A recent article named “The 39 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2014” includes points that seemingly see feminism in coming out as gay, and in a writer saying “go away” when someone say that gay sex scenes and getting away with murder in said writer’s story add nothing to the plot. (I don’t see posting “go away” on Twitter as iconically remarkable.) It also seems that they find expressing pro-choice sentiments,and victories for transgender issues, as “iconic feminist moments.”
The worst is perhaps their inclusion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the list, for claiming that the ideal gender ratio for Supreme Court justices would be all female. Feminism is not about removing men and giving half the population no say whatsoever in important spheres that equally affect them. Feminism is the exact opposite of giving half the population no say whatsoever in important spheres that equally affect them. Some enemies of feminism also characterize feminism as being about sexual licence, abortion and man-hating.
Do you need to approve of gay acts to be a feminist?
Well, the dictionary definition of feminism is to believe in and be an activist for equal rights, oportunities, etc. for men and women.
It is possible to argue that, since you believe men should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with women, you also believe women should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with women. And since you believe women should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with men, you also believe men should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with men. That reasoning is certainly compatible with feminism.
But it is also possible to argue that, since you believe both men and women should have the right to consent to heterosexual sex/ marriage, it does not follow that either women or men should have the right to consent to homosexual sex/ marriage. That reasoning is equally compatible with feminism.
That said, I believe a certain degree of understanding of the plight of gay/ lesbian/ transgender people is a natural outflowing of feminist sentiments. Many in the church unjustly dicriminate against those who are unlike them.
For example: Joe is a churchgoer. That is all you know of him. At work he works with Ben, who cohabits with his girlfriend. What percentage, knowing nothing else about Joe, is the chance that he will tell Ben to repent of Ben’s sexual sin? Peter is also a churchgoer. That is all you know of him. At work he works with Carl, who cohabits with his boyfriend. What percentage, knowing nothing else about Pete, is the chance that he will tell Carl to repent of Carl’s sexual sin?
If it was only a sin issue, church people would treat a gay cohabiting couple the same as a straight one. But the latter is more likely to be preached to, because many in the church does not see gays in the same light they see other people. A feminist like me, who still believe God’s original intention for marriage was one man and one woman, knows society and the church discriminate against gays largely because gays are seen as not living up to the gender role constructs of society.
Do you need any particular opinion of transgender people to be a feminist?
A feminist could believe, as someone recently told me, that male/female is essentially meaningless, and they are willing to call “anybody who chooses to identify that way, for any reason” male or female. (This belief don’t seem, IMO, respectful towards anyone, trans- or cisgender. The holder of this idea seemingly only pretend that gender identity has meaning.)
A feminist could also believe “male” and “female” are words with meanings (either only the biological meaning, or a more liberal meaning range), in which case only some people can be regarded as male or female.
Some feminists say that someone’s “sex” means his/her biological (wo)manhood, while “gender” refers to sociocultural roles. People who feel female (or male) at heart, regardless of genitalia, may be holding on to a social idea of femininity (or masculinity), a social idea which they as feminists disagree with. Calling a transwoman (transman) a “woman” (man), while disagreeing with gender stereotyping of characteristics, seem to be cognitive dissonance to my perhaps-limited understanding.
Do feminists have to be pro-choice?
In the most direct sense, abortion fits uncomfortably into feminist issues. Feminism is firstly about equal rights and opportunities, and biological men and women cannot have equal rights/ opportunities with regards to abortion. If both the man and woman have equal right to decide over the life of the unborn, it gives men a claim over a female body that women do not have over a male body. If only a woman can choose it, the mother has a right over the unborn that the father does not have. If abortion is illegal, the woman has a responsibility the man does not have.
Many feminists argue that pro-choice gives women more options to act as equals in a male world. But there is also pro-life feminism, like the organization Feminists for Life. Every Christian egalitarian I have ever heard mentioning an opinion on abortion is pro-life.
(Pro-life, in my opinion, is not always synonymous with anti-abortion. In the case where a pregnancy could kill both the mother and the unborn, while the unborn stand no chance to survive anyway, defending the mother’s life at the cost of the unborn is certainly pro-life.)
And patriarchy is a major reason for abortion: Abortion is most common in the very patriarchal India and China, where people prefer boys and kill girls because of gender roles.
Do feminists approve of pornography, prostitution and other sexually promiscious activities?
So called “sex-positive feminists” do. But other feminists, some of them anti-porn feminists believe the opposite:
…There have been two strains of feminist thought on the subject. One tendency has criticized the restrictions on women’s sexual behavior and denounced the high costs imposed on women for being sexually active. This tradition of feminist sexual thought has called for a sexual liberation that would work for women as well as for men. The second tendency has considered sexual liberalization to be inherently a mere extension of male privilege. This tradition resonates with conservative, anti-sexual discourse.
– Gail Rubin, from the Wikipedia article on sex positive feminism. Here, my personal view agree with that of fellow Christian egalitarian Kathryn Elliott Stegall, who writes:
Without morality there is no equality
The day feminism embraced sexual immorality it betrayed its own cause.
In short, feminists agree on a goal: Equality. Equal respect, equal opportunities, equal safety and dignity to both men and women. We disagree on what is needed to get there.