Gender Across Borders, a global forum on women's issues in cultures and countries around the world, defines the f-word as:
Feminism is quite simply a struggle for women to have the same rights as men do, no less and no more, in order for both sexes to take advantage of their full potential and opportunities. Ultimately this means that women have the necessary rights to make their own decisions, regardless of what they may be. In today’s society where popular culture tells us that we ladies have come a long way, which is true but not entirely accurate, feminism may appear as outdated or inapplicable.Did you notice the layout of this? It starts out with a classic, not so controversial definition: women and men should be equal. Then it goes into how that equality plays out: self-determination, often through the vehicle of informed choice. The third step is describing pop culture's attempt to convince us that feminism isn't needed anymore because we've achieved parity; we are now in a post-feminist society. (Whose society?)
Similarly, Julie Clawson, a Christian and writer often found on Sojourners, writes:
I had to speak up and challenge the assumed benefits of post-feminism. Just as the patriarchy kept women oppressed by telling us we need men to care for and or complete us, post-feminism holds women back by making us believe we can do it all on our own..Instead of networking and relying on friends to help them advance in this world, women often think they must be self-made in order to be considered successful. Instead of surrounding ourselves with a community of support, we women often feel that we must be strong enough to manage by ourselves. To me this is just another ploy to resist the goals of the feminist movement and keep women powerless and vulnerable. Men take advantage of such things, but women sacrifice the strong support structure of community in an attempt to live up to this post-feminist lie that they don’t need help from no one.Both Gender Across Borders and Julie Clawson criticize the cultural assumption that feminism isn't needed anymore because (1) We've achieved gender equity and parity, and (2) Women can take care of themselves; isn't that what feminism is all about?
But what if it is about communities of men and women reaching their potential and seeking access to opportunities? What if it is about teaching (mainly) men not to treat women as less than as a way to prevent violence against women in the first place? What if is it about informed choice in the context of educating and elevating all to make the best decisions for themselves and their families?
What if we stopped believing the lie that we live in a post-feminist world? Or would that be too disturbing knowing that the Penn State ordeal, Herman Cain allegations, gendered violence during the Arab Spring, and so on are all connected?