What Is It?
Noun – the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
“No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights are considered to be human rights” – Emma Watson
Feminism is the movement against which that both men and women aren’t treated as equals. This is so whether it was equal pay – as women are substantially paid a lot less than men are paid for doing the exact same job – or it was equal paternity rights and pay for males.
Feminism is for everyone. It is very simple. That means both genders.
There are a lot of misconceptions of what really is feminism, with a lot of backlash because of it. For example, a woman who is a strong feminist is instantly perceived as a ‘man-hater’, or a male who is a feminist is instantly stereotyped as homosexual, or effeminate. In reality, this could be true, but it rarely is true. The ‘man-hating feminists’ are the ones who receive the most media attention and steals the headlines, which as a result has created a bad effect and name for the other active feminists, man or woman, who want equality, NOT superiority.
The movement of feminism started back in the 1700′s, around the start of The Enlightenment, when new ‘european thinkers’, called philosophers, had started to express their own views and indulge others in the same – a different society. One in particular, around the time of the French Revolution (1789), Jean Jacques Rousseau, explored the social aspect of society and the hierarchy. It was the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which was a document of the French Revolution defining individual rights of a man, but did not address women’s status.
The book that completely combatted this, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) by Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the most successful books in the French Revolution which highlighted the need for a change in a woman’s character, in order to change the social order. It inspired many 19th century feminists.
1900’s – The First Wave of Feminism
From the French Revolution, going into modern centuries, the feminist movement still stood strong. This was especially so when in 1914, men were recruited for World War 1 and women took over the men’s jobs, which ultimately kept the countries strong and united, to be able to win the war. However, when the men came back, the women’s efforts and hope of a change diminished quickly. This re-sparked the feminist movement, with the groups of the suffragettes (violent) and suffragists (peaceful). As Pearson states “Feminists were not just narrowly focused on equal rights. They also took an interest in the family and in moral issues, including the legal position of married women, marital violence and the double standard of morality between the sexes”.
These women, the suffragettes (more action, the more “violent” ones) died for the vote. They DIED. Do you really want these women’s deaths to be worthless?
1960’s – The Second Wave of Feminism
Women became restless all over the world. The role of a woman in society? Marry in her 20’s, have children as soon as and devoting their whole existence to their house. Doesn’t that sound so much fun…For some, maybe, but the majority reading this I doubt that is the life they want. It is 2017 after all.
There were no legal rights, no higher education openly available, divorce was difficult to obtain and the husband had control over the wife’s money and how she spent it. They wanted their daughters to grow up with the same rights as their sons, for their daughters to feel as empowered as women should feel.
From 1963, The Guardian states that “Fifty years on, the pay gap is smaller, but persists, parents are still stymied by the dearth of affordable childcare, it’s estimated that 69,000 women are raped in England and Wales each year, two a week are killed as a result of domestic violence, and the paucity of women in public life continues: just over 22% of MPs are women; and only 17.4% of the cabinet. 1963 changed a lot, but the next 50 years starts now.” (2013 article).
2017 – The Third Wave of Feminism
Modern day activists, such as Angelina Jolie, and Emma Watson embrace the need for the equality in the movement, men need to get involved, to show a united front. Emma Watson, a key ambassador for the UN, made a speech which changed the conversation of feminism – which moved to gender quality, as it affects everyone everywhere.
The double standard of women and the constant comparison needs to stop. Watson stated that “Feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. The word means women are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even.” Is Emma Watson unattractive? Is Angelina Jolie unattractive or aggressive? Is Beyonce too strong? No. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one to live in? Where saying feminist is an evil word? Emma’s HeForShe campaign is a move to ban the double standard which men have on women. It is THAT simple…
Conscious Magazine stated in their article 11 months ago that “If anyone is being stereotyped by society’s expectations of being a man or woman, then gender inequality is an issue. If anyone is being paid less for a job that another gender is paid more for, then gender inequality is an issue. When any type of discrimination occurs because of gender, then gender inequality is an issue.”
What if the roles were reversed? What would happen then?
As always, thank you for reading.
Hannah Samantha x
This is my own view, no one else’s. If you don’t agree, then great, you have your own view. Just don’t step on other peoples views as you go.