The Cycle | July 27, 2012
>> athletes enter olympic stadium , they'll be making history even before they begin. all 205 countries have sent female athletes, including saudi arabia and qatar and bruni. for the first time the ladies outnumber the gents by eight athletes and for the first time the women 's beach valley ball players will not be required to wear bikinis. don't worry, toure, the american team is still going to wear the bikinis but it will be at their option. compare this to the world of the woman in the 1900 olympics in paris where only 22 of the 900 athletes were women . but it hasn't been easy. as you all know, we've still got a long way to go before we really create true equality for women . we have a teen nem nis, one of the new feminists you need to know . she's the author of "a little f'd up, why feminism is not a dirty word ." thanks so much for joining us, julie .
>> thanks so much for having me.
>> i wanted to start by playing a clip. we had another feminist icon and author who was talk about her definition of feminism and why she feels it's gotten a negative con onotatio connotation.
>> women live feminist lives. it's just we've forgotten what that word means. in my book i give women a test which is you should put your hand in your panties and check what kind of genitalia you have.
>> that is catlin's take on what a feminist is. what's your definition of what a modern feminist is?
>> feminism is all about equality. it always has been and always will be. i will take that a step further and say feminism is about being able to live your life free from discrimination. it's a broad movement and means many different things to many different people but the one thing we can all agree on is equality.
>> one of the common criticisms i hear in feminism circles is the young women don't get it, they don't understand the previous battles fought, they take their rights for granted and they're not carrying the feminist torch. what do you feel about that charge sp.
>> i think there's a huge misconception about our generation. we're not educated about it enough. in my own high school feminism and women 's rights in general were all relegated to a side bar in a history book . that's a huge reason why i created "the f bomb ." i think most women would call themselves feminists if they understood what it meant. young women are exposed to the concepts and say of course i'm a feminist, i hate that i feel bad about my body, i don't like that i'm sexually harassed on the streets. that is feminism. it's just about getting that message across.
>> you talk a lot in the book about why young women and older women have a hard time embracing feminism. i want to get a quick poll of the table of just one or two words what you think of when you think of when you hear the word feminist.
>> outdated feminist politics.
>> equal rights amendment , gloria steinham?
>> i think of me.
>> i think of gloria steinham.
>> when you heard the word feminist, julie , what do you think of?
>> my pierce on the f bomb and largely the blogging community. we're able to congregate online in huge numbers and move this forward and figure out what it means for our generation. i think that it is a different fight from the 70s. that's something we need to make clear. in the 70s feminism was fighting for legislature and laws but more often than not what we're fighting for is social equality , things like body image and sexual harassment. it's more on a day-to-day basis.
>> do you think feminism has become something of a dirty word , as you put it, because there are some elements within feminism of women criticizing women for their choices, whether that's for being pro-life, for staying home, for being a mom, for getting married. that kind of woman-on-woman crime has not given feminism a particularly good name. would you agree?
>> one thing that was really important for me to address in "a little f'd up" was that us against them mentality. what i would love to do and would love to see this movement work on a lot more is starting those conversations, whether liberal or conservative. we're all women . i think equality is something that we can all agree on. we may not agree on all of the same issues that feminism hopes to cover and hopes to fight for but i think that we can find common ground . i totally believe we need to work more towards that goal.
>> julie , to be a successful movement i think feminism has to bring in more than just women . there has to be some sort of pitch to men to say, hey, this is your fight, too, you need to be here with us. what is that pitch to the average 20 something-year-old guy today? why should he call himself a feminist? why should he be engaged?
>> i totally believe men should be much more involved in the feminist movement . young man have written for the f bomb . one of the most common themes i seem to find among these young men is body image . it really affects young women of our generation and they've gotten a lot of time on that in the media and elsewhere but something that seems to go undiscovered largely is that young men are really impacted by those same standards, really rigid masculinity standards in general. i believe feminism is a movement that can help young men with that and try to help us achieve our human equality rather than gender equality .
>> great message. i love it, julie . congratulations to you on the new book.