You are here:

Women`s Issues/clarification of terms ?


Dear Ms. Fuentes:

I am engaged in a facebook chat that has taken a turn that I’m not so sure how to address.  I’m probably asking too much, but I’m hoping for your input, even if you will only answer two questions for me:  1-what is a feminist   2-what is criminal, as in criminal act

It’s important to me because the other commenter is my oldest brother who, I think, is trying to have an open mind.   What’s a bit disturbing is that two other males in our family have “liked” his comments and did not “like” mine.

I am not hoping to win a debate here.  My goal is to inform and educate in a loving way.  Anyway, a copy of the chat follows, beginning with a link to what started it all……
“Every time someone says we don’t need feminism anymore, things like this come to mind. Due to insufficient dowry this young girl’s husband lacerated her face with a razor blade.”

HE WROTE:  I doubt it was anyone's intention, but it borders on insulting that someone would indicate the only human beings who abhor this type of cultural abuse enough to stand against it would be feminists.  Even someone as male, white, Christian, and southern as myself knows this sort of thing is criminal.

I WROTE:   I didn't get a chance to investigate the issue, but is what happened here criminal? I'm not so sure the husband would have been arrested or convicted in his local court.   BTW, it is possible to be a white southern Christian male feminist! Or even a black yankee Jew homosexual (male) feminist!  Anyone who believes (advocates) for social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men is a feminist whether you are aware or not that you, too, are one!

HE WROTE:   By definition, a feminist is “a person who participates in organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests” (Merriam Webster).  Personally, I do not place the rights of women above those of men, children, or people of any race or creed... Injustice toward women is no different to me than child abuse or any other sort of abuse. And, this is only my opinion, but crimes against humanity (as demonstrated by the disfigurement of this young woman) are criminal without regard to whether an arrest can/will be made, especially in a theocracy.

Dear Theresa:

There are many definitions of the word "feminist." My own is that a feminist is someone, man or woman, who is dedicated to women securing equal rights with men. Such a person doesn't place women's rights above those of men or above those of any other group.  He or she is interested in equality for women. Women have made tremendous stride in achieving equality in this country and abroad since the mid-1960s but the remaining problems,both in the U.S. and abroad, are immense.

Every country has laws defining what are crimes. A crime is an act forbidden by public law, the perpetrator of which is punishable by law. If someone is found by a court of law in his or her country to have committed a crime, that person has committed a criminal act and is a criminal.


Women`s Issues

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sonia Pressman Fuentes


I am an author, public speaker, feminist leader and lawyer. I was the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and a founder of WEAL (Women`s Equity Action League) and FEW (Federally Employed Women). I am an expert in the field of women`s rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex.


I spent eight years as an attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and worked for one year as a volunteer attorney with the Montgomery County, MD, Human Relations Commission. I have lectured all over the world and the U.S. on women's rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex and had articles on the subject published in newspapers, magazines, and journals and on the Internet. I also spent 11 years with multinational corporations in the field of EEO and labor law.

I belong to NOW and the Veteran Feminists of America nationally and the Brandeis University National Women's Committee in Sarasota, FL. I am a member of the board of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Sarasota, FL.

See my Web site at for articles written by me, information on my memoir, "Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter," and interviews of me.

I have an LLB from the University of Miami School of Law in Florida.

Awards and Honors
I received a superior performance award at the EEOC and was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, among other awards and honors.

©2016 All rights reserved.