October 19, 2006

Dear Wendy,

As a former women's studies major and forever-feminist, I am always looking for new perspectives on the lives of women. I stumbled upon your site and thought it was interesting. I was wondering--do you women consider yourselves feminist? I enjoy your site but get worried that it goes against major feminist beliefs... is it possible for me to agree with what your site says and still be a feminist?

Is it really that black and white?

Am I overthinking this?

Please help me!



Hi Pauline,

It was great to get your letter, which really made me laugh. I can certainly understand your feeling the way you do! You are not over-thinking; this is a really important issue.

The answer is that some of our bloggers identify as feminists and others do not. I guess it all depends on how you define feminism. We are certainly united by a core belief in the dignity of women. And the idea that sexuality should be about intimacy rather than using other people might also count as a feminist belief--or it could count as a conservative belief, depending on who you ask.

So who is right? Well, perhaps both sides.

The early feminists actually did believe in modesty, it's interesting to note. In fact, they predicted that a society which did not value modesty would be one with more violence against girls and women.

In terms of what feminism means today--as you surely have noticed--some people use the term to signal that they care about the standing of women in society; others, their belief that women must be like men in every respect-- even when what the men are doing is not necessarily so great. I personally identify more with the former sort of feminism. If an adolescent boy is treating women cruelly and casually, why should he be my role model? No thank you.

So I guess you could say that there's a battle going on for the soul of feminism. Generally speaking I believe that men and women who care about issues of dignity should form alliances, and not fuss too much over the label, but if the most popular brand of feminism is, "let's say the f-word all the time and sleep around as much as possible, because that's what the majority of the men seem to be doing," then that is a movement I do not wish to identify with.

To me that kind of feminism is rooted in misogyny.

What do you think?



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