“From several kinds of feminism ideology, how do you classify Gilman?”
This question came up after I presented my paper entitled “Woman Madness in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Putu Oka Sukanta’s ‘Dewi Bulan Jatuh di Batam’”, in the International Seminar held by Catholic University Soegijapranata Semarang, last January 16, 2008.
I must say that it was somewhat difficult to answer since Gilman did not call herself as a feminist. One clear reason behind Gilman’s opinion was in the end of the nineteenth century, the women (feminist) movement struggled for suffrage. Gilman was of opinion that right to vote didn’t automatically make women equal to men. She was convinced that working to earn money in order to be economically independent would make a woman equal to men. However, the twentieth century critics labeled her as a radical feminist due to that conviction—that made Gilman different from her contemporary woman activists in that century. Therefore, to answer the question above, I cited what the twentieth century literary critics called Gilman.
“How do you classify yourself? A liberal feminist, a radical, Marxist, or any other kind of feminist? Someone asked me via a short message.
This question also made me dumb. How do I classify myself?
Different from Gilman who refused to be called a feminist, I proudly claim myself as a feminist. I oftentimes think that I need to expose my way of thinking, with the hope that people will understand why I say this and that, or write this and that. Nevertheless, I don’t mind either if my exposing myself as a feminist to public doesn’t make them easily understand me. (This is of course because many people in Indonesia still don’t know what ‘feminist’ means. They are somewhat confused of terms ‘feminist’ and ‘feminine’. LOL.)
However, the same as my confusion how to classify Gilman, I don’t want to classify myself either, whether I am pro of what kind feminism ideology. As I have written in several posts in my blogs (for those who loyally follow and ready my posts, probably they will not really mind themselves whether I am a radical, liberal, etc feminist), I have my own definition of feminism. Feminism is more to give women right to choose kind of life for themselves. Give women freedom to make their own decision. What kind of decision? Read my previous post I entitled “Gender Equality”. Issue of what kind of feminism ideology is not important for me anymore, as long as women feel at ease in their lives. Focus more on bettering women’s lives rather than stopping at question “What kind of feminist are you?” We are all sisters, aren’t we? No matter what kind of feminism ideology we adhere? Even no matter whether a woman doesn’t involve herself in a feminist movement.
PT56 15.40 230308