Words We Heard: ‘Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with’

For this week’s “Words We Heard,” I want to emphasize the purpose we’ve given this column: food for thought. Not: stuff we can all agree upon. Not: reasons why we’re right and they’re wrong.

We’ve thought long and hard about our budding movement and how we should address political issues. We decided that encouraging the women of Cincinnati to be informed, to consider opposing beliefs, to engage in intelligent discussion with someone they don’t agree with, was more of a critical passion for us than was taking a stance to the political left or right.

So you may read some things in this column that you don’t agree with. Don’t dismiss them. Instead, take the opportunity to consider the stance of someone you might not have empathized with. What can that opportunity teach you?

  • Religious illiteracy “fuels bigotry and prejudice and hinders capacities for cooperative endeavors in local, national, and global arenas.” -Diane Moore, director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project, as told to The Huffington Post‘s Antonia Blumberg
  • “Their grades are improving. Their self-confidence is improving. … You can’t help but get emotional to see just how successful they’ve become and how bright their futures are, and as they’re winning these tournaments or bringing home these incredible report cards, you’re proud of them.” -Megan Schmittauer, founder of Fighting Chance boxing and mentoring program, in a video on the non-profit’s Facebook page
  • “We are proud to have fallen in love with the sounds of New Orleans’ own Tank and the Bangas. What won me over about the band’s performance of ‘Quick’ were the interactions among lead singer Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball and her bandmates, and the way they seemed to surprise one another. It all felt so organic and on-the-spot.” -Bob Boilen, founder of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest, on the 2017 winners
  • “In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socioeconomic system—while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.” -The Women’s March on Washington, in a statement on their website
  • A day to advance women’s equality in the workplace could “encourage women to ask to meet with their boss to talk about their pay. Or polish their resume. Or be a mentor and mentor a younger woman in the office, and give her career advice. There’s a lot more productive things they could be doing rather than not showing up.” -Karin Agness Lips, founder and president of the Network for Enlightened Women, in an interview with Cosmopolitan‘s Rebecca Nelson
  • “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. It’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.” -Emma Watson, 
  • “I am a 62-year-old woman who has never protested in my life until the Women’s March. But then, I have never … had such a strong visceral feeling of being in danger before.” -Linda K., a participant in The United State of Women’s Week of Action, in an e-newsletter from the organization
  • “If I could change one thing, it would be that our society would view fathers as more than just financial providers.” -Brian Young, Cincinnati father of two, in an interview with The Breeding Ground
Kiersten Feuchter