Tori Amos Says Modern Day Feminism Shouldn’t Just Benefit Women

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Feminism has been a hot topic recently. With the emergence of that ‘Women Against Feminism’ tumblr causing many divided arguments online, it is clear there are still many misconceptions surrounding the movement and the word.

We talk about the “Fourth Wave of Feminism” for a reason, because we know that the world we live in is very differently and in some countries, more progressive than ever. When anti-feminists, both men and women, claim that feminists today are clutching at straws to find something to fight for, that they are all victims, damning the patriarchy, and encouraging “slut culture”, it’s sad because they fail to recognize that what the movement stands for is something very legitimate: human rights.

It’s the name that can be problematic, not the cause. In an interview with Jezebel about her new album ‘Unrepentant Geraldines’, singer Tori Amos was asked about feminism and her views today. Being that she was seen as a feminist icon from back in the 1990s when she emerged onto the mainstream music scene, it’s natural to see how her own thoughts on feminism have evolved over the years as history has changed.

When asked how feminism fits into her work these days, she took it as an opportunity to first lay out her thoughts on the idea.

“Well look, if you’re a real feminist, in truth then you’re a humanist because it can’t be about the matriarchy that just supplants the patriarchy. It has to be about humanity and equality for all. And that to me is the seed of spiritual feminism. Now feminism came out of a place with the suffragettes and issues that completely and absolutely needed to be addressed at that time and still need to be addressed in certain parts of the world.”

Touching on the fact that it is very much needed in other parts of the world, where women’s choices are completely absent, is something that needs to be part of the conversation.

“For me now, in the 21st century in 2014, in America and in the West, it’s very much about human rights. Women’s rights naturally are very important to me and violence against women and those types of things, of course is something that I’m aware of, but also, there are a lot of men who are feminists that I know that are very concerned about women’s rights, and that needs to be acknowledged.”

Enforcing that men are also part of the feminist conversation is also crucial, because it will hopefully break down stigma that the movement is anti-men or about taking down the patriarchy like Tori said.

“There are a lot of men in my life that are feminists and I’d like to say that, as well, I’m concerned that the men in my life are being treated fairly and with compassion. And to me that is where feminism inspires me—it goes beyond gender. It has to. For us to be whole and for us to really have learned and for us to be giving back to the world, we have to consider everyone’s equality and humanity.”

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If we are to claim being feminists by the definition of wanting equality, then that means men are part of that equation also. There have been some claiming that perhaps egalitarianism would be a better word, as it is not seen as gender-specific like the word feminism. If actions speak louder than words, than the labels won’t matter either way.

In another interview with Bitch Magazine in march about her album, Tori spoke about how many of her songs throughout her career have been very female-centric and also expanded on her definition of feminism.

“It means something different now than it did. It was an easier exercise in my 20s and 30s to be really critical of myself, and of everyone, really. Often I’ve found that women can be much more critical of women than men are,” she said. The issue of women being divided is probably the worst thing about how feminism has evolved, because more than anything, it should about respecting each other’s different choices.

“I’ve been so blessed to meet women that tell me their stories, but so many of the stories are about girl-on-girl crime, ruthless judgment, and it’s such a cop out! It’s easy to rip someone to pieces. It’s easy. It’s the obvious thing to do. It’s harder to understand that it’s being done because they, the bullies have usually been abused.”

So what is the solution? And how do modern day feminists come to a place of understanding amongst each other as women, and with men?

“In feminism, there’s gotta be a place where there is tolerance and exploration. Women need to find, and make, a community where we can understand each other. We need to react to each other, and listen to what each of us is expressing.”

Well said Tori! This is what we aim to do here at GTHQ. Provide a forum where all ideas are being expressed under one over-arching theme; women supporting women. We have to encourage each other, not tear each other down. What defines us should in no way divide us. If we continue to use feminism as a weapon against each other, it will not survive. Our generation is no longer fighting for the right to vote and work and be elected to public office in western countries, so let’s redefine feminism to fight for other women around the world to have those same rights, and allow it to be a platform for female empowerment for the rest of us.

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7 Comments

  1. I like her music but she’s so uneducated. Her goofy New Agey views have nothing to do with real feminism. The patriarchy is a real thing, whether she wants to believe it or not, and feminism is decidedly about WOMEN only, not every other group that has marginalization issues.

  2. Pingback: True Feminism – Nurturing Health Network

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