joke using classic stereotypes with this,  like Justin is just a classic man trying to understand women and their complexities.

Too bad thats not actually what the song is describing. Lets take a look at some of the lyrics shall we?

What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
When you don’t want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
Oh, what do you mean?
Said you’re running out of time, what do you mean?
Oh, oh, oh, what do you mean?
Better make up your mind
What do you mean?

You’re so indecisive, what I’m saying
Tryna catch the beat, make up your heart
Don’t know if you’re happy or complaining
Don’t want for us to end, where do I start?

You’re overprotective when I’m leaving
Trying to compromise but I can’t win
You want to make a point, but you keep preaching
You had me from the start, won’t let this end

First you wanna go to the left then you wanna turn right
Wanna argue all day, make love all night
First you’re up, then you’re down and then between
Oh, I really want to know…

So on first glance, my initial assumption – that Justin is just singing frustrations about not understanding women – seems correct. But digging deeper, if we as listeners take apart each segment and really think about whats being said, it seems less simple. Especially when coupled with JB’s video to the song which is just as bizarre as it is disturbing.

The premise that women do not actually know what they want and that they are notoriously bad at communicating their desires (sexual and otherwise) is pervasive. In the song, Justin sings “What do you mean? / When you nod your head yes / But you wanna say no / What do you mean?” The lack of clear consent isn’t just present in the song; it is what provides the sexual tension. It’s part of what is intended to make the song “sexy.”

Sexualizing women’s sexual indecision is an important part of the way rape culture works. It is one way that conversations about consent often over-simplify a process that is and should be much more complex. The song itself presents Bieber nagging the woman to whom he’s singing to make a decision about their relationship. But there are many elements suggesting that the decision she’s being asked to make is more immediate as well—not only about the larger relationship, but about a sexual interaction in the near future. Throughout the song, the click of a stopwatch can be heard as a beat against which Bieber presses the woman to make a decision while berating her for the mixed signals she has been sending him.


“Feminists want us to define these ugly sexual encounters as rape “

Recently I came across an article written by Cathy Young of the Washington Post. It was titled what you see above in quotations. This piece bothered me for what it said as well as what it didn’t say. Not only was Cathy Young highly critical of “feminists” but she was seemingly against any modern day terminology surrounding rape. While I do agree, it can be confusing nowadays in the social world, the fact of the matter is, things arent straightforward in many situations. Are there grey areas in sexual situations? Of course. And on that  note, this is all the more reason (not less) to be clear in matters of consent.

A little bit of Ms. Young’s background: Young is a research associate at the Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank Cato Institute, for which she co-authored a 1996 policy analysis paper, “Feminist Jurisprudence: Equal Rights or Neo-Paternalism?”. Her writing covers a variety of topics in politics and culture, with particular focus on gender issues and feminism,  frequently agreeing with men’s rights activists, while criticizing them for emulating the identity politics associated with some forms of feminism. Ms. Young has made a career out of castigating women’s movements as well as railing against any kind of topic around sexual violence. To that end, one could consider her opinion to be one of extreme bias in this regard. I find it hard to take her opinion or her articles at all seriously considering her history and complete lack of neutrality.

In the aforementioned article, Young refers in the general term to “feminists” and the “feminist movement”
while seemingly unaware that there are in fact many types of feminists not one singular stereotype. The fact that Young does not seem to know this tells me off the bat that she has little idea of what shes talking about, but nonetheless onward….

Young  then proceeds to criticize modern day terminology and ideas around rape implying that women everywhere are encouraged to label sexual encounters rape more often than not. I highly doubt this is the case, esp given that Young has no facts or statistics to support this implication. Terns such as “date rape” “consent” “spousal rape” and “rape culture” have real meaning in our modern day society. These ideas did not come about out of thin air but out of time, education, experience and understanding. The fact that Young broadly sweeps all of that under the rug shows she could use quite a bit more of all of those things  (education, experience and understanding)  before airing such ill informed opinions.

Pittsburgh Steeelers: recruiting a crime ring (Michael Vick signing)


The above link is a linked article that I read yesterday. Michael Vick. Again. Michael Vick getting big money deal to join an NFL team. Again. Fans choosing to put a criminal on a pedestal. Again. (Refer to an earlier blog entitled “No More Free Passes”)

I am very passionate about animal care and responsibility to us as human beings to care for the Earth’s creatures. Wild life depend on us to keep the Earth, climate, oceans, air and food supply in harmony for them. (we could do better in all of these aspects but that’s another blog for another day) . As pet owners, we choose to care for an animal. They depend on us as children do — for food, shelter, care and safety. In return they give us love, loyalty and affection. In pondering the human-pet relationship, its particularly heartbreaking when an animal is preyed upon by a human “owner” such as Vick and others who engage in dog fighting. It rakes a special kind of evil and disregard for life to commit these acts. However, Michael Vick didn’t just commit these acts. He set up an elaborate crime ring in which he hired people as his accessories to criminal behavior. He funded the building of warehouses to keep the dogs in –and to fight them in. He used his NFL big bucks that football fans contribute to giving him,to do this. In my opinion, those loyal Steelers fans cheering for his recruitment to their team are just as much accessory to any future crimes he chooses to support — as are all athletic fans who know a sports star engages  in criminal behavior and continues to throw money their way.

I have a lot to say about Michael Vick (A LOT), as anyone who has read my past blogs can probably tell. I want to comment on the Steelers’ signing of him, but I also want to discuss our country’s hero worship of athletes in general, as well as devote some time to excerpting some powerful pieces from “The Lost Dogs” a very detailed account of Michael Vick’s activities and the dogs who endured (or didn’t) them. “The Lost Dogs” was written by Sports Illustrated writer Jim Gorant who should, in my opinion, be given a Pulitzer. He instead received HUGE backlash from SI staff & fans for writing the book, clearly by people who couldn’t be bothered. Jim Gorant is a brave hero who deserves a medal in y opinion. I want to share some passages from his book because it is riveting, powerful and a near indictment of Vick. It cemented my opinions and supported them with facts. Hang on to your hats, WWOD fans, “the Lost Dogs” are coming….,

Dear Ms. Davis (email sent to Kim Davis)

Dear Ms Davis
I write to you as a fellow Christian. I’m a non denominational Christian living in California. We have had our share of wars here about the definition of marriage as well. I understand where your hearts at and that you truly feel what you say. I, unfortunately, have to disagree with your views & the way youre going about expressing them. You are presently employed by the county of Rowan and as such are paid by the people to perform job functions for which you are refusing to do. Ma’am, this is theft. You may feel the ends justify the means but committing sin to justify preventing sin (or what you view as sin) makes absolutely no sense. I feel for you, I do. However I think the right thing for you is to realize that in this country, marriages definition has changed. The law has changed. Your job duties have changed. The Supreme Court has spoken and the definition of marriage in this country, however, will NOT change. Please do the right thing, and step down.
Bianca May
“There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (TLB, Matthew 5:43-48)
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (NIV, Matthew 7:1-5)
I John 4: 7-8 (NRSV)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
How are you showing Jesus love by your actions today? Do people see Jesus when they see you?

Bernie Sanders for President!

Earlier this year I was asked if “women were going to vote for Hillary regardless of what she stands for on issues” just because she’s a woman. My answer to that person was an unequivocal, no. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see a female president in office for many reasons. I think the country needs to break the glass over that White House ceiling. I think it would change the dynamic of the military and Congress to learn to adjust (sooner rather than later) to answering to a female leader. I think other countries who are far more advanced than us in this area would respect us. I think children growing up in this country now need to see that ANYONE can be president. (And really how cool would it be to follow up the first African American president with the first female one?). That said, Hillary does not reflect me or my views. Women don’t all agree with other women on what we need as a society or hold similar values even if we are of the same gender.

I DO think Hillary is qualified to be President. She has more experience than a lot of the other candidates. She has the unique experience of having LIVED in the White House already and seen firsthand how the job of President works. She has no illusions about what she can or cant do as President. She likely will not make false promises. She knows our leaders and our Congressional representatives. She is definitely a qualified candidate. Unfortunately the candidate I want to support for President will be someone whose values reflect mine, whom I feel can address concerns that I have about our present society. I feel that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

There is a lot of criticism towards Bernie as being a “socialist.” Bernie is an independent, probably more a democratic socialist but all the same. Even if he were a “socialist” I think far too often people need to stop treating this like a bad word or equating it with communism (the two are different you know).  Bernie has ideas that help us become a better First World country (and more i line with other First World countries). Bernie sees the big picture and doesn’t cater to the wealthy corporations that can further his career just to add another notch in his political tool belt. Another common argument I have heard and read is that Bernie Sanders “cant win.” Well, he can if we support him. If we vote in the primary election and appeal to others to support him too. There’s no realistic reason he CANT win if we support him and vote for him.Our votes DO Matter. Our voices DO matter only no one will hear them if we act in a defeatist way by choosing to do nothing.

A criticism from the Pro-Bernie set is the lack of TV coverage about him. There’s references to a “blackout” since most major news organizations focus on Hillary Clinton and other candidates. I definitely advocate pressuring news outlets and cable companies to change this and to reflect ALL candidates that people are supporting. In reality, we know the news media is owned by a few corporations. I am sad to see the lack of Bernie coverage but not surprised. And honestly, maybe I’m underestimating the importance of cable in 2015, but I’m not tat concerned either. Cable is dying. It seems cable TV debates are things viewed by old people. In last years list of things that will be dead by next year (put out by Yahoo!) cable was in the Top 10.   I think Bernie has a lock on social media which will be more important than prior election years. Maybe this seems ignorant, and I hope not, however history tells us of a similar election and time when media was at a crossroads. In the 60’s, radio was the prevailing form of media for most households. Television was a hot new thing that was emerging. The Presidential debate between Richard Nixon and JFK was broadcast on both platforms, and in an interesting twist, audiences of both had completely different takes on who “won.” Audiences listening in on the radio came away with the impression that Richard Nixon was the better candidate. He made good points. He was an articulate speaker. By contrast, television viewers saw a nervous man, with sweat coming off his brow. Television viewers saw a young candidate with charisma and a comfortable demeanor engaging with Nixon. Television viewers thought JFK was the better candidate. Granted in this example both candidates were equally broadcast in both platforms, but I think we can see this as an example of how difdferent media can affect a different outcome. True it would be great for Bernie to be covered on TV but with TVs relevance dwindling, and social media accessible and prevalent virtually everywhere, I’m not worried about it either. #HeresHoping #FeelTheBern #BernieSandersForPresident

What does feminism mean to you?

In a previous posting, I referenced a post I had seen where people filled in the blanks of the statement “I need feminism because….” I think there are a lot of stereotypes that still fly around about what feminism is, what it stands for and its relevance in modern society. The fact of the matter there are always going to be groups that need to advocate for the needs of others. There are many many different groups of people in our culture. With that mix, we need people who understand the needs of each group.Simply telling people to join the melting pot without the pot expanding to make room is just not realistic anymore. On that note, while the historic images of bra burning lesbians may not seem to apply to our modern culture, the reality is, women have needs that society needs to expand to make room for and take into account. I have mentioned a list of things in the post prior to this but the reality is that our society has advanced in some areas while staying steep[ed in history in other areas.

In the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, men worked and received a “family wage” because it was standard for a man to be the breadwinner, supporting children and a wife at home. Women did work for “pin money” or fun money basically. By contrast, in 2015, most women and men work and both support themselves, children, spouses and pay bills. Unfortunately there are still many areas of the work world which do not pay women equal to a man for equal work. The prevailing reason for this seems to be based on “how its always been.” I don’t think employers themselves know the history behind the wage gap nor general society. Unfortunately what others see is not history, but a devaluing of work when it is performed by a woman/person of color/etc rather than a person who historically/stereotypically has held said job. I get that change is hard, but not impossible. The reality is once change happens and we move forward, “how its been” will become a thing of the past, allowing a new “how it is” to be accepted.

Feminism for Dummies

In my last blog post I referenced how in many an online discussion, the stereotype of a bra burning, man hating hippie is used in discussions referencing feminism. Many people still have their minds in the 60s & 70s. What people uneducated in the movements of feminism don’t understand is that equality isn’t an agreed upon concept. There have also been different needs for different groups of women  throughout history. As a result there are in fact many, MANY types of feminist groups. I found this piece on Wikipedia and although I greatly disparage people simply looking on Google or Wikipedia for information, I can say as someone with a degree in Women’s Studies that this list is actually pretty comprehensive and legit., This is a LONG list! (*I am reprinting/reposting it but it is in no way my property or creation. *)

A variety of movements of feminist ideology have developed over the years. They vary in goals, strategies, and affiliations. They often overlap, and some feminists identify themselves with several branches of feminist thought.


Movements and ideologies


Liberal feminism asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. It is an individualistic form of feminism, which focuses on women’s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. Liberal feminism uses the personal interactions between men and women as the place from which to transform society. According to liberal feminists, all women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality, therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society. Issues important to liberal feminists include reproductive and abortion rights, sexual harassment, voting, education, “equal pay for equal work“, affordable childcare, affordable health care, and bringing to light the frequency of sexual and domestic violence against women.[1]


Emma Goldman, pioneer anarcha-feminist author and activist.

Anarcha-feminism (also called anarchist feminism and anarcho-feminism) combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle and of the anarchist struggle against the state.[2] In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice versa. As L. Susan Brown puts it, “as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist”.[3][4]

Important historic anarcha-feminists include Emma Goldman, Federica Montseny, Voltairine de Cleyre, Maria Lacerda de Moura, and Lucy Parsons. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres (“Free Women”), linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas.

Contemporary anarcha-feminist writers/theorists include Germaine Greer, L. Susan Brown, and the eco-feminist Starhawk. Contemporary anarcha-feminist groups include Bolivia‘s Mujeres Creando, Radical Cheerleaders, the Spanish anarcha-feminist squat La Eskalera Karakola, and the annual La Rivolta! conference in Boston.

Socialist and Marxist

Socialist feminism connects the oppression of women to Marxist ideas about exploitation, oppression and labor. Socialist feminists think unequal standing in both the workplace and the domestic sphere holds women down.[5] Socialist feminists see prostitution, domestic work, childcare, and marriage as ways in which women are exploited by a patriarchal system that devalues women and the substantial work they do. Socialist feminists focus their energies on far-reaching change that affects society as a whole, rather than on an individual basis. They see the need to work alongside not just men but all other groups, as they see the oppression of women as a part of a larger pattern that affects everyone involved in the capitalist system.[6]

Marx felt that when class oppression was overcome gender oppression would vanish as well;[7] this is Marxist feminism. Some socialist feminists, many of Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, point to the classic Marxist writings of Frederick Engels[8] and August Bebel[9] as a powerful explanation of the link between gender oppression and class exploitation. To some other socialist feminists, this view of gender oppression is naive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone towards separating gender phenomena from class phenomena. Some contributors to socialist feminism have criticized these traditional Marxist ideas for being largely silent on gender oppression except to subsume it underneath broader class oppression.[10]

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, both Clara Zetkin and Eleanor Marx were against the demonization of men and supported a proletarian revolution that would overcome as many male–female inequalities as possible.[11] As their movement already had the most radical demands of women’s equality,[according to whom?] most Marxist leaders, including Clara Zetkin[12][13] and Alexandra Kollontai[14][15] counterposed Marxism against feminism, rather than trying to combine them.


Radical feminism considers the male-controlled capitalist hierarchy, which it describes as sexist, as the defining feature of women’s oppression. Radical feminists believe that women can free themselves only when they have done away with what they consider an inherently oppressive and dominating patriarchal system. Radical feminists feel that there is a male-based authority and power structure and that it is responsible for oppression and inequality, and that, as long as the system and its values are in place, society will not be able to be reformed in any significant way. Some radical feminists see no alternatives other than the total uprooting and reconstruction of society in order to achieve their goals.[16]

Over time a number of sub-types of radical feminism have emerged, such as cultural feminism, separatist feminism, and anti-pornography feminism,[according to whom?] the last opposed by sex-positive feminism.


Cultural feminism is the ideology of a “female nature” or “female essence” that attempts to revalidate what they consider undervalued female attributes.[17] It emphasizes the difference between women and men but considers that difference to be psychological, and to be culturally constructed rather than biologically innate.[18] Its critics assert that, because it is based on an essentialist view of the differences between women and men and advocates independence and institution building, it has led feminists to retreat from politics to “life-style”.[19] One such critic, Alice Echols (a feminist historian and cultural theorist), credits Redstockings member Brooke Williams with introducing the term cultural feminism in 1975 to describe the depoliticisation of radical feminism.[19]

Separatist and lesbian

Separatist feminism is a form of radical feminism that does not support heterosexual relationships. Lesbian feminism is thus closely related. Separatist feminism’s proponents argue that the sexual disparities between men and women are unresolvable. Separatist feminists generally do not feel that men can make positive contributions to the feminist movement and that even well-intentioned men replicate patriarchal dynamics.[20] Author Marilyn Frye describes separatist feminism as “separation of various sorts or modes from men and from institutions, relationships, roles and activities that are male-defined, male-dominated, and operating for the benefit of males and the maintenance of male privilege—this separation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women“.[21]

Black and womanist

Angela Davis speaking at the University of Alberta on 28 March 2006

Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together.[22] Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias. The National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) was founded in 1973 by Florynce Kennedy, Margaret Sloan, and Doris Wright, and according to Wright it, “more than any other organization in the century launched a frontal assault on sexism and racism”. The NBFO also helped inspire the founding of the Boston based organization the Combahee River Collective in 1974 which not only led the way for crucial antiracist activism in Boston through the decade, but also provided a blueprint for Black feminism that still stands a quarter of a century later. Combahee member Barbara Smith’s definition of feminism that still remains a model today states that, “feminism is the political theory and practice to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, physically challenged women, lesbians, old women, as well as white economically privileged heterosexual women. Anything less than this is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement.”[23] The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.[24] One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker‘s womanism. It emerged after the early feminist movements that were led specifically by white women, were largely white middle-class movements, and had generally ignored oppression based on racism and classism. Alice Walker and other womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women.[25]

Angela Davis was one of the first people who articulated an argument centered around the intersection of race, gender, and class in her book, Women, Race, and Class.[26] Kimberle Crenshaw, a prominent feminist law theorist, gave the idea the name Intersectionality while discussing identity politics in her essay, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence Against Women of Color.


Chicana feminism focuses on Mexican American, Chicana, and Hispanic women in the United States. Hijas de Cuauhtemoc was one of the earliest Chicana feminist organizations in the Second Wave of feminism founded in 1971, and named after a Mexican women’s underground newspaper that was published during the 1910 Mexican revolution.[23] The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional was founded in October 1970. The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional is an organization of women who enhance and promote the image of Chicana/Latina women in all levels of society.[27]

Asian American

The first wave of Asian women’s organizing formed out of the Asian American movement of the 1960s, which in turn was inspired by the civil rights movement and the anti-Viet Nam War movement.[28] During the Second Wave of feminism, Asian American women provided services for battered women, worked as advocates for refugees and recent immigrants, produced events spotlighting Asian women’s cultural and political diversity, and organized with other women of color. Asian Sisters, which emerged in 1971 out of the Asian American Political Alliance, is an early Asian American women’s group based out of Los Angeles that focused on drug abuse intervention for young women. Networking between Asian American and other women during this period also included participation by a contingent of 150 Third World and white women from North America at the historic Vancouver Indochinese Women’s Conference (1971) to work with the Indochinese women against U.S. imperialism.[23]

Native American

Women of All Red Nations (WARN) was initiated in 1974, and is one of the best known Native American women’s organizations whose activism included fighting sterilization in public health service hospitals, suing the U.S. government for attempts to sell Pine Ridge water in South Dakota to corporations, and networking with indigenous people in Guatemala and Nicaragua.[23] WARN reflected a whole generation of Native American women activists who had been leaders in the takeover of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1973, on the Pine Ridge reservation (1973–76), and elsewhere.[23] WARN as well as other Native American women’s organizations, grew out of—and often worked with—mixed-gender nationalist organizations.

The American Indian Movement was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, and Mary Jane Wilson, an Anishinabe activist.[23]


Multiracial feminism (also known as “women of color” feminism) offers a standpoint theory and analysis of the lives and experiences of women of color.[29] The theory emerged in the 1990s and was developed by Dr. Maxine Baca Zinn, a Chicana feminist, and Dr. Bonnie Thornton Dill, a sociology expert on African American women and family.[29][30]

Though often ignored in the history of the Second Wave of feminism, Multiracial Feminists were organizing at the same time as white feminists. During the Second Wave of feminism stretching from the late 1960s /early 1970s until the 1990s Multiracial Feminists not only worked alongside other women of color and white feminists, but also organized themselves outside of women only spaces. In the 1970s women of color worked mainly on three fronts, “working with white dominated feminist groups; forming women’s caucuses in existing mixed-gender organizations; and forming autonomous Black, Latina, Native American, and Asian feminist organizations”[23] The perspective of Multiracial Feminism attempts to go beyond a mere recognition of diversity and difference among women, to examine structures of domination, specifically the importance of race in understanding the social construction of gender.[31]


Postcolonial feminism, sometimes also known as Third World feminism, partly draws on postcolonialism, which discusses experiences endured during colonialism, including “migration, slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, race, gender, place and responses to the influential discourses of imperial Europe.”[32] Postcolonial feminism centers on racism, ethnic issues, and the long-lasting economic, political, and cultural effects of colonialism, inextricably bound up with the unique gendered realities of non-White non-Western women.[33] It sees the parallels between recently decolonized nations and the state of women within patriarchy—both postcolonialism and postcolonial feminism take the “perspective of a socially marginalized subgroup in their relationship to the dominant culture.”[32]

Western feminists universalize women’s issues, thereby excluding social classes and ethnic identities,[34] reinforcing homophobia,[35] and ignoring the activity and voices of non-White non-Western women,[35][36][37] as under one application of Orientalism. Some postcolonial feminists criticize radical and liberal feminism and some, such as Chandra Talpade Mohanty, are critical of Western feminism for being ethnocentric.[35] Black feminists, such as Angela Davis and Alice Walker, share this view.[25] Another critic of Western perspectives is Sarojini Sahoo. Postcolonial feminists can be described as feminists who have reacted against both universalizing tendencies in Western feminist thought and a lack of attention to gender issues in mainstream postcolonial thought.[38]

Colonialism has a gendered history. Colonial powers often imposed Western norms on colonized regions. Postcolonial feminists argue that cultures impacted by colonialism are often vastly different and should be treated as such. In the 1940s and ’50s, after the formation of the United Nations, former colonies were monitored by the West for what was considered “social progress”. Since then, the status of women in the developing world has been monitored by organizations such as the United Nations. Traditional practices and roles taken up by women—sometimes seen as distasteful by Western standards—could be considered a form of rebellion against colonial oppression.[39] That oppression may result in the glorification of pre-colonial culture, which, in cultures with traditions of power stratification along gender lines, could mean the acceptance of, or refusal to deal with, issues of gender inequality.[40] Postcolonial feminists today struggle to fight gender oppression within their own cultural models of society rather than through those imposed by the Western colonizers.[41]

Postcolonial feminism is closely related to transnational feminism. The former has strong overlaps and ties with Black feminism because both respond to racism and seek recognition by men in their own cultures and by Western feminists.[33]


Third-world feminism has been described as a group of feminist theories developed by feminists who acquired their views and took part in feminist politics in so-called third-world countries.[42] Although women from the third world have been engaged in the feminist movement, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Sarojini Sahoo criticize Western feminism on the grounds that it is ethnocentric and does not take into account the unique experiences of women from third-world countries or the existence of feminisms indigenous to third-world countries. According to Mohanty, women in the third world feel that Western feminism bases its understanding of women on “internal racism, classism and homophobia”.[35] This discourse is strongly related to African feminism and postcolonial feminism. Its development is also associated with black feminism, womanism,[25][43][44]Africana womanism“,[45] “motherism”,[46] “Stiwanism”,[47] “negofeminism”,[48] chicana feminism, and “femalism”.


Since the 1980s, standpoint feminists have argued that feminism should examine how women’s experience of inequality relates to that of racism, homophobia, classism and colonization.[49][50] In the late 1980s and the 1990s, postmodern feminists argued that gender roles are socially constructed,[51][52][53] and that it is impossible to generalize women’s experiences across cultures and histories.[54]


According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Classical liberal or libertarian feminism conceives of freedom as freedom from coercive interference. It holds that women, as well as men, have a right to such freedom due to their status as self-owners.”[55]

There are several categories under the theory of libertarian feminism, or kinds of feminism that are linked to libertarian ideologies. Anarcha-feminism combines feminist and anarchist beliefs, embodying classical libertarianism rather than contemporary minarchist libertarianism. Recently, Wendy McElroy has defined a position, which she labels “ifeminism” or “individualist feminism”, that combines feminism with anarcho-capitalism or contemporary minarchist libertarianism, and she argued that a pro-capitalist and anti-state position is compatible with an emphasis on equal rights and empowerment for women.[56] Individualist anarchist-feminism has grown from the United States-based individualist anarchism movement.[57]

Individualist feminism is typically defined as a feminism in opposition to what writers such as Wendy McElroy and Christina Hoff Sommers term political or gender feminism.[58][59][60] However, there are some differences within the discussion of individualist feminism. While some individualist feminists like McElroy oppose government interference into the choices women make with their bodies because such interference creates a coercive hierarchy (such as patriarchy),[61][62] other feminists such as Christina Hoff Sommers hold that feminism’s political role is simply to ensure that everyone’s, including women’s, right against coercive interference is respected.[55] Sommers is described as a “socially conservative equity feminist” by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.[55] Critics have called her an anti-feminist.

New Age Feminism

New Age feminism has emerged in the 21st century as both a continuation and response to Second and Third Wave feminism. It challenges “traditional definitions of femininity and embraces a change in times, incorporating elements of ethnicity, girl power, individualist feminism, sex-positivity and postmodernism.”[65] In New Age feminism, a woman (or man) embraces the qualities in him or herself that have culturally been defined as “feminine” without shame, while still fighting against the discrimination women (and “feminine” men) still face in the workplace and other facets of 21st century society. This movement comes in response to a culture that “simultaneously claims to embrace the equality of men and women and at the same time seriously devalues femininity”.[66]

Unlike Second and Third wave feminists, a New Age feminist does not demand women be treated the same way as a man, but rather that the differences between men and women be recognized, understood, and accommodated even while those differences are treated with equity.

For this reason she does not deny her female biology (whether physical, hormonal, or psychological), and demands it be accommodated for while still not allowing it to justify oppression. She supports scientific studies into the biologically influenced differences between those with male and female bodies and accepts that traits culturally defined as “feminine” like being moody, emotionally articulate, gentle, or quiet, are “rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology.”

New Age feminists are not afraid to have children or to get married should they choose to, nor do they feel shame for choosing not to. A New Age feminist knows there is great joy in both a career and a family, and feels entitled to both. This feminist is not looking for special treatment, or even purely equal treatment. She is looking for equitable treatment, respect in the workplace, and equal opportunity. She champions the rights of working women to become pregnant, take maternity leave, and nurse in public, while still getting paid as much as her male counterparts. Meanwhile she lends her support to slut walks,[68] sex workers, belly[69] and poll dancers, #FreeTheNipple[70] campaigns, as well as anti-harassment and anti-victim blaming movements. She denounces sexual exploitation, but also believes in a woman (or man’s) right to explore and be empowered by his or her own “feminine” sexuality.

New Age feminists do not hate men. In fact, many of them may have at some point in their lives identified as ‘men,’ or, are in love with or have close relationships with men. Nor do they reject certain male practices like chivalry and sexual dominance as long as they are performed consensually.

Examples of New Age feminists are Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé.


Post-structural feminism, also referred to as French feminism, uses the insights of various epistemological movements, including psychoanalysis, linguistics, political theory (Marxist and post-Marxist theory), race theory, literary theory, and other intellectual currents for feminist concerns.[73] Many post-structural feminists maintain that difference is one of the most powerful tools that women possess in their struggle with patriarchal domination, and that to equate the feminist movement only with equality is to deny women a plethora of options because equality is still defined from the masculine or patriarchal perspective.[73][74]


Judith Butler at a lecture at the University of Hamburg.

Postmodern feminism is an approach to feminist theory that incorporates postmodern and post-structuralist theory. Judith Butler argues that sex, not just gender, is constructed through language.[52] In her 1990 book, Gender Trouble, she draws on and critiques the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Lacan. Butler criticizes the distinction drawn by previous feminisms between biological sex and socially constructed gender. She says that the sex/gender distinction does not allow for a sufficient criticism of essentialism. For Butler, “woman” is a debatable category, complicated by class, ethnicity, sexuality, and other facets of identity. She states that gender is performative. This argument leads to the conclusion that there is no single cause for women’s subordination and no single approach towards dealing with the issue.[52]

Donna Haraway, author of A Cyborg Manifesto, with her dog Cayenne.

In A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway criticizes traditional notions of feminism, particularly its emphasis on identity, rather than affinity. She uses the metaphor of a cyborg in order to construct a postmodern feminism that moves beyond dualisms and the limitations of traditional gender, feminism, and politics.[75] Haraway’s cyborg is an attempt to break away from Oedipal narratives and Christian origin myths like Genesis. She writes, “The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust.”

A major branch in postmodern feminist thought has emerged from contemporary psychoanalytic French feminism. Other postmodern feminist works highlight stereotypical gender roles, only to portray them as parodies of the original beliefs. The history of feminism is not important in these writings—only what is going to be done about it. The history is dismissed and used to depict how ridiculous past beliefs were. Modern feminist theory has been extensively criticized as being predominantly, though not exclusively, associated with Western middle class academia. Mary Joe Frug, a postmodernist feminist, criticized mainstream feminism as being too narrowly focused and inattentive to related issues of race and class.[76]


French feminism is a branch of feminist thought from a group of feminists in France from the 1970s to the 1990s. It is distinguished from Anglophone feminism by an approach which is more philosophical and literary. Its writings tend to be effusive and metaphorical, being less concerned with political doctrine and generally focused on theories of “the body.” The term includes writers who are not French, but who have worked substantially in France and the French tradition,such as Julia Kristeva and Bracha Ettinger.

In the 1970s, French feminists approached feminism with the concept of Écriture féminine, which translates as ‘feminine writing’.Hélène Cixous argues that writing and philosophy are phallocentric and along with other French feminists such as Luce Irigaray emphasizes “writing from the body” as a subversive exercise.[79] The work of the feminist psychoanalyst and philosopher, Julia Kristeva, has influenced feminist theory in general and feminist literary criticism in particular. From the 1980s onwards, the work of artist and psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger has influenced literary criticism, art history, and film theory However, as the scholar Elizabeth Wright pointed out, “none of these French feminists align themselves with the feminist movement as it appeared in the Anglophone world.”


Janet Biehl is one of the premier authors on social ecology

Ecofeminism links ecology with feminism. Ecofeminists see the domination of women as stemming from the same ideologies that bring about the domination of the environment. Western patriarchal systems, where men own and control the land, are seen as responsible for the oppression of women and destruction of the natural environment. Ecofeminists argue that the men in power control the land, and therefore are able to exploit it for their own profit and success. In this situation, Ecofeminists consider women to be exploited by men in power for their own profit, success, and pleasure. Thus Ecofeminists argue that women and the environment are both exploited as passive pawns in the race to domination. Ecofeminists argue that those people in power are able to take advantage of them distinctly because they are seen as passive and rather helpless.

Ecofeminism connects the exploitation and domination of women with that of the environment. As a way of repairing social and ecological injustices, ecofeminists feel that women must work towards creating a healthy environment and ending the destruction of the lands that most women rely on to provide for their families.

Ecofeminism argues that there is a connection between women and nature that comes from their shared history of oppression by a patriarchal Western society. Vandana Shiva claims that women have a special connection to the environment through their daily interactions with it that has been ignored. She says that “women in subsistence economies, producing and reproducing wealth in partnership with nature, have been experts in their own right of holistic and ecological knowledge of nature’s processes. But these alternative modes of knowing, which are oriented to the social benefits and sustenance needs are not recognized by the capitalist reductionist paradigm, because it fails to perceive the interconnectedness of nature, or the connection of women’s lives, work and knowledge with the creation of wealth.”[84]

However, feminist and social ecologist Janet Biehl has criticized ecofeminism for focusing too much on a mystical connection between women and nature and not enough on the actual conditions of women.


Transfeminism (or trans feminism) is, as defined by Robert Hill, “a category of feminism, most often known for the application of transgender discourses to feminist discourses, and of feminist beliefs to transgender discourse”.Hill says that transfeminism also concerns its integration within mainstream feminism.He defines transfeminism in this context as a type of feminism “having specific content that applies to transgender and transsexual people, but the thinking and theory of which is also applicable to all women”.

Transfeminism includes many of the major themes of other third-wave feminism, including diversity, body image, oppression, misogyny, and women’s agency. It is not merely about merging trans concerns with feminism, but often applies feminist analysis and critiques to social issues facing trans women and trans people more broadly.Transfeminism also includes critical analysis of second-wave feminism from the perspective of the third wave.

Early voices in the movement include Kate Bornstein and Sandy Stone, whose essay The Empire Strikes Back was a direct response to Janice Raymond.[89] In the 21st century, Susan Stryker[90][91] and Julia Serano[92] have contributed work in the field of transgender women.

Shared perspectives

Movements share some perspectives while disagreeing on others. For example, some movements differ on whether discrimination against women adversely affects men. Movements represented by writers Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem consider men oppressed by gender roles. “From the beginning Friedan had presented feminism as a sex-role revolution in which both men and women would benefit. Indeed, for Friedan feminism was but ‘a stage in the whole human rights movement. “[I]n 1970, Gloria Steinem, Ms. editor and the best-known exponent of this new liberal feminism . . . implied that women’s liberation was men’s liberation as well” because some burdens on men would no longer be men’s alone.[94] Susan Faludi wrote, in Stiffed, “[W]ith the mystery of men’s nonrebellion comes the glimmer of an opening, an opportunity for men to forge a rebellion commensurate with women’s and, in the course of it, to create a new paradigm for human progress that will open doors for both sexes. That was, and continues to be, feminism’s dream, to create a freer, more humane world.” Ellen Willis, weighing economics and feminism, considered an alliance with men necessary to women’s liberation Florynce Kennedy wrote, “Men are outraged, turned off, and wigged out, by threats that women might withdraw consent to oppression, because they—men—subconsciously (and often consciously) know that they—men—are oppressed.” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote, “From the respect paid to property flow . . . most of the evils and vices which render this world such a dreary scene to the contemplative mind. . . . One class presses on another; for all are aiming to procure respect on account of their property . . . . [M]en wonder that the world is almost, literally speaking, a den of sharpers or oppressors.”[98] “Those writers are particularly useful, in my opinion, who make man feel for man, independent of the station he fills, or the drapery of factitious sentiments.”[99] “Men are not aware of the misery they cause, and the vicious weakness they cherish, by only inciting women to render themselves pleasing”.[100] “To say the truth, I not only tremble for the souls of women, but for the good natured man, whom everyone loves.”[101]

Other movements consider men primarily the causative agents of sexism. Mary Daly wrote, “The courage to be logical—the courage to name—would require that we admit to ourselves that males and males only are the originators, planners, controllers, and legitimators of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the homeland of males; it is Father Land; and men are its agents.”The Redstockings declared, “We identify the agents of our oppression as men. . . . [M]en dominate women, a few men dominate the rest. . . . All men receive economic, sexual, and psychological benefits from male supremacy. All men have oppressed women.” In a somewhat less clear-cut position, Kate Millett wrote in Sexual Politics, “The following sketch . . . . must . . . be both tentative and imperfect. . . . [O]ur society, like all other historical civilizations, is a patriarchy. . . . The fact is evident at once if one recalls that . . . every avenue of power within the society . . . is entirely in male hands. . . . If one takes patriarchal government to be the institution whereby that half of the populace which is female is controlled by that half which is male, the principles of patriarchy appear to be two fold: male shall dominate female, elder male shall dominate younger. However, just as with any human institution, . . . contradictions and exceptions do exist within the system.”