The New Meaning of Feminism

My work offers free counseling, one of the counselors was explaining to me the approach that they like to take. “We use feminist theory in our counseling,” she said. “We work a lot with empowerment and believe that while a lot of harm and damage comes because of relationships, it’s also in relationships where people can find healing.”

I’m on board for the relationship stuff, but this is the second time since I’ve been in Chicago that I’ve brushed shoulders with bona fide feminists, heard them talk about empowerment, and been completely lost.

It’s not that I’ve never heard the word “empower” before, and I know it means roughly “to give power to”. But what that looks like in the context of counseling or the context of society is lost on me.

On the other hand, I’m realizing that feminism refers to a very particular set of beliefs and theories, many of which are not tied to sex or gender. Coming from Whitworth, where the average student says, “Feminists are… people who are angry,” this is a bit of a shock.

I’ve considered myself a feminist, but I really am just a female who thinks things and talks about them. Which, I guess, is not the same thing.

I have to go read some books or something.

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