Feminism -Story Ideas That Go Beyond the Ordinary
We provided five story ideas about feminism. We specifically focused on ideas about feminism that go beyond just stories about what's recently been featured in the media, such as the pay gap, the #metoo movement and the tampon tax. We also focused on stories that can be filmed and featured as video stories. Therefore, we suggest the following five stories: feminism and Wonder Woman, feminism and the military, feminism in high school, feminism and anorexia, and feminism and fanfiction.
FEMINISM AND WONDER WOMAN
The first story proposition is the female empowerment that emerged in the last year, since the movie Wonder Woman premiered in the cinemas worldwide. Zoe Williams for the Guardian wrote "Yes, she is sort of naked a lot of the time, but this isn’t objectification so much as a cultural reset: having thighs, actual thighs you can kick things with, not thighs that look like arms, is a feminist act." The writer mentions Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games, as another feminist icon.
The story can also tackle the fact that feminist storytelling was a huge theme at the movies in the last year: from Hidden Figures and Girls Trip, to Star Wars and Mudbound, as well as this year's Oscar nominee Lady Bird, women have taken the prominent role in movies the audiences loved and paid to watch. Wonder Woman grossed $800 million worldwide, and became the highest grossing live action film directed by a woman. The movie effectively shattered all the presumptions that suggest women-led films cannot succeed on a blockbuster level. Therefore, the feminist theme works both on-screen and off-screen.
FEMINISM AND THE MILITARY
Historically, a large number of feminists were anti-militarists, and the opposition to war and militarism has been a powerful current within the women's movement: "Prominent suffragists like Quaker Alice Paul, and Barbara Deming, a feminist activist and thinker of the 1960s and '70s, were ardent pacifists". Feminism also often criticizes the military "as a hierarchical, male-dominated institution promoting destructive forms of power". The current discourse is tied to whether women should fight for equality when it comes to drafts in the military as well as rank progression in the military. Many women serving in the military have been struggling with understanding their identity and whether feminism is something they can, or want to support.
Such a letter has been shared on The Oddesey, where the author starts with saying: "Unlike you, I disagree that the biggest threats to women are men. I do not believe that women are victims. Rather, I view the struggles each woman has as a part of life and an opportunity to grow." However, as the author puts more thought into it, she concludes: "In a way, I am the epitome of a feminist: I am PROVING that women do not have to fit the 'typical female' mold and can do many of the same things that men can do. But the difference between many feminists and me is that I am acting on my thoughts and words."
FEMINISM IN HIGH SCHOOL
A British 14-year-old high school student recently started a petition titled "A In Equality" which has a goal of including feminism on the PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) curriculum in all UK schools. The founder of the movement explains that "in order to achieve equality on every front, we need to start by educating the future generation on the rights that will affect every single person every single day". The student echoes thoughts of many female students around the world who find that if gender equality was to be included on the curriculum, it could help, in the longer term, to form a positive attitude towards feminism. Such ideas are not only voiced by girls, but also male students.
In Australia, a group of teenage male students from Sydney High School in Australia filmed a video that reminded everyone why we need feminism. For the video, the students from the all-male school "asked the women in their lives why feminism is important, and they then read out their responses". The reasons they got were moving, and relatable to all women. The video went viral.
Another angle that can be approached is from a teacher's perspective. A great starting point is this essay written by a teacher about how it is to teach feminism in a high school: "I pick books written by women. We talk about the fact that Susan Eleanor Hinton published The Outsiders using her initials rather than her name, because her publisher felt people were less likely to buy a book about gangs written by a woman." These kinds of vocal and sometimes less vocal fights could portray a different side of every-day feminism.
Although these storeis are from the U.K. and Australia, they could apply to the U.S. as well, with the growing culture of demonstration and protests in American high schools. This example could be a starting point for examining feminism in secondary educational institutions as the movement for equality gains traction.
Feminism and anorexia
According to a recently published study, feminist theory can help treat anorexia. Researchers at the University of East Anglia conducted a 10-week study with seven inpatients at a clinical center in Norwich: "They used Disney films, social media, news articles and adverts to talk about the social expectations and constructs of gender, how we view women’s bodies and how we define femininity. They spoke about the way we portray appetite, hunger, and anger, as well as the ways we objectify women’s bodies." Results were visible, and comparable, and showed that by shifting the focus from just focusing on personal problems that lead to anorexia, societal understanding of feminism can help women see themselves in a new light. According to studies, the four ways misogyny contributed to eating disorders are:
"1. By Making Women’s Bodies Out to Be Dangerous
2. By Equating Body Type with Gender
3. By Dictating That Women Be Desireless and Unimposing
4. By Defining Women By Their Looks"
We link to this essay of a woman who struggled with anorexia at the same time when she started discovering feminism. An interview with her or a person such as her would be a possible angle for this issue.
FEMINISM AND FANFICTION
Many women discover feminism online, and a large portion of those women discover feminism through fanfiction. Whether it's writing or reading, participating in the fanfiction culture is often consumed from a young age and encourages women to think for themselves, dream new universes from themselves, and create dialogue with other women. However, most women are ashamed of writing fanfiction, mostly because of the erotic nature of their work. Fanfiction shaming can be seen as a feminist issue, which is a shame as many women see fan fiction as a form of liberation. One author claims: "There is a safe space that our particular group of fandom provides for autonomy and feminism through an exploration of kink and sensuality, dominated by the written word". The fanfiction angle can also be tied to the high school/teenager angle as many authors are teenagers. Amanda Stenberg is one of the modern leaders of the feminist movement and she claims that "when you read fanfiction by young fans, be it about Doctor Who, Supernatural, Star Trek, or Star Wars, you see just how smart the writers are. I just can’t wrap my mind around people who underestimate the power of people who want to learn, who want to grow, and who want to be better."
The five stories of feminism that go beyond the ordinary are feminism and Wonder Woman, feminism and the military, feminism in high school, feminism and anorexia, and feminism and fanfiction.