Daily Kos's Feminist Wish List -- What Do You Think?

What do you think needs to happen to the feminist movement in order for it to remain viable (and fun)? Blogger fgbm27 at The Daily Kos attempted to answer that question yesterday with the post 15 Aspects The Must Be Recognized in Third-Wave Feminism.


What do you think this feminist is putting on her list?

The list covers topics ranging from transsexual rights to cosmetic use, but is it enough? Is this what your list for the future of feminism looks like?

Here is an abbreviated version (meaning I shortened the explanations) of the list posted at Daily Kos, the entirety of which can be read here:


1. There must be a widespread understanding that feminism does apply to men.

2. While transsexual acceptance and rights are an important aspect of third wave feminism, it must understood that not every person is as educated on the topic as some are.

3. Fox "News", World Net Daily, CNS News, Drudge Report, and The Fox Nation are all unreliable, far-right, anti-feminist sources.

4. Applying make-up, nail polish, shaving legs, and most other sexist, cosmetic double standards are NOT antitheses to being a feminist - the motivation behind the products are.

5. Feminists can be from any religion, race, creed, gender, socioeconomic class, country of origin, sexual orientation, relationship status, height, status of ability, experience or lifestyle.

6. As feminists, we cannot allow sexism or objectification to happen to males, like it has to females.

7. All women who are politicians, actresses, singers, CEO's, or in any position of power are NOT necessarily feminists.

8. Despite the Republican party's strong anti-feminist stances, being a member of the Republican party does not mean that one is inherently anti-feminist.

9. Feminists must remember that men are sometimes the victims of sexual assault; not just women. Also, men are not always the assailant. While, statistically, women are usually raped by men at a much greater level, one must never forget that unconventional sexual assault is still sexual assault.

10. While one can be a feminist and personally oppose abortion, taking away a woman's right to choose is an inherently anti-feminist position.

11. In cases of rape, victim blaming is always unacceptable. However, over time, there multiple cases have occurred in which the "victim" has lied about being raped for personal gain. While these attacks are very, very infrequent, feminism must not be blind to their existence.

12. Feminism must be unafraid to call "fakers" out. Every time that Sarah Palin would call herself a feminist (before promptly contradicting herself), every time Tammy Bruce agrees with Bill O'Reilly, and every time plastic surgery is marketed as a "liberating" thing to do, real feminists must speak up!

13. Making sexist comments against men, in favor of women, is a directly un-feminist action. Whether it be a joke from a progressive, Dana Perino discussing the Mark Sanford affair, or anything else, these comments enforce gender stereotypes and are still sexist.

14. There is nothing wrong with choosing to live in a traditional lifestyle (being a stay-at-home mom, wearing a burqa, having the male in a heterosexual relationship be the breadwinner, etc.), but there are major problems with expecting it and castigating those who do not fit into it. This being said, people who choose to live in traditional lifestyles must respect others choices as well.

15. Reaching out to younger people is one of the most important actions that third-wave feminists need to accomplish.


So what do you think of The Daily Kos's list? Did they leave anything out that you would add? Did they include anything on this list that you think shouldn't have been? Do you think there is a future for third-wave feminism, or should we move on to another wave (or stop with the wave-speak altogether)? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Image courtesy of Getty Images.

by Kelsey Wallace
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26 Comments Have Been Posted

I love the list

I think this list does a good job of summing up most goals, except I would add a few more things:

- Feminists must denounce inequality in all veils. Feminists cannot support classism or racism, etc., and should actively fight all social inequalities.

- Feminists must respect the LGBTQ community, for the gender-based problems they face are our own as well. Attacks on femininity are attacks on all of us.

I also don't think attacks on FOX News are really important enough to earn place on such a list, if it ever did come to mean anything.

thoughtful for the most part

although i found the list to be thoughtful on the whole, there were some pieces that i thought were either missing or misleading.

i found that the 5th item very clearly excluded overall size acceptance... (obviously, it listed height but that may have more to do with little people(?)) i find it troubling, though not surprising that body diversity in terms of weight wouldn't be on the list. fat acceptance or subscribing to the theory of 'health at every size' seems to be excluded from rhetoric often. (cool link on FA and health: http://kateharding.net/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/)

number 3 threw me for a loop if only because the original (and thereby the shortened version) neglects to mention that we should *always* consider the source and the fact that not all democratic sources are conversely reliable. we should always be wary of slants, period.

Yes, but ...

I am for size acceptance as long as it does not send the message that fat is healthy, no matter what. Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease are VERY REAL, VERY UNHEALTHY, and EXTREMELY COSTLY chronic conditions that are, more often than not, UNINSURABLE ones. In my family, maintaining a healthy weight (that is NOT size zero or anorexic. That can be a size 14 or even some more) really means keeping the diabetes and heart disease away. If you are fat and healthy, fine. More power to the fat and healthy fat activists. But I really want to see feminism advocate respect and equality for people of ALL sizes. That also includes the non-anorexic healthy-thin people that are just as marginalized and discriminated against as the fat people are.

I'm concerned

Anonymous says: I am for size acceptance as long as it does not send the message that fat is healthy, no matter what.

You make some valid points. Yet, I am concerned about the fact that you wish to emphasize so strongly how unhealthy being fat is. You capitalized words in what I perceive as an alarmist fashion. I am not against living a healthy lifestyle, but what you say comes across as saying that being fat is unhealthy no matter what. I know you didn't actually say that but I feel you implied it. I feel like you don't believe fat is healthy, ever.

Definitely you have to watch out for diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases. But these diseases can also affect people who are not medically classified as obese. I am not a fat activist so I cannot speak for them but I know that the mantra "fat is okay" makes many nonfat people uncomfortable.

While it's true that thin people have been treated poorly, they do not suffer the same discrimination fat people experience. Both experiences are valid, but fat people experience a more oppressive discrimination. Especially when their size or presence compels people to discuss how unhealthy it is for them to be that way.

There is no proven link

There is no proven link between any type of diabetes and/or heart disease, and weight. Some studies have shown correlation, but there is absolutely no proof of causation. I suggest that you go back and actually read <a href="http://kateharding.net/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/">Kate Harding's essay</a>, also linked above, and follow the links she provides. The conventional wisdom on this issue is wrong. Also, while I agree that naturally skinny people can suffer size-related discrimination, the fact remains that thin people have privilege in this culture. To turn the issue back around this way is like claiming we should focus on "reverse racism" or sexim as practiced against men. Discrimination and prejudice happen in both directions, but the power differentials are real as well, and must be taken into consideration.

troubled (re: Yes, but...)

thank you for sharing your point of view. i appreciate your concern of health regarding heart disease and type 2 diabetes and think it's admirable that you want to maintain your family's health by guarding against such diseases. i also agree 100% that feminism should advocate respect and equality for people of ALL sizes (i would agree even more so by just saying "ALL people.")

i am not sure if you intended to do so, but there were some implications in your comment that came across to me as troubling. i know another concerned commenter has already responded to the particular line that we should never send the message that fat is healthy, but i just want to emphasize the point that *fat does NOT mean poor health*

firstly, there is the issue of how we define fat. (npr article on debunking the bmi http://tinyurl.com/nur5tc) there doesn't seem to be a universally accepted means of defining fat as there are social, racial, cultural, evolutionary etc. aspects to body size. as another commenter also points out, there is a huge distinction between correlation and causation. you can never draw conclusions of actual causes when considering correlative data. furthermore, the health sciences have historically been using the white male human form as their standard - clearly it's difficult to extrapolate *meaningful* statistics from only one set of people (based on sex and race) to people of all sexes and races.

i am also curious as to how you find evidence of "non-anorexic healthy-thin people" are "just as marginalized and discriminated against as" fat people. slim folks (as you pointed out that are not extreme by way of anorexia [or other disorders]) are the idealized social norm. i have never, for example, found a seat that would just not accommodate a thin person. i have also never come across a situation where a thin person was not able to enter a clothing store which carries affordable stylish fashions and find the clothing was not designed to fit their bodies, or told something along the lines of, "we only carry your size online." slimmer folks are not usually de-sexualized, for being slimmer (similar to ageist discrimination toward women). i've also never heard incredibly pervasive jokes about a thin person's body on all forms of media - sitcoms, movies, print sources, even the news. "healthy-thin people" are never (or rarely?) discriminated against, criticized, ostracized and generally judged in a way in which much of society deems acceptable merely for being exactly that. as another commenter pointed out, more eloquently, it has to do with the power dynamic.

2nd: Thoughtful for the most part

I agree that fat acceptance has been left off. I say this realizing the relationship between feminism and the fat acceptance movement is a sometimes-complicated one.

I would go so far as it say that it should have its own number, because of the importance within feminism of rejecting traditional notions of beauty and the surveillance of women's bodies. Much like the distinction made between chiding individual women for wearing make up vs. challenging the cosmetics industry, I think its important for ladies of all body types to challenge the weight loss/diet industry at the very least.


I agree, this list encompasses many of my concerns as a feminist, particularly in regard of acknowledging that sexism is a two way street. :)

Re: Item #7

Does this mean that the likes of Ani DiFranco, Margaret Cho, Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, and Dar Williams (among others. No, not Angelina Jolie or even Jenny Lewis now) should be discredited because I see them as "entertainers" (more so than celebrities) that actually express themselves as feminists? I think not. Some outspoken entertainers do not deserve to be "belittled" by the right-wing-punditry machine (and even by the liberal/progressive likes of DailyKos and Alternet contributors) for espousing feminist viewpoints because they (as in the right-wing punditry machine) feel so damned uncomfortable just hearing them, or they (as in the liberal/progressive likes of DailyKos and Alternet contributors) feel that such opinions make embarassing attempts to discredit an ever-diversifying movement. Entertainers are people, too, and I love it when some are actually behaving like caring individuals speaking/demonstrating truth to power for a common good, instead of behaving like egotistical, self-absorbed "I'm this way because I'm a star" divas set atop of their high-horses messed up on booze/drugs flashing their bare vaginas to the paparazzi; not to mention those that proclaim themselves as feminists but do things blatantly unfeminist, like appear in Carl's Jr/Hardees/Burger King ads, and the countless "reality" programs that reek of sexism. So what if some of the music and messages of Ani DiFranco, Margaret Cho, Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, and Dar Williams (and others) turned me on to feminism? To me, any positive messages/actions that are feminist will do.

umm, try it again...

methinks you misread that. it's not discrediting actual feminist entertainers, it's saying that just because someone is a female and an entertainer (or in any other position of power) does not mean that they are a feminist. so, ani difranco = feminist, lady gaga = not feminist.

I was just trying to point out ...

... that not all female entertainers are not feminists. #7 sounded that way to me. Thanks for clarifying.

Okay ... yet again ...

(Take 2, one time at band camp ... etc.)

My attempt was to point out that not all entertaining women are feminists, but sometimes the ones who are get lumped-in with the non-ones, and thus, discredited. My "ranting" got me carried away there, a bit. Thanks for clarifying.

I hate to be the negative one here...

I'm uncomfortable with the picture attached to this blog. Its presence suggests that it was included in the original post. I know it seems like a small thing, but it wasn't a good choice.

I don't like the list.

I agree in theory with most of the listed items, but there is so much missing. We have to remember that while we should be "fair" to the dominant class(es) who wish to support the struggle, we have to acknowledge that there is a power difference. #1 is something I agree with and have always agreed...but "double standards" function differently and we need to acknowledge that. Sexism towards men is wrong, just as sexism towards women is wrong, but it is NOT the same thing because of the power dynamic.

I also want to make the point that just because a woman is not a feminist (Sarah Palin, for example) doesn't mean we should accept and/or encourage misogynistic comments towards her. I'm thinking specifically of the Nailin' Palin thing, the Playboy article about the 10 conservative women the author wanted to "hate f*ck," and much of the anti-woman comments by male liberals towards conservative women. I don't like that stuff. Yes, we should call Palin, Bruce, and others on their rhetoric but we shouldn't abandon them to the wolves.

Conservative AND Liberal media should both be held accountable. Just because a media outlet is Democrat and liberal does not mean it gets a pass.

Infighting hurts the feminist cause because many mainstream white heterosexual cis women historically have ignored class, racial, gender, and sexual orientation differences. #2 sounds condescending to me and if I was a trans person I would be offended. Basically, if the blogger was "clearly" bigoted, then she requires empathy and education. So that means, all the weight (instead of shared responsibility) is on the trans person/ally. Yet the power to define transphobia is in the hands of the cisperson offender.

#5 seems to disregard the racist and homophobic history of the previous "waves" of feminism and comes across as clueless. It's almost the same thing I see in employee manuals.

#6 is the same as #1- plus I believe we really need to understand what "object" and "subject" are. It is difficult to objectify a dominant being. Look at our language and gender behavior. Lesbian feminist philosopher Marilyn Frye has some good stuff to say on this subject.

My initial problem with the picture and this list is that together is that it comes across as third wave feminism for white women. It doesn't acknowledge black feminism, womanism, chicana feminism and how these different feminisms should work together. Or the existence of other feminisms like ecofeminism, ecowomanism, third world feminism, Marxist, socialist, or radical feminisms. Feminism should also have the face of a woman of color. And if that's unfair, then we have problems to discuss.

I understand that this is the blogger's personal list and she says she wants to expand upon it. But people approach feminism(s) in this way as if this defines the movement.

Let me preface this by

Let me preface this by saying that I AM a person who happens to be trans. That said, I am offended by the statement in the list about 'transpeople", but, I am also offended by your statement of "if I was a transperson". How about being offended as a person? Should I preface my reaction to misogynistic comments similarly? "If I was a woman I would be offended". Sounds pretty bad, right? Well, as a human being I am offended when a marginalized group is treated poorly at all. Doesn't matter if I happen to be part of that group.
While I appreciate most of what you have to say you might want to check yourself on that.
On to my opinion of educating the cisgendered, ignorant people... I am really sick of having to politely answer question from so-called 'liberals'. Just because you are a liberal or consider yourself a "trans-ally" does not mean that you get to ask me questions about my genitals or my body in general. Nor does it make it okay to ask "but what is your REAL name?" and other questions like that. Some days I am willing to educate people, other days I wish that a few of these people would just get to work on google and read all of the information out there about transexuality, etc. I would be happy to recommend reading to people. I really wish that a few of those ignorant people would just ask me for recommended reading instead of thinking that my body and mind are open to commentary and inquiries.

On Being Polite

Sounds like your frustration with educating cisgender people is justified. I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't think the intent of #2 was "transgender people are obligated to teach cisgender people." However, #2 does seem to instruct the educated on how to act, but doesn't give the uneducated any rules to follow.

I think one thing your comment brings up for me is that the list seems to be missing the idea that if feminists are supposed to be open to participate in all kinds of conversations with other feminists of varying viewpoints, then we need to agree that it's a two way street. Meaning, we need to be polite about other people's blind spots, AND we also need to be aware of our own blindspots and try to avoid becoming deniers of our own or society's racism, sexism, transphobia, etc when it is exposed.

I think my statement that I

I think my statement that I released on Feministing in response to the criticism of Number 2 sums it up:
"I'm trying to explain that not everyone is as educated on the topic as some are. Those who are educated should not be driven to assume bigotry on the part of others - it leads to unnecessary and unproductive bickering. My writing also made it VERY clear that transphobia is unacceptable and so is ignorance."
However, let me add this:
"I did not mean to offend anyone. I personally felt that Number 2 was clear enough. If I was to rewrite this piece, then I would definitely clear that one up. I am sorry for the confusion."

Please accept my apology

You are right. I should have said I was offended (as a person) and what I actually said in my post was not cool. I thought I was being sensitive and I messed up. I apologize.

Feminist Wish Lists Vary

It's a list that has some good thoughts which for the most part I'd concur with. I would have left number 13 off the list and replaced some musts with shoulds, but that's just me. As for waves of feminism, we can never let up. I think there should be as many waves of feminism one on top of another until we're past the point where equal rights (and pay) are denied on account of sex.

*on account of _anything_

*on account of _anything_ but legitimate merit.

I have to agree with the

I have to agree with the criticisms of the list- particularly the way in which there is a weird emphasis there that anything but clear-cut (???) transphobia should be meet with empathy and education since, putting aside issues of making minorities responsible for educating others, it seems to assume simple ignorance on the part of mainstream feminism and not active maliciousness- something that given feminist and cultural history on trans issues I think is generous.
However I also want to call attention to the way in which #5 in the original list displays highly eurocentric and western biases towards feminism. From the original:

Feminists can be from any religion, race, creed, gender, socioeconomic class, country of origin, sexual orientation, relationship status, height, status of ability, experience or lifestyle. While some religions and lifestyles have very anti-feminist sentiments, accepting individuals of these communities will allow us to spread our message to even the most unlikely repentants. Feminism is about equality, not discrimination.

I get the sentiment however the language here implies a certain ownership over feminism that ignores the fact that vibrant feminist movements are and have been happening across the globe and in all sorts of communities for ever (and by that I mean movements dedicated to gender equality). The marginalization of those movements by mainstream feminism, which would prefer to co-opt non-western women as subjects to be helped (or vessels through which messages can be spread) rather than stand in solidarity with women already fighting, is still something feminism is struggling with coming to terms with.
To give an explicit example I would rewrite it like this:

WE recognize that there have been autonomous movements to end gender-based oppression that have involved women, and others, from every conceivable religion, race, creed, gender, socioeconomic class, country of origin, sexual orientation, relationship status, height, status of ability, experience or lifestyle. It is our duty as feminists to support and stand in solidarity with those actors and bring attention to their analysis and actions while putting aside our pre-conceived notions of what feminism should look like and listening, trusting and supporting other women. In this way we hope to use feminist resources and time in creating networks and communities which have a global and diverse reach.

This kid is genius. Give him

This kid is genius. Give him a cookie.

I find applying make-up,

I find <i>applying make-up, nail polish, shaving legs, and most other sexist, cosmetic double standards are NOT antitheses to being a feminist - the motivation behind the products are</i> and <i>every time plastic surgery is marketed as a "liberating" thing to do, real feminists must speak up</i> contradictory. How people present themselves -- through surgical alteration or cosmetic ritual -- CAN be liberating. It's up to each individual person to determine if it is necessary. So if speaking up means recognizing that different people have different ideas of liberation when it comes to presentation and sense of self, I'm all for that. But I suspect that's not the case here.

I also find it interesting that a third of these wishes are male-centered and deal more with stereotypes about the feminist movement than actual practice of excluding men, denying that men are sexually assaulted, insulting men on a regular basis, and blaming men for that wonderful Invisible Rape phenomenon. I see less about working on a world that would change these aspects of life for all genders, and more complaint about how it should not be done to the other gender. I'm not sure if that's the most productive road to take.

1. The two statements are

1. The two statements are not contradictory. Allow me to clarify - there is nothing wrong with any person willingly getting plastic surgery. However, the issue arises when people are told by society that they MUST get plastic surgery.

2. Your assumption at the end of your first paragraph ("if speaking up means recognizing that different people have different ideas of liberation .... I'm all for that. But I suspect that's not the case here.") is completely wrong. I think you should read the original version at Daily Kos, rather than relying on the abridged version here.

3. In response to your last paragraph, I once again encourage you to read the entire article. The full context will qualm some of your concerns.

Clarifications & Comments

1. Thank you, Bitch magazine's website, for posting my article!

2. Not to be a bother - I am humbled by this reposting of my writing - however, "The Daily Kos" is neither a person nor a blog. "Daily Kos" is the name of the blog that my writing was originally posted on. My pen name was "fgbm27". I encourage everyone to read the original at Daily Kos!


3. Concerning Number 2: "I'm trying to explain that not everyone is as educated on the topic as some are. Those who are educated should not be driven to assume bigotry on the part of others - it leads to unnecessary and unproductive bickering. My writing also made it VERY clear that transphobia is unacceptable and so is ignorance. I did not mean to offend anyone. I personally felt that Number 2 was clear enough. If I was to rewrite this piece, then I would definitely clear that one up. I am sorry for the confusion."

Out of curiosity, do you

Out of curiosity, do you have a particular stance on "Fat Acceptance" and the "Health At Every Size" movement?

I have to say, the only

I have to say, the only thing on this list that I found personally offensive was the bit about abortion. I absolutely do not understand how people, feminists and anti-feminists alike, can uphold this "it's the woman's choice" argument on abortion. If the aborted thing was a blob of tissue, or anything else that was never going to be alive in the future, then absolutely it should be the woman's choice because it is WHOLLY her body. That being said, that doesn't apply to a child, fetus, embryo, whatever. Whether you believe that the thing starts out as a fetus and then at some point in time down the line becomes a baby (no matter where you believe that point to be) it is unequivocally a living being. And nothing, absolutely nothing, barring impending death or catastrophic injury to the mother, can justify a woman choosing to end the life (or future life, if you choose to see it that way) of that being. This being has abosolutely no choice in the matter, a matter of which affects that being's life, not only the mother's body. This is getting a tad rambly, and I'm sure I'm infuriating many people, but I've spent years listening to different sides, arguments, theories, etc. but there is just absolutely no way that terminating a pregnancy, and killing a living being no matter how small, is ok.

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