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Microfeminism: There's Nothing Small About the TikTok Trend

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the concept of "microfeminism" - small everyday feminist acts that can create systemic change. It highlights examples of microfeminist behaviors, such as deliberately ordering names in emails to prioritize women, and argues that these small actions are meaningful and important, not "micro" or insignificant.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] "There's Nothing Small About Microfeminism"

1. What are some examples of microfeminist behaviors described in the article?

  • Putting the assistant's name before the male CEO's name when emailing for scheduling purposes
  • Deliberately putting the woman's name first when addressing an email to a team
  • Calling the dads first when kids are sick at a preschool, and calling the moms for billing questions
  • Asking "what did she say?" when someone mentions seeing a doctor/specialist/lawyer
  • Insisting that mortgage documents list the woman's name first

2. Why does the author argue that these "microfeminist" behaviors are not actually small or insignificant? The author argues that these small acts are meaningful and important, as they counter the pervasive cultural norms that cast men as more important, confident, and expert than women. Taken together, these "little indignities" reinforce a society where men are seen as the default and women are marginalized. Countering these norms, even in small ways, is an intentional and significant form of resistance.

3. What examples of "microfeminist" behaviors does the author describe engaging in herself? The author shares that when interviewing successful businessman fathers, she asks them how they managed the work-parenthood balance. And when going out to eat with her husband, she often grabs the check when it is handed to him, even though this may feel "a little extra."

[02] The Significance of Microfeminism

1. How does the author respond to the term "microfeminism"? The author questions why these feminist acts are described as "micro" or small, arguing that they are in fact bold, important, and change-making. She suggests we should call them what they are - a meaningful stance against the systemic biases and microaggressions that women face.

2. What does the author say about the cumulative impact of these small feminist behaviors? The author contends that while these acts may seem trivial in isolation, taken together they "reinforce the fabric of a society" that disadvantages women. Countering these pervasive cultural norms, even in small ways, can drive meaningful change.

3. How does the author view the role of "subtle biases and microaggressions" in women's experiences? The author cites a quote from Lenore Blum, who explains that these small, seemingly innocuous biases and comments "pile up" and become "insidious" over time, even if they don't individually rise to the level of needing action. Resisting these microaggressions is an important, if understated, form of feminism.

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