Feminism often sounds scary because it seems too radical or is interpreted as hatred of men. Before continuing I must clarify this for some of my readers. Let’s start with the term patriarchy.
My definition of patriarchy may differ a bit from Wikipedia or Webster's Dictionary. Originally it meant the absolute supremacy of men over women, over other species and over nature, but the feminist movement has undermined that absolute power in some aspects, although in others it persists as it has for thousands of years. Although many discriminatory laws have been changed, the patriarchy continues to be the prevalent system for political, economic, cultural and religious oppression. It grants dominion and privileges to the male gender. Aside from misogyny — contempt for women — this system includes diverse forms of exclusion and aggression: racism, homophobia, classism, xenophobia and intolerance of different ideas and people. Patriarchy is imposed with aggression, it demands obedience and punishes those who defy it.
And what is my definition of feminism? It is not what we have between our legs but what we have between our ears. It’s a philosophical posture and an uprising against male authority. It’s a way of understanding human relations and a way to see the world. It’s a commitment to justice and a struggle for the emancipation of women, gays, lesbians, queers (LGTBIQ+) — anyone oppressed by the system, including some men, and all others who want to join. Welcome! The greater our number the better.
In my youth I fought for equality. I wanted to participate in the men’s game. But in my mature years I’ve come to realize that the game is a folly; it is destroying the planet and the moral fiber of humanity. Feminism is not about replicating the disaster. It’s about mending it. As a result, of course, it confronts powerful reactionary forces like fundamentalism, fascism, tradition and many others. It’s depressing to see that among the opposition forces there are so many women who fear change and cannot imagine a different future.
The patriarchy is stony. Feminism, like the ocean, is fluid, powerful, deep and encompasses the infinite complexity of life; it moves in waves, currents, tides and sometimes in storms. Like the ocean, feminism never stays quiet.