Saturday, June 14, 2014

Coming Out as a Feminist

For a long time I didn't want to put too much thought into "feminism" because I was mistaken about the definition. I had fallen into the trap of believing the "femi-Nazi" stereotype, that feminists thought women were better than men. Here's the definition from, in case you were curious:


  [fem-uh-niz-uhm]  Show IPA
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
sometimes initial capital letter an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
The definition of "feminism" is not to give women more rights or more value than men, but to strive for equality.
Now why am I writing about feminism on my blog primarily about art education? Several reasons. Here are two:
First, I've just finished the first week of my latest graduate course about art criticism. There was a nice long passage in the first reading assignment (the book is Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary by Terry Barrett) about feminism and art criticism. It made me think more about how women have largely been left out of art history. Another blurb that stuck out to me was when they suggested that quilting and "crafts" have been considered minor arts because they were traditionally made by women,
Second, I think back to my first year of teaching when I heard a 3rd grade girl say that boys were better at math and science. I stopped the class and we talked about that. She said that a teacher had told her boys were better at it, and I hope that's not true. I don't want my students or my nieces or any little girl to think that she can't be just as smart as another because she is female.

I was just discussing the Guerrilla Girls with my husband and showed him the famous "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum" billboard. They had another version about the ratio of scantily clad women in music videos. "Some of the responsibility should fall on the women. They don't have to be in those videos. They can choose another career." Yes! They absolutely can. And that is the kind of feminist I want to be, the one that wants to show young girls that they are worth more than their bodies and have options other than molding themselves to society's idea of beauty. Your gender should not limit your abilities or choices.


  1. I always thought Feminist was a bad word. There is so much negativity attached to that word. I didn't realize there was nothing wrong with wanting to be equal with men. Now I know better, and so your students will too! Bravo!

  2. In some art periods, the women are naked and white and the men are clothed, tan and bald. Along with other misconceptions, they thought that balding men were more likely to reproduce because they were so hot that they burned their hair off from the inside out! Gotta love it!