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									                                                                                           Letters
                                                Founded in 1924


                                                       Editor
                                                Paul Baumann
                                                Managing Editor
                                                Patrick Jordan
                                                Associate Editors
                                  Grant Gallicho, Matthew Boudway,
                                        Mollie Wilson O’Reilly                             Feminism explained; achievements sung
                                       Production Editor & Webmaster
                                                 Tiina Aleman                              What brand of feminism?                         on the definition of feminism I accept and
                                                   Copy Editor                             Kathleen Sprows Cummings has written            use, which I touch on in my essay but do
                                             Susanne Washburn
                                                                                           a very entertaining essay on the tensions       not state explicitly.
                                               Editorial Assistant
                                           Christopher Cimorelli                           and compatibilities between feminism               My definition of feminism is taken from
                                               Business Manager
                                                                                           and Catholicism (“Do Women Have                 Stanford professor Estelle Freedman’s
                                               Sandra J. Taylor                            Souls?” September 11). The only problem         well-regarded No Turning Back: The Histo-
                                                  Development                              is that she neglected to tell us what she       ry of Feminism and the Future of Women.
                                              Christa A. Kerber                            means by “feminism.” When somebody              Feminism has three components: First,
                                                      Poetry                               says, “I am a feminist,” and leaves it at       feminists believe that men and women
                                               Rosemary Deen
                                                                                           that, what she (or he) means is anything        are inherently of equal worth. Second,
                                                      Screen
                                Richard Alleva, Rand Richards Cooper                       but clear.                                      feminists seek to accommodate innate
                                                   Stage/Media
                                                                                               It is a word that needs specification,      sexual difference (that is, biological dif-
                                                   Celia Wren                              since there are at least four species of        ferences between men and women) but
                                                    Columnists                             feminism: egalitarian feminism, which           to dismantle historically contingent, and
                                    E. J. Dionne Jr., John Garvey,                         holds that all opportunities—occupa-            thus inessential, differences of gender
                               Melinda Henneberger, Cathleen Kaveny,
                                     Jo McGowan, William Pfaff                             tional, educational, athletic, etc.—that are    (defined as the meaning that society at-
                                            Marketing Coordinator                          open to boys/men should also be open to         taches to biological differences). Third,
                                                Colleen Gibson                             girls/women; sexual libertarian feminism,       feminists recognize that oppression based
                                             Advertising Manager                           which holds that women have a right to          on gender is intertwined with other forms
                                              Roth Advertising
                                                                                           sexual freedom and abortion; antimale           of oppression, such as those based on
                               Commonweal, [ISSN 0010-3330] A Review of
                                                                                           feminism, which holds that men have             race or class.
                               Public Affairs, Religion, Literature, and the Arts,         always been—and still are—the enemy                Everything contained or implied in
                               is published biweekly except Christmas/New Year;
                               and monthly July and August, by Commonweal
                                                                                           of women, and that women should                 parts one and three of this definition is
                               Foundation, 475 Riverside Drive, Rm. 405, New               therefore adopt an attitude of recipro-         fully consonant with Catholic teachings
                               York, NY 10115. Telephone: (212) 662-4200.
                               E-mail: editors@commonwealmagazine.org.
                                                                                           cal enmity toward men; finally, there is        about the dignity of every human being.
                               Toll-free: 888-495-6755. Fax: (212) 662-4183.               quasi-religious feminism, which, rejecting      Indeed, it was primarily because of those
                               Advertising correspondence should be sent to
                               Roth Advertising, Inc., P.O. Box 93, Sea Cliff, New
                                                                                           all traditional religions, draws from active    teachings that I became so sympathetic
                               York, NY 11579 (516) 674-8603. postmaster: send             membership in the feminist movement             to feminism. Part two is a different story,
                               address changes to Commonweal, P.O. Box 3000,
                               Denville, NJ 07834-9982.
                                                                                           many of the moral and psychological sat-        though, and most of the myths, miscon-
                                                                                           isfactions that most people draw from a         ceptions, and controversies about femi-
                               Publications mail agreement no. 40609667. Return
                               undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Express                traditional religion.                           nism derive from it. There is a tremendous
                  
								
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