Jan. 22nd, 2017

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Due to some transfer credits from the semester I spent at UVM, I had some room in my first semester of my MSW program at UB to take an elective. I took a class called Gender Issues, and the instructor really did a lot to challenge what my ideas of feminism were at that time. If you had asked me prior to that class if I was a feminist, I would have easily agreed that I was. I just had a more narrow view of what that was. 

See, the feminist perspective in social work is not just about equal rights for women. It's about equal rights for everyone. So yes that obviously includes gender, including the rights of men to not have to fit in with a toxic masculinity narrative, but it also includes race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, ability, mental health status, socioeconomic status, and any group that is marginalized. Any group that is not being supported and allowed to reach its fullest potential. And understanding that people fit in more than one category. Intersectionality, but no one was using that word at that time. 

And it's not just about giving everyone something equally, it's about reaching a level of equality, and understanding that people need different things to get to that point of equality. You might need more support than I need, but I might need more than that other person. It's also about changing the systems, because maybe we shouldn't be trying to fit ourselves into an outdated system that doesn't work for all of us. 

I was elated to see all the pictures and videos of the Women's Marches happening all over the country, and the world. Yes, it was a march for women's rights, but I was also pleased to see signs addressing other issues. Because the true feminist perspective is concerned with all of it. 


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