March is Women’s History Month and all month long we’re celebrating womanhood and the achievements of women throughout history. But we also have some questions about the status of feminism in 2023. This week, The Brandon Gonez Show had a special conversation about feminism with Tayo Bero, host of the “Pop Culture is Killing Me” podcast, and Keosha Love, founder of Our Women’s Voices.
“As a whole, for me, feminism just means resisting the patriarchy. So in my world, in the work that I do, that means dismantling the systems that allow for patriarchal violence,” Bero said.
“Whether that’s speaking truth to power, as they say, or starting important conversations, or just adding my voice to conversations that are already happening. For me, that’s the way that I kind of put my mark on the larger movement for women’s rights.”
While Love explained that her definition of feminism has changed over time.
“When I first started to be familiar with the term, it was more so about equality for women. Now for me, it’s gender justice. Like feminism is for all genders to thrive,” Love explained.
WHERE IS FEMINISM IN 2023?
So where is the movement in 2023?
“We have a lot of work to do, but there’s been so much work. I feel like there is a lot more access for different genders of all diverse backgrounds, I feel like there are less barriers for women to thrive in the workplace. Be bosses, choose the career of their choice, lead…,” Love explained.
However, she says that we still have a long way to go.
“There is still a wage and pay gap, there are still a lot of people uncomfortable with different diverse genders taking up space in the workplace. And there is still a lot of outcry and outrage when it comes to other genders doing well for themselves,” Love continued.
But is the movement losing steam? While a few years ago, it felt like more people were adding “feminist” to their social bios, now it feels like people are sidestepping the term, and trying to distance themselves from stereotypes about feminism. Bero agrees and feels like the internet is part of the reason this is happening.
“One of the big features of this moment that we’re in is the internet. I think because people have so much access to each other and each other’s opinions, one of the things that have happened within feminism is just this broad misunderstanding or misappropriation…. Of the meaning of what feminism is at its core,” she explained, adding that she feels that some people intentionally “misunderstand” what feminism is about.
“The way that we see it messaged a lot of the time today on social media is ‘We all hate men,’ but that’s a very basic, reductive way to think about feminism,” Bero continued.
But Love raised another point: many people of colour are uncomfortable identifying as feminists due to the feminist movement’s history.
“Also, the whitewashing and the white centrism that comes with feminism. It’s not just men who don’t want to be feminists, it’s also women. Because for a long time, feminism was co-opted by white women and centered for white women,” Love explained.
“The whole feminism group actually did start with white women wanting to vote. And that didn’t include poor Black and Brown people, that included white, middle-class people.”
“So even though there is intersectional feminism, we have the different waves, there are still a lot of people who feel uncomfortable attaching themselves to feminism knowing it’s violence and its history,” Love continued.