The F Word: Who Wants to be a Feminist? airs on CBC tonight

Do you think that because the workforce is 50% women, our fight is over? Or because we have access to the birth control pill and a university education that we have won? Think again sister.

The F-word: Who Wants to be a Feminist? explores the meaning of the word “feminist”, how the feminist movement has shifted its purpose and appearance over the past 100 years and, finally, what does it look like and mean in Canada today? It is a compelling documentary that provokes important discourse but also provides a condensed summary of Women’s Studies 101, be it differentiating the differences between Second Wave and Third Wave Feminism or getting pop quizzed on Nellie McClung.

From 60’s feminist icon, Germaine Greerto Amy Richards, author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminists and The Future, The F Word brings together a strong and engaging group of academics and activists to create an intellectual, but easy to digest, overview of the modern feminist movement with the focal point being: Why are so many women scared of calling themselves feminists? From that, other big questions emerge, like, how did feminism become such a confusing mess? What part has media played in sculpting our views on feminsim? What does being a woman look like today? How can we distinguish commercial feminism from meaningful feminism? Is Lady Gaga our modern day feminist? Really?

“According to the UN, 51% of the world’s population is made up of women but women make up only 1% the world’s wealth.” This is just one of the startling statistics presented in the F-word: Who Wants to be a Feminist? Another alarming one is that in 2005 Canada ranked #7 in a worldwide census that measured gender gap in terms of equity within politics, health care and employment. Guess where we ranked in 2010? #20. Let’s not forget that just last year, our prime minister openly decided to not support abortion in foreign aid. If we don’t pay attention, we could lose our reproductive rights, right here at home. We are far from being equally represented in parliament. Think about that.

The doc reminds us, or clarifies, that a feminist is not about being a man-hater or a hippie with armpit hair. Nor is it about strutting in 3 inch pumps and declaring to the world that you like to fuck. Being a feminist is about equality and caring for ourselves and other women. Our mothers had their version of feminism and we need to figure out ours. If we don’t unify, we will lose what others have fought for and we will gain nothing.

Don’t be shy to call yourself a feminist, be proud.

The F Word: Who Wants to be a Feminist? airs on CBC Television’s Doc Zone at 9:00pm EST Thursday, March 3.
Directed by Michael McNamara. Produced by Judy Holm


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