Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
  • n. The movement organized around this belief.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A social theory or political movement arguing that legal and social restrictions on females must be removed in order to bring about equality of both sexes in all aspects of public and private life.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The qualities of females.
  • n. The presence of specifically feminine characteristics in the male.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the movement aimed at equal rights for women
  • n. a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women

Etymologies

From French féminisme circa 1837, ultimately from Latin fēminīnus, from fēmina ("woman"). First recorded in English in 1851, originally meaning "the state of being feminine." Sense of "advocacy of women's rights" is from 1895. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the one basic, most important fight in feminism is for choice.

    The Mask of Motherhood « Tales from the Reading Room

  • "The word feminism has become synonymous with the idea of man-hating when in fact it has more to do with women than men," she wrote, using the example of Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister who became the first female head of the International Monetary Fund.

    Magda Abu-Fadil: Arab Editor Aysha Taryam Slams Indifference

  • The word feminism itself had not exactly inspired a ferocious defense by its own adherents.

    Big Girls Don’t Cry

  • For this reason, many women's organizations consciously avoid the term feminism in their strategic actions, in order to more successfully convey their message to the public.

    Nationalism, War, Crisis And Women's Politics

  • Asking me if I believe in feminism is like asking me if I believe in integration.

    Feminism's Identity Crisis

  • Being conscious of this vast disparity between our experiences, I'm appalled the word feminism has been denigrated to a place of almost ridicule and I very passionately believe the word needs to be revalued and reintroduced with power and understanding that this is a global picture.

    The Guardian World News

  • Whilst the Third World women do not often like to associate with the term feminism as they feel the First World feminism is blind to imperialism, class and race, it is important to recognise that this important form of women's politics is an example of women environmental politics, that is not 'soft' and 'peaceful' in a sense, and is often underreported.

    feminist blogs

  • "It's gotten to the point where the term feminism brings to mind patriarchal images of hairy, angry hags more often than the idealism that the movement initiated"

    Women's Space

  • It's gotten to the point where the term feminism brings to mind patriarchal images of hairy, angry hags more often than the idealism that the movement initiated "That women have the basic human right to make their own choices"

    Women's Space

  • The term feminism itself has been turned on its head and is up for reinterpretation.

    The Washington Times stories: Latest Headlines

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Comments

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  • The radical concept that women are people, too.

    July 14, 2008

  • Bumper sticker politics:

    Feminism is the radical notion
    that women are people

    P.S. I think I added scissoring last night :)

    April 14, 2007

  • "Legs scissoring to the rhythm?" Sounds pretty hot. Go feminism!

    April 14, 2007

  • "This morning I woke up happy. I laid in bed 45 minutes after my alarm rang just to take it in: the feel of my sheets, my legs scissoring to the rhythm of the hopeful word that kept flipping through my mind: feminism. When does one ever wake up with that? With a four syllable word like that flipping by? Like a flip book. Only it's the same image every time. Only it doesn't move. Only it doesn't change. Only it changes everything."
    - Youth Group Girls

    April 4, 2007