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Feminism 101 discussions

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Feminism 101 discussions are discussions in which the elementary ideas of feminism are discussed, often to skeptics or critics but sometimes to potential allies who simply have not been exposed to these before or have never discussed feminism with an identified feminist.

The term 101 comes from the usual code for the very first course in a discipline at university in many North American systems (for example, English 101 would be the first English course taken at undergraduate level). The metaphor generally does not literally mean that the discussion is equivalent to an introductory Women's Studies or Gender Studies course at undergraduate level, more that it's at the level of the first sets of discussion or reading one might do about feminist ideas.

Because of the potential for education of allies, feminism 101 discussions are not always harmful. However, continual insistence on receiving Feminism 101 education has these problems:

  • it frustrates detailed specific discussion of issues between feminists
  • it continually centres the discussion around the experiences, perspectives and beliefs of men
  • it plays into a sexist societal pattern of women needing to educate everyone around them on morality and etiquette on demand as a matter of thankless duty
  • it plays into a sexist societal pattern of ignoring the existing hard work of women (who have written more feminist-perspective resources for men than one could get through in a lifetime)
  • it allows concern trolls to take over a discussion space

All of the above can be exhausting and demoralising for feminists and allies. Some feminist discussions limit Feminism 101 discussions to particular threads or boards, or ban it altogether. There are some dedicated Feminism 101 resources which are designed to act as a magnet for this kind of discussion to stop it taking over all feminist discussions.

Other 101 discussions Edit

The concept is equivalent in, for example, anti-racism and anti-homophobia activism. Someone who has (or believes they have) mastered feminism 101 has not necessarily 'graduated' from 101 in other anti-oppression discussions, especially if they are relatively privileged.

See Intersectionality.

Further reading Edit

This wiki has a Feminism 101 section for potential allies, including Resources for men.

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