A few months ago, I engaged in a Facebook conversation with some women friends and colleagues who ranged in age from 25-60. The topic of the conversation started with a post from a young woman who criticized feminism and feminists harshly, claiming that it was a relic no longer needed. Many of the younger women tended to agree, though as the conversation progressed, it became clear that it was less about rejection of feminism per se, and more a matter of 1) believing that feminism’s goals had all been accomplished and consequently, we have moved into a new age of “humanism” instead, and 2) a resistance to being labeled a feminist (though many of these same women had no problem labeling themselves “Millennials”). It was an enlightening conversation, helping me to understand the perceptions held by educated young women about feminism, and (hopefully) helping them to think and learn more about women’s lives before feminism, what feminism is (and is not) and what could happen if we deny the importance of feminism in the modern era.
Since that conversation, every single day I encounter an article, a story, a comment, an image, an ad, or a piece of news where I end up saying to myself, “…and that’s why we need feminism!”
For a number of reasons, what prompted me to start this site TODAY is the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allows for-profit employers with religious objections to birth control to opt out of providing contraception coverage as required under the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there are several issues at play here, from the mandate of Obamacare, to issues around religious freedom, to debates about reproductive rights. While I am interested in all of these issues, what motivates this blog is something more: the way in which women and their bodies play a central role in American politics, American media and in cultural conversation, while often being left out of consideration for their rights as individual human beings.