Christine U Felix
Ms. Angela Brownlee
9 November 2018
Feminism: A Woman’s Fight
In the 21st century, women and girls still facing discrimination, unequal status, wage gaps, and daily violence. Feminism faces exploration and abuse based on gender and sexuality; feminism aims to accomplish social justice. Feminism has an immense effect on females’ roles in society and in everyday life. Women are getting sick of staying in the house and not being able to do what they want. They are expected to give birth, cook, clean, take care of children, and earn a living. Fighting for equal pay and fighting against sexual harassment are just two common battles women fight for every day. Women have been strong since the point of beginning, however, only until recently has society started to understand the true strength of women. Our daughters are taught to say no and be strong. We can travel the world and teach other women about empowerment and the importance of education. We have the right to vote for politicians who support women rights. Fighting to enforce tougher rape laws, we fight for today. The military let women fight, we climb mountains, run marathons, give birth and run for president. Tell us what we can’t do, but we still have a lot of fighting to do. Women passed through many problems, obstacles, and barriers to become an important member in society.
“Feminism arose in relation to a masculinized view of society that marginalized the female, making it both other and subsidiary (Hollway, Michell, and Walsh 2015). Feminism is defined in terms of an advocacy for women’s rights or a theory of social equality that was against the oppression/exploitation and devaluation of women and minorities more generally. According to Dr. Theophilus Mukhuba feminism, in general is a belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. Early feminism seemed to drive us in two opposing directions, one to eliminate difference and the other to celebrate it. Because success had been determined in largely masculine terms, becoming successful in some arenas meant eliding difference and attempting to overcome it.” (Charles pg. 478) Feminism refers to a wide diversity of ideas, approaches and beliefs directed toward supporting for gender and sex equality for women. “In order to understand some of the difficulties women faced in historical era both in society and in development of social theories, some of the details of the situation of women should be considered. First, women in both 18th and 19th centuries in England and North America were not recognized as individuals in legal structures or social theories (Smith, 1987). Men still held formal power over the rest of the family, and women were mostly excluded from the public sphere”. (Powell pg.5) Feminism has a history in English linked with women’s involvement from the late 19th century to the present. It is useful to separate feminist ideas or beliefs from feminist political movements. In periods where there has been no significant political activism around women’s subordination, individuals have been concerned with the theorized about justice for women. Researchers and scholars use the term Feminism, which they define and explain it differently. It is referring to some historical political movement in the USA and Europe. Others refer it to the belief that women live an injustice life with no rights and equality. It has a long history it represents women’s problems and suffering in addition to their dreams in equal opportunities in societies controlled by man power, rules, wishes, and orders. Despite of the painful segregation and the hard inequality, women can stand up each time to speak, express their problems, feelings and wishes. It can be spread all over the world make it a symbol of equality in all opportunities, treatments, respects, and social rights. Feminism allows women to express their sexuality and their womanhood in their individual way.
The roots of feminism are buried in ancient Greece and is recognize by the three waves of feminism. The first wave was in 1830s-early 1900s, which women’s fight for equal contract and property rights. The first wave was known as the Suffrage Movement that emerge out of an atmosphere of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist, and politics. The goal of the first wave was to open opportunities for women which focus on suffrage. It began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. The Seneca Falls Declaration was outlined by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, requesting the natural equity of women and outlining the political strategy of equal access and opportunity. The first wave of feminism in the United States was linked with other reform movements, such as abolition and temperance, and primarily closely involved women of the working classes. The first wave was said to have end when the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, granting women the right to vote. This movement also included reforms in education, in the workplace and professions, and in healthcare. The first wave of feminism was enormous to the movement, however, without the ongoing second wave there would be no hope for feminism in current times, for each wave is connected and dependent on the other’s history.
The second wave of feminism known as the Women’s Liberation Movement began in the 1960s and continued into the 90’s. The Second Wave Feminism was a powerful, political, and social movement that bettered the lives of women. The rise of feminism in the late 1960s, especially the locally organized, community-based forms of women’s liberation, was based in part on young women’s recognition of sexism within “the movement,’ made up of male dominated groups like Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and others. In this movement phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were leading concerns, and an ample amount of the movement’s energy was concentrated on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution assuring social equality among all people. The approval of the first oral contraceptive for women was approved by FDA. This was a step in the liberation movement which allow women to take a stand on their reproductive rights. This wave encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives and deeply politicized, and reflective of a sexist’s structure of power. The key word of this wave was education, of women and of men. In 1963, the Federal Government amended the Equal Rights Act. This was to ensure that sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same work establishment was prohibited. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to protect women from being discriminated against in the work environment. In 1965, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioners (EEOC) was appointed to enforce the Civil Rights Act. In 1968 the Miss America Beauty Contest in Atlantic City to let it be known that women’s worth wasn’t about their appearance. Second Wave Feminism became a potent political and social force during the 1970s, advocating for the equality of women in all walks of life. Many major moments during this wave like Feminine Mystique hitting the shelves, the book explored the dissatisfaction that many upper and middle-class women felt at their limited options in life. Formation of National Organization for Women (NOW), the rise of radical feminism during the 1970’s, Title IX in the Education Amendments of 1972 passed, allowed women equal access to education, especially college and professional schools, the Feminist Sex Wars of the late 1970’s and 1980’s, and the Roe vs. Wade decision decided. Second Wave Feminism has been succeeded by the movement known as the Third Wave Feminism; its effects can still be seen in the lives of everyday women. The political actions Second Wave Feminists, women have begun to attain equality in all aspects of society, including education, employment, health, and many more.
The third wave known as the Third Wave Feminism, it began in the mid-90’s and was informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking. Third-wave feminism manifests itself in “grrl” rhetoric, which seeks to overcome the theoretical questions of equity or difference and the political question of evolution or revolution, whole it challenges the theory and politics. The Third-wave is sustained by the confidence of having more opportunities and less sexism. It is characterized by an interest in various groups of women, like women of color, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered women, and low-income women. The third wave feminism challenges previously accepted definitions of beauty and femininity and continues to fight for equal rights. This wave was defined as the feminist activity and study from the 1990s to present time.
#METoo Movement is a new wave feminist are speaking out in record numbers against discrimination. A new era for feminism as began. Full of passion, social-influencing power and demanding change. “Perhaps now, as #MeToo increasingly takes on the great issues of feminism—besides the sexual objectification of women and the profound links between professional power and male sexual entitlement, the gender inequities that build glass ceilings over girls and women—perhaps now another wave of feminism will rise like a tsunami.”( Gilbert pg.23) It is intersectional, takes account of the diverse ways in which individual’s experience cruelty, and knows that the various pieces of people’s identities do not interact with the world. These movements have come a long way since the 18th century, and it has only to grow. From history to the present many of our demands have still not been met.
We all have different opinion on feminism. According to Margery Lucas, she said, the forms of feminism that downplay the differences between the sexes are more favored. These views stress the role of social learning in creating and reinforcing masculine and feminine stereotypes. “When speaking about women’s roles and positions in any country we will find that women are always in the second position after men.” (Pollitt pg.17) During the Civil War, World War I, and World War II women were kept out of roles to make men comfortable. They were not permitted to do anything without the control of man especially in the public places. This power of man over women mainly existed in all the fields with no exception. Those activities made people judge woman and gave her a stereotypical image. She was no more than a housekeeper, a mother, and a wife. (Faludi, p 40) Today for the first time in history all roles in the British military are open to women according to Hall. “Announcing in the news, the Ministry of Defense said, that women currently serving in the Army are now able to transfer into infantry roles and those not presently serving will be able to apply to fight on the front lines from December with new recruits training for infantry and the Royal Marines to commence early 2019”. (Hall, pg. 7) Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the changes “are aimed at creating opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds and making the most of they talents. By making all branches and trades of the military open to everyone, regardless of their gender, the Armed Forces are building on their reputation of being a leading equal opportunities employer.” With women being able to join the service, Geoff Hoon said, he was not prepared to lift the ban on women serving on the front line because officials were concerned that women’s presence might distract men because of their innate need to protect women, or simply because of sexual attraction. Women should not be blame for the behaviors or sexual wants of these men. In the United States the renewed growth of the feminist movement has explored due to the election of Donald Trump as president. The rise of the #METoo movement which involves famous and powerful men being accused of sexual harassment and molestation by women.
In the world we are living in today women have worked incredibly hard to come as far as they have. “Today women embrace nearly half of the United States labor force. While 70 percent of families in 1960 had a stay-at-home parent, now 70 percent of families have either both parents working or a single parent who works. In two-thirds of all households, women are either the Center for American Progress. In 40 percent of all households, women are the only wage earners. Yet on average, women in the workplace earn 20 percent less than men doing comparable jobs.” (Hauser) Women are hard workers in today world we can jungle situations that arise better than some men. “For the last 36 years women have gotten more bachelor’s degrees that men. With equality at work for us in 2009, Lilly Ledbetter’s long struggle for fair pay led to a new law in that loosens the time frame in which a woman can sue for wage discrimination. (Higgins pg. 35) And in 2017 the first time most students entering medical school were female. We can act opening and think broadly. Speaking feely and voicing your opinion. Women now have the chance to be the next city official, mayor or the next president of the United States. “Perhaps, the most significant positive impact of the contestation over women/gender and development programs has been its contribution over three decades to putting women’s rights on the international agenda and helping to establish global norms on wide range of issues, from labor rights and violence against women to women’s reproductive rights, as detailed in the introduction to this special issue.” (Jaquette pg. 255)
Women are heard all around the world the fight continues to go on. We are not where we want to be, but we will get there. Feminism as a dream or as an action came to stop the pain and suffering of woman in the entire world. In all the means and by a general agreement, it succeeded to change woman from a slave or even an animal to a human being with rights and chances in living their lives in the way they want it. This success can be observed when looking at the realms where woman exists and with numerous positions and professions. Even thou women suffered from the bad treatments, discrimination and racism under man control and rules. We still overcome and rule. The most important goals of Feminism were giving woman her total freedom in addition to equal opportunities in the representation of the political and social events.
Women and men understand their relation to the world rather to just go along with what they thought was wrong. Feminism is a movement away from historically conventional norms to a more exposed an equal way of living. This movement has been incredibly important to the success and failures of the United States and has been a necessary journey for the women in our country to travel so that they can discover and create their own place in society.
Charles, Marilyn. “Now, What? Standing in One’s Generation, Taking Consultation.” Gender & Education, vol. 28, no. 3, May 2016, p. 477. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/09540253.2016.1166183.
Freeman, Jo. “From Suffrage to Women’s Liberation: Feminism in Twentieth Century America.” Women: A Feminist Perspective, no. 5(1995):509-528.
Fuller, Kristen. “Feminism: Changing the Way Our Society Views Women.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-is-state-mind/201805/feminism-changing-the-way-our-society-views-women. Access on 10, November
Hall @Harri_Grace, Harriet. “‘Women Were Kept out of Infantry Roles to Make Men More Comfortable until Today – That’s Shameful in Itself’.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 25 Oct. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/voices/women-infantry-army-sas-frontline-uk-history-ministry-of-defence-a8601701.html.
Higgins, Nadia Abushanab. Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word. Twenty-First Century Books, 2016. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-alta.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1162805&site=eds-live&scope=site.
“In the Labyrinth of pass:#MeToo: Addressing Sexual Aggression and Power in Contemporary society also means questioning what the feminist movement has really been about.” American Scholar, vol. 87, no. 3, Summer 2018, pp. 14–25. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-alta.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=129762981&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Jaquette, Jane. “Women/Gender and Development: The Growing Gap Between Theory and Practice.” Studies in Comparative International Development, vol. 52, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 242–260. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12116-017-9248-8.
Lucas, Margery. “Difference Feminism Now.” Society, vol. 52, no. 5, Oct. 2015, pp. 499–502. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12115-015-9942-y.
Mukhuba, Theophilus. “A Radical Feminism Assessment of Women’s Recant of the Male Symbolic Order in the Name of Difference.” Gender & Behaviour, vol. 14, no. 2, July 2016, pp. 7235–7237. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-alta.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=121839720&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Phillips, Ruth, and Viviene E. Cree. “What Does the ‘Fourth Wave’ Mean for Teaching Feminism in Twenty-First Century Social Work?” Social Work Education, vol. 33, no. 7, Oct. 2014, pp. 930–943. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02615479.2014.885007.
Pollitt, Katha. “Women’s Fury Unleashed. (Cover Story).” Nation, vol. 306, no. 3, Jan.2018,pp.1619. EBSCOhost,proxygsualta.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fth&AN=127241167&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Powell, Jason L. Feminism. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2013. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-alta.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=606402&site=eds-live&scope=site.