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 Feminism and Social Justice

"Feminism and Social Justice" is an online course offered by UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) and is taught by Professor Bettina Aptheker. This course serves as an introduction to the concept of feminism, using Professor Aptheker's profound working definition. It also delves into the history of feminism, covering pivotal moments from Angela Davis's case to the #metoo movement.

I enjoyed this course a lot and finished it in less than a week. I loved how Professor Aptheker analyzed various factors when examining the events and conveyed essential information through her well-paced narration. The information is comprehensive but easy to understand as well, thanks to Professor Aptheker's explanation of each pivotal point's background. For me, building a strong foundation in feminism holds immense significance. Prior to enrolling in this course, I held a passionate commitment to social justice. However, this course provided me with a solid knowledge base on feminism, enriching my understanding and empowering me to engage with social justice issues more effectively.


Bettina's Working Definition of Feminism:

Definition of Feminism:

According to Merriam-Webster: "The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes."

  • Key Components of Feminism:

  1. Women's Equal Participation: Feminism asserts that women should have an equal say in all aspects of human affairs, including defining the meaning, purpose, and activities of their lives.

  2. Collective Empowerment: Feminism promotes the collective empowerment of women.

  3. Intersectionality: Acknowledges that for women of color, achieving collective empowerment is linked to liberation from racial oppression.

  4. Economic Independence: Women's empowerment requires economic independence, meaningful employment, education, and freedom from poverty.

  5. Reproductive Rights: Women should have control over their bodies, including choices related to contraception, abortion, childbirth, and pre and post-natal care.

  6. Freedom from Violence: Empowerment entails freedom from all forms of violence and sexual coercion, including rape, harassment, domestic violence, and violence in times of war.

  7. Fluidity of Gender: Feminism recognizes the fluidity of gender and supports the rights of individuals to pursue transgender identities without discrimination.

  8. Inclusive Language: Includes the use of non-binary pronouns and gender-neutral language to ensure inclusivity.

  • Feminism's Mission:

  • Feminism is a complex endeavor focused on achieving equality among all genders and people.

  • It seeks to eliminate all forms of hierarchy and systems of domination.

  • Acknowledges that gender, racial, sexual, and social identities are not fixed or permanent, requiring flexibility in its approach. 

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