Financial Feminism?

Financial Feminism

Financial feminism is having a moment lately. Or maybe it’s just me. First, there was the invitation from Ms. Zi You to participate in her financial feminism series. And then, in my inbox landed a copy of Femme Frugality’s new Feminist Financial Handbook (affiliate link), going live today.

Interestingly, for someone who’s the family breadwinner, who writes about women and money online, interviews successful women, and generally is a champion for women – I’ve never really labeled myself as a feminist.

Lets explore.

What Is Feminism, Anyway?

Given all this financial feminism discussion underway, I decided to look up what exactly a feminist is. Sounds silly, right? Honestly it’s not something I’ve looked up before. And from what Wikipedia tells me:

“Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes”.

Well, I totally agree with that statement. The fact that women (all women) should have the same opportunities as men is almost a “duh” moment for me. Obviously I think that.

If it weren’t for the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, women still wouldn’t be able to vote. This is called “first wave” feminism.

If it wasn’t for the women in the 60’s and 70’s fighting for equal rights at work, I couldn’t be the breadwinner of my family of five today. In fact, I’d probably have to be a stay at home mom while my husband supported us. This would have been a huge issue during his near-death and disability, and I don’t even know what kind of lifestyle we would lead. Not a nice one, I can tell you that. This is referred to as “second wave” feminism.

And there are the women of more modern times, the third and fourth wave feminists, fighting for other rights for women. Both for women who have been traditionally underrepresented in the prior feminist movements, as well as for full equality (instead of the “mostly equal” style equality we have now).

Feminism And Me…Or Not Me

When I grew up, in the 80’s and 90’s (I’m 38 for those that don’t know), no one called themselves a feminist.

Feminism was associated with the women of the 60’s and 70’s who burned bras, and wore shirts saying things like this:

Woman Needs A Man Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

Generally they were very…outright with their demands. Long hair and protests were involved. Drugs too? I’m not sure, but given the decades, would not be surprised.

In the 80’s and 90’s, I don’t remember anyone protesting anything. Women were “equal”ish, in that they could theoretically be equal but mostly were not. No one that I knew had something like a stay at home dad. Certain career fields (usually the highest paying ones) were dominated by men, and others (lower paying ones) by women. As a kid, I didn’t really think much about what people were being paid, but I’m sure it wasn’t equal.

Since I thought of feminism as something in the past, it’s not a label I ever really applied to myself. The thought brought an image of extremism that I didn’t feel a connection with. Yes, I thought women should be equal. That was only logical to me. But I wasn’t going to burn my bra over it.

That old feminist image is likely why I’ve not really felt the label “feminist” applied to me, despite my being a champion of women everywhere. I still have the old image from my childhood in mind.

Learning About Financial Feminism

This experience, and my perspective, was one of the reasons I was interested to read the new book, and check out the interview questions. Although I know that I believe strongly in equality for women, I don’t know a lot about third and fourth wave feminists. Heck, when Ms. Zi You sent me the questions, I got stumped on the one that asked about my brand of feminism. I didn’t know there were brands?

If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll have noticed that I love learning new things. So honestly, I was excited and interested to learn more about the topic of feminism in general, and financial feminism in particular.

This is where the new Feminist Financial Handbook (affiliate link) came in handy. Since I consider myself a feminism newbie, I read through the book with great interest. And I wasn’t disappointed.

In the book, Brynne tackles some of the hard facts about the world we live in. Although women in general still have a ways to go to achieve equality, women of certain backgrounds and situations have even longer to go. I was introduced to the concepts of “Intersectional Feminism” and “Kyriarchy”, which I was not familiar with. Other ideas, like “Heteronormativity”, “Cisnormativity”, and “Disablism” are things I’ve seen around the internet, but had no deep knowledge of.

Reading this book, even for a champion of women such as myself, was extremely educational. Not only was my mind opened to new ways of seeing the world, and new concepts, but I learned about the situations faced by people who I don’t often see featured in financial books.

You may recall my passion for diverse financial stories – this book has that in spades. Be sure to check it out.

Although I’m still not certain what I could call my brand of feminism (suggestions welcome in the comments), I feel a bit more comfortable saying that I am one. I believe women have made much progress over the last hundred years, but now it’s our job to continue the progress for the next generations.  And that means for all women.

Are You A Financial Feminist?

I’d love to know – do you think of yourself as a financial feminist? Am I the only person who’s not familiar with the terms above? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Financial Feminism?”

  1. There were feminists in the ’90s. Don’t you remember Rush Limbaugh ridiculing the “femi-nazis” as he so crappily dubbed women seeking basic equal rights/pay? No bra burnings took place, no protests, but feminism was still definitely in the discussion.

    I just got a copy of the book, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet (though I’m grateful she reached out to me for a discussion about disability). So I still have to grasp exactly what a financial feminist is, but I’m 99% sure I’ll turn out to be one.

    1. chiefmomofficer

      You know, I don’t remember that. Not sure why. I was a teenager throughout the 90’s and may just have not been watching the news.

  2. I also answered that call from Ms Zi You, and went to work the next dy to ask the woman at the desk next door to me what sort of feminist she thought I was. She came up with a definition but I don’t remember what it was.
    I feel I’m living it. If some guy doesn’t like it, he can step out of my way.

  3. Patricia Collins

    I’m a feminist and have identified as one since I was a teenager in the 90s. I’m guessing you were just a little too young to have gotten to read Sassy magazine in its heyday. That probably would have brought you into the fold a few decades earlier. As a feminist, I not only advocate for equality, but also work to educate people as to the many hard-fought battles my feminist foremothers have fought.

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