Are you a Feminist?

BettyJean Downing Kling

Are you a feminist? To many this sounds like a silly question, and some might respond with a statement like; “Well Yeah! If not a feminist, what does that make me? A misogynist (having a hatred of women, as a defined group)?”

Men and women alike call themselves feminists believing the term refers to respecting females and believing them equal and capable deserving the same opportunities as men. And yet describe yourself as a feminist and there is a good chance your will be misjudged!

Feminism comes with a lot more negativism than it deserves. Unfortunately not everyone has a positive opinion of the term or for what the movement accomplished for women and girls. In order to undermine the feminist movement a great number of negative stereotypes have been perpetuated; such as the man-haters, ugly, lonely, barren, angry woman who is a feminist only because she cannot find or keep a man etc. etc.

These stereotypes are intentional propaganda, plain gibberish, served up to give the so called “post-feminist” generations pause about self-identifying as feminists. Instead are we to be ashamed our foremothers fought for the right to vote and are still fighting for equality under the laws?

I suggest films like “Feminist: Stories from the Women’s Liberation Movement” are very important and serve to correct the history of women’s history and struggles. This independent film, made by Jennifer Lee (@JenniferLeeUSA) documents some significant events of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and reminds us of the positive changes which addressed the legal and economic obstacles facing women.

Men and women worked together to tackle issues of working women, gender roles, salary, and opportunities of women in the workforce . It is important that we tell the whole story, correct the lies instead of focusing on Bra-burning for example, which became associated with the movement, but the term is a misnomer as no bras were actually burned at the Miss America protest.

“Feminist: Stories from the Women’s Liberation Movement.” 

Why are people reluctant to call themselves a “feminist”? Why aren’t we proud of what the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and the 1970s did for us?  I am making this documentary film about the significant events of the Women’s Liberation Movement so that we can remember why we’re proud of the word “feminist.”  I have traveled all across the United States and interviewed over 30 feminists who participated in the Women’s Liberation Movement – including some famous faces. The Women’s Liberation Movement was a momentous time in our history – when you see these feminists tell their stories, you will be proud to call yourself a feminist.

Why is this film important?

The fight for equality is not over. For example, today only 17% of our congress is female with only six female governors. In order to move forward and truly have equality we must embrace our history. Rejecting the word “feminist” holds us back. Hearing and seeing the stories of what these women did when they were college students during the Anti-War and Civil Rights Movements will show us how to move forward.

As a mother, it’s important to me that my child knows the history of women in the United States. Women have a rich history full of dramatic stories, tough fights, and huge successes. In order to create equality for women in the United States, we must honor the work done during the Women’s Liberation Movement.

I completed all of the interviews with my own money. The cinematographers who shot the interviews did so for free. This film is a labor of love for all of us. ~Jennifer Lee