Feminism

Feminism: “A range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.” Although the definition states that feminists advocate for equality of both sexes, some still have the idea that feminists’ goals are to be superior over men. On the other side of things, some people believe that if you care at all about women’s rights you should consider yourself a feminist. Most people who look at the feminism movement in a negative manner don’t understand what it is truly about.
According to the article by Emily Shire called “You don’t hate feminism. You just don’t understand it” an example of how misinterpreted feminism is was a post made by a woman that said “I don’t need feminism because I believe that men and women are equal, not that women should belittle men.” These are the ideas that uneducated people have about feminism. People turn this into a negative movement when it’s actually a powerful plan meant to empower women not to degrade men. Essentially, if you believe both males and females should have equal rights and the same opportunities then you are considered a feminist. In a Washington Post survey, when asked the question “Do you consider yourself to be a strong feminist, a feminist, not a feminist or an anti-feminist?” I found that only 5% of men and 2% of women are anti-feminist which supports my idea that the majority of people don’t hate feminism. Also, in the survey 12% of men and 7% of women said that they had no opinion at all. Although 82% of American’s claim they support equal rights and opportunities of both sexes, only about half of those people say they are feminists. This also shows a number of people that neither like or dislike feminism but maybe just don’t understand it enough to form an opinion.
Some think that feminists don’t have a reason to advocate for women anymore since women have gained a lot of rights since the first feminist movement began in 1848. Statistics show that more women between the ages of 50-64 are feminists than any other age group. 68% of women in this age group said they are either strong feminists or a feminist. This statistic makes sense because of the issues that these older generations had to encounter in their younger days and explains why not as many young people consider themselves as feminists because they didn’t have to experience the same situations. Although we have come a long way from where we started, there is still much more to do to be completely equal.
Throughout the decade’s feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women’s rights for basic rights that include the right to work, the right to vote, to get an education, to own property, equal rights in a marriage, and to earn equal pay (still in progress). An example of a current problem that feminists are trying to bring awareness to is the wage gap between men and women. To this day women still make $.80 of each dollar a man makes. A study showed that the median pay for a woman who holds a full-time job is $41,977 while the median pay for a man who holds a full-time job is $52,146. This means that the annual gender wage gap is currently $10,169. On average, women lose a combined $900 billion every year because of this wage gap. Experts predict men and women will not reach equal pay until 2059.
Another current issue that feminists are advocating about is violence against women and rape culture. Even after the United Nations General Assembly declared the conclusion of violence against women in 1993, to this day one in three women are victims of physical and or sexual violence. A lot of this violence occurs between people in a relationship so although these statistics have decreased greatly since women gained equal rights in a marriage, this is still a huge issue. In a survey by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, they found that 43% of women aged 18-34 had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces last year. Also, in their research they found that just in the last year over 3,000 rapes were reported. Rape Culture is prominent on college campuses especially where people try to excuse sexual violence. Blaming the victim of sexual violence or asking the victim about what they were wearing or any other question that could be used as an excuse for the sexual violence taking place is also part of rape culture.
The #EnoughIsEnough and the #MeToo campaigns are examples of feminist movements used to end sexual violence. Referring to the #MeToo movement that essentially began the conversation about sexual violence, President of NOW, Toni Van Pelt, said in a statement “Over the last few months, very brave women have brought attention to a toxic problem that has been rampant in our society for a very long time.” The #EnoughIsEnough campaign brought advocates together to brainstorm strategies that could be used to change and prevent sexual violence in the workplace and in schools. These movements have brought awareness to these major issues going on in this world that nobody else advocates for.
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson. This quote describes the situation very well. Many believe women are trying to be “as strong” as men but women already are strong and powerful. Women can make just as much of an impact as a man could. Feminism is all about trying to prove women’s strength to the world. I know it’s possible to make the right changes in the world because we have made many changes thus far and if we continue to work towards our goals and raise awareness and educate people on these problems we will someday get to a place where nobody feels less than another person because of their gender.