Sincerely Silver’s Message: What True Feminism Looks Like
Feminism, as a movement and a topic, is an incredibly charged one in our modern society. As a brand primarily focusing on personalized jewelry for women, Sincerely Silver is highly invested in the modern movement of feminism as it encourages the stories of women everywhere. We want to be a source of inspiration for all, and to encourage women to tell their stories in various ways, whether through personalized jewelry or social media stories. However, it is also important to us as a company to be transparent with what we mean when we discuss feminism and why it matters to us. (For more information on why feminism matters to Sincerely Silver, check out our History of Feminism post!)
On this page, we will outline:
- The history of the feminist movement leading up to its present
- The issues with the feminist movement today
- What do we mean by feminism
- Why this entire discussion matters to us as a company
A Brief History of Feminism
The history of feminism is important to understand why it matters to us today, here at Sincerely Silver. The “wave” metaphor for feminism and its history has been argued to be reductionist, diminishing each segment to a single, unified agenda, when in fact, the history of feminism is composed of a variety of ideas, some of which have been in serious conflict. However, overarching themes are here reproduced in order to analyze the movement’s development.
First Wave (1830s - early 1900s)
- Dedicated to political equality & political rights
- Focused on property rights, women’s suffrage (right to vote) and opposition to ownership of married women by their husbands
Second Wave (1960s - 1980s)
- Dedicated to social & economic rights → fight for equality in all aspects of society
- Focused on sexuality, reproduction and political rights of women
Third Wave (1990s - 2000s)
- Influenced by postmodernism & queer theory
- Focused on intersectionality, which outlines how oppressive institutions (i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be understood independently.
Fourth Wave (Now)
- Regarding ideas, the fourth wave is not distinctly different from the ideas of third wave feminism.
- Primary distinction of fourth wave is that it prioritizes making feminist critique in public discourse through public spheres, like social media.
Where Are We Now?
As a historical movement, feminism has done what it intended to do: fought various injustices against women and sought equality for women in social, political, economic and occupational spheres. The current fourth wave feminist movement is not so much a fight against unjust laws or sexist institutions as it is a fight against unconscious biases against women and centuries’ worth of cultural norms that disadvantage women. While it’s fair to say that women (and various other groups of people) are still faced with disadvantages, the feminist movement is today primarily dealing with other people’s perceptions, beliefs and assumptions -- not things that can be easily defined, measured or altered.
Historically, feminism was useful: women now have equal ability to vote, access to education and healthcare, and the freedom to pursue whatever career path they so desire. Because of feminism’s historical presence, women are free to be career-driven professionals, stay-at-home moms, or both. Women are no longer hindered politically, legally, socially or economically. Today, feminism is primarily concerned with the implicit bias, or unconscious stereotypes, against women. This is particularly troubling because it demands social change based on unprovable claims.
Philosophically, feminism got it right: all people should be afforded the same basic human rights and respect. However, philosophical feminism has morphed into a political movement demanding a particular social identity and a belief system for the movement as a whole. It is natural to see ourselves as part of a particular group that is struggling against another group, but when a philosophy transforms into tribalism, its underlying beliefs no longer serve to promote its original moral principle, but to serve the promotion of the group. Feminism today is doing just that: struggling to remain relevant by continuing to promote the ideological claim that women are victims.
Thus, another feature of modern feminism is the fact that the entire philosophy rests on the presumption that in order to be equal, women must first accept that they are not equal. Feminism could not survive without this basic premise. The entire movement has deteriorated into a self-defeating entity: if women aren’t victims, feminism isn’t needed. Feminism’s underlying philosophical origins are no longer important or valued in its modern iteration: what matters now is the continued success of the movement at the expense of its audience and adherents, women.
Kayla Kibbe stated: “It is a movement that must undermine its own goals in order to sustain itself by creating victims out of its followers and calling it empowerment. Modern feminism has trapped itself in paradox and lured its followers into a losing battle. If women are truly equal, feminism itself is superfluous.”
(If you want to know more about how the features of modern feminism are counter to both its origins and what we believe as a company, check out our History of Feminism post.)
What Do We Mean by “Feminism?”
Here at Sincerely Silver, we are reclaiming what it means to be a “feminist.” We believe the modern feminist movement has drastically derailed from its positive and influential philosophical origins, and has become harmful and damaging not only to the group of people it professes to protect and support (women), but to all of society as a whole. We are not arguing that everything is perfect now; only that the feminist movement has accomplished its goal of political, economic and social equality for women. Today, third wave and fourth wave feminists argue that feminism is not about equality, but about fighting a force called The Patriarchy. We do not agree with this.
The people of Sincerely Silver believe that feminism is and should be a form of equality for all sexes, in which a person is free to be whoever they want to be without economic, political or social limitation. We believe that feminism is still relevant today, but not in the way it was understood in its inception and not in the way it is understood by its modern definition (third and fourth wave). Feminism is still important today because, individually, women are still in need. We believe that feminism was an important historical movement since it addressed the disadvantages of women as a group in society. However, we believe that feminism today should focus on the individual stories of women, and not on the idea that women as a group are oppressed. As a company, we are focused on building each other up through encouraging one another: we believe there is strength in every woman's story.
The people of Sincerely Silver believe feminism...
Should be a movement that emphasizes connection, strength, empathy & emotionality for all people.
Advocates for emotional resilience within all people & encourages caring for all people.
Is a form of equality for all people.
Focuses on the empowerment of women: women overcoming adversities, being strong, and having a voice.
Is still important, but not in the same way it was in the past. The focus of the movement has changed from societal barriers to individual stories. There are still some improvements that could be made; namely, judgement of others based on unverifiable prejudice remains a concern.
Should enforce the idea: “never judge a book by its cover.”
In its origins, was focused on the basic human rights of women as a group. Today, it should be concerned with individual stories of women rather than the disadvantages of women as a whole.
The women of Sincerely Silver believe being a woman today means...
Being respected for our ideas
Being affected by the world and using that affect for positive change
Not letting our status as a woman define us
Not having to think about the fact that we are women
Not being limited by our gender status
Being whoever you want to be, without limitation
Being strong, empathetic, brave, kind, ambitious, adaptable, compassionate, supportive
Empowering other women without tearing men down
Not being devalued just because we are women
Why It Matters