Feminism isn’t a scary word or something to distance yourself away from. Being a feminist just means that one believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Feminism is one of the biggest issues in our country. One would think that equality of gender is a given, but sadly, it’s not. We have come a long way since the 1900s, but equality is still not there. Women are still not being paid equally, women still need a higher degree to get a job a man can get with a lower degree, and women are still underrepresented in our government and media. The pay gap affects many women, yet some companies still do not fight for pay equality. The glass ceiling applies to women who are kept from advancing higher in their careers because they are women. Many people in today’s society think that women are treated equally with men, but so many of these people have internalized misogyny that they are blindsided by reality.
Feminists advocate for equal opportunities and rights in our society. They also hope to bring more representation of females in our media and government in order to maintain a balance between both genders. In the late 1960s, the second wave feminist movement took place. The goals of the second wave feminist movement were simple: let women have freedom, equal opportunity and control over their lives. The movement fought for women’s education, employment, right to own property, rights to their bodies, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. Many of the rights women have today, like the right to education and divorce, were fought for by feminists in the past, but the fight is still not over. In 2013, there were over 700 bills proposed to regulate a woman’s body, and for men, the rightful number of zero. By the time the average woman reaches 60 years old, she will have made $450,000 less a man in the same exact position. People need to stand up for the feminist movement and fight for the rights of equality. Our society needs to fix the representation problem, the wage inequality problem, and society needs to fix the fact that women are still seen as second class citizens.
The subcategory of Feminism is sexism, and this does not only affect women. Men face societal pressures too, like the pressure to be tall, or strong, to push down feelings, like fear or sadness, the pressure to be the breadwinner, and to be the, “man of the household.” Sexism is about exclusion and unequal power in society. It is about shaming and belittling and devaluing the feminine. Notice how many pressures that boys face come down to defining themselves against women. There is this societal pressure to not be like girls. Boys need to know how to throw a ball, unlike girls. Boys need to be tall and strong, unlike girls. Boys are told to not be emotional like girls. These gender specific pressures are a side effect of sexism. All that is where feminists step in and say that there is more than one way to be a man or a woman. We all have a combination of feminine and masculine traits, it’s about being human.
We need to teach all people equality, respect, and nonviolence rather than power, domination, and aggression. We need to build a world where boys and girls can feel and cry when they’re sad, where anyone can be a stay-at-home parent, where boys and girls can be leaders, a fully dynamic human who can’t be shoved into a box and be told who to be. Understanding how these inequalities and attitudes permeate our society and working to correct them, is in the best interest of everyone.