WHAT IS FEMINISM?
CAN A BUSINESS BE FEMINIST?
WHAT WOULD THAT REQUIRE?
I love these questions and next week we will explore them more deeply. But first, we need to develop some common language around what feminism is.
bell hooks is a leading feminist thinker. I love her work because it is heart-felt, brilliant, accessible, and intersectional (meaning she looks at how the intersections of race, class, sexuality, gender, nationality, and so on, impact the way women experience oppression differently). The first two chapters of her primer, Feminism is for Everybody, do a nice job of framing what feminism is, what's at stake, and where our work lies.
Feminism has a socio-political agenda. It stands for something. It is not a brand or a style or a trend. It's not about t-shirts. It is a commitment to the larger project of consciousness, love, empowerment, and empathy, while actively dismantling myriad systemic, institutionalized, normalized, interpersonal, and internalized oppressions.
Feminism is also about transforming our cultural value system from the current state of toxic masculinity into balance with the feminine. Or at least, that's my version of it. Feminine-ism.
Hooks gives us this incredibly useful and succinct definition:
Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
To do something as audacious as call your business "feminist" requires showing up every day with humility, heart, intrepid creativity, criticality, courage, self-love, and a passion for growth. It requires accountability to yourself, your business, as well as to a larger social project of dismantling patriarchal and oppressive systems.
And, it requires that we quit equating masculine principles with success and strength and feminine principles with inadequacy and weakness.
Please read Feminism is for Everybody, Chapters 1 & 2 (attached).