So you read the title, right? I’m assuming that, at this point, the only reason that you clicked on this article is because you either have strong opinions on the topic of woman’s rights, or are one of two fans of my blog who occasionally stop by and leave a like on every article (which if you are, kudos to that!), but I’m not going to pretend like this question which I posed is anything new or groundbreaking. I mean, how did you even get here? Type in “what is feminism?”, or “do we need feminism?”, and you get a hundred billion results (from both liberal and conservative sources alike) before mine even has a chance of appearing, but regardless of the journey: you have arrived at the destination.
G’ Day Mates! It’s your blogger person here, Cameron Levengood, and I’m here basically for three reasons: 1.) I’ve been meaning to cover this topic for a while now (as a sort of “necessary” political inclusion), 2.) I need content badly right now (haven’t blogged in a month now, long story), and looked to the archives for inspiration, and 3.) Think the issue of feminism is important, and will likely become one of the major political debates of our time, up there with capitalism vs. communism in the 50s’ though 80’s: our decade will stand out from the rest as the first time in all of history where a minority of people has used a power vacuum to absorb a lot of political influence in the media and politics, (you’ll recall it being one of Ms. Clinton’s principle agendas in last year’s election), and I want to make sure I cover all of my bases for discussion.
As you know, I like to say I have two rules here: 1.) never be absolute, and 2.) never be hypocritical, so in this post, I'll be taking an objective look into the inner working of this organization, its history, its practices, and otherwise, then will be following up with my subjective opinion on the matter, and try to answer the question: Is modern feminism worth it?
That’s the thing with the women, right? Yes, feminism is the “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”, according to Google; however it could also be described as a wide range of different political ideologies with the rights of women as the main focus. However, this is not the only working definition of feminism, as many already know. The reason this is an issue in the first place is because nobody is really sure about whether or not the dictionary definition holds up today. There are two fields on the issue of women’s rights currently: the first field (which advocates for feminism) uses the first definition I gave or a similar one of the movement, whereas the second field might use a definition like this one from urban dictionary, “A relentless political advocacy group pushing for special privileges for women, which pretends to be a social movement advocating equal rights for the genders”, to describe it. Before we start drawing definitive lines in the sand, and start taking sides, however, let’s take a quick look at the history of the issue.
A Quick History
Feminism got its start in the early 1800’s as a slew of acts enacted by the United Kingdom to give women custody of their children, and to allow them to earn and inherit money and property. These and other similar legislations led to the creation of advocacy groups in Great Britain and all across her colonies, starting with Australia and New Zealand. Although earlier documents had given women the right to vote in some cases, New Zealand became the world’s first government to fully endorse women’s suffrage to all of its female citizens. This event helped trigger the Women’s Suffrage movement, a global effort to secure voting rights for all women in al democratic nations, such as The United States, mainland England, and Finland, which became the first country to do so on mainland Europe. This was largely in part due to the war effort during the Great War, which was the first time in history when woman in a Western society actively participated in the economy and wartime provision, changing the popular mood on the issue. By the 80’s, most countries had enacted suffrage laws granting women full voting rights at the national level, with the exception of a few stragglers, such as Saudi Arabia and the Holy See, which only just recently allowed this. This phase of feminist movements is primarily known as the first wave, which focused on woman’s legal equality to men, and was primarily concerned with voting and court justice. There were still many domestic and societal issues that needed to be addressed, however, which was the focus of the second wave.
The second wave of feminism, which occurred alongside the civil rights movement in the US was largely focused on the prejudices women still faced in society, rather than their equally on paper. Although men and women were now legal equals, in most cases, female citizens still faced prejudices at work, as well as those with sexuality, family, equal pay, and domestic violence. The second wave was also unique in that it incorporated men’s “liberation” so to speak, as well, as men participated and also saw to see their traditional gender and sex roles become more fluid. Starting in the 60’s and ending in the 90’s, the second wave helped in part to create the world we see today, in terms of gender and sexual diversity. However, while most Western thinkers can agree that these two major developments in feminist thought are necessary to have for a society of true equals, it’s the final development in the practice of feminism that has most confused and worried.
While still important, most true feminists considered the second wave of feminism to be a failure, and began a new movement which would put more focus on sexuality and gender violence. Starting in the 90’s, when a more liberal mediascape made it possible for more liberal communities to take a stand on a large scale, and many celebrities started to openly endorse this type of new age thinking (Cyndi Lauper comes to mind), the third wave of feminism began, which focused primarily on the diversity of women in their sexuality, race, and occupation. It’s at this point that many people start to have problems with modern equal rights movements, because while the media was a big boon to the cause two decades ago, it now serves as a platform to make many modern feminists a laughing stock. The first major criticism of feminism is that it does not have a central goal. Even though I personally claimed the central goal to be diversity, however, this can be argued for and against, ultimately resulting in a lack of cohesion between the members of the group. Moreover, feminism has, at this point, grown so far from its roots, that it’s no longer about equal rights being shared between men and women, but rather about taking rights away from men to make women more equal, as some would argue. It doesn’t help that radical feminists can often be found on YouTube, now one of the largest media platforms in the world, actively pushing far left agenda with which most do not agree, and with conservative and anti-liberal personalities constantly fighting back against their claims, these exchanges are changing opinions about feminism on a large scale to work against it.
There’s also a heavily debated fourth wave of feminism, but most consider it to be just an extension of the third (which most already consider to be no more than an extension of the second), since it has most of the same goals and same strategies for pushing social movement.
So, now that you have all the background information you probably need, what’s my opinion. Well, I have no problem with the central goal of feminism: that is, the equality of genders, since a capitalist society should give equal chance for everyone to be a success, but I wouldn’t go as far to say that I am one. As this article by the Huffington Post points out, while a large majority of America does not identify with feminism, over half the population agrees that the sexes should be equal, and that this is partially do to the way the term feminism has been branded. As noted by this article in the Washington Examiner, a lot of people feel that modern feminism is to extreme, and men in particular feel as though it is pushing an anti-male agenda, which I can agree with to some degree. I could be wrong here, but with all the negative things coming to light about the modern activism of this group, I’d rather not get involved in their style of change, in particular. As many a great person said before me, there are many ways to get to the final goal: including the final goal of gender equality. Although I want to see the day where all the worlds’ prejudices no longer exist, I believe that feminism is not the way to go.
To wrap things up, here’s a quote from a post I made about two months ago which more aggressively drives home the point of modern thought on the issue: “Half of the population should be given the same opportunities as the other half, and someone’s delicates shouldn’t be a factor that dictates your skills in various fields. However, some of these women take it too far, demanding ridiculous double standards for men to uphold while woman do not. Once considered acts of chivalry, boxes of chocolates, roses, and taking long walks on the beach were considered acts of kindness that were the direct product of true love. Now, many hardcore feminist will demand this kind of treatment 24/7 without anything in return, if they don’t consider it to be sexist at first: that’s bad.” A bit over the top (although it’s nice to see how I’ve changed my writing style in such a short time), I can largely still identify with what I said here, despite it being worded oddly.
So, what have we learned? Feminism, in essence, is the struggle for the social equivalence to men by women. It’s been a hard fought battle for suffrage, equal rights, and fair treatment, and now here In America, a hundred years later, the country is much more equal for women. More recently, increasingly more radical sectors of feminism are starting to appear, and as such, have damaged the feminist name and title, which is bothersome to a few. Is feminism in general worth it? Most definitely YES.
However, all things considered when answering this question: Is MODERN feminism worth it? Not so much. While once a critical leap in the equality of femininity to masculinity, the large majority of problems associated with feminist issues, are primarily solved (that’s not to say they all are, however), and as such, the organization has become outdated, at least to me. To be clear, I’m not against woman’s rights, but as a meritocrat, I believe that there are other ways to solve this issue.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you found my banter and historical context informing, and could respect my opinion regardless of our personal stance. Say, what are your thoughts on the issue? Be sure to let me know down in the comments, and if you liked the article, please: uppercut that like button for me so I can be filled with determination at your approval. Once again, thanks for reading, and don’t touch that dial: there’s always more to come.
PS, stay tuned for my sequel to this article, where I'll be taking a look at some videos online advocating for and against feminism, staring female commentators!
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