Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feminism: Are We Where We Should Be?

       The 70's was a very recent time period and it is upsetting to see where women and feminism stood about forty years ago. The excerpt, "A Day without Feminism" listed examples of sexism that I believed to have been long gone by the 70s. Without feminism, the world would still be the same way today.
       What exactly is feminism? Many people do not know the true definition and because of this, become very defensive when asked about it. Ms. Ruhl presented a definition of feminism that has now become my favorite: "Feminism is the social justice movement for gender equity and human liberation". The words "woman or female" are not mentioned once and they don't need to be because supporting feminism is simply supporting gender equality.
       As Ms. Ruhl introduced the three waves of feminism, most, if not all of the class, including myself, had never heard of these waves of feminism. To me, that goes to show that many people are not educated in women's history and the importance of feminist movements. The first wave was described as the time of the battle for suffrage. Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked together and never got to see women's suffrage because it happened in 1920, way after the Seneca Falls Convention. As I read Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls convention, I was taken aback by reading an overview of how women had to live and what to 'obey'. Women were solely property and reproducers. Women had no voice, in the eye of the law, they were "civilly dead", they were stripped from their property as well as any wages she earned.
       The second wave (early 60's) focused on reproductive freedom, job equity and the Equal Rights Amendment, which incredibly, till this day, has not been passed. (Not to mention, the act against domestic violence was not set until 1994, women's pay is 77 cents to the man's dollar, and women make up only 20% of political positions in the U.S). This goes to show that although we have progressed immensely, we are not where we should be in 2015.
       The third wave is present day. Today, we face intense issues such as, social media damage, pro-choice, pornography, self harm, eating disorders, etc. From the looks of it, reaching complete gender equity will be a constant battle and the key to advancing is educating those who fear the word, "feminism" to begin with.

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