The Evolution of Feminism
In this three part blog and video series, we hope to share more information about Feminist Therapy and what to expect from Feminist Therapists.
Part 2: The (Brief) Evolution of Feminism (Check out the video explanation here!)
Feminism has been used historically to liberate some, and oppress others. In order to continue moving the rights of all people forward, it’s important that we acknowledge this history openly and often. The need for feminism arose through colonization and patriarchy. Prior to colonization, indigenous women held important leadership roles in their community and most families were matrilineal (their wealth, identity and power were passed down through mothers).
We think of feminism from a decolonizing lens, which means recognizing that a lot of feminist progress has been in favour of white cisgendered women. In the first “wave” of feminism, white feminists mainly advocated for their voting rights as property owners. The land these middle class white women claimed to own through their husbands was stolen from Indigenous people. Canada’s “famous five” are often mentioned when discussing feminist progress, seeing as they were able to convince the supreme court to acknowledge women as persons in 1929. However, they were only concerned about the welfare and rights of upper middle class, white, Christian women and were actively involved in the eugenics movement and the sex sterilization act.
In the late 80s and early 90s, women of colour continued to voice concerns about white feminism, and Kimberlé Crenshaw outlined the idea of intersectionality in feminism: which illustrates that people experience multiple forms of oppression in varying ways through gender, class, ability, sexuality and race. All of these forces intersect and create unnecessary suffering for people resisting them.
The idea of intersectionality created our latest (fourth?) wave of feminism, which recognizes that all forces of oppression (like class, ability, race, gender, sexuality, etc) need to be addressed for equality and equity to be a reality.
In an effort to move away from white feminism towards a just future for everyone, we take the lead from activists like Sonya Renée Taylor, indigenous feminists like Leanne Simpson, feminist therapist Dr. Laura Brown, activist-therapist Vikki Reynolds and local decolonizers like Matriarch Movement and Nahani Creative.
Stay tuned for Part 3 – What to expect in Feminist Therapy.