The emphasis was on defining feminism as Rita Zhang gathered with California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) students on Wednesday, March 22, for a Zoom presentation entitled “Feminism and Money.”
Zhang, a financial empowerment educator, facilitator, and coach, led with the question, “what is feminism? And what is not feminism?”
“Feminism is so big that I think having a broad definition of it is to be expected, and it can feel huge to try and cover the whole thing,” said Malibu Taylor, a graduate student at CSUMB.
Everyone is entitled to their own definition of feminism due to different experiences and the way specific protests have made it seem.
“When we’re thinking about feminism, we also have to think about the other systems that are at play at all times, and the term ‘Bell Hooks’ uses a lot of systems of domination, but women aren’t only experiencing oppression in terms of womanhood, but it’s all systems,” said Zhang.
Once there’s room for things other than gender incorporated into feminism, that leaves more room for others to be involved in the conversation.
Zhang also discussed women’s rights and how it correlates with specific financial issues, which can make it hard to survive.
This can lead to its connection with money and specific aspects, making it harder for women to get the same pay as men as well as just living arrangements.
“We live in one of the most expensive states in the country, and it’s tough,” said Zhang. “We have some of the highest housing costs.”
That makes it impossible for us to have equality throughout the housing institution, according to Zhang.
“So even in the example of those who are unhoused when we connect that example of wealth to gender, women of color are disproportionately affected in terms of housing rates.”
Feminism can be labeled as something that is still being determined today, seeing as different aspects of it and life experiences can influence people’s opinions.
“Capitalism is really hard, and it’s really hard to survive on a financial level,” said Zhang. “Even how ingrained sexism and patriarchy still are in our society.”