Feminism – The Ongoing Quest to Gain Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women
I am a feminist. Activist. I stand for gender equality and the rights and opportunities of women all over the world. I strongly believe that women and young girls should uphold their rights when it comes to politics, religion, education, employment, health, sexuality and freedom of expression. For decades, feminists have actively campaigned against many atrocities done to women; the movement is instrumental to the many positive changes that we’ve seen in our society today.
Are we fanatics, man-haters or extremists?
These terms are commonly associated with feminism, but we are NOT here to establish matriarchy. We don’t hate men – and we’re not on a quest to suppress their rights in our society. We simply detest gender politics, because it creates power imbalances, especially in the corporate world that until now – is still dominated by men.
Most people don’t understand what feminism stands for, and how noble and important its objectives are. It’s not simply holding placards on the street, so we can solicit sympathy from strangers. We are more than that – and we have evolved over time, to become a potent force that can bring change and break the common mentality that women should be dominated by men.
What Is The Feminist Movement?
The feminist movement was first conceived during the French Revolution, when Christine de Pizan wrote a book entitled: “The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen during the French Revolution.” In her writing, every woman is born free and has equal rights. Her arguments started such a strong following among French women that it became an official movement in the country.
Although the movement didn’t receive acceptance and appreciation during those times, it became more prominent in 1968 when Simone de Beauvoir wrote various articles about talented women and the many challenges they face in society. During those times, talented women had to accept the fact that they cannot earn or surpass the income of men, even if they persevere in their chosen field. Being successful is no longer a priority to them, because it could lead to issues with their husbands, or even prevent them from finding a suitable husband.
Many girls are indoctrinated by their parents to follow the duties of their mothers, whereas boys are expected to be successful in life and to pursue the career that they have chosen. These are the reasons why a group of like-minded women is more determined to uphold the ideals and objective of the feminist movement.
The Different Branches of Feminism
The main aim of the feminist movement is to safeguard the rights of women in all sectors of society. To accommodate the needs of women in various sectors, the movement branched out into several groups with different approach based on the issue at hand. Some became Marxist feminists, liberal feminists, postmodern feminists, etc. But the ultimate goal is still the same – freedom and equality for women.
Feminists can have different views on pornography; some can be anti-pornography while others are sex positive. Feminists can be bisexual, asexual, pansexual, gay or straight. You should also understand that that there are feminists who are tomboys, while some are ultra-feminine and love to dress up.
The most negatively viewed branch of the movement is radical feminism. People think that radical feminists are fanatics and this particular group hates men – that is not true. While it is true that some women falls to extreme feminism, it’s mostly an isolated case. Their deep-seated resentment against men can be attributed to their past experiences. And these people do not represent the majority of the movement.
They are considered as separatist, because their main goal is the complete restructuring of society; extreme feminists are aiming to establish an egalitarian society – which is not the true objective of the feminist movement.
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Making A Stand Against Common Stereotypes
Over the years, feminism has gained a negative label due in part to the activities of radical feminists. We have been labeled as self-proclaimed feminists; they often accuse us of being ugly, hostile women with evil motives. Feminism is not about destroying men; our main goal is to eliminate sexism and patriarchy.
Usually, people question the validity of our motives and they even claim that there is no need for a feminist movement, especially in western countries where the right to vote and work is established. They feel that gender equality is already prevalent, and only developing countries have patriarchal structures.
Although I doubt if there is a country who has achieved complete equality for both sexes, it’s highly unlikely even in America, because we can still witness gender inequality and double standards. It’s not a question if a woman can work or not, what we are more concern about are the different incidents that they encounter in the workplace. Sexual harassment, among other things is common in these places. Not to mention their chances of bagging the promotion are leaner than their male counterparts.
In other countries, especially those in depressed areas, females are subjected to honor killings, female infanticide, domestic abuse and other atrocities. The sad part about these incidents is that their governments do little to help the women in need. A lot of issues are not taken seriously, and most of them are not even reported to proper authorities. In universities and schools, rape victims are branded “misconduct” so as to protect the reputation of the institution and the legacy they represent. This should not be the case since these institutions should be the first one to advocate the rights of women. It’s their responsibility to apprehend and punish the oppressors.
The Main Role of Feminism
Feminism plays a vital role in protecting the rights of women. In places where the victim of atrocities is being ignored, feminists can band together to help the victims fight their legal battles. Feminism can be instrumental in exposing certain issues that often ignored by authorities. In addition, feminists support LGBT rights and their efforts to oppose traditional gender roles. We should stop stereotyping, harassment and prejudice.
In reality, I often wish that feminism is no longer needed, not because it isn’t important, but the movement should no longer be necessary. In an ideal world, women are treated as people and not sex objects. If that were the case, then we wouldn’t be fighting for our rights like what we do now. Until society reaches that point, feminism will remain true to its calling – we will remain vigilant and we will make all our efforts to interrogate gender inequalities.
I know being a feminist is not that easy, but I have decided to make a stand and become a beacon of hope for other women in the world. I will stand up for what I believe in, speak my mind if necessary, and share any information about the feminist movement so other people will know more about it.
Sadly, feminists are often ostracized due to a misguided interpretation of the “F” word along with the activities of a few extremists who are motivated by anger and past experiences that they could not move away from. I have even fallen prey to this mentality toward feminism, but I will remain true to the movement and its ideals.