Feminism STARTED this recent matriarchal renaissance. Without it we wouldn't have had Lesbian Feminism to empower Lesbians and create our own Dyke Marches, we wouldn't have had women's health care centers to stand up to the anti-choice folks, though like most women's stuff it has all gone defunct. Essentially much of feminism has died...our women's bookstores are all but defunct. There isn't a single one in the Bay Area, and most are gone across the nation..this was a place women could get alot of information, feminist, lesbian, women's empowerment and women's spirituality books, lucky to find a new one online...but nowhere to go and just connect with other women, socialize, go to a small concert there or hear a feminist/lesbian/women's spirituality author read from her new book and sign it for you.
They were our mini women's centers and hangouts where we could really feel community and safe. We wouldn't have had feminist Take Back the Night Marches and self defense workshops and Feminist women only martial arts schools to confront violence and abuse against women and girls and raise their consciousness to STOP the violence and to empower them. Most of those are gone too. We wouldn't have had our Feminist printing presses that printed our tomes because the mainstream press wouldn't even touch our issues and therefore we were effectively silenced till we created those printing presses...sadly most of those are gone too. We have taken such a huge leap backwards.
While women can get into new trades and careers, they are no longer supported by a strong and powerful Sisterhood behind them. And like I said before, it's Feminism that started the Tradeswomen movement which is still active today, but we are still at the same numbers (2%)dealing with the same issues we dealt with 30 years ago, and yet Affirmative Action, except on federal projects has been stripped away, thanks to the rightwing.
We are almost at the point of losing abortion rights, not my struggle, though I support it, cuz I'm a Dyke and have plenty of my own, like convincing young nonfeminist butch/boyish dykes that they should hold onto their breasts and feel empowered in their femaleness instead of so willing to shed it to taste the power of men at the expense of their own bodies and psyches...it is absolutely epidemic in the younger butch lesbian generation...BECAUSE THERE IS NO RADICAL LESBIAN FEMINISM and all our institutions have largely gone away: our bookstores, printing presses, women only events, grassroots sisterly spirit, and PRIDE in ourselves for being female, instead of shame. Too easy to be ready to take hormones and surgeries to counter the sexism, lesbophobia, and straightjacketing of female roles and opportunities they see......and they are NOT Female proud, like we were in the heady days of Lesbian Feminism in the '80's with our nascent and growing women's and Lesbian institutions.
We've lost so many of our women's businesses, by and for Lesbians and Women to have a safe place to go.....the biggest success has been the Women's Spirituality movement, but there too, so many of these young women don't feel they 'fit in', because they are essentially feeling shamed for even declaring their womonhood and their Femaleness, because it's different from the mainstream/malestream. So they identify as 'queer', 'genderqueer' instead...I hardly see Butch women at women's spirituality events and circles anymore, or even Lesbian and women only events...because they sadly, no longer see themselves as BEING INCLUDED in WOMONHOOD! And this is all very, very sad to me....the death of our Feminist institutions, and our safe places and our Feminist/Women/Lesbian businesses, cafes, ect. Even Osento our women only hot tub place the last to go on Dyke row on Valencia Street in San Francisco, shut down last year!
Feminism is about the FULL AND TOTAL EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN AS A WHOLE...and there are many kinds of Feminisms.......some fit some of us, others do not. But to simply say...."I'm for all people's rights, but not necessarily a Feminist" denies that women are STILL OPPRESSED fundamentally, that we struggle under a patriarchal system, and while we've gained some pieces of the pie, we still got a LONG WAY TO GO! And in some ways have gone backwards....