Portal:Feminism

The Feminism Portal

International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting against gender stereotypes and establishing educational, professional, and interpersonal opportunities and outcomes for women that are equal to those for men.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to: vote, hold public office, work, earn equal pay, own property, receive education, enter contracts, have equal rights within marriage, and maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in female dress standards and acceptable physical activities for females have often been part of feminist movements.

Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender-neutral language, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims, because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; feminist theorists have developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.

Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims. Traditionally, since the 19th century, first-wave liberal feminism that sought political and legal equality through reforms within a liberal democratic framework was contrasted with labour-based proletarian women's movements that over time developed into socialist and Marxist feminism based on class struggle theory. Since the 1960s, both of these traditions are also contrasted with radical feminism that arose from the radical wing of second-wave feminism and that calls for a radical reordering of society to eliminate male supremacy; together liberal, socialist and radical feminism are sometimes called the "Big Three" schools of feminist thought.

Since the late 20th century, many newer forms of feminisms have emerged. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, college-educated, heterosexual, or cisgender perspectives. These criticisms have led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, such as black feminism and intersectional feminism. (Full article...)

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Plaque on exterior wall of École Polytechnique commemorating victims of massacre
The École Polytechnique massacre occurred on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. Twenty-five year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a legally-obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen (all of them women) and injuring the other fourteen before killing himself. He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the men and women students from each other. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism", he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. He killed fourteen women and injured four men and ten women in just under twenty minutes before turning the gun on himself. Lépine's suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note include a list of nineteen Quebec women whom Lépine considered to be feminists and apparently wished to kill. Since the attack, Canadians have debated various interpretations of the events, their significance, and Lépine's motives. The massacre is regarded by most feminists and many official perspectives as an anti-feminist attack and representative of wider societal violence against women; the anniversary of the massacre is commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada, and changes in the tactical response of police to shootings, which were later credited with minimizing casualties at the Dawson College shootings.

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Mary of Teck
Credit: Bain News Service

Mary of Teck was the queen consort of King George V as well as the Empress of India. Before her accession, she was successively Duchess of York, Duchess of Cornwall and Princess of Wales. By birth, she was a princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, with the style Her Serene Highness. To her family, she was informally known as May, after her birth month. Queen Mary was known for setting the tone of the British Royal Family, as a model of regal formality and propriety, especially during state occasions. She was the first Queen Consort to attend the coronation of her successors. Noted for superbly bejewelling herself for formal events, Queen Mary left a collection of jewels now considered priceless.

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Anna Quindlen
It's babe feminism - we're young, we're fun, we do what we want in bed - and it has a shorter shelf life than the feminism of sisterhood. I've been a babe, and I've been a sister. Sister lasts longer.

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Anna May Wong (1935)
Anna May Wong (1905–1961) was an American actress, the first Chinese-American movie star, and the first Asian-American to become an international star. Her long and varied career spanned film, television, stage, and radio. During the silent film era, her more notable roles were in The Toll of the Sea (1922), one of the first movies made in color; Douglas Fairbanks' The Thief of Bagdad (1924), and Piccadilly (1929). Frustrated by the stereotypical supporting roles she reluctantly played in Hollywood, she left for Europe in the late 1920s, and starred in several notable films and plays. She paid less attention to her film career during the war years, when she devoted her time and money to helping the Chinese cause against Japan. Wong returned to the public eye in the 1950s in several television appearances as well as her own series in 1951, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first U.S. television show starring an Asian-American. She had been planning to return to film in Flower Drum Song when she died in 1961, at the age of 56. Her life and career were re-evaluated in the years around the centennial of her birth, in three major literary works and film retrospectives.

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Lady Florence Dixie

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