Algerian women are freeing themselves by working within the system. I don't know if she identifies herself as a feminist, but Ms. Nabti, quoted below, definitely has the spirit:
... Women make up 70 percent of Algeria’s lawyers and 60 percent of its judges. Women dominate medicine. Increasingly, women contribute more to household income than men. Sixty percent of university students are women, university researchers say.
... Sociologists and many working women say that by adopting religion and wearing the Islamic head covering called the hijab, women here have in effect freed themselves from moral judgments and restrictions imposed by men. Uncovered women are rarely seen on the street late at night, but covered women can be seen strolling the city after attending the evening prayer at a mosque.
... Ms. [Wahiba] Nabti wore a black scarf covering her head and a long black gown that hid the shape of her body. “I hope one day I can drive a crane, so I can really be financially independent,” she said. “You cannot always rely on a man.”
It seems sometimes that popular culture likes to make attractive, young women out to be idiots by definition because it makes them seem so much more approachable. So, oh ... you know ... gettable. Insecure enough to put up with anything so long as they can have some attention in return. And on that note, thank you, Kelli Clarkson:
Apparently Clarkson has spoken out about her experiences with sexist music executives and their blatant disapproval of her writing her own music because she's a young woman ... In the meantime, she just won a Song of the Year award for, yes, a song she wrote herself. Take that.
And you should definitely go read this interview with the commander of the first female UN peacekeeping unit, a contingent of Indian women who've been deployed to Liberia.
To be a feminist is to say with your words, your actions, your life that, yes, women have a right to be in the public eye and have their own minds. To say that women have a right to their own work, their own paths to economic security. That women deserve to be allowed to reach and then be recognized for their own accomplishments instead of solely as the enablers of the acheivements of others.
It's to say that women have a right to choose when to be parents, to protect their health and autonomy. The right not to be accused of having caused others to assault them. The right to have their words respected in a court of law in the face of sexist pseudoscience. The right not to have their appearance be held as the measure of their character and talent. The right not to be held in contempt for having their own sexuality. It is to recognize that women are competent to organize against injustice and to take them seriously when they do so.
It's to accept that, as Kramarae and Treichler said, women are people.
You may have heard that quote before. Maybe you're even sick of it. But I can assure you that as soon as it seems like social institutions and people in general really get it, you won't have to hear it anymore.