As many of my readers know due to my post on bell hooks and Beyonce (which can be read here), during the past spring semester at Utah Valley University I took a course titled Philosophical Issues in Feminism, which was taught by Shannon Mussett. While I signed up for the class initially because I am friends with the aforementioned Mussett, I had a few misgivings and concerns. First, I am a male and figured that by definition I would be the subject of hatred in the class. Second, I am a conservative so I agree with traditional values, which some of my feminist friends refer to as "patriarchal". Third, while I had feminist friends and had heard the name several times I had no idea what feminism ultimately was (I admit I still am not entirely sure.) However, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and give the class a try.
On day one, Professor Mussett asked us what we, meaning the class, thought feminism was (I cynically wanted to raise my hand and say "I thought I was paying you to tell me what it is, but I kept my peace.) The traditional answers came out "Equality for women", "Angry women", "Women with nothing else to do", "Rebellion",etc. Then Professor Mussett dropped some knowledge: Feminism has no one definition. To quote her "One of the strengths and weaknesses of feminism is that is has no formal definition and is always available to critique and criticism." This shocked me, but over the course of the semester I began to see that she was quite right.
|Simone de Beauvoir, French existentialist philosopher and feminist. Mussett's idol|