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Power Feminism

sschurtz's picture

When I imagine power feminism I get an image of a woman finding a rope to climb up in society and then once she reaches the top, cuts the cord. To me it is also denying the struggles of other women, the idea that if I made it in this current system that there is no need to change the way things are. Even though it means fewer women can reach the top. At the same time I think that power feminists tend to be the ones we look up to. The ones that are not defined by gender and have succeeded in a patriarchal system. Some of these power feminists are the women who inspire other women to believe it is possible to achieve in this system. It can be inspirational and help change perceptions about gender when there are strong women in high positions but if she is getting there by putting down other women I’m not sure if it can be called feminism. Is power feminism ever a positive thing for other women?


Ann Lemieux's picture

power feminism is not for everybody

I think that power feminism can be really helpful and inspiring for some women; women who climb to a position of power in a patriarchal system are breaking through gender barriers and changing the perceptions of women in the public eye. However, as both of you have said, power feminism isn't all about equality, and can lead to some women being put down so that others can benefit. If feminism is for everybody, than power feminism can't be included in that definition because it does not help everyone. Power feminism might be the type of feminism that scares people away from the word "feminist" and creates the idea that feminism is bad for men. So, I also don't think power feminism can be called feminism, especially if we want feminism to be accessible to all people.

Polly's picture

When I think of power

When I think of power feminism, I think of "feminazi," man-hater, and an effort to completely reverse the gender roles of today to put women in a dominant position. I didn't think that women who acheived power within the patriarchy were power feminists necessarily, unless they refused to use their position of power to bring society closer to equality. I don't know how any woman can hope to gain power outside of the patriarchal system, because the patriachy is how we define power, dominance, and subordination. I liked what someone said in class that someone can gain power through the patriarchy and then take down the patriarchy once they are there.

I like the image you described, but I think in my head a power feminist is more extreme, and she would probably tie up some men with the cut up rope. The ideas about using vs defying the patriarchy in getting power were eye-opening to me. I had never thought about trying to get power outside of the patriarchy.

As for your question, I don't think that a feminism whose end goal is domination rather than equality should be a positive thing/goal for other women.