Geek Word Wednesdays: Girls Got Game Defines “Feminism”

Art by Aeron Mundell

Welcome to Geek Word Wednesdays, where members of Girls Got Game! will be featuring common terms relevant to geeks everywhere, and to a more critical discussion on geek identity, geek culture, and geek discourse. If you’ve ever got a word that you’d like us to study, let us know!


INTRODUCTION

This week’s edition of Geek Word Wednesdays is different from the usual. After a lot of intense discussion, the members of Girls Got Game have decided to collaborate on this article. Each one the contributors is going to go into their own definition of feminism below. Feminism and gender studies mean a lot to us, and we all acknowledge that it’s impossible to have a “one-size-fits-all” definition for both.

Without further ado, this is what we came up with.

FROM MARIELLE

Definition of Feminism, Girls Got Game

Feminism is about promoting equality, regardless of gender, while also acknowledging that females throughout history and up to the present are ignored/marginalized just for being female. It’s the idea that women are human beings that deserve to have agency and be treated with respect.

A lot of people say that feminists are just angry women who hate men. Well, I am a feminist, and I am angry, but not at men. I’m angry that, globally, women still earn less than men. I’m angry that women are underrepresented in leadership roles, both in business and in government. I’m angry that women who are victims of sexual abuse are stigmatized and blamed for their attackers’ actions. But what angers me the most is that many people won’t take my anger seriously because I am a woman.

 

FROM NOEY

“We cannot expect in the immediate future that all women who seek it will achieve full equality of opportunity. But if women are to start moving towards that goal, we must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us; we must match our aspirations with the competence, courage and determination to succeed.” – Medical Physicist, Rosalyn Yalow, awarded the Nobel prize in 1977

First of all, I want to frame my perspective for you: My brothers and I grew up in an environment where it was traditional because it’s what our parents knew and understood, and non-traditional because our parents believed in what we could do.

So whenever I came across people — family, friends and strangers — who would say things like: “I can’t believe your brother loves ballet and knows all the terminologies! It’s a little weird!”, or “I’m surprised that your brother knows more chick flicks than I do,” I use to get really surprised. To me, those comments sounded exactly the same as people going “But why do you like superheroes and geek stuff, that’s a guy thing! You’re such a boy!” and “Isn’t hockey such a rough sport, I can’t picture someone as tiny and as girly as you being interested in it.” You see, to siblings who never believed there were gender-specific labels to what we could like or do, comments like that made us feel like our thinking was so radical — it wasn’t.

Taken from lifesonebigmasquerade.tumblr.com/post/136286835819/

I’ve always felt incredulous over gender stereotypes. While I used to only be vocal about my thoughts in safe company, I’m more vocal about my thoughts on that now, regardless of who is listening. So while I’m not repeating anything that people haven’t said before, the fact of the matter is: there continues to be a lot of resistance to the idea that girls can do a lot of things boys can, just as there’s a lot of resistance to ideas of what boys should be. I think that’s unfair for everyone involved.

Feminism has always been about equality of all genders and all orientations — whether you’re straight, identify as LGBTQ+, or are still figuring yourself out. I get very touchy when there are “movements” that claim that feminist attitudes couldn’t possibly benefit people outside of the Angry Feminist and that some people actually believe that to be true. What’s wrong about being outspoken about not wanting to be boxed in by limitations that people try to justify using your biological sex, or your sexual orientation, or the color of your skin, your place of birth and the life experiences that make you uniquely you? I’d be angry. I AM. I’m a person. I just want to be able to breathe.

Quoting feminist writer and editor Marie Shear, Cheris Kramarae, a professor of Women’s Studies said: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” I agree with her. I’d also like to tweak that statement given the way the world works now because to me, feminism is the radical notion that human beings — women, men, straight, gay — are human beings, period.

 

FROM JUDITH

Feminism is the belief that people should not be forced into compartments based on what they have in between their legs.

It’s unfathomable – and rather absurd, really – that women are shamed for choosing their career over marriage and raising a family, but other women are similarly looked down on for choosing to be stay-at-home moms. It also sucks that men are ridiculed for being stay-at-home dad or for daring to be emotional. Moreover, their masculinity is put into question when they defer to their wives (“under sa asawa”, as the Philippine expression goes). Whatever happened to live and let live as long as no one gets hurt in the process?  (People’s fragile sensibilities on traditional gender roles don’t fall under that category.)

Image taken from http://rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/
Image taken from rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/

Feminism is not about man-hating nor should it be used as a bubble to shield oneself from criticism. Being a feminist entails being open to dialogue about subjects uncomfortable to either or both sexes in the name of progress and unity. It’s about educating each other and growing from it, no matter how inconvenient some truths may be.

I’m a feminist and I’m proud to be one. If reading that makes you uncomfortable, isn’t it time to examine why?

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Pamela Punzalan
30, female, not in Narnia about anything. Games, writes, DMs, watches shit, reads shit, loves cats. Answers to Kae, Pamela, Pam, Pam-Pam, Pammy, Pammeth. Pamera, and Pammu. Also part of the admin team of What's a Geek, over at http://www.whatsageek.com!
Ian Uymatiao
An aspiring software developer and system administrator by day, an obsessive gamer geek by night.

When he's not busy playing on his gaming PC he likes to spend the rest of his free time devouring podcasts and tech news articles. Weird gaming interests include truck driving simulators and heavily modded Morrowind sessions.
RIka Sioson
A frog and a mage.
Noey Pico on InstagramNoey Pico on Twitter
Noey Pico
Audioromantic, geek and gamer. Currently a contributing editor to both Girls Got Game and What's A Geek, while occasionally moonlighting as fictional characters online. Flails a lot. A LOT.
Dana Martinez
A tiny little girl with a very large appetite for horror. Photoshopper by day, same thing by night. Loves dogs.
Judith
Judith is an unapologetic fangirl who doesn't need much excuse to dress up as her favorite characters. She likes to spend her time on the Internet or anywhere she can nom, preferably both at the same time.
Kimi, Arbiter of BS
Kimi is a half English half Filipino philosophy postgrad in Ireland by day and a geek by night, who splits her writing between GGG and What's A Geek.

When she's not terrifying undergrads, she spends her time playing mono blue Magic the Gathering decks, hugging her PS4/3DS, cosplaying and crying over her husbandos and waifus in Fate/Grand Order. Determined to be a katsudon that seduces men (and women) with her mad skillz.

Known everywhere as spectrumrays.
Marielle
Bookworm/fashionista/foodie/daydreamer; addicted to oxygen, can't live without it!

One comment

  1. A thoughtful and varied discourse on the meaning of Feminism. If I may, I would like to offer my own (hopefully brief) insights, having spent no small amount of time in the company of devoted enemies of the movement:

    1. One of the biggest misnomers surrounding the term is the belief that it does not champion equality, but superiority of the female gender. This is likely the fault of the word itself – after all, other words ending in “ist”, such as “racist” or “sexist”, are given a negative connotation. A fair amount of the backlash comes from otherwise sensible folks who are repulsed by the thought of upending the tyranny of the patriarchy, only to replace it with a matriarchal equivalent. I figure it’s similar to the ruckus over “Black Lives Matter”, with some wrongly assuming that it implies “other lives don’t matter”.

    2. It doesn’t help the movement that it has its share of extremists. In the same way that Islam is plagued by its terrorists and Christianity its bible-thumping bigots, some of feminism’s advocates are seething man-haters who may well be dancing atop the ashes of a future “manpocalyspe”. People who may have been ambivalent about feminism get exposed to these terrible examples, and run screaming in the other direction.

    3. There are appreciable differences between the sexes, biological ones, that do impede total equality of treatment. Many sports will forever distinguish between male and female athletes because of this, and maternity will always be an issue to consider for employment that has an undeniable financial impact. Advocates of feminism would do well to consider these factors, and qualify that it is not EQUALITY that one should aspire to (everyone treated the same way exactly) but EQUITY (that all should be treated fairly according to their circumstances). This means, yes, women should get certain privileges versus men, but only because this levels the playing field.

    4. Interestingly, the success or failure of the feminist movement may well depend not so much on its proclamation by women, as it will on acceptance and embrace by men. Men have to be willing to relinquish that identity of control, challenge their own dominance in society, and most importantly, learn that they, too, can take on the roles traditionally associated with women, without it being an emasculation. Because when men can capably cook, clean, take care of the kids, manage the household and have teacup parties with their sons, we’ll all be in a better place.

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