Student - 7 oktober 2014

Blog: Is it radical to support women?


I find it surprising that people often perceive me as a radical feminist. Is it so strange to speak up for basic decency for all humans?

When I am advocating for women’s rights, I dislike it when I am treated as some kind of radical feminist. The fact that I am a woman does not mean I have a soft spot for women. It also does not mean I would wish for a universe filled solely with women, and without men. Oppositely, I feel it is the basic humanity to speak up for women, and not feminism. I would probably act the same if I were a man.

With respect to speaking up for women, there are couple of things that annoy me. When I was in Nepal, I had heard a lot of words that rankled. But I would accept the fact because we live in a patriarchal society. However, I was very astonished to hear similar words in Europe, such as ‘manpower’ and ‘chairman’, in not only informal conversations but also in official lectures. Why don’t we use neutral terms like ‘human resources’ or ‘chairperson’? But when you speak your mind, you’re treated a radical feminist.

I expected to get more reactions from men about this. But surprisingly, I get these odd reactions, being treated as some kind of gender lecturer or a radical feminist, mostly from women rather than men. My support does not stem from studying gender studies. If people would study gender, they would be speaking about such gender issues via reflection papers or seminars. I think it is better to support the whole of humanity instead of focussing on one particular gender. The only concern of mine is that I would like all people to be respected well enough that one’s identity is not ruled over by others.

We are part of a highly educated generation. Therefore, I think it hard to understand why we still find it difficult to accept and respect each other’s and one’s own identity.

Re:acties 6

  • Sandra

    As we see from some of the reactions, people in many Western societies also act pejorative about women's rights and gender equality issues. Dutch society is very patriarchal too. Do you know that the Netherlands has just as many women in top positions as Botswana and Pakistan (which means: not many)?

    Anyway, have you seen this moving speech form Emma Watson before the UN about gender equality and the he for she campaign?

  • Wakker Vlees

    And what about words as woman, women and female? Those words also contain man, men or male. So maybe you should try not to use those words either, but instead gender-neutral terms like person. On the other hand, person contains son, which is a man...

  • Rob Geus

    man man man

    • pietjepuk


  • Spinoza

    Are you also offensed by the word "Hu-man"? I really never thought about the fact that a word like chairman can be the slightest offensive for woman. For me it is just a common word, used to indicate the leading person in a group. By paying attention to these minor things you indeed make something big about it, which is just plain ludicrous.

    Start adressing real problems and actual injustice to make a difference, not whine about words that are settled in civilization. This is making the same fuzz as the whole issue with "Negerzoenen". Its just sad and you make the problem only worse by putting yourself in that not so radical feminist person position.

    • Anna

      As a woman, I do not mind the word chairman at all. I think that using it for a women as well, emphasizes the fact that it does not matter whether it is a man or a woman. Calling a woman a 'chairwoman' on the other hand, would emphasize a difference between genders in the way they execute their task. Changing the word chairman to chairperson, would make no difference to my opinion. So why bother.

      I agree with Spinoza, we could spend our time better doing something about actual injustice and inequality than discussing about linguistic preferences.

  • Mankind

    I think you shouldn't worry too much about these 'rankling' words.

  • sona

    We should indeed speak up for the women. Especially since it is still said (and proven) that we live in a man's world. But by raising our voice we should indeed prevent overruling others.


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  • Marie

    I can relate! I am often considered quite a radical feminist, and then I get the old lines like "But some women just like to be at home" and "I like a strong man in my relationship!". It's a shame that so many women especially completely miss the point of feminism.