If you read my first passion blog, I talked about why I wanted to write about feminism. It’s a unspeakably important movement which is often misinterpreted, degraded, and more and more frequently, simply passed off no longer necessary, since women are “already equal” in our society… at least, that’s what we’ve been told.
Given all of these misconceptions of the topic itself, I believe for my first blog, a bit of an introduction is in order.
Feminism has been given many definitions, some more ridiculous and accusatory than others. My personal favorite, which I’ll be referencing throughout my blogs is as follows: “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (Hooks, viii). What’s fantastic about this definition is it makes it very clear that the problem feminists are confronting is with sexism, not with men. This makes three things clear immediately.
1) Contrary to urban legend, feminists are not simply a bunch of angry lesbians who hate the entire male gender.
2) Men can also be feminists without betraying their sex.
3) Women themselves can contribute to the very sexist notions which feminists combat.
Feminism then, has never been something just for women. Rather, it is for anyone who believes the sexes should be equal.
So now that you’ve had your crash course on the movement, I still have to explain why it’s relevant to us today.
Unlike what many of us like to believe, women still are nowhere equal to men, particularly in the U.S. Here are two examples of this:
1) Currently, working women make on average thirty-three cents less of every US dollar a man earns in her exact same position. So even when women work as hard as men, it is impossible for them to achieve the same amount. Our society simply doesn’t allow it.
2) 51% of the U.S. population is female, but make up only 17% of our government. This is the result not only of women being subconsciously discouraged to run for office, but also of our media subtly implying that women are not fit for the job. Over and over again on film and television, woman are portrayed as irrational. We are too emotional, too fragile, to survive in the world of politics. And so women aren’t elected. What this ultimately means is that the decisions being made for that 51% of the population are being made by people who cannot possibly understand the everyday difficulties they face.
No wonder our country has so many problems. The people who hold enough power to make the laws represent about 6% of our population. (White, male, over 30, educated, born in America).
At any rate, the question remains: What do those feminists want? Well, as a feminist, here’s a sampling of what I’d like to see happen:
-I want women to start being judged for their accomplishments, not their bodies.
-I want women to be welcomed into positions of power, not discouraged or told that having ambition is not “feminine.”
-I want music videos which feature women to show them doing something other than dancing around half-naked.
-I want the glass ceiling to disappear.
-I want the rate of depression in young girls–which has doubled in the past decade–who don’t have the “perfect body” to start lowering.
Most of all, I want people to realize that when it comes to equality of the sexes, there is far more work to be done. That’s what this blog is about. I hope reading it will be both enlightening and inspiring. And maybe we can even make some progress together.
Bell Hooks. Feminism is for Everyone. 2000
Bell Hooks. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. 1984
Miss Representation. 2011