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Feminism is back -- in fact, it never went away

Feminism is back -- in fact, it never went away
U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 20. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Feminism, like any other social construction, is constantly evolving, often in imperceptible ways, until some celebrity makes some bold statements that make it "cool" for a new generation to share common beliefs about how to play their feminist role. ("Is feminism's current moment all slogan and no change?," Op-Ed, Oct. 1)

The truth is that feminism, known some decades ago as the women's movement, has never gone away and never will as long as there is a lack of equal representation in government and in powerful positions in the private sector, limits on access to reproductive healthcare, a diminishing female image in the entertainment industry, sexual violence against women, a gap in pay for the same work and so on.

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What is new in this new trend of feminism is the online discourse that rapidly popularizes — and trivializes — its rhetoric.

Berta Graciano-Buchman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: Back in the 1960s when I came of age, Meghan Daum would likely have been writing wedding fashion reviews for this newspaper.

Now that she has a high-profile space to publish personal opinion, it would be more useful if she delineated ways in which men and boys could make it uncool for males to denigrate or batter females. If she dislikes "movements that don't go much further than slogans," she could use her writing skills to furnish pithy scripts that both men and women could use to defend the humanity of females as well as other vulnerable groups.

Most societies prefer to play whack-a-mole with feminist "uprisings." Emma Watson courageously voiced a possible new dialogue between men and women. Daum, in contrast, has written a piece of pointless negativity.

Diana M. Granat, Altadena

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To the editor: The dictionary on "feminism": "1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. 2. The movement organized around this belief."

Dale Spender wrote: "Feminism has fought no wars … killed no opponents … set up no concentration camps … starved no enemies … practiced no cruelty. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets … for reforms in the law. If someone says, 'Oh, I'm not a feminist,' I ask, 'Why? What's your problem?'"

Yet Daum grows "cranky and impatient" if feminism "can seem more reactionary than responsive"? Oh, sister!

Or should I just axiomatically say, "Oh, brother!"

Julie-Beth Adele, Long Beach

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To the editor: I hope that the current campaign against the continuing discrimination against women continues unabated until we in our society can "get it right."

I think we are a far more misogynistic culture than we are willing to admit. It is personally hurtful that we have so many varieties of discriminatory behaviors toward women. I can only hope that those who continue these discriminatory behaviors will reflect on the reasons, conscious or unconscious, for their behaviors and choose to change.

Only then will we experience a decrease in the number of ways in which women continue to be dehumanized on a daily basis.

Karl Strandberg, Long Beach

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